I am a Curriculum Developer currently researching a post-secondary program in Graphic & Communications Design. From my research I am learning that the Graphic Designer role is expanding as are the duties expected of them. Fields are merging & Designers must adopt a broader range of skills. As an Interaction Designer, are you expected to only “design” the interaction or would you “develop” it as well (i.e.: use program languages etc.)? I expect larger organizations would employ teams of people, each with distinct roles but smaller companies may expect one person to wear multiple hats. What is reasonable to expect of a Graphic Designer? What is reasonable to expect of an Interaction Designer?
Any experience, insight, feedback you have to offer would be very much appreciated.
I think the short answer is it depends.
Certainly there is a lot more hybridization out there. When I was at frog, and where I work now, the hybridization tends to be between graphic design, motion graphics, interaction design and visual design… not so much on the coding side of things.
When I came onboard here the graphic design team was very much a set of adobe illustrator operators. I flipped the expectations as I grew the team though so that every designer is expected to at the very least do interaction wireframes, traditional graphic design, build things in prototyping apps like InVision, the ability to wrote light copy for social posts, some light skills in animation, photo retouching, and video editing… the mediums are so broad now, you don’t want to limit yourself.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, Michael. This is very helpful.
I look at it the same way - there is a lot of convergence happening across different fields and different types of designers and developers need to speak each other’s language. Where interaction designers are more the usability engineers and graphic designers look at it from a more artistic perspective, I do feel that there need to, especially for larger projects, be separate individuals with their own expertise but working together. From what I have seen this expansion works very well. And from my experience in product design it has also been quite valuable to learn methods like heuristics, workflow/STD diagramming, wireframing and UML. I would expect from a graphic designer to be able to produce, well, the graphics, for all types of old and new media, even advanced applications such as AR. I also find it reasonable to expect from a graphic designer to have basic 3D modeling, web design and video editing skills. As for the overlap with interaction design, a general awareness and some basic experience would be reasonable to expect. Interaction designers on the other hand should have some insight into graphic design as well but mostly be responsible for the coding and deeper innovations in the user interface. I feel they can be expected to have advanced coding skills. I also want to point out that when educating designers, it’s good not to categorize them too soon but allow them to find their own way and be able to at least to some extent modify their own curriculum based on their own experiences and individual coaching.
Thanks very much for your feedback as well, Ralph. It’s wonderful to receive multiple perspectives.
Thank you, Eugenio. It will be interesting to see where the technology will take us in 10 years time.