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Me Vs. Lots of Yous

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This is an interesting discussion, and one that we’ve come up against time and time again: the specialist vs. the generalist, meaning the struggle both companies and designers are having between doing one thing really well or spreading out the knowledge to a hundred little things. Where this post surprised us was that they feel there’s more growth in specialization. Maybe that’s a regional thing, or more corporate than we’re used to, but it seems to us that they exact opposite is happening more and more. We’ve had this happen a bunch of times in broadcast work, where we’ve talked to old timers, who have said, “Yep, I’m the guy who does so-and-so. What do you do?” Then we’ve got to list the amount of weird variations in the sides of production we’ve been paid to do. Suppose it’s that shift from big agency to lots of little do-it-all boutiques. Just surprising to hear someone says that it’s exactly opposite from what you’ve supposed. What do you think? Here’s a little bit:

Recently I spoke with a partner in a large architecture/design firm. He told me that the firm was successful because everyone who worked there was a specialist in something – programmers collected data, space planners worked out layouts, some designers drafted walls and ceilings and others picked out furniture, and other specialists did nothing but contract documents. It sounded as if different teams of specialists only worked on specific segments of projects and that very few were involved in a project from start to finish.

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