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COVID19: How Does Economic Recession Affect the Designer?


The COVID19 pandemic is one issue that is affecting several systems in different countries around the world. One notable effect of this global pandemic is the collapse of the economy of various countries. There are currently several speculations on the possibilities of a recession in several systems around the world. However, what is the implication of this for specific industries?

In this article, we explore the possible effects of an economic recession on the creative industry with a focus on the implications for design and designers. The role of the design industry in times of economic downturn is one that has consistently called for a need for reassessment. Broadly, the design industry is one that has positioned itself as being equipped with the skills and relevant technology for the innovation and implementation of ideas efficiently. Under normal circumstances, the essential priorities of design include innovation, environmental concerns, and making products available to people that need them. However, in the instance of an economic recession, there is a need to reevaluate these priorities.

In the face of an economic recession, designers are likely to modify their approach to receive briefs and extend their roles beyond merely coming up with products. Designers are encouraged to explore some diversity to help with surviving in fluctuating markets as surely, unstable economies affect the design industry.

Studying past trends of economic recession, it has been observed that although economic also affects the design industry, it is not always negative. More especially considering the sentiments that more individual brands are trying to stand out better among the competition, making a product designer indispensable on their team.

For one, the development of consumer-based designs can offer multiple solutions creating both jobs and affordable products in the course of economic turmoil.

The Implication Of Recession For Designers

As mentioned earlier, surviving an economic recession as a designer requires innovation and adaptation. The designer should be able to come up with products that serve as solutions and are offered at practicable prices in the market. Pricing becomes a much more critical factor in a recession because, in most instances, the buying power of most end-users is reduced. So, the process of development should be optimized.

Tips To Help Designers Get Through A Recession

Don’t stop marketing and sales efforts.

In most instances, most agency owners run their businesses on a famine or feast system. A big marketing effort is carried out, after which the agencies then lookout for a flood of business. When this flood then occurs, these agencies then divert resources to facilitate delivery. However, this might not be the best way to get through a recession for creatives in general. As much as possible, it is advised to keep marketing consistent, although you can lookout for ways to cut down on the marketing costs. The dedication would, however, survive any ups and downs in the market.

Include Flexibility on Pricing

For designers that have built a brand over time, it might be challenging to go through a price slash during an economic downturn. This, however, might not be inevitable. It is vital to work on some flexibility in your pricing. You can achieve this using special promo and discount offers. You should also consider taking up smaller projects that you might not take on regular days.

Carry your team along

Considering that everybody is affected when there’s a recession, you must carry all members of your team along in the affairs of the business. The team should be aware of possible ways of how the recession can affect the business and possible changes to expect. It is essential to be honest, and transparent with your team.

Communicate with your clients

Also, considering the level of uncertainty about the economy, it is important to ensure that your clients trust you. One of the ways to achieve this is by efficiently communicating with your clients. They should be carried along in every step of a project.

In case of any adjustments in the course of the project as a result of the instability of the economy, the client should be made aware in due course.

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst

The tricky part about surviving in an economic recession is that your business has to be very flexible. Good business people understand that there would be bad days in running a business, and they are often prepared for it. This should also apply to the business of design.

While you work towards getting the best outcomes, even in the economic uncertainty, you should also prepare for the worst outcomes. You are running a business, and your business is affected by several factors during the recession involved just like other businesses.

In conclusion, in the words of Emily Pilloton, ‘‘Design is only a toolbox — now make it work for you.’’. As much as designers play an important role in society, design is also a business that is affected by several economic and market factors. This is why designers need to be well-informed and prepared to handle some extreme conditions when it comes to their business.

Designers need to come up with sustainable products reflecting the need for economic growth. The successful designs are the designs that solve core problems with the consumers in focus. These designs should also stimulate economic and social prosperity.

Nowadays, more businesses depend on the ability of designers to innovate. The average designer has all the necessary resources to come up with more efficient solutions faster. Global markets can also make the distribution of these solutions faster. History has shown the significance of designers during times of social and economic pressures. In some instances, it is often recommended that designers handle these economic instabilities as a design brief. This way, the designer can approach this brief as a process, solving the problems highlighted in the course of designing the brief. This way, you don’t have to be too worked up about the looming economic uncertainties.

You can also check out Plant to learn more about the amazing features it offers to make your design process more seamless and easier.


COVID19: How Does Economic Recession Affect the Designer? was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.