What Do You Actually Do?

July 2, 2018  •  ,

I’ve been working as a designer for just over seven years now. That’s a substantial chunk of my life, at this point. And my job is a pretty important aspect of who I am. When I tell people that I’m a designer, I can tell there’s a bit of interest there. I tend to brush it off with a comment about “making things pretty.” But there’s so much more than that.

With social media, I feel like more and more people are talking about their jobs, but not about what they actually do. Just knowing that I’m a designer isn’t really that much to go on if you’re unfamiliar with the design industry. But I’m interested in the little details of how people make their living. I love watching vlogs that include someone’s work life.

Obviously, there are some obvious reasons why we don’t see what happens during someone’s 9 to 5. There are business practices to follow, non-disclosure agreements to adhere to, and company policies to keep in mind. With that said, I thought I’d run through a few of my more typical daily tasks, and then perhaps expand upon this in a series of posts.

I’d like to eventually talk in more detail about the kinds of projects I work on, the admin duties that belong to the principal designer, the boring little tasks that I complete when I’m not involved in a big project – that sort of thing. I’d love to talk to other designers about their own work and have people in other industries open up about the reality of their own jobs. If I were a more popular person I might share this content under some sort of trendy hashtag. #WDYAD

But I am getting ahead of myself. For now, I will just talk a bit in more general terms!

So, Aisling, what do you actually do?

I’ve mentioned that I’m a designer quite a few times, but there are lots of kinds of design. Throughout my career, I’ve primarily been a web designer. Designing and coding websites is what led to me studying design, was what I specialised in while studying, and was what my initial jobs revolved around.

However, I have a tendency to prefer working for smaller companies, which means I take on a lot of extra tasks. This has allowed me to develop skills in quite a few areas of digital design and production, such as print, video editing or a bit of illustration here and there.

At my current job, I am the principal designer, so I do a little bit of everything. The company I work for is a software product, so I’m really focused on just the singular brand (as opposed to when I worked in agencies and designed for multiple brands at one time).

As a general overview, some of my typical tasks may involve:

  • designing and coding a page for our website
  • liaising with merchandise suppliers
  • researching a new tool
  • designing a printed brochure/flyer/large-format banner
  • populating content in a CMS
  • creating email templates
  • editing video clips
  • communicating with freelancers
  • wireframing the user experience of a new software feature
  • meetings with the departments I work with

Considering I am a designer, I don’t actually spend that much time designing. It obviously still makes up the majority of my time, but there is so much more!

I think it would be great if there was more transparency (again, within reason) about peoples’ jobs. I bet many design grads would be surprised that the job isn’t all Mad Men-esque glamour, but it’s still interesting and rewarding.

My home workspace

Thank you for reading!

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