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TWGA Analysis Suggests Creative Pros Should Specialize

Predicts growing use of technologies for targeted marketing




What does the next five years hold for creative professionals in the graphic-arts industry? Crystal balls and Tarot cards may not hold the answers, but TrendWatch Graphic Arts has done its research and compiled a report indicating that “specialization” may hold the key to success, particularly for smaller firms who find themselves competing with in-house design groups.

The report, entitled “Design & Production 2007,” is based on TWGA's historical data, as well as responses to a Design and Production survey sent twice a year to about 6000 graphic designers, commercial photographers, ad-agency creative professionals and corporate designers. The surveys have a 12 to 15% response rate.

According to the report, over the next five years, creative professionals will be asked to integrate increasingly complex technologies in order to reach more highly targeted audiences.

“The more technology changes and the more the economy puts pressure on clients' spending dollars, the more specialization becomes a critical business strategy,” says Vince Naselli, director of TrendWatch Graphic Arts. “Luckily, most creative firms in the US are small, which helps them to provide tailored, specialized services and gives them the flexibility to react quickly to market dynamics.”

Professional creative markets grew only 3% from 2002-2003, and TWGA expects this marginal growth to continue over the next five years. The demand for traditional offset jobs is down, but interest in color digital printing, on-demand creative services and e-mail campaign design is on the rise. These trends suggest a move toward more targeted and focused direct-marketing projects.

“Design projects in the coming years are going to become increasingly complex and target multiple audiences with customized messages, content, and delivery methods,” says Naselli. “As a result, design professionals are going to reach out to other departments and experts so that they work at optimal efficiency. This trend towards cross-media communications, involving the entire corporate enterprise, will shape the investments, challenges, and opportunities facing creative professionals from now until 2007 and beyond.”


Other trends reported in the TWGA study include:

Market Status: The US creative markets are stable and will continue to be so in the coming years. Despite changes in the tools used to create the final products and some change in what the final products actually are, the overall market segments have been remarkably consistent.

Hot Investments: Color proofers remain the “hot” investment item as more and more staffers become involved in the production process and want to see a hard-copy color proof (which will increasingly be emailed to them as a PDF).

Workflows: Workflows that increase productivity and enable flexible use of content will be the nucleus of design and production professionals activity in coming years. To do so, they will increasingly rely on such technologies as PDF, XML, digital asset management, and color management.

The 107-page TWGA report, entitled “Design & Production 2007” is available for $1595. (TrendWatch Graphic Arts, New York, NY: 866-873-6310,




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