I was in Business First today as part of their ‘On The Move’ section, for getting promoted to Senior Designer at work. I haven’t been able to get my hands on a physical copy of the paper yet, but it’s still kind of cool to be in there; even if I know it was set up, so to speak. I was part of the promotion process, in that I was informed beforehand at least, and it led me to looking at design job titles — which are decidedly limited in their scope.
From what I can tell, the basic progression is thus:
Junior Designer > Designer > Senior Designer > Art Director > Chief Design Officer > Partner/Principal
Maybe I’m misinformed on the standards in other fields but that really doesn’t seem like much to me. There’s not much room for incremental growth. You could put Intern at the beginning if you want, throw in Production Artist somewhere, put Creative Director either with or somewhere around Art Director, but CDO is not something I’ve ever come across in actual conversation (though maybe that’s more indicative of my professional networking than the field itself). You can also choose titles much more specialized in an area of your choice such as Interactive Designer, Graphic Designer, or Web Designer.
Maybe I’m completely naive for wanting something more incremental (I blame video games for conditioning me to expect immediate leveling up), and I’m not sure what you would even call a position between Designer and Senior Designer, so it’s probably good that one has to be in a single title for several years through numerous challenges before they get a new title. Truly pay your dues and familiarize yourself as much as possible with the tasks at hand before you achieve that next rank. Because I’m still relatively new to the industry compared to a lot of people and I know I don’t have the experience to be a good Director of anything yet. Right now I’m just happy to have leveled to Senior Designer, even if it makes me sound a little geriatric.