Graphic and UI/UX design cultural implications, French view.

Studying the design job title paradigm in french.

If there’s a paradigm that’d always let me astonished, I’d go with the designers job titles. Web, graphic, visual, motion, flash, industrial, interaction, UI, UX designers… English offers a proficiency of titles to describe the jobs we’re doing, and I guess it does it well. Representing the variety of possibilities, yet remaining with the idea of design as a “conception” term, it really encompasses every aspects of the industry.

Yet French is pretty poor on that matter, and it somehow shows up the poverty of the industry over here.
Tell someone you’re a designer, they’ll think of you as an industrial designer, or as an interior designer.
Tell someone you’re an art director, they’ll think you work in the cinema or theatre industry. Sometimes, you’ll end up being a graphic designer, with no differences between the two jobs.
Tell them you’re a webdesigner, you’ll be a webmaster.
Tell them you’re a UI or worst, UX designer, they’ll have no fucking idea of what you’re doing.

This lack of lexical variety really shows up a big flow in the French design industry.
Over here, designers are brainless, pixel-pushing creatures, only adding the aesthetics touch on a wireframe.
Splitting tasks in little spare parts, the designer always ends up at the end of the queue, awaiting his orders from a project manager, the marketing team, or a so called-usability engineer – people with no design sense, creating 3 headed monsters of an interface
There’s no design thinking. No design strategy.

People get surprised when you justify your design and aesthetic choices.
They almost can’t believe it when you offer usability advices. And sometimes, if you do so, you’ll end up being considered as a non-creative element. Sounds like you can’t do pretty things AND have a brain.

Designing is a continuous process, going from the marketing strategy to actual functional prototyping. The more I think about it, the less I understand how we intend to create usable and useful products without getting a design team from start to end.
I feel that’s a pretty cultural matter. France has always been a place where art can’t meet science or expertise. You can’t major in biology and art. If you wanna study design, public schools won’t teach you about marketing, management or even creative process documents. We talk about Toulouse Lautrec’s painting but not about toulouse Lautrec’s posters. I remember being told, during my first year in fine art school, that studying graphic design was a waste of time, because I could do “so much better than that” (i.e study academical art). Design is dirty and brainless.

Sometimes, when I push pixels around, I do wonder if there is any hope out there for us, poor brainless creatures?

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