Are designers offended by the term "stylist"?

I would say that much of our jobs as designers would be to come up with unique ideas and solutions. Throughout my experiences working at different firms, I’ve found that each firm has a different approach to design. Some places emphasize manufacturability, while other places value styling and other places focus on coming up with unique ideas.

Some managers I’ve had seem to get offended by the term "stylist’. Personally, I don’t really see that as an offensive term. I would like to be an effective problem solver and idea creator, but I do take pride in creating products that are desirable. To create a desirable product, it has to function well and be visually appealing. Would the Eames lounge chair fit that criteria?

By calling someone “stylist” you deny him/her the competence and/or responsibility to be someone who does things that go beyond just the looks of something (like “being a problemsolver” or making something “function well”).
That is especially offending when you pride yourself to be a designer who develops the visual aesthetic of an object logically out of the used material, production process and intended use (which is very much what Eames did with his three dimensionally shaped plywood: innovating functionally AND visually) instead of pulling shapes out of your arse to please some marketing windbags :wink:

That’s like calling a stewardess an airborne waitress. You might think that by watching them five minutes and jumping to conclusions about what their job is… but let’s see who will be the one to safe your life once the plane crashes.

This still sounds like more than ‘just’ a stylist to me.

I wouldn’t mind being called a stylist if that was the job I was hired to do. As I’m an industrial designer (and expected to do more than just styling) I feel that when people see me as a stylist they do not fully appreciate what it is I actually do and I am offended (even if it might be down to ignorance on their behalf).*

*This is in a professional setting where I expect people to know better. People I meet in other settings who don’t really know, or I would expect to know, what ID is don’t offend me if they mix it up.

I’m not. I wish I was a better stylist. Also, most people seem to understand the term “stylist” than “designer”, so I often use it to describe myself with the civilians.

Im very much in alignment with you on this one… wish i could say along with all my other strong skill sets stylist was one of them. - don’t get me wrong i can style things but just not as easily or as good as some people that i recognize as having a strong skill set in the area. Also when people refer to me as a stylist i don’t get up set i simply educate them that this one skill set and capability that i bring to the table .

I have seen the reverse where in the person get so offended or they take on every task to prove that they can do other things… working on a project now where one resource wants to own the thing but yet they have never done it before nor has anyone on their team - but they are ID thus they can do it…or so they tell people…
Heck i know enough about the project that i am not a subject matter expert and that it is important enough to obtain outside experts in the area vs just take a ID staffer and say hey look they are now (insert skill set) expert now because as id people we can do everything because its all the same skill set…

but i digress :wink: :unamused:

This sounds very, very familiar. Couldn’t agree more.
But this also can come from upstairs… ID being hired as Jacks-of-all-trades. All of a sudden, one has to do animations, UI ect.
I have always been a proponent of getting specialists for specific tasks or just not do the project instead of winging it.

In response to the OP, I think that styling is one of my stronger assets.
It is not just about style itself but also strategic thinking and a sense for trends and gaps in the market as well as an appropriate vision for the brand/client.

So no, I wouldn’t be insulted. But there is of course more to being an Industrial Designer. It really depends on the project

I totally agree! A lot of people don’t realize that to create something aesthetically pleasing, you have to have an understanding of many factors such as manufacturing, the audience and function. Stylist is a very limiting term.

I always winged it and succeeded! On one hand, I’d love to do a styling job for a year just to get really good at it. On the other hand, styling everyday sounds really boring.

But we are styling every day. We make aesthetic decisions all the time.
Even if we are designing a rubber foot for a washing machine, we still make CMF and form decisions and I would call that styling.

I would say my day has devolved to 50% managing other people, 30% solving production problems, 10% styling and 10% research. Yes, I do it everyday, but it’s rarely the focus.

It is an out dated term. Not offensive, but I would assume if someone used that term their knowledge of new product development was 30 years old and I’d stop listening. I consider more obsolete than offensive… like blueprints. No one says “bring me the blue print’s” anymore. They don’t even say draftings, now they are FPDs (Finished Product Drawings) and they are 3d outputs for documentation and communication

In today;s parlance, a stylist is someone who fixes hair and adjusts props on a photoshoot.

On the flipside, say you did lots of optimizing for manufacturing at your workplace, would you be offended by being called an engineer or some other technical title? What about calling you a CAD surfacer/modeler if you did lots of CAD?

I agree that the term “stylist” more outdated and limiting than it is offensive. The implications however might be more frustrating as it might illustrate the limited knowledge of your skills/scope/responsibilities/potential from the person/organization referring to you as that.