Myers-Briggs Personality Types of Designers

by on 07/23/11 at 10:00 pm

What personality preferences do you and other designers share? According to a survey done by Michael Roller, most designers share the Myers-Briggs personality type preferences of intuition and judgment. This article will look at why the intuition and judgment preferences are so important for designers.

Intuition vs. Sensing

The intuition and sensing dichotomy demonstrates how people perceive and gather information. People with the sensing preference are more likely to trust information that is more concrete (i.e. understood by the five senses). They prefer to look at details, facts and tend to distrust hunches without data. Their focus is more on present time of “what is”, as opposed to “what can be”.

People with the intuition preference tend to trust information that they can associate with other information they have experienced (i.e. finding patterns within a wider context). They can understand and make connections off abstract information. Their focus is on the future possibilities of “what can be”.

Designer’s Intuition

The designer’s intuition plays an important role in design. Designers cannot transcend the web’s status quo without the use of intuition. The web continues to evolve and improve because designers have focused on new possibilities for the user experience (e.g. HTML5). This requires not holding on to “what is”, but embracing “what can be”.

Intuition allows designers to spot opportunities for improvement by discovering trends and patterns in today’s design. This calls for indulging the unknown that one cannot yet see, hear or touch.

Intuition is also important for designers because there isn’t always data available to confirm every design practice and technique. Therefore, designers need to spot the value and effectiveness of a practice or technique without having any results to analyze.

If designers were to dismiss every new technique or practice due to the lack of data behind it, design would stop growing and evolving. Design requires designers to go beyond the senses to spot patterns and relationships between information to realize new solutions and innovations.

The usability, accessibility and overall user experience of the web has greatly improved compared to many years ago. But that improvement needs to continue. Designers must exercise their intuition in order for design to see a brighter future

Judgment vs. Perception

The judgment and perception dichotomy demonstrates how people interact with the outside world. People with the perception preference like to keep their options open. They don’t mind leaving things undecided and unstructured. They like to work without rules, taking the outside world as it comes, while adapting to changing plans.

People with the judgment preference like to have matters settled. They seek order, organization and see the need for rules. They approach the outside world with plans before moving into action. They like to make decisions about their environment and not leave it open-ended.

Designer’s Judgment

If design were all art, the designer’s judgment would play less of a role than it does today. But design is more than art. Because of users, there are always goals in design. This creates the need to differentiate between good and bad design. Good design meets the user goals and bad design doesn’t. This means that design quality depends on how you define your user goals.

Designers have to use their judgment to plan and make decisions about user goals to test and design for. A wireframe is basically a plan before any design takes place. It is on the wireframe where many designers make their decisions.

There are many ways a designer can design an application or website. The designer has to make decisions on what’s good and bad for users based on the user goals. There are also certain best practices that many designers will follow for a better result. Following best practices and making design decisions all need the designer’s judgment.

There are many designers that like to leave things undecided and open-ended. They don’t like to commit to anything too early. But when it comes to design, time is of the essence. If you’re not making any decisions throughout the design process, you’re not making any progress.

Decision-making is an important skill that designers need to have. It’s not just about making good design decisions, but making them progressively as you go. Those that tend to sit on the fence treat design like art. But design is more than an art when there are goals and deadlines to meet.

Find Your Type

What’s your personality type? The Myers-Briggs personality type works in degrees like a scale. For example, if you strongly prefer extraversion, that doesn’t mean you’re never introverted. It simply means that extraversion comes a lot easier to you than introversion.

Sometimes the difference in degree between two preferences can be so small that it’s hard for someone to figure out which one they are. However, most people will clearly fall under one preference or another.

The chart below will help you find your personality type. Read the descriptions for each pair of preferences and think about which one fits you best. Pick the one really you are most of the time, not the one you wish you were, or have to be at work.

Work Well With Other Types

If you’re someone who manages or works with other designers, it’s important to know how to best communicate with them for greater productivity and happiness in the workplace.

The table below details what each preference responds best to when working with others. It shows what managers should do and not do to create a harmonious relationship with their workers.

Conclusion

No matter what personality type you are, your personality doesn’t automatically dictate your level of success as a designer. There are certain personality preferences that help a designer work better in their environment, but at the end of the day, everyone still has to work hard and smart to experience success.

