A call out to design and branding agencies
By Claire Blyth, MD, Red Setter and one of the founders of the DCH
If you want to employ designers with 10-12 years’ experience today, it’s pretty difficult to find any. After the crash in 2008, branding agencies stopped hiring. Designers left college looking for opportunities, found none, and then drifted into other careers. We lost a generation of designers and the creativity they would have brought with them.
One of the first thing businesses tend to cut when a crash happens is hiring new talent. Branding and design is no different, but this time with Covid we don’t want it to happen again, and we don’t want to lose people at other levels that have been made redundant because of Covid. This is why a group of us, who’ve been lucky enough in our careers to run our own creative agencies and businesses, have set up the Design Community Hub (DCH).
When Callum Lumsden, of Lumsden Design, asked me to join him, along with Jonathan Sands from Born Ugly/Elmwood; Tim Greenhalgh from Landor + Fitch; Deborah Dawton from the DBA; and the fantastic Phil and Clare Jones of Podge fame, in setting up something to address the issue, I was excited to get involved.
I want to do something so we don’t lose another load of creative talent, and longer term, I want a place that people can come to across the industry to hook up with agencies and get a foot in the door. A place for everyone to meet. A place that values diversity.
The more we can do to encourage people without the perfectly written CV, but with a super creative portfolio showing raw talent, to get in touch with branding agencies, the better we will be. I run Red Setter, the PR agency for many of the best design agencies worldwide, and if someone sent me brilliant ideas on how we can get our clients connecting with their audiences, they’d be straight in! The DCH can create these connections.
By granting access online to mentors, portfolio reviews, events and work experience, it creates a level playing field. It will help all talented designers / strategists / account leads, find a way to grow their talent and reach the best in the field to nurture and mentor them. It should mean that making the first steps in design is no longer so much about who you know.
And it’s hugely valuable for the design industry. Senior leaders offering their time and giving back is a brilliant way for them to spot talent. To see those shining examples of raw creativity that just need the right opportunity - the chance to be seen by the right people.
To make this opportunity happen, the DCH needs the design leaders to step forward. Yes, offering time to mentor is brilliant, but we also need donations to employ people to run the platform.
We are on our way, and some amazing design and branding agencies (thank you Pearlfisher, Together, Coley Porter Bell and Interbrand to name but a few), and major design leaders (thanks to Jeremy Lindley, Global Design Director at Diageo) have put their money where their mouth is and are helping us to get closer to our goal to fully launch the hub and make it the force for change it can be.
Please head over to the Design Community Hub to find out more and how you can help.