Read as Ty Tyner talks about his career as an Interactive Designer. Find him at www.Ty2ner.com and on his Twitter feed in the sidebar of this interview.
What do you do for a living?
I’m an Interactive Designer for a mobile marketing company.
How would you describe what you do?
I design both the look and the user interface for mobile websites as well as mobile applications for the iPhone and Android Phones.
What does your work entail?
My work starts with research. We look at the target demographic of our clients and examples of great sites/apps in their field. Then we move on to the site maps and wireframes of the piece. Once the wireframes are approved I begin the actual design process using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Jquery Mobile.
What’s a typical work week like?
My typical week is filled with lots of marketing meetings, client calls and Skype conversations. I usually do a fair amount of site mapping and wireframe construction for the various projects that I’m working on as well. The fun part is when I get to spend time with my graphics programs diving deep into some awesome front end design work.
How did you get started?
I’ve always been interested in art. I grew up drawing in notebooks instead of paying attention in class. After high school I went to art school to become a computer animator. While taking my basic classes I fell in love with design and have been following that path ever since.
What do you like about what you do?
I love being able to create pieces that help companies grow. It’s gratifying knowing that national companies are using something you dreamed up.
What do you dislike?
Sometimes sitting in front of a computer all day can wear you down. However, if I was at home and not working I would probably still end up sitting in front of my computer all day.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
How much money do Interactive Designers make?
It depends on the company you work for and the location of that company. The normal salary range goes from $40k-90k.
How much money did/do you make starting out?
This also depends on what type of job you are doing right out of school (print design, interactive design, etc.) Entry-level work can range from $20k-30k.
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
A college degree (art school, associates degree from a technical school, or a bachelors degree.) Also a passion for art and design as well as any raw artistic skill really helps. Many skills can be taught but an eye for design is key.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Giving my clients exactly what they want even when the client doesn’t know what they want. You’ll often find that your client can’t really describe what they want to you but they always know exactly what they don’t want.
What is most rewarding?
Delivering an amazing final product and being able to say, “That was me. I created that.”
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Be prepared to deal with criticism of your work. If you present a client with four options 90% of the time they will pick your least favorite. That’s just the way it goes. In the end it’s your clients logo on the piece so it’s important to deliver them something that fits their brand that both of you can be proud of.
How much time off do you get/take?
I get three weeks vacation time.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
Some people might think that I just get to draw on the computer all day. There is a lot of back end work that goes into each design that I work on in the form of meetings, client calls and preparation. Another common misconception is that the computer does all the work. If you are not a good designer/artist having a nice Mac with all the right software won’t do anything for you. Design software is like a musical instrument; just owning it doesn’t make you a good musician.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
I’d love to continue to create great mobile applications and perhaps have an impact on the future of mobile design.
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
If you have a passion for design or art you can turn that into a steady career. I believe that the world will always need good designers and the mobile arena is still just getting started. Come join me and we’ll build a whole new world together.