Quite slow to post this, but thought this editorial from last months creative review was worth a mention.
This debate seems destined to continually get stuck in the ‘is/isn’t it design’ rut. An easier way round this, and one which I think many designers currently employ, is not to become too preoccupied with debating whether someone is or isn’t a designer, but debate whether the act of design is or isn’t any good. This takes the focus off the individual, or the ‘career’, which are way more difficult to pidgeon-hole, and focusses it clearly on the act of design at hand.
I’m also minded to follow Milton Glasers definition of a designer as someone who “conceives of, and sometimes executes, a plan to move from an existing condition to a preferred condition”. To be clear, he means that this decision making and problem-solving would make you a designer – whether you are a good designer, or the individual piece of design is any good, is a completely different matter.