Once upon a time, companies relying on strong design work would employ a number of people of various specialisms. In any given design team you could find a graphic designer, a brand manager, a web designer, and others. Nowadays, with many companies becoming leaner, more flexible and mobile, and with many new companies working with smaller, remote teams of freelancers and part-time staff, the expectations of designers has changed.
The role of “integrated designer” has gained popularity recently due to this – so what is an integrated designer, and what kind of work is available for you if this job description describes you to a tee?
Integrated Designer Job Opportunities
Broadly speaking, integrated design is where all the various elements of design are brought together into a coherent whole. An example of this is when a company undergoes a brand redesign from the ground up. They might change their logo, typography and colour palette to better represent the company’s current ethos and values. That will require an update of their full brand identity, as represented in their website, company letterhead, livery on packaging, transportation and such, as well as advertising, marketing materials and maybe even interior design.
However, integrated design isn’t only called for when a company overhauls its brand identity. Some organisations will continuously use integrated design in their work, if they’re regularly releasing new products or services, for example. The roll out of a new product could involve integrating product design with packaging, a website or portal and a new logo.
So integrated design is something that is used constantly, and it’s becoming more important each year. In a saturated market, companies need to be able to deliver visually strong and appealing products or services on a regular basis, and that’s where the integrated designer comes in.
Rather than having a team of staff with various specialisms all trying to work together to pull these elements into a whole, employers are increasingly looking for that one special candidate who has not only the skills,but also the vision to make it all work.
Integrated Designer Essential Skills
Candidates like these would be expected to have expertise and experience in a variety of areas across multiple platforms. For example, they might be expected to be flexible enough to adapt design solutions for both print and screen. They might also be required to be able to shift from 2D static visualisation such as type or layout to motion graphics or 3D modelling.
The needs of each client will be different, which means some people are better suited than others, depending on their portfolio, but broadly a candidate looking for work as an integrated designer would be expected to have at least expert knowledge in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, and be comfortable with a workflow that crosses packages easily.
Not only that, they should also have the drive to continually learn and improve upon their skills, and the vision to be able to distil the ideas of their employer into a coherent solution.
So candidates should be prepared to mock-up across the full spectrum, from brand identity to website to print design, with at least a good working understanding of how design fits into product and interiors where necessary.
As an integrated designer, it’s likely that you’ll be in demand with nascent, exciting, lean businesses that offer opportunities for flexible or even remote working, and who will appreciate your ability to create meaningful relationships with clients.
The job market for this role is excellent right now. Whether you’re looking to continue freelancing on a longer-term basis with an employer, or you’re in the market for a permanent role, if you comfortably fit the profile of an integrated designer, you’ll find that there are plenty of jobs available.
On top of that, these positions often offer excellent compensation if you have a dynamite portfolio and a winning personality and attitude. You’ll not only get to flex your creative muscles, but you’ll also be asked to be a creative thinker who’ll be intrinsically involved in design decisions.
This isn’t a role for the faint of heart! It demands the ability to manage multiple projects, deal with key decision makers at executive level and to deliver consistent work to an excellent standard, against often tight deadlines – but for that, you’ll get a job that is exciting, ever-changing and extremely well compensated.
So if you find yourself getting easily bored working in one specialism at a time, or if you enjoy the challenge of taking design ideas and working out how to implement them across a range of platforms, and you have experience and expertise across a range of skills, while constantly learning and developing, then you might just be an integrated designer – and companies are looking for you, right now.
What skills would you describe as essential for an integrated designer? Add your thoughts using the comments box below.
If you need an integrated designer to join your team, contact me to discuss your requirement!