16 Designer Job Descriptions

16 Designer Job Descriptions

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Designer Definitions

As a student, I often hear other students asking their tutors “What is the difference between a creative director and an art director?”. To be honest I didn’t know at first however luckily enough I was given a link by one of my teachers answering just that question. So I present to you 16 designer job descriptions.

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Solo designer
A freelance or self-employed design professional who works independently of a company and has no employees.
Owner, partner, principal
An owner, partner, principal holds an equity position and has major business responsibility for a firm having employees.
Creative/design director
A creative director or design director is the creative head of a design firm, advertising agency or an in-house corporate design department. In all of these areas, key responsibilities can include the development of graphic design, advertising, communications and industrial design publications.
Art director
The art director establishes the conceptual and stylistic direction for design staff and orchestrates their work, as well as the work of production artists, photographers, illustrators, prepress technicians, printers and anyone else who is involved in the development of a project. The art director generally selects vendors and, if there isn’t a creative director on staff, has final creative authority.
Senior designer
The senior designer is responsible for conceptualization and design of solutions from concept to completion. In some firms, a senior designer directs the work of one or more junior designers who generate comps and create layouts and final art. In some cases, senior designers do not manage staff but are designated “senior” because of their authority in design decision-making.
A designer is responsible for conceptualization and design of graphic applications such as collateral material, environmental graphics, books and magazines, corporate identity, film titling and multimedia interfaces, from concept to completion.
Entry-level designer
An entry-level designer is one-to-two years out of school and requires mentoring in all aspects of design conception and implementation.
Print production artist
A print production artist has a working understanding of layout, type and color, and is able to take instructions from a designer and create a complete layout, working proficiently in InDesign, QuarkXPress, Photoshop and Illustrator. Responsibilities also include producing final files that image properly to film.
Web designer
A web designer determines and develops the look and feel for sites, and is responsible for site navigation design and visual execution.
A copywriter is able to write, edit and proof promotional or publicity copy for print or electronic publications. At higher levels, copywriters are often responsible for strategic and conceptual development of messages and stories.
Print production manager
The print production manager is responsible for managing the process (bids, scheduling, production and delivery) of producing publications, from concept through production, including photography, separations, 4-color press work and digital production. Print production managers are strong project managers, managing multiple jobs simultaneously. In some cases, proficiency in InDesign, QuarkXPress, Illustrator and Photoshop is desirable in this role.
Marketing manager, new business manager, director
A marketing or new business professional is responsible for seeking business opportunities, developing proposals and marketing the firm’s practices.
Web developer (front end/interface systems)
A front-end developer uses HTML/JavaScript/ASP/ColdFusion and other tools to develop static and dynamic web pages.
Web programmer/developer (back end systems)
A back end programmer works with web server systems and web databases, develops web queries to databases and programs web applications.
Web producer, senior producer, executive producer
A web producer organizes web development teams and ensures adherence to budget, schedule and design of website development.
Content developer
A content developer is also known as a web writer or editor. He or she is responsible for the production and repurposing of text/graphic/audio content on sites.

So now you know the difference between a creative director and an art director and the various other designer jobs out there. If there is any missing please just leave a comment. 😉

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42 thoughts on “16 Designer Job Descriptions”

  1. Jacob,
    Amazing how many entities there are – reminds me of watching old movies from the 50’s and 60’s wherein when the rolled the credits there were 1-2 pages at most – nowadays – the credits go on for an eternity. Supposing we changed back to the old ways, could we become more efficient?

  2. @Mani
    Yes, I agree with you there, but I would have to say we have come a long long way since then, and we do need a lot of people to do different things. We could become more efficient I suppose but you could also do that by having more people so bit of a catch 22… Sorry about my slow reply, I am actually on holidays (this is my 1 day catchup for the 3 weeks I am away). Happy New Year 🙂

  3. Thanks to your “16 designer job descriptions”. Now I know in which category would I classify myself. I’m a “web designer”, not a “web developer”. I used to say “web developer” because it sounded good. 🙂 I stand corrected. 🙂 My next question now is “Is there a difference between a “graphic designer” and a “graphic artist”?

