The design services landscape isn’t one that drastically changes very often. We’re not talking about design trends; those change fast and often. We’re talking about services that you would typically look to fulfill your creative needs. Think freelance marketplaces, subscription design services, creative agencies, and more.
In the last year, we’ve noticed a significant shift as companies grapple with a balance-beam economy, the rise of artificial intelligence, and an even stronger need to stand out from their competition in fragmented and saturated markets.
These changes are impacting the design services industry, forcing them to evolve or get left behind, to meet the demands of a digital-first world while preserving the very thing that makes them great: creativity.
In this blog, we’re going to explore the current state of the design services landscape and explore all of the different ways that current events may impact its evolution.
The current state of design services.
The way that we approach our creative projects hasn’t changed all that much in the last decade. Most marketers Google a service, design style, or type of project and begin their query into finding the right creative service for them.
Some choose to hire freelancers while others may choose to hire a designer permanently to their in-house team. Perhaps some marketers have the budget to spend on creative agencies, or some may prefer the ease of working with a subscription creative service.
This is all contingent on the marketer’s budget and what type of projects they need help with, but the process and the needs remain the same. Web design, social media ads, a new logo with bold colors and cool design elements, maybe a copywriter to help with SEO and blogs.
In the last few months, we’ve seen a pivotal change in the marketplace, and design services can either evolve to meet the demands of a digital age, or get left behind in the dust trails.
Emerging tech driving change.
There’s no denying that the design services landscape is undergoing a major transformation, driven by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), and the influence of virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR). All of these changes have emerged only in the last couple of years, and have gone ‘viral’ within only a few months.
These technologies are changing the way that we approach creative projects and offer new opportunities to the design services themselves, creatives, and clients. AI, for instance, offers improved efficiency, accuracy, and speed, while remote work provides increased flexibility and cost savings.
AR/VR, on the other hand, is transforming the design process by allowing designers to create more immersive and interactive experiences. However, these technologies also present new challenges and require the design services industry to evolve to meet the demands of a digital-first world.
Why this matters: Artificial intelligence and the evolution of technology in the creative world might feel like a threat to design services everywhere, but just like the carriage drivers of the old days, we need to evolve to embrace new inventions or risk getting left behind.
Remember, the smart carriage drivers learned how to drive cars and kept their jobs.
The ones who were inflexible found themselves without business or having to explore an entirely new field all together.
This is why we recommend setting your fears aside and experimenting with new technologies as they crop up.
The evolving workplace.
Tech isn’t the only area that is impacting the design industry. There has also been a complete shift in the way that we work and collaborate. One of these changes is the insane growth of remote work.
Creatives are no longer (as) interested as they once were to work in a physical office, preferring the ease and schedule autonomy that they get from working remotely. While this is extremely common–and accepted—in freelance marketplaces, tech-first design services, and design subscription services, creative agencies and in-house positions are still largely in-office.
Why this matters: Just like with the evolution of tech and the need to embrace the new, the same thing applies to the working environment. We are living in an age where employees have a louder say than ever before, and the lack of flexibility in a working environment may drive the best talent to rain their gifts on a more flexible company.
We believe that, in the next five years, remote collaboration tools will only improve, and with these improvements, more and more creatives will demand flexibility in where and when they work. While inflexible companies may attempt to supplement the loss of creative talent by using artificial intelligence, it won’t evolve fast enough to make up for the creative loss.
The future of design services.
As AI becomes more mainstream and evolves with every request, design services are likely to integrate it as a tool for you, their creatives, using it to streamline workflows and open bandwidth.
AI will not replace marketing designers or copywriters any time soon; people want content that feels like it was generated by a human and not an algorithm. However, AI is not going anywhere any time soon and design services should train their team on best practices and how to use it to their advantage.
As far as collaboration and the work environment, we’ll likely see more fully remote creative services slowly swallow in-house design teams and pricey creative agencies. We’re already witnessing the latter as companies slash their creative departments.
Those creatives will likely choose to either freelance or join a remote team where they won’t have to be afraid of losing their jobs. These design platforms are where marketers will turn to fill the gap that the loss of their in-house teams left.
Another thing to note is that more and more design services will become tech-enabled platforms that allow clients to manage almost every aspect of their project right from their computer or phone screens.
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It’s time to shake hands with the future.
The future of design services is poised for exciting changes and growth. From the rise of artificial intelligence and automation to the increasing emphasis on remote work and accessibility, these trends are shaping the way businesses and designers approach their craft.
As we move forward, it's important for creatives to stay up to date on these advancements and understand how they can leverage them to deliver high-quality and innovative design solutions for their clients.
By embracing new technologies, a new way of collaborating, staying flexible, creatives can ensure their value and help drive the industry forward into an exciting new era.