Graphic Design Forensic Report

Published:  March 19, 2013
Graphic Design Forensic Report

The Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC), part of the Australian Government’s Enterprise Connect program, has released a Graphic Design Forensic Report. Supported by the University of Technology, Sydney it aims to uncover a few key insights within the graphic design industry.

The results are summarised from the CIIC’s interactions with more than 800 creative enterprises from 2009 to 2012 and, according to the report, a typical studio employs 10 people, has been in operation for 12 years and has an annual turnover of $1.1 million (with profit before interest & tax of 7%).

The findings might be useful to you, and they might not. The report does not aim to cast a negative eye on the industry, but rather identify issues and trends, and find a way to assist studios to operate more profitably. In this vein, a few key findings from the report are as follows:

Rising competition
Traditional graphic design studios are steadily losing work to freelance designers, crowdsourcing websites and large digital/advertising agencies. In addition to this, in-house designers, along with retracting market demand, exposes studios to price competition.

Lack of strategic management
Business principals often oversee ‘creative’ aspects of the business, which is often to the detriment of strategic management. This can often result in poor cash flow and workflow management, profit erosion, sporadic sales and low staff morale.

Financial mismanagement
The report found mismanagement in terms of quoting and job tracking, which can lead to profitless jobs and debt.

Branding and strategic marketing
Many studios lack a comprehensive personal branding strategy which can be a huge inhibitor when fighting off competition from freelancers and other agencies.

Scale versus niche
Many studios prefer to remain small. They often struggle to compete with big agencies that provide vertically integrated services from branding strategy to design.

Human resources
Common challenges in this regard are: poor internal communications, poorly managed staff, lack of career progression and a lack of skills.

Technology pressures
As designers, you know this one all too well… constant equipment upgrades present cost management and training issues.

In order to combat the above issues, the CIIC suggests a step-by-step plan which involves devising a business plan, broadening the studio’s offering, developing strategic partnerships with other companies and developing additional product revenues.

You can download the full report over here.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the above findings reflect what you are going through as a design studio?

2 Responses

  1. This is so informative! So educational as well. Thanks for sharing this graphic design forensic report. Cool!

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