Social- and self-perception of designers’ professional identity

Kamila Kunrath, Philip Cash*, Maaike Kleinsmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Designers’ Professional Identity (DPI) is a social- and self-perceptive construct that describes how designers understand themselves as professionals. DPI guides development throughout a designer’s career by shaping professionalism, role assumptions, responsibilities, values and behaviour. DPI links two sets of elements: Personal Attributes and Design Skills. However, little is known about how designers perceive themselves in comparison to other critical actors affecting DPI: educators and managers. While differing perceptions between educators and managers is acknowledged, there is a critical need for more detailed understanding of these differences in comparison to how designers perceive themselves. This study uses semi-structured interviews with designers, design professors, and design managers to shed light on differences in perception of DPI. Analysis of the data highlights critical differences between the three groups. We described these differences with respect to three thematic perspectives on DPI: Technique, Creativity and Rapport. This provides important contributions to understanding DPI, with implications for education and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-126
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Issue number2
Early online date15 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


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