Follow your passion and be the best at your craft
The design field is ever changing and expanding, with the role of designers rapidly evolving, providing opportunities for a myriad of distinct disciplines to exist.
The designers of the future will play a significant role in communicating complex information because more and more organizations are looking to designers to communicate, visualize, educate and engage their audiences.
As you prepare to enter the field of design, take the time to explore all the various specialties within design and find the one that is a natural fit with your talents and passion. It is important to focus on a design discipline that you can excel at and master, such as typography, motion, user interface or information architecture.
Demonstrating true proficiency in your design craft will empower you to become a valuable member of a multidisciplinary team.
I have seen a lot of young designers who are generalists and want to be big thinkers without having ever mastered any individual design craft. The more successful designers are ones who have honed their design skills and evolved their strategic thinking and problem solving across disciplines.
Making things beautiful is important, and applying this to solving complex design challenges is a valuable skill. The designers of the future will be responsible for not just making beautiful things but also making smart things—solutions that communicate, clarify, distill and crystallize complex information.
This essay originally appeared in the 2010AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries.