Myers Briggs and Design Style: The Kind of Work That Makes You Happy
Nobody likes to be put into boxes (except cats—cats love boxes), but there is something to be said about how understanding how we fit into different categories can help us to better connect with what fuels our drive and ignites our passions.
The Myers Briggs personality assessment is arguably the most widely used personality tests out there. It is based on research by Carl Jung and was formalized by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs. Formally, it is known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and it used as a tool to help understand our psychological drives and desires.
How does the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment Work?
The assessment consists of a series of questions that break your personality down into one of 16 personality types/indicators. There are four categories of two possibilities, each represented by a letter to distinguish the type. Your final Myers-Briggs indicator will be a series of four letters, one from each category.
As explained on the MBTI Instrument website, the categories are:
- Favorite World: Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I). Extroverts focus on the outside world while Introverts turn inward.
- Information: Sensing (S) or Intuition (N). Sensing personalities focus on the information in front of them, while intuitive personalities interpret and add meaning.
- Decisions: Thinking (T) or Feeling (F). Thinkers turn to logic and consistency while feelers turn to people and circumstance.
- Structure: Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). Judging personalities like to get things decided quickly and efficiently, while perceiving personalities like to stay open to new information and ideas.
You can probably start to gain a general idea of what your personality type might be just by looking at the list above. Typically, certified administrators issue these instruments, but plenty of free versions and paid versions of the assessment are available online to give you a more thorough understanding. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which of the 16 combinations represent your true personality.
MBTI In The Workplace
Many organizations including 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies have implemented Myers-Briggs assessments into their workplace so that employees not only understand themselves better, but also those who work around them. It is believed this assessment can help drive success within organizations because employees understand how best to work together in order to maximize each team member’s strengths.
Why do the assessment?
Design work is imperative at many organizations and the type of design work available is vast. Understanding your MBTI can help you to figure out not only what type of design work might be best for your personality and preferences, but the type of organization that meshes best with your design style. These two components can lead you to a happier career.
Type of Design Work Based on MBTI Personality Types
In order to get you kick started on your Myers-Briggs journey, we have included the 16 personality types below and the possible work that might make you happiest. These conclusions are based on our own analysis and we encourage you to seek out your own research and testing in order to determine what’s best for you.
We’ve also incorporated the four category types as broken down by 16 Personalities.
INTJ: The Architect. You are a rare gem representing just two per cent of the population. Because of this, you may find yourself feeling lonely in a lot of workplaces, but your passion for hard work and data keeps you grounded and motivated. You’re an excellent problem solver whose decisions are strategic and based on proven research. If something doesn’t work, you’re determined to find a way that will. You would be great at a forward-thinking, but practical company working in development and/or on the backend of complex interfaces. Information architecture is your jam. Famous INTJ: Michelle Obama.
INTP: The Logician. You are a curious and observant soul who sometimes appears a bit unorganized. You’re quick to get bored and do best in fast-paced environments with lots of challenges and a variety of work. You might enjoy an agency role at a company that is established. Despite your enthusiasm, you are very logic-driven and don’t trust people who make decisions based on emotions. As such, you may end up branching off on your own so you can lead the decision making. Famous INTP: Bill Gates.
ENTJ: The Commander. You’re a natural alpha, a born leader with a ruthless determination to meet your goals. You are not easily swayed. If no clear path lies before you, you will not hesitate to make one, nor will you be afraid to take others there with you. You’re a big personality, but not one that is sensitive to emotions. You prefer intellectual challenges and respect people who do the same. You’d be great at the helm of a design-driven company that isn’t afraid to try things no one has before. Famous ENTJ: Steve Jobs
ENTP: The Debater. Known as “the devil’s advocate,” you love challenging ideas and exploring all sides of the coin. You view debate as a catalyst for knowledge, but can sometimes become married to ideas you don’t necessarily believe in because you’re so committed to your convictions. You’re a hard worker and no one can doubt your intelligence, but your personality can turn people off, making it hard for you to move up the ladder. If you can put this aside, you’d be great in a role that allows you to take different approaches to a single challenge, perhaps designing multiple versions of the same product and leading the user research to understand which one is best. Famous ENTP: Captain Jack Sparrow
INFJ: The Advocate. You’re a rare personality type representing less than one percent of the population. At the core of your soul is the desire to not only help others, but to create solutions so people don’t need help at all. You’re motivated by love and want to make the world a better place, but you can take criticism a bit too personally. You would be amazing working on products that have a direct impact on the quality of human life, whether that is in house at a not-for-profit or designing applications that help doctors in third-world countries. Famous INFJ: Nelson Mandela
INFP: The Mediator. You follow your heart wherever it takes you and do so intently rather than listening to your brain (you prefer poetry to logic, after all). You are a natural communicator with a passion for language, but you can be shy in large groups. You’d be best working on a small team of like-minded individuals that share your passion for good. You often feel misunderstood, so it’s important for you to channel your feelings into projects you believe in. You likely are not the best fit for agency work, as you prefer channeling your energy into a single cause wholeheartedly. Famous INFP: William Shakespeare.
