I’m both and i’m not rare
I’m with you. I feel I can do both well. I think I’m one of those balanced left/right brains.
I don’t equate creativity with design though. Design is not creativity, creativity is not design. I know plenty of designers who are not very creative, but they are still good designers. I also know plenty of very creative people who are absolutely crap designers. Creativity is generating alternative choices, new ways of looking at things (sometimes, but not always wildly alternative). Creativity is part of design, but it does not define what design is.
Too much of what you read out there in our industry falsely and naively associates design solely with aesthetics.
Design is about making ongoing choices for communicative outcomes which work towards the goals of, and within the constraints of the context. Design works within a well establish set of principles, and if we are talking about visual design then this means the identifiable elements of human perception. Creativity is a tool, an aptitude for generating new ways of looking at a problem, it does not inherently produce good design choices though. It is true, some people are better at coming up with creative ideas, however we falsely label them as artists and designers, when in reality creativity can be part of any field. Creativity is most present in the divergent phase of design, looking at as many options and ways of approaching a problem as possible. Design is then a process of making good choices based on the insight gained from properly understanding context and looking at the range of possible solutions.
Making sound aesthetic choices and touting creativity as some sort of magical skill seems to be the mantra of an elitist designer mentality. Why do designers look down on programmers for their poor visual design skills? programmers may well be more highly analytical, logical and technical, but they too can generate creative alternative choices and make good design decisions. Again, design is not just about ‘visual design and aestethics’. Programmers are at fault too though. They have their own club, their own elitist mentality of labeling designers as impractical, irrational and illogical. Those are the two ends of the spectrum in a bizarre and ongoing misunderstanding of each others respective fields.
For those of us who make the journey across the whole spectrum of design and development there is no clear distinction. Design and development can and should go hand in hand. You can and should approach design problems with both right and left brain problem solving.