Senior Designer

Hi there, first post here but been a long time observer of the site,

I recently got into the discussion with another colleague about the expectations/responsibilities for a senior designer.

My experience has been that a senior designer is someone who is a contributor/manager, somewhere between 6-10 years of experience, autonomous in that he/she can handle a project start to finish, lead a team, mentor those younger, and is growing to fill a management type position.

What are some of your experiences and thoughts on the subject?

That is pretty aligned with my opinion. Every workplace us different expectations but this is what I consider a senior designer:
1- excellent design skills from early ideation to detailed implamentation
2- searches for the unexpected solutions
3- self starter, needs only occasional direction
4- is an example of model behavior and work habits to younger designer
5- can be trusted to present to clients, customers or executives
6- can self manage workflow
7- can act as a project lead
8- can be utilized as a team lead to build management skills for future growth
9- understands bigger picture and can contribute to design language and overall long term portfolio direction discussions.

I’d put soft emphasis on the managerial roles aside from mentoring juniors and being able to plan/scope the design portions of a project. As a senior there is the potential to go either the principal or manager route, the latter requiring different skills that a senior designer may or may not be interested or strong in. But if they can do those things ‘naturally’ or intuitively its a plus.

Relevant to all work situations, corporate or agency, but more important to the consulting side, is the increased awareness of accountability, of earning one’s place at the company table every day, of treating the business like its your own, and not just a place to work.

I like to see relentless curiosity as well, and evidence of increasing knowledge or technical skills that can help the group.

Perfect. I’d also add that there’s little emphasis on years of experience. It might take some people 5 years to get here, it may take others 15… though 6-10 is a decent estimate.

Nurb, my thoughts are the same as yours. I think those skill sets can be acquired at along any time frame depending on the individual. I only gave an expected year range as I wanted to see what other’s opinions were on the matter.

I had a disagreement earlier where I echoed your points to a fellow colleague but was told different in that age and years in the field were more important.

Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t the only one who saw it the other way :slight_smile: