Master of None - The fear of not having a specialism


Graphic Designer, Illustrator, UX Architect, Art Director, Digital Designer, Web Designer, Print Designer, Visual Designer, UI Specialist, App Designer, Software Designer - what does it all mean? Don't all of these labels and titles just focus on the end product? The output?

"I am an App Designer, therefore the solution that I will propose will be an app"

What if that's wrong? What if that's not what the client really needs at all?

For years I worried about my lack of a specialism. I interned in Ad agencies, creative brand agencies; my first paid jobs were as a web designer, followed by a product designer and then to all-round graphic design, fashion & digital.  Where this experience didn't arm me with the most in-depth knowledge of code, or print techniques it had taught me to adapt my creative thinking - that a problem always needs a solution and if you're not tied down to one specialism you can approach that problem with your eyes wide open, with all solutions at your fingertips.

Don't get me wrong, we need specialists and I look in awe at their skills when I work with one - but when a client comes to you with a problem and even an idea of a solution, don't allow yourself to get tied to one output too quickly. They may believe that they want an app, when really when you break it down that's not what their user needs at all - they perhaps need a physical printed booklet or social campaign.

If you're just starting out, or even if you’re  far down the path and still get panic attacks about how you're going to label yourself, please don't. If you're creative and you love solving problems, then good - that's your story.