For many Graphic Designers, and Artists in general, there’s a slippery slope in which one can become a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none. This is a professional conundrum that I’ve repeatedly witnessed while reviewing the portfolio’s and resumes of potential candidates. Unfortunately, it’s a trap that is almost impossible to avoid. Designers often have to delve deeper into unexplored territories, forced to handle aspects of a project that should typically be dealt with by a web developer, copywriter, animator or 3D artist. This challenge, in and of itself, is a good thing. The best designers are those who have a firm grasp on the possibilities and limitations of the medium they are working within. Having a full view of a project helps inform the designer how to approach their specific tasks.
The risk, of course, is when handling all of these tasks becomes the expectation of a client, and the designer unrealistically places the full burden of work on their own shoulders. For many of us, having an actual interest in all of these areas of expertise only makes matters worse. Like most creatives, I like to explore new tools and experiment. And then there’s the control-freak factor. Not that I’ve ever been guilty of this, but there are some artists out there who like to have total control over their art, be it a graphic novel or a website design. Compounded by this personality trait is the temptation to cut costs and handle the work without the assistance of those who actually specialize in these areas.
I’m here to proclaim that it really is okay to focus on becoming the best front-end designer, and not worrying so much about the coding. It’s okay to delve into web development and letting go of the design aspects entirely. Or just exist entirely within the AfterEffects ecosystem, and pretend that if it’s not animated, it doesn’t matter.
Being a jack-of-all trades will certainly make you a better designer, informing your every proposed solution to a design challenge. Don’t get me wrong–I highly recommend having a full arsenal of skillsets at your disposal. But none of that will matter if the end result is less than the sum of its parts.