Not being mean to graphic designers out there but I honestly hate being called one or maybe there is a mismatch somewhere. But officially, I’m a product designer and a Web developer but those who don’t know just put me in the “Graphics guy” box and it really pisses me off sometimes.
This post isn’t about a rant actually but it’s more of my experience as an employee at a tech firm. But a little bit of a history might be needed to further explain what I’m trying to say.
So back in the year 2018, I got my first job a mid-sized tech firm and it was a great experience. Good environment, nice colleagues and cool bosses to work with. We would usually have fun together and the culture was definitely something I’d been dreaming about whereby the work environment would allow me to grow my skills while learning from other colleagues and that’s the way I always foresaw it and that vision seems to be coming through already so I was really glad.
But then the unexpected happened…Oh… Nobody died or something but like what I wasn’t expecting happened to my career ambitions so should I say. And of course the friendship and other goodies continued and it was interesting to always wanna come back to work every morning just to see those beautiful faces every day and it wasn’t bad.
REMEMBER! I said “Mid sized firm” right
Yeah that dawned on me later on when I got my first task and it was actually not to design a product (that later) or research or develop a website. I mean I’ve been learning to code way back and I had developed various platforms for myself and friends and some random passer-by online and I felt my experience is “dope” at least for a beginner right.
Nah! I was tasked to design a marketing asset for some of our products so I had to temporarily leave the software team and join with the marketing team to get requirements about what they’re pushing put to customers so as to design those marketing assets.
Told my mentor and he was like “good, guess you’re now a utility player in your new company” I loved that word “utility” it made me felt like I was really revelant and of course I was a utility player because I had different skills right under my sleeves and I was showcasing it right after the other which is what a young guy who is aspiring to be better at what he does gets.
My first design (a Flyer) to market some products and services bundles which was segmented into different packages for customers to choose from was one of the “Worst I’ve ever made” it wasn’t worst back in the year 2018 from my point of view. I mean I adamantly or maybe naively requested some colleagues to view it and check it out if it was cool. Some said it was but now I realised they didn’t want to offend me but others were plain straightforward with it “Hey, you’ve gotta redesign this”.
I was trying to justify myself by saying to myself “But I’m not a graphics designer anyway. Why don’t Y’all just hire one.” thank God I didn’t say that to my boss. I’d either been fired or something I don’t know but getting fired isn’t the best way to start put a new career you’ve been dreaming about right.
But like I said, a small to mid-sized company can’t afford to hire different people for different roles and so they usually require employees who are skilled at many things that are closely related.
You see, I’m a “product designer” I hate having to explain what a UI/UX Designer means to people everytime they ask the question “So what do you do for a living” initially I used the other line “Yeah…. I’m a UI-UX Designer” then they’ll be like “Ooh okay” and that kind of “okay” doesn’t always sound cool with me so I’d be like “I basically design software” and they’ll be like “oh wow…. Now I understand” so since then I’ve been using the “I design software” line and It’s been cool.
But then the word “Design” is where many miss the point about what I do. I could remember vividly when a Lead from a technical department was saying something like “Let the graphics guy handle it. He knows better…” I was like “WTF?” But you know this dude is a top dog so I can’t mess with him a lot. Had to just smile and look him in the eyes with the “Go fuck yourself” kinda grin. But he never felt concerned anyway.
But I was only 23 and I needed something to show off for my adulthood just in case I find new opportunities. So I handled it and learnt everything I could find.
FYI, I did my first design using PhotoScape…. Funny right because I’d never used a Photoshop or any complex design tool… Ever. So now you should get how horrible my first design asset was. But that ended that week when I sent my own Team Lead a list of software I needed to work with including some Adobe Suite software. They got me and I could remember the first time I opened the Photoshop software with my boss standing right behind me and I do not know what I was gonna do with the overtly complicated User interface of the software, I pretensively coughed 4 times and he couldn’t take it so he left “I’ll be back.”
So Youtube became my new place to learn and it was fantastic. Because another big task was coming in another week so I needed to learn as many basic things as possible and sure I’m this fast learner by the way… What do you take me for 🤣🤣
Alright the story continues with loads of design assets that I was forgetting my coding skills behind. I was focusing more on what the company needs because there were 4 senior Full Stack developers at the company already with 2 Junior developers. As for me, I’m a Front-end developer with no “Professional experience” so I guess my boss doesn’t want me to mess up their jobs so he encouraged me supporting the sales department.
Over the next 6 months or so, I would develop shit tons of graphical design assets including fonts, product logos, short promo videos and so forth. But then one day, our CEO called from the US (we had a branch overseas) about a new product to be created from scratch. And this is a really gigantic task for all of us.
First time, I was going to be doing what I always wanted “Design the software” and I was quickly overwhelmed with joy inside of me.
The Product Designer
That was exactly what I applied for as this puts me in the center of both designs and development. The task requires researching, meeting, designing brainstorming, and anything that has “ing” behind it. It is really a tedious task.
The initial structure of the company was that job comes from the sales department (we’re a B2B) after sourcing for job from potential clients, those jobs are deliberated upon and then thrown up to the software guys to build while the technical guys go for installation of those tools.
That style had created numerous complications in the past whereby may clients were getting what’s they never asked or not getting enough and this was taking ton on the spending of the company
So comes the researcher who gets full glimpse about both the market as well as the company and other important details to make the job well done.
Okay enough with the job praises. I did what I was supposed to do and it was a great experience so I liked it.
The take from all of this
Like I said at the beginning, this isn’t really a rant but rather my experience as a young person aspiring for more. My experience as a versatile person had gotten me numerous opportunities which I truly enjoyed having.
Meanwhile, I still hated being referred to as “the Graphics Guy”. I’m sure not so many Graphics designer would like to be called that name or maybe I’m just being an egocentric SJW right here but really it’s not the best label from my point of view.
But at the end, the skillsets remains with you wherever you may be and that’s a big asset which makes you an important figure who can handle numerous tasks and of course pocket your cash if you feel the rhythm.
But anyways, I’ll always post about my experience as a Web developer and Product Designer right on here with other interesting tips about what I learnt. Also I’m embarking on a task of creatingy own (open source) font which can be freely downloaded and used by anyone. Do tell me what you feel about my story in the comment section below. Please share my post and bookmark for future updates so you don’t miss whenever I post something new.
Alright guys. Check out the next one. Peace out.