Visual Design & Shifting Titles

You have permission to be confused about shifting job titles in the design industry over time. 

In many cases, the title ‘graphic designer’ is often used interchangeably with the ‘visual designer’ title. There are subtle differences, and sometimes even pay differences, depending on your geographic location, but ultimately they are pretty similar. The shift in name stems from the fact that graphic designers used to be  involved mostly with the use of a more limited set of tools to communicate visually – fonts, colors, images and drawing tools, and if you go way back, hand-cut materials. The process was much slower and they were hands-on technicians who had to be versed in manual production techniques as they prepared their work to be handed off to printers. When the industry shifted more toward digital design and user experience, designers shifted from having to have that depth of physical production knowledge (although, digital production knowledge is still an absolute must) and they moved forward to focus more on experience design for the end user, across many different types of platforms and mediums instead of just print. It’s pretty much a title that bridges the print-centric origins of a graphic designer, and it connects to the current reality of digital experiences in our everyday lives.

I give huge kudos to the graphic designers in the beginning of the industry – because there is NO WAY I’d have pursued this career with that level of tedious, manual production process required. The lack of an ‘undo’ or ‘delete’ button alone is reason enough for me to have chosen a different field. 

Part of me really wishes I could be a fly on the wall if an early designer could have been given any clue as to the capabilities that would be at our fingertips in the future. With the use of powerful artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, Adobe Sensei is shaving off many of the tedious steps in a design workflow for us. In just the last few years, Adobe has made a huge push toward empowering all people to create by putting powerful, AI-driven tools in the hands of people, in an effort to liberate creativity among us all. 

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