About six weeks ago, at the time my new website launched (with its new name), I presented business cards to a group of colleagues – they wanted to see the new identity. It was an unveiling of the next step in my business development process, and the changes really have moved things to the next level. It’s quite different now than it was in August and I think part of it has to do with a stronger identity.
One of the persons who saw the card (just prior to the relaunch of the website) made a comment about my business name – “I don’t understand the use of the word ‘creative’ for a web developer.”
That really surprised me, so much that I couldn’t formulate a reply as this person left the meeting immediately. But I thought about it on the way home and posted this incident to the Women Designer’s Group’s mailing list – this is a great organization of professional female web designers and developers. I wanted to see what they thought about it.
There were, as you might imagine, a large number of responses. Some said that maybe this person hadn’t meant it in the way I took it. Maybe so – but the fact that the speaker is a graphic designer and the owner of a graphic design business struck me as quite important.
My strong opinion is that web design is an exceptionally creative field. Web design, by its nature, is so closely tied to graphic design that it cannot be separated. Web design, done well, is graphic design + marketing knowledge + usability expertise + psychology plus a number of other disciplines all rolled into one. It’s creativity backed up with technology and more.
As I said I got many responses from others on the mailing list. Some were outright outraged – withholding their response in the interest of maintaining good relations with the list manager.
Many others felt the same way I do – creativity can be found just about anywhere and a person can approach many things in creative ways, but to do web design well requires a skillset that overlaps almost entirely with that of a good graphic designer. The comment was evidence of some narrow thinking and ignorance about what exactly web designers do (and how they do it).
My card says ‘developer’ but I’m a designer/developer, I’m better on the design side but really do both quite well. I think development can be as creative as design, just without the pretty pictures.
Others pointed out that it could have been an industry issue – ‘creatives’ being designers, copywriters, corporate marketing types but not coders or programmers. Print design is creative, coding is not.
I’m interested in what my fellow designers and developers think… What do you think? If you’re a web designer, or even a developer who works on the backend, do you style yourself a ‘creative’ or not?