On the spectrum between pure generalist or specialist, T-shaped designers fall in the middle. Their deep mastery of a select design skill gets them noticed. More surface-level talents elsewhere round them out and help them jell with a team.
A specialist skill helps tie your portfolio together and makes it memorable. Maybe it’s beautiful aesthetic design or detailed wireframing. Without it, it’s easy for your portfolio to get lost in a sea of other cookie-cutter designers. Mastery gets you noticed and ultimately hired.
Design skill mastery breeds innovation. That said, hacking away on what we’re already good at isn’t always the right action—generalist skills are still important. On a practical level, it improves your team’s work velocity.
Learning broader, more generalist skills also has communication benefits, like a shared vocabulary.
by Nick Schaden in The T-shaped sweet spot for designers