an online conversation
about design management


Dmzine 2014 survey results

We've been collating the 2014 survey responses and can’t wait to release them because the results are proving very interesting.

One in particular is worthy of discussion: nearly 10% of studios surveyed are sourcing skills from overseas. It’s the first year we’ve included the question and the future results will be more interesting as we begin to plot a trend, but that said, these results document what everyone suspected.

My question is – given the world is now a very accessible global village – how does sourcing talent from overseas differ from what has previously happened within Australia?

I’m reminded of a story one of our colleagues tells about her freelancing days.

One of Australia’s largest design studios was commissioned to rebrand an Australian-owned, internationally active company.

The studio hired approximately 20 freelancer designers. All were herded into a room and given exactly the same brief: to develop an identity for the client.

The freelancers independently developed layouts (this was when finished artists had computers to do artwork — designers designed with paper and pens) and at the given deadline the combined output was pinned to a wall for discussion by the creative heads.

The designs were critiqued, revised, redeveloped and reworked until the studio were satisfied they had some logos suitable for submission to the client.

The freelancers were paid their hourly rate for a day of designing and dismissed.

The studio went on to ‘sell’ one of those designs to the (now much larger) international company and that logo is still in existence.

I wonder how that methodology differs from the ‘now’ practice of sourcing designs from 99designs or freelancer.com? The studio sourced talent from a large pool of available, low fee-base talent, and on-sold the result to a client at a much-inflated price. They used local designers because they were available at that time.

While this year’s dmzine survey results show that a majority of the studios using international talent are not sourcing design — it’s mainly web coding and photo etching — I’m forced to wonder if the process differs much from the past, given we are living in a global village.

Let me know your thoughts.

If you took part in the dmzine survey you will be sent the results by the 27th March.

Carol Mackay

Carol co-founded Mackay Branson design in 1984. Since then she has used design to package complex messages into bite-sized chunks of information that are easy to understand and digest.

She does that with clients in the corporate, cultural, government and not for profit sectors.