Designer by Nature: Designing Beyond Job Roles

My design career wasn't planned; I naturally gravitated toward it. Designing, creating, and problem-solving flow. Design's essence goes beyond just a job.

Designer by Nature: Designing Beyond Job Roles
Illustration: Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian

Just like many of my designer friends, I ended up in a design career not because I planned it, but because I was already doing design and it just led me into this career path. It happened naturally, so I struggle to answer when I'm asked what job I'd have if I weren't a designer. Designing, creating, and solving problems while managing projects come to me instinctively.

Considering design solely as a job feels strange to me. While I understand that some roles might be more job-oriented rather than individual pursuits, design itself, as a versatile field, isn't limited to just being a job. I mainly work as a User Experience Designer, but I'm also proficient in visual communications. I create my fonts, and I'm consistently involved in designing books, stories, maps, games, and videos. Moreover, I've found myself shaping the very course of my life through the lens of design frameworks. The things I find enjoyment in are all rooted in a fundamental design approach, even when I'm not consciously focusing on it.

Many of my designer and creative friends are also in their careers primarily because creating and designing are truly ingrained in them. A designer's identity can go beyond just their job label. We design because it's inherently a part of our identity, almost like a biological mechanism.

We should embrace it and try not to suppress the creative urge that is natural to us. Design can be anything, despite the multitude of attempts to define its limits, it shares similarities with both engineering and art. It's a versatile set of tools that can be harnessed to give voice to our internal creative instincts.

Having a design job that provides financial stability is great. It's great to be compensated for something that one is naturally passionate about. However, even in the absence of an official title, the drive to create and design would persist. For designers like us, the urge to design and create never fades. It's a part of who we are, a drive that keeps us coming up with new ideas and making things, even if we're not called designers or paid for it.