Photo by Jeff Marsh - Duck

Hybrid Designer and what that means?

Technology continues to advance and so should you as a graphic designer. Companies are more intrigued and willing to engage new opportunities if you offer more than design within a specific field. As a designer with a humble education and starting point in my design career, I have branched into many avenues of the design world that make me the Hybrid Designer companies are now looking for in their creative department.

My career started in a small print shop where I was introduced to the back-end of the printing industry. The understanding of the high-quality precision needed for printing projects was a valuable skill to learn while pursuing my college degree. Operating bindery equipment, helping press operators, performing graphic design services and interacting with clients seeking creative needs, became the foundation of my successful design career.

While working in the print industry, I was also pursuing my graphic design degree. My college education gave me a wide variety of exposure to the professional creative needs that companies are looking for from new talent. My degree focused mainly on the fine arts like drawing, painting, photography and of course graphic design. I however found that the computer lab gave me access to many programs that were not a part of my curriculum. Loving all forms of art including animation, I discovered the programs Flash, AfterEffects and Dreamweaver.

While fine tuning my graphic design abilities and learning the concept that less is more and white space is for the trained eye, I was dabbling into the world of animation and interactive solutions. So I began to sit in on a few interactive classes to talk with other like minded students.

What I discovered is the majority of the students pursuing an interactive degree (web development) were not that good when it came to design…hence playing more with code. It triggered my research to the web and see how websites were being built and what they really looked like from a design perspective. I was amazed, to this day, that there are many high profile, large companies on the web with horrible designs for their website. Of course WordPress and social media has helped the web look a little better, but WOW! am I amazed on some of the choices designers make when building a site.

Usually a graphic designer without web experience will design a website that really is not functional or does not work across all platforms. They have the skill to produce something that “looks” like a website, but that is about it. Programs like Adobe Muse try to bridge this gap, but as a web developer, I see the code it develops, and good luck trying to get your graphic designer to understand how to fix something outside of Muse. And the understanding of domain administration is limited and a graphic designer will need help from their web designer friend when those issues arise.

Usually a web designer without graphic design experience will design a website that may have some cool database structure or PHP includes and will have a solid understanding of the back-end of WordPress or some other script that they may use as the base of their custom programming, but the design will look like a generic template with a forced logo shoved somewhere. They will update the CSS with your color palette yet it will just look like a generic template with a forced logo and now with your colors. The functionality will be there but the personality and brand of your business will be lost. This web designer will call his graphic designer friend to ask for help to make this website look good prior to even showing to a client. The graphic designer can show their website prior to reaching out to the web designer but has to explain why the design looked great as a JPG or PDF and now it doesn’t work on the client’s smart phone.

Here is where the Hybrid Designer comes into play! Imagine having the best of both worlds. You can have a graphic designer who understands the code and how it works and a web designer who understands white space and branding while producing code. This Hybrid Designer is a key progression for all types of designers who seek that advantage over the competition.

Leave a comment if you have supporting information that help this post become a better resource for striving creatives.

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Jeff Marsh

Cincinnati Freelance Designer and Consultant, Advertising Design, Website Design, Logo Design and Hosting!

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