Design or Code?

About a year and a half ago, I interviewed for a job at a friends company. One of the people interviewing me insisted that I couldn’t possibly be good at both code AND design. It’s a silly thing, but it has stuck in my head like a stupid worm burrowing its way into my brain. Am I a designer or a coder? And since when did they have to be decoupled from one another. Maybe I’m bad at design and don’t realize it. I don’t think I am, but it’s such a subjective thing. Then again, the person that said that looked disbelievingly at illustrations I did, as if it was easier to believe that I lied about creating them than be good at both.

Craig, we’ll call him, went on a long speech about how the two needed to be separate in a company, along with his explanation of how he felt all agencies should work. He was, apparently, some sort of expert in these things. In fairness, I couldn’t tell if he was an expert at how agencies should work, or in explaining things he had an opinion on. He said he used to believe the same person could do that job, but now they had to be separate because they were too complicated for one person to understand and be good at both. Really? I said, because I can do both. So he asked – if I were to take a job in the company and I had a choice between only coding and only designing, which would I take? Neither, I wouldn’t take the job. He tried to pin it down even further. Where is my heart really? Like, if I’m up late at night because I’m inspired and working on a project of my own design – which would it be, some code or photoshop. Either? I’m guilty of either, any given late night, just depending on where my mind has taken me. I’ve stayed up until the sun comes up writing code, and ashamedly done the same for design (though to be fair, it will as often be illustrator as photoshop).

It’s a stupid thing to bug me. It’s not the first time I’ve thought that I have been judged as a coder only because someone’s preconceived notion that someone who is technical can’t be artistic. And, even though I’ve written it off as their own lack of binary skills, I can’t help having creeping self doubt. It was a long time ago and it still bugs me.