We’ve all seen the write-ups the past year or so about the death of design thinking. While I think we all know that these things are cyclical - that the principles of design thinking aren’t out of fashion, just the buzzwords - I’ve personally experienced something related enough times of late that I can’t ignore it as happenstance or coincidence. Branding yourself as “designer” may have become a liability.
I can’t tell you how many job postings I’ve seen of late for Product Directors, Category Managers, Innovation Experts, etc. that don’t want anything to do with designers. Instead they want engineers, marketers (really?!), or people with weirdly amorphous business-y titles - but definitely not designers.
I have had multiple interviews where the interviewer seemed genuinely skeptical of claims about the work I’ve done over the course of my career because I was “just a designer” and “designers don’t do (real meaning: can’t do) [anything other than styling.]”
I have had others where I’ve gone far down the candidate process for a role specifically geared toward someone with a design background only to have the company change their minds and decide they want an engineer, or a developer, or whatever non-design title they value more for…reasons.
In my experience, in the current climate, calling yourself a “designer” is a liability if you’re looking for any role beyond that of an individual contributor/stylist. It’s borderline infuriating.