ENFJ: The Protagonist. You are a charismatic leader known for your ability to inspire others. Your energy is contagious, making you a natural fit for public speaking. Politicians are often this personality type, and so too are keynote speakers. You’d be great at conferences presenting ideas you’re passionate about. You stand up for what you believe in, but your tendency for self-reflection can get the better of you at times. You’d make an incredible team leader for a product that exemplifies your beliefs at a company that gives you the opportunity to shout this from the rooftops. Famous ENFJ: Barack Obama
ENFP: The Campaigner. Hey party animal! You are an enthusiastic, happy and care free individual, a true free spirited idealist. You’d be happiest at an organization that offers a great work-life balance and regular social opportunities, or maybe you’re a nomad, working remotely around the world on a variety of design projects. You’re a charming leader whose creative ideas can often land you in the spotlight, but you’ve got a “little spark of madness.” Learn to use this to your advantage. Famous ENFP: Robin Williams
ISTJ: The Logistician. This is thought to be the most common personality type of the 16, representing 13 per cent of the population. You’re traditional and reliable. Working at a brand new company would give you anxiety, so you’re best at an established institution that has proven results. You like security and as such may find yourself working somewhere you don’t like that much because it offers you the stability you need. However, you shine brightest when you feel valued. Don’t be afraid to mix things up. Famous ISTJ: Denzel Washington
ISFJ: The Defender. Your diverse makeup makes you an important addition to a team. You’re able to see things from multiple perspectives, and you have a warm heart. You don’t like work that is stagnant or puts you in the spotlight, choosing to fly under the radar when you can despite your accomplishments. You’d be best in a team-driven role in an environment where your coworkers are also your friends. You’re a big family person though, so you’ll need a role that allows you a positive work-life balance in order to feel most fulfilled. Famous ISFJ: Vin Diesel
ESTJ: The Executive. A pinnacle of order and reliability, you are the boss. You’re organized on both an administrative and managerial level. People look to you for guidance and trust your decisions. You’re passionate about bringing communities and groups together, so you’d be great in a cross-functional role that perhaps combines design, development and marketing. You’d also excel in a client-facing role, one where you’re able to present information from all sides in a cohesive, informed way. Famous ESTJ: Judge Judy.
ESFJ: The Consul. Why hello there Mr/Mrs. Popular. You’re a social and popular person who gets along with everyone—and you’re one of the nice ones. You love helping others and spending time with people. You’re super creative but you respect authority, so a creative front-end design role that allows you to experiment within constraints and have fun would be great for you. You might even like more experiential design, creating mesmerizing experiences on a larger scale. People trust you, so user research might also be of interest. Famous ESFJ: Taylor Swift
ISTP: The Virtuoso. You’re a tactile experimenter with a curious mind, a true Maker. Prototyping is your passion, but so too is building an actual product and putting it out into the world. You like trying things out in a variety of ways and learning new tools whenever you can. You’re agile and adaptable, and a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, preferring to work on multiple projects rather than one big one. You love troubleshooting, which is good because you also can make decisions too quickly, meaning alternatives often need to be explored. Your personality is a bit quirky and unpredictable, so it’s important you find a workplace that appreciates your oddities. Famous ISTP: Clint Eastwood
ISFP: The Adventurer. You are a quintessential artist and you like to use design as a tool for conversation. You are the least likely to want to be categorized into one of these 16 personalities because you take pride in your individuality and unpredictability. You love new challenges and experiences, so you might find yourself working in cutting-edge technologies like AI and VR. As an explorer, you may find your passions shift and you won’t hesitate to see where they take you. You’re not a big picture thinker and you’ll never have a five-year plan, choosing instead to reinvent yourself. You may have many different careers throughout your life, but your charm will always be there with you. Famous ISFP: Britney Spears
ESTP: The Entrepreneur. You’re a social butterfly with a curious mind known for your intelligence and problem-solving abilities. You’re not afraid to take a risk—for better or worse—but thankfully you learn from your mistakes and see failure as an educator. You follow your own path, but are very attentive to the world around you. You notice things others don’t, which is why you might find yourself designing something you can’t believe doesn’t already exist. Your energy is effective. You might prefer being a freelance designer or starting your own company based on a concept of your design. Famous ESTP: Nicolas Sarkozy
ESFP: The Entertainer. You’re spontaneous, loud and a never-ending fountain of energy. It can be a bit much for some people, but you’re not afraid to let your freak flag fly. It’s essential for you to be happy in your work or else you can become engulfed in misery. You tend to mirror your surroundings, so if your workplace environment is intense this can have a negative affect on you. You are so not a data person. You might shine on the user research side as you’re such a natural people person, or may prefer a role that combines a variety of things like design, marketing and events. Famous ESFP: Marilyn Monroe
What Myers-Briggs personality type are you and do you feel like these descriptions are in line with your career choices thus far? The more you understand yourself, the more you can design the life of your dreams.