I am 20 and have been employed as a web designer since 2008. I am currently studying and moving towards the masters in designing. I would like to share my experience about designers. It's actually the difference between degree holder designers and the designers who are working on observations and the power of imagination.
I would consider myself a designer who does not have a design degree yet, but working in this creative field on his observations and imagination. So the difference i feel between my self and a designer who has a degree is that of visual experience.
Here are some reasons:
1) I have not studied like them
2) Whenever a observational designer thinks during design time about how his design should be. Most of the time he has a small called view in his mind of any design he has seen in his past and a voice saying "yes!!! this is right". That designer has done this kind of work, so i can also work on this rule". Because his thoughts are relying on observation, but whenever a degree holder designer thinks that how his design should be, his memories will call the rules he studied and the designs he has seen in his past. So by putting together both his powers he will be able to implement his idea more confidently.
I cannot say anything about imagination because imagination is the real power as "The great physicist Albert Einstein had this to say:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand"
I have met a few designers in my career that don't have design a degree but they are working really great on there imagination power
My message is for those designers who have not studied art and are working on their observations, they should study it so they can shoot their ideas more confidently.