The design dilemma: to specialize or not

As we explore the vast array of possibilities and styles scrolling endlessly through Instagram, Dribbble, and Behance feeds, a question emerges for designers: should I focus on one specific area?

Should I, for example, concentrate solely on logo design? Or should I dedicate myself exclusively to designing mobile applications? Perhaps I should specialize in e-commerce websites alone?

The concise answer is: it depends on your objectives.

If you're a newcomer to the design world, aiming to become a masterful designer, then engaging in a wide array of activities is advisable.

However, if your aim is to earn significant income and establish yourself as an "expert" in a particular niche, then diving deep into a single design sector and becoming specialized might be the best approach.

Personally, I advocate for the former option because it equips you with the necessary range of design skills.

In my view, a designer should be versatile enough to tackle various problems.

Even if designing mobile apps is your passion, you should be capable of handling website design, logo creation, and even promotional posters. You should also entertain how you might design sneakers for the first Mars mission crew.

This level of expertise requires a broad scope of knowledge, which is gained through working and experimenting across different design fields.

Only after acquiring such breadth and recognizing the array of design possibilities should you consider specializing in a particular direction.

The analogy here is simple: you cannot expect someone to pick their favorite dish if they've only sampled two types of cuisine.

A wide spectrum of experiences is necessary to identify a true passion. Anything less is merely a superficial approach.

Admittedly, this process is time-consuming, but true appreciation and understanding come from immersing yourself in each experience.

Similarly, in design, experimenting with various aspects will bring different kinds of fulfillment. Eventually, the "necessary time to get somewhere" becomes irrelevant as the joy of discovery and the thrill of learning new things take precedence.

Now, what does specialization offer?

While working on diverse projects and dabbling in different areas, it's challenging to delve deeply and uncover new dimensions.

If you were presented with ten different dishes, each with unique ingredients, you'd never uncover the myriad ways to prepare an egg dish. You wouldn't learn which spices complement eggs best or how different cooking temperatures affect the flavors. Deep knowledge about "eggs" comes from dedication, and dedication requires focus—focus means saying NO to many other things.

A generalist revels in diversity.

A specialist delights in depth.

Both paths come with their own costs and rewards, providing unique experiences in return.

Armed with this knowledge, let your intuition guide your professional journey, embracing the endless pursuit of creative knowledge.