14 Responses to “Myers-Briggs Personality Types of Designers”

  1. Elizabeth Buie

    Jul 24th, 2011

    A fair amount of this article seems to be valid. You do yourself and your readers a disservice, however, by basing it on a completely invalid survey. First, Roller’s survey did not draw on a random, representative sample of designers (nor was it large enough, really, given the number of types), and thus cannot be generalized to designers as a whole. Second, he used as his instrument not the Myers-Briggs but a free online knock-off that looks like the MBTI but has not undergone the reliability and validity testing that the MBTI has. Calling those results “Myers-Briggs” types is misleading (not to mention a trademark violation). These two are fatal flaws in Roller’s piece. I recommend that you revise the article to remove any reference to it. His nonsense does more harm than good, and we should not lend it any credence. Our colleagues may justifiably argue that the MBTI itself has validity problems, but Roller’s kind of nonsense just makes it worse, and unfairly so.

    • anthony

      Jul 25th, 2011

      I see what you’re saying and I agree that the knock-off test he uses is not very good, nor was his hypothesis that most designer types are ISFJ.

      I have added a poll in the article so that people can record their personality types. Hopefully we can get enough people to vote for a representative sample.

      • Elizabeth Buie

        Jul 25th, 2011

        Sorry, but if you invite readers to “vote”, you aren’t getting a random, representative sample. You’re getting a self-selected sample, and especially in the case of personality their reasons for volunteering could very well bias the sample.

        Can’t be done, I’m afraid.

        • anthony

          Aug 6th, 2011

          I think polling still helps to see what personality types people are. Your fear of bias is a bias itself causing you to ignore potentially useful information. Sure, people could select random personalities that aren’t the right ones, but most won’t because there’s nothing they can gain from that. And some may not even choose to vote, but that’s fine because there are well over 300 votes already covering all personalities. The poll may not be 100% perfect, but that doesn’t mean the information is useless.

          • Paul Trumble

            Aug 8th, 2011

            Equally important is that you are asking them to choose their type. That’s completely invalid. Myers-Briggs typing requires an instrument of some length to develop accurately.

          • Alexander

            Aug 19th, 2011

            I agree with Elizabeth, the value of a website poll presented in this nil. You’re getting a self-selected sample out of a the population of website visitors which isn’t random to begin with. Sure, you can have a poll for fun but then it should be clearly labeled as such.

  2. Melissa Palomo

    Aug 3rd, 2011

    As a summarization of Myers-Briggs this helps others to understand the differences of opposite creative and non-creative minds in the workplace. A successful creative is a delicate balance of thinking outside the box while staying within professional guidelines. Perhaps Anthony could revise the title omitting Myers-Briggs and use the four dichotomies as a reference to Myers-Briggs. Then we could all come to a happy compromise.

    ESFP :)

  3. Guy W. Wallace

    Aug 15th, 2011

    No sense quibbling. All of this about the MBTI is invalid anyway.

    Second thoughts about the MBTI – by Ron Zemke in Training at: http://www.sgmaverick.com/Portals/0/Second%20thoughts%20about%20the%20MBTI%20(Ron%20Zemke%20-%20Training%20Magazine).pdf

    Here are four of the reasons researchers and the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences question the test’s validity.

    See them at:

    http://eppic.biz/resources/foo-foo-in-instructional-design-and-performance-improvement/foo-foo-about-the-myers-briggs-type-indicator-mbti/

    • anthony

      Aug 15th, 2011

      MBTI is a way to find order in a chaotic jungle of personalities. Although the order does not explain every little detail, the order is still there. What’s invalid is how people use MBTI and the method they use to determine it. I believe that it’s more accurate to use a classification chart (as seen above) than a question test. The question test is too complex and insubstantial. You’ll likely get different results every time.

  4. Rod MacQuarrie

    Nov 7th, 2011

    It’s also important to be detail-oriented.

    PS: Your first graph is incorrect. The % of J vs. P at the right side of the graph doesn’t match the relative areas on the graph. You have them reversed.

    • anthony

      Nov 7th, 2011

      Good catch. But that graph is Michael Roller’s, not mine.

  5. Amy

    Dec 2nd, 2011

    Quick point of correction: you associate feeling with emotion throughout the article, but feeling is not related to emotions, but rather decisions made via values and human-centered concerns. When you take the MBTI Complete, part of the verification process involves acknowledging that you understand Feeling types are no more emotional than Thinking types.

  6. Michelle

    Feb 19th, 2013

    This is spot on, working with various designers in a team can be very emotional and challenging.

    I did the test and determined what I was, I will be passing it on to my fellow team members. I believe this will enable us to communicate better and achieve great success in GUI and UX Design.

  7. Kasa

    Feb 20th, 2014

    Anthony,
    Are these images your original work? Or are they sourced from some place else?

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