More than just a title

Chess King

To follow-up on the reader comments theme, here’s some good advice from Leanne Le, who recently left her thoughts on an old post of mine, Are freelancer designers really suckers?

“You can begin to call yourself a consultant when you have elevated yourself to be able to persuade and advise the client professionally.

“To be a consultant, you must also be a professional. Whether you’re a sales professional or a project manager, simply being a designer with little understanding of business along with limited training or experience in sales and marketing won’t qualify you as a consultant. Don’t label yourself as a consultant because you believe it will give you more prestige and respect. They are indeed different from one another.”
— LEANNE LE

Well said. Titles can matter to those who hire you, but you’ve got to make sure you walk the walk.

Photo credit

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7 comments

  1. That’s an excellent point, and indeed some titles can confuse clients. When I used to call my self a freelancer most people just expected a pixel pusher, so I started using “Design Consultant”. Then I had one potential client ask if I know any graphic designers. So now I’m just a Graphic Designer and if people ask I say I work Independent.

    Jarrod Bell

  2. karl escritt

    Interesting post David, I think titles will only become more confusing as the web brings more and more formats on which design is needed. I am a web designer but even this can be confusing to some clients as it doesnt really say everything that you may do.

  3. Jon Liebold

    Another one that causes some confusion is “Web Designer” versus “Web Developer”. While the two titles encompass a lot of overlap, I would not consider someone who does a layout in Photoshop and ships it off to be coded a Web Developer. They are a designer. The one who does all the coding based on the PSD file is the Developer. However someone who does both the design and the coding is both.

    In the same vein though, it is kind of fun to see what sort of job titles people come up with these days for the sake of appearances. One of my favorites is how “engineer” gets tacked onto everything. For example if you have a stay-at-home parent they no longer are a “homemaker” but now are a “Domestic Engineer”.

  4. I know exactly what you mean, David! Titles can be misleading and confusing for clients. I write a similar article recently, because I sit somewhere between Web Designer and Graphic Designer, and I love doing both. It’s not easy to find one title though that covers everything that you do.

    However, I guess the lesson here is just make sure you can live to up whatever title you bestow upon yourself!

  5. That’s one I reckon the vast majority of clients won’t know about, Jon (web designer, web developer). If I’m recommending someone to a client for online work, I normally refer to them as a “web specialist” or “web guru.”

  6. Jon Liebold

    Good idea. I might have to refer to myself as that once my skillset grows more (crosses fingers XML class will fly and the dean will let the jQuery class go in the Spring)

  7. This is such a funny subject. I am a web designer, I understand basic code, but would not say that I am a developer. The other thing is that I’ve had clients and some family members not understand that while I work on a computer, I cannot fix their technical computer problems.

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