A designer's journey

A journey one must take in order to ascend in the field of design from the lowest junior design position where everyone starts, to the highest rank of creative director only few are worthy of.

Junior designer

Is able to work only on isolated bits of projects, and is not able to think about work in the context of systems, and how multiple things fit together.

Usually come with a single “strong point” which is actually still just an affinity towards some type of work.

They need to be given very specific instructions for execution, need to be mentored and managed. Most of their work will not be used in production.

Has no clue what's going on, sustained solely by their raging desire to work and create. Their innocence and hopelessness are adorable.

Medior designer

They have a defined strong point and can deliver solid quality within that type of work, with proper briefing and set expectations of course.

Their skill set is wider though, and can be applied to a wider range of work. They can design a logo, but not a visual identity.

They are worked to the bone, but keep wondering why they don't get to work on the Big Important Stuff™️. They are still not sure about this “career in design” thing, and keep having lucid dreams about a stress-free job. Something cool, like bartending.

Senior designer

A leveled-up medior designer, only with the addition of ancient, long lost powers they have learned to wield. Their skill set includes the magic powers of self-management, working with no clear boundaries, and not requiring any previously set expectations or references, among others. They are the true powerhouses, and the glue that holds agencies together.

Some say that there once was a lvl 73 Senior that didn't go to the office for a long time, and once they showed up no one even recognized them anymore. Insulted and angry they left the agency which soon thereafter folded.

Art director

Responsible for how the work will turn out to be, visually speaking. They work with other people to get the job done, and they make decisions.

They are able to think in systems, rather than deliverables and assets. They pay attention to how things interplay with each other, and how they translate across different media.

By this point, they are starting to feel dissatisfaction with themselves and their work. They see their options for the future either moving up in the ranks via promotion or going out on their own, or burning the whole fucking house down. Also, that bartending gig still sounds kind of nice.

Creative director

They are experts at their craft, and are either “T” shaped, or at least dangerously good at a lot of things. People above and below fear them. They have seen it all.

They think in concepts and ideas, instead of systems and their application. They have an impeccable ability to feel the zeitgeist, without which they wouldn't be able to do their job.

The most of their work is at the intersection between the designers and the stakeholders, which is why the former resent them, and the latter pity them.

Their main job though, is leading and communicating the vision the work is supposed to support, even though they themselves don't necessarily design anymore. Nor do they really care to.

Here, they can be observed in their natural habitat:

As a designer, this is your final form.