The Who, What, Where of Creative Tech Part 2 of a 3-Part Series: What Are the Roles in Creative Tech?

By Catherine Lang-Cline

The question of “what are the roles in creative tech?” comes up all of the time because many of these roles are new and we are all learning how to navigate this together. Just a few decades ago we were trying to explain how illustration and design could be done on a computer. We are doing it again with digital marketing and putting really solid definitions around the job titles. 

Here, at Portfolio Creative, we can at least speak to the job descriptions that we get the most of and those are obviously the jobs with the most demand. Below are those jobs and some of the software requirements that go with them. I will add that the software changes quickly, so please note that this is where we are at right now when this was written.

1. User Experience Designer

User experience, or UX, is all about the way a user feels when they navigate your mobile menu, click your contact information, or just look at your logo. A UX designer’s main goal is to create an inviting atmosphere that encourages users to stay on a page for longer than 10 seconds, subscribe to a newsletter, or finish a checkout process. They select the right color palette to capture the brand or create a mood for the customer. UX is not UI. UI has more to do with the actual visual layout of a site or app (or its interface), while UX focuses more on processes and overall experience of using the site.

UX Designers Need:

  • HTML and CSS

  • A/B testing

  • Mockups and graphic design with tools like Photoshop and Illustrator

  • User personas/avatars

  • Site mapping and user flows

  • Wireframing with tools like Figma, Adobe XD, Invision, or Axure

  • Analytics with programs like Google Analytics or HubSpot

2. Front-End Developer

Front-end developers tackle a wide variety of tasks, but the basics are this: they take static designs (often created by UX designers) and code them into fully functional websites and apps. Front-end developers don’t necessarily spend as much time tweaking color palettes and thinking about how a certain shade of green will make you feel, but they still have to have a sense of creativity to make the concepts work properly.

Front-End Developers Need:

  • HTML and CSS

  • CSS preprocessors, like Sass or LESS

  • Responsive web design

  • JavaScript and jQuery

  • JavaScript libraries, like React JS

  • Git and GitHub

3. Digital Marketer

Digital Marketing is all about strategy and big picture creative projects. Depending on the company, digital marketers may oversee all inbound marketing efforts or just focus on a specific marketing area like social media or growing search traffic (SEO). Do you know those sponsored posts that pop up in your Instagram feed? A digital marketer or digital marketing team probably had a role in that. Digital marketing sometimes includes content strategy tasks like planning an editorial calendar, writing downloadable guides or e-courses, or even executing multimedia campaigns, like planning a YouTube video series or podcast.

Digital Marketers Need:

  • Data analysis

  • Landing page and email campaign creating and reporting

  • SEO best practice knowledge

  • Social media strategy and analytics

  • Paid advertising and social media ad buying

  • Partnership strategy and sponsored content

4. Visual Designer

Visual designers create the image and style for a company or brand through color, typography, logos, icons, and other visual elements. When it comes to print or physical media, much of this work is done by graphic designers. But, in the digital realm, it’s visual designers who create the plan and assets for the way a company or brand will be represented.

Visual Designers Need:

  • User experience/user interface design

  • Color theory

  • Typography

  • Branding standards

  • Logo and icon creation

  • Design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Figma

  • Creative briefs and digital layout

  • User testing

  • Iterative design

5. Web Designer

With more and more sites launched every day, there’s a growing need for web design that attracts users and communicates messages. And, nowadays, web designers need to come up with site designs for all kinds of devices— including phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. So, they have the challenging but exciting task of not just designing gorgeous sites, but also creating designs that look great in many different sizes and with all the different interfaces and functions needed for each device.

Web Designers Need:

  • Layout and navigation

  • Color and typography

  • User interface design

  • Responsive design

  • Web design tools, like Adobe Photoshop and XD

  • HTML and CSS

  • Domains and hosting

  • Git and GitHub

  • Media queries

  • Responsive typography

  • Flexbox

  • Bootstrap

Hopefully, this helps give a greater understanding of what creative tech looks like and how you can plug it in at your company. But this is only the beginning as there are a lot more digital roles. At Portfolio Creative we understand creative tech and are always happy to help you find your person. It can be a lot, so never hesitate to contact us.

Read part #1 here.

Read part #3 here.