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The Problem:

I'm faced with the dilemma of how I should advertise myself in terms of the roles I fulfill for my freelancing business. I'm experienced in:

  • Graphic Design for Web & Print:
    • Social Media Posts, Online Campaign Banners, Advertisements, Logos, Business Cards, Packaging, Vinyls, Flyers, Brochures, Magazines, etc.
  • Front-End Design:
    • Website Design, Mobile Application Design, Prototyping, etc.
  • Front-End Web Development:
    • HTML, CSS, Sass, JavaScript, jQuery, etc.
  • Back-End Web Development:
    • PHP, MySQL, CodeIgniter, etc.

Previous Research:

The closest I got to an answer is Multimedia Designer or Designer & Developer. The safest bet to me is to go with Designer & Developer but I feel it will cause some confusion down the road and I'm sure there's something that better describes what I do.

Previous Titles:

My previous job titles in my days of employment were:

  • Web Designer & Developer
  • Web Administrator
  • Graphics Designer
  • Web Application Developer
  • Web & Graphics Designer

The Question:

I want my clients to know that I'm as handy with code as I'm with design for multiple mediums. Is there a position that incorporates all that in a simple and descriptive manner without ending up being too long?

  • Information Architect? – Scott Apr 20 '15 at 21:49
  • @Scott, I don't think that would work well. As far as I understand, an Information Architect deals more and perhaps exclusively with the structuring of information. Please correct me if I'm wrong. – M. Tahan Apr 22 '15 at 9:33
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This is a very interestin question because I am in the same position as yours, I have 20 years of experience and during the years I obtained many different skills that cover programming in different languages, graphic development in all the Adobe softwares (digital and print), photography and video making.

The good part is that I am never without projects to realize because I can apply my knowledge to different areas, when there is no graphic work to do I can do php scripting, products photography, etc. (I know a guy who is specialized ONLY in Flash Actionscript and now he is jobless!).

But the problem is that our society is used to give labels to people and sometimes I don't know how to present myself to others in terms of work specialization.

In my career I was called: technician, programmer, webmaster, photographer, etc, but this is very limiting because happened to me several times that I was called for web development while the client payd another for products photography and vice-versa.

So I thought (many years ago) to make a web site and put there a large portfolio with the best of my works in all the areas, after some times and all the effort, I realized that almost all my clients never saw my website! They knew me by reference or suggestion of other clients, we had meetings and works done, they never saw my presentation, they just rush and want things well done and fast with no time to read or get interested in knowing me better (even if I used to give cards or personalized gadgets and pens to make people go to my site).

This is an unsolved problem to me, but lately I started to not define me with a word or label, but with short description of what I do, for example if someone would ask me, I'd say something like "I am a graphic designer and programmer with 20 years or experience, I can follow the client from logo design to web development, photography and multimedia productions".

This is the best definition that I could find until now! But I an aware that this tells all and nothing...

  • I've had this question on my mind for a long time and even though I still don't have an answer, I believe the logical solution for now would be to skip the title altogether and just stick to a description as you said. I think after all, a good portfolio speaks much more than a good title. Thank you for your input! – M. Tahan Apr 23 '15 at 16:38
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I've been thinking about the same question. I used Google trends explore tool to compare one job title or service to another and see which people search for most often. Here's the comparison for the two job titles you were considrering: https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=Multimedia%20Designer%2C%20Designer%20%26%20Developer&cmpt=q&tz=

That said, most of my jobs come from personal referrals, rather than website traffic.

I wonder if ChrisForrence is on to something, we could describe ourselves more generally and label the business's offerings.

Good luck! Would you post what you decide to do?

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Since you describe it as your freelancing business, I'd choose something like the following for your title:

  • Proprietor
  • President
  • CEO
  • Consultant

Let the business itself describe what you do (graphic design, Web Development, Web application development) and keep your title simple.

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How about "Front-end developer"? It seems that you are more about that.

I would also say that it does not really matter what kind of roles you were playing years ago. The thing that really matters now is what you have done in the past and what you wish to continue doing today. You may pick doing a lot for today, but this kind of choice means you are not able to dig into details of the each of technology.. You are more generalist than specialist then. For example, it takes many years of reading, practicing and etc. to get deep knowledge of PHP. One or even five years isn`t the amount of time I am talking about. I am talking about more. For example, if you learn C language by browsing the source code of PHP and you use your current C knowledge mainly for contributing to PHP source then you cannot call yourself C developer.. Of course, you could but this would be out of the context of your interest... The context would be PHP, not C.. So you would call yourself then something like "PHP professional", not "C professional".

However, the name of your position is made mainly for two reasons: 1) for you; 2) for others.

Calling yourself "Front-end developer" would maybe say something in the places where professionals meet up (e.g. job interview, conferences on the IT, etc.). However, "Front-end developer" could be hard to understand for business (not IT business) people... Then you have to come up with another label for yourself. For example "Internet business professional" or something close to that would be better then.

And one more thing to mention. I would avoid picking "Internet business professional" as it would bring me ton of business people that would want me to do a creepy job for them. As a rule, such small business people would usually avoid paying some taxes, would call me at Sundays, etc. I would better pick the title like "Internet business professional for long-term projects". The last title could be to long, but I think you get the idea - choosing the label would filter some of NEW people. Labels are for filtering the traffic, not for getting the traffic. :)

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