Specialist vs. Generalist: Which Graphic Design Career Path Is Right For You?

Should I become a Specialist vs GeneralistDesigner?

To become a design Specialist vs Generalist will always be a tough choice. Because they both have their pluses and minuses. So let’s have a closer look at each of that so as a designer you also can take a decision.

Nevertheless, no matter who you became, the design fundamentals and your soft skills are not changing. That is to say, it’s very important to maintain those two things equally to become a success.

Generalist

Generic Designer is a designer who has knowledge of a wide range of design skills and practices to perform a design task. In most cases, Generic Graphic designers are capable of completing a project start to finish with minimum supervision or guidance.

Pros

  • Seeing the bigger picture: Since they excel in many design skills, they can understand the bigger picture of a project from start to finish.
  • They are affordable: Since they are not specialized in all the design skills that they know, the price tag of them very competitive compared to a specialized designer.
  • Easy to find a job: Generic Designers have multiple skill sets, therefore finding a job will be very easy for them. Example, Generic Designer can be worked as a User Interface Designer, Brand Designer or Product Designer Ect.
  • They know it all: Generic Designers will fit into a team well because they can fill any of the gaps in the team without much of an effort. Their knowledge of multiple design skills will come in handy in those situations. They will not have to wait for the specific person to handle a task.

Cons:

  • It required a lot of time and commitment to become a generic designer.
  • You will have to spend more time learning skills and practicing at the commercial level.
  • To keep learning, practicing and maintaining multiple design skill sets can cost you lots of money and time.
  • Most of the generic designers are finding it difficult to deliver multiple design projects on the same standards as specialized designers do. Therefore, to be good at performing or producing a quality task can be challenging on many occasions.

Specialist

Specialized designers are the designers who have skills in one particular design skill. They may have a knowledge about the other aspect of designs but their main focus is to work on a very specific task of a design project.

Pros.

  • Demand for higher pay: Since they are specialized in certain design skill, they can demand a higher pay, mostly the people who are hiring them are bigger companies and they will pay more for the specialized skills because they need every aspect of their projects to be completed by specialized people.
  • Bigger teams companies advantage: Only larger companies/projects can only accommodate a set of specialist designers. They are working with multiple team members that will help them to enhance their design skills, improve their decision-making process. Their contributing mostly to bigger projects and will allow them to have a great portfolio.
  • As the world became more complex our requirements have become more specific, so the ideal scenario will be to have a specialized skill to fulfill those requirements. If a designer can be specialized in one skill would have a competitive advantage compared to generalist designers.

Cons.

  • Difficulty to find a job

Summary

As a fact, Generalist designers always perform a small to medium design tasks that have multiple design objective. Likewise, specialized designers are working with large firms, agencies or establishments. Because the design objectives and requirements can be wider. Therefore they need a service of a specialized designer to take care of a specific part of the project.

For an instance, Let’s take a website project. So If the budget and requirements are low, there is more likely to hire a generalist designer to take care of the project. Furthermore, It’s more likely to work on from the user experience & interface designs. Likewise, if the project is quite specific and budget is higher, they will hire a specialized design team who has many designers who perform a specific design task, for example, user experience designer, user interface designer and a web developer

Observation.

As a designer, it’s very important to understand what you are good at?, Industry demand? and where are you in the competition. If you find yourself passionate about certain design skill that has demand in the industry and if you’re good at it, it makes sense to be specialized on that.

It’s always safe to become a generalist if you’re afraid of the competition. Also if you like to do multiple things. So there are pros and cons in both. Therefore, It’s really your call after looking at your passion.

What do you think about it? Please let me know in the comments.

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