What is Full-Stack Design?

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What is a full-stack designer? What do they do?Considering starting your design career? Click here to learn more about the Designation full-stack design bootcamp.

It used to be so simple. Back in the day, commercial graphic designers mainly did print ads, brochures and the occasional direct mailer. But that was then. Now, you’re currently reading these words on a glowing rectangle, and the scope of what every designer needs to know has grown faster than a three month old Great Dane puppy.

Full-Stack Design, Full Stop!

In the computer science world, the phrase “full-stack” (or full-stack designer) was coined to mean someone who could single-handedly tackle every layer of software development. These exceptional folks had their pick of jobs and commanded exorbitant salaries. Still do, actually. What are the differences between a full-stack designer and a full-stack developer *Extremely simplified interpretation of a digital workflow. Inspired by Bill Welense during a recent guest talk at Designation.

But pixel by digital pixel, the world’s best creative designers are becoming every bit as cross-disciplinary. The age of the full-stack designer has dawned. And there’s no one tool, skill or ability you can count on to save your ASCII.

Those that succeed tap into the unlimited potential for creation, and quickly find themselves snapped up by tech giants with offices that look more like playgrounds than the cubicle farms. Those that flounder wake up one day to realize they’re designing fliers that are destined to litter the ground outside the subway on an election day, and wonder where it all went wrong. We’re in the middle of a designer arms race, and it’s not even close to over.

Designer Weapons image - Hello Kitty Machine Gun! FYI, if you’re ever writing an article about a designer arms race and google “Designer Weapons,” this is what you get.

To learn more about full-stack design as an industry, or to ask questions about being a full stack designer (such as about what types of salaries full-stack designers command, where full stack designers work, or what the job outlook looks like) check out the Designation immersive design bootcamp, or email Co-Founder and Admission Director Will Shandling at will@designation.io.

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1 Comment

  1. I also said the term Full-Stack has to be split into the front-end and back-end much Like managers of a restaurant are split between the front and back. But there is another blurred segment of the middle manager. The unicorn of both Full-Stack design and development. Personally I started out in traditional art, moved to design, then UI, then the research and print, and later pushed into database development and backend development.
    At this point I have come back around to the front end developing core css,js skills + prototyping.
    But I have never meet a true Full-stack developer that is a world class dev on the front and back, and database. typically if your full-stack you always going to understand one side better then the other.
    I also believe someone who starts in the middle may have the best chance

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