The honest truth about why I'm not a product designer

published4 months ago
4 min read

Alrighty Reader, here's what I'm sharing with you in this issue:

❓ The answer to a common question I'm asked: why marketing design? Why not product design?

🎟 A free virtual event to help you level-up your design workflow

🎥 A must-watch documentary short for creators

Let's go!

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❓Why have I stuck with brand and marketing design throughout my career?

I recently shared a video on my YouTube channel about my entire career journey (so far). My job titles have looked like this:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Marketing Designer
  • Marketing Designer
  • Marketing Designer
  • Marketing Design Lead
  • Creative Director

As is often the case when I talk about my career in marketing design it wasn't long before a few people asked in the comments:

"Why not product design?"

It's a fair question! Product and UX design do seem to be the more popular avenues for new designers to pursue these days, and in the tech industry folks in these roles are often paid higher than those who work on the marketing side of the business.

So why did I not choose to pursue product design in my career?

Let me break it down for you.

Marketing design provides an ideal balance of art and science

We always like to say design is the intersection between these two things. As a passionate artist — and also a total nerd — in my youth, the balance of art and science that marketing design strikes is a much better fit for me than product design.

While I still consider any type of design an artform, there's no denying that brand expression is generally turned down in the product and up more on the marketing site. I love the freedom that comes with embracing that brand expression, and in being tasked with designing things that will have a visual impact as well as provide utility.

Marketing design brings variety in projects

Web design is still my absolute favorite type of project, but I love that as a marketing designer I get to keep flexing my design skills on everything from presentation design to swag to event signage to promotional imagery. Not to mention evolving the brand!

There's also more opportunities to mix it up with visual styles when you're designing marketing materials than there are when you're working on a product, where ensuring a consistent user experience across features is vital.

Variety across both these things brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction, and keeps me well-rounded as a designer.

Marketing design means solving discovery, trust and decision-making problems

What it all really comes down to though, is that I enjoy solving marketing design problems more than I enjoy solving product design problems.

I took marketing classes in university, and I love getting to apply that knowledge to my work. The psychology of branding and marketing fascinates me, and I truly enjoy the work of crafting visual communication that builds affinity and helps someone to figure out if the product I'm marketing can solve their needs.

A lot of important decisions need to be made before someone signs up to try out a product: Do I trust this company? Will trying this be worth my time? Will it solve my problem? Is it a quality product? How difficult will it be to get started? Marketing design plays an important role in answering all of those questions (as well as making someone aware of the product in the first place!).

I just love working on these problems.

What about you?

If you work on the marketing/brand/web design side of tech I'd love it if you'd reply and tell me why you chose that path! And if product design is your thing, I want to hear about the reasons you love thatz side of design! Replies go directly to my inbox and I read every single one, so please, hit me up.

And if you want to watch the video that sparked these questions and hear more details about the decisions I made of when to move on from a role and what to move on to, click the play button below!

video preview

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🎥 A story of pivoting to stay passionate about your work

Glo Atanmo is a creative entrepreneur who survived death threats, beat burnout, cut her income streams in half, and is still on track to earn 7 figures... what an icon!

In this first film of I Am A Creator season 3 (a documentary series that we produce at ConvertKit), Glo shares her story with incredible transparency and vulnrability.

video preview

I highly recommend you save this video to watch on your lunch break. It'll give you a serious does of inspiration!

Huge congratulations to Henry & Isa on our Brand Studio team for launching the first episode in the series. I think you'll agree; they absolutely killed it!

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Last week was my first week of the year where I worked from home in my art-filled office. It was glorious! Full of productivity. I even made a start on my next paid product this weekend 🙊

Stay tuned for a sneak peek of that in the next issue. See you next week,

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Enjoy this issue? Click the heart to let me know.

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