  4. To Tony

    I was thinking about that the other day, my title at work is ‘Graphic Designer’ though the other guy I work with used to use ‘Graphic Artist’ as his title. We’re not often doing alot of design work, mainly we just do artwork for our customers for approval before items go to print, so perhaps Graphic Artist is a better description for someone in our position?

  5. Hi all,
    nice descriptions.
    Craig, i think that what applies on you is either “Finalizer” or “Desktop publisher”..meaning is people responsible to createw the final files just before printing.

  6. Hey,
    Thanks for your post it was very informational, but doesnt a person need to become either a art director to develop into a creative director or design director? And if not, what different education is required ? (such as an art director would only need a bachelors , or a creative director needs a masters ) Thank you much for info.

  7. Hi

    I am working in an event and exhibition agency from last 7 years and in my career i did not seen any designation formality here, i feel in this industry the designation are not as defines as in advertising.

    Suneel Jain

  8. Hey Jacob,

    Is there such thing as a packaging designer?
    Would that be a Job Title, also a lot of people are also illustrators or photographers, not sure if that’s a graphic designer role.

  9. Is Graphic Design Manager a tittle? In my last job, that’s what my boss’s tittle. Or would that be the same thing as Creative Director.

  10. hrm~ so what the is interior design included in the list?? or they are difference Descriptions for it?

  11. Hi Jacob,

    So I’m not surprised you were in my top Google results for my search on graphic designer job titles. I’ve referenced your TED talk in a number of my projects and love hearing about what you do. Anyway, I am a recent graduate and just got a job at a media buying firm as the one and only graphic designer, but I don’t know if I can actually claim the title Art Director or Creative Director (they told me to create my own title). I’ve been working in the field for three years even though I’m only 21 because I’ve made sure to snag any jobs or internships I can and freelance during my summers. Everyone I work with handles traffic, radio, scripts, auditing, and selling what we do while I do all things visual, which is usually print materials or e-blasts. Let me know what you think, maybe I can formulate a more casual, creative title? I’m eager to hear your input.

  12. Hi, great article, thanks for posting.
    I have the same question as Amanda ^^ I am starting a new job next week at a company as the one and only in-house designer and according to my roles I will technically be managing all company design projects, however a job title has not been discussed yet.This is a new venture for the company who have always out-sourced their design briefs in the past and they hope to eventually develop an entire in-house design team with me as the starting point. I am not sure what title to expect as Director sounds a bit too extreme but I do want a title which will faithfully reflect my responsibilities.

  13. Hiya,

    I saw that your article is from 2007 but it is still as relevant today.

    Reading the newest job ads I come across the term ‘Creative Designer’ a lot. What kind of job would you expect here? And your Print Production Artist is the nowadays Artworter … do you agree?

  14. My relatives every time say that I am killing my time here at net, except I know
    I am getting experience daily by reading such good content.

  15. Well Few years later Would you help me with that definition but applied to Industrial Design? thankyou so much this information you gave here is gold 😀

  16. I work as a associate designer but I also do operational work. I’m asking if my title could change to Graphic Designer/Operations Manager. Does this make sense?

  17. Yes! Finally ?omeone writes ?bout online advertising rate card
    ?n india.

  18. I am designer. I only can call my post now is designer becuase in my working company I only the person to do the design. I do more than 16 designer job description… call i call myself “boss” but i under employee 😛

  19. Dear Sir,

    I want to know my designation regarding my job responsibilities
    1. Packaging Design.
    2. Event Organized
    3. Designing All Promotional Materials.
    4. Deal with Print and Packages Supplier.
    5. On line product aproval.

    Kindly suggest me what is my designations?

    Azhar Furqan

  20. Thanks for the share! Nice fresh perspective on these. I’m posting descriptions quite frequently for my own business and these will definitely help.

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