Things on the ground are looking up, but an increasing number of small agencies are chasing tighter budgets. Meanwhile designers have to skill-up and work across boundaries. Digit reviewed the surveys and spoke to people at the top and bottom of the industry to bring you the state of the nation in 2005.

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“I think the industry’s doing much, much better now. Everyone was affected by the dotcom meltdown, not only our agencies but our clients too. But over the past 12-18 months a much greater sense of optimism has developed.” Sue Thexton, deputy chair of the interactive entertainment committee at BAFTA, and ex-European vice president for Macromedia is on a roll – and she’s intent on taking the whole digital design and content industry with her.
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“What has changed is there is a general acceptance that the interactive element in a campaign, whereas before it was an add-on, is now a given.”
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Thexton is fairly representative of what the digital design industry is feeling as we sail into 2005. 
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<div class=inlineimage><img src=Job titleJunior
(0-2 years’ experience)Middleweight
(3-7 years’ experience)Senior
(eight years plus)Artworker £18,400 (£19,500)£23,200 (£23,900)£28,500 (£27,500)Graphic Designer£21,000 (£20,300)£25,900 (£25,200)£32,500 (£30,100)Web Designer£20,100 (£23,700)£24,400 (£25,900)£32,900 (£30,800)Flash designers:£20,000£30,000£40,000By the hour please
Freelance designers charge £35-£50 per hour.
Agencies charge £65 to £120 for the principle according to the BDI.Source: Corps Business Salary Survey 2004 (Figure in brackets is candidate's expectation)

AGENCIES WORKING IN EACH SECTOR
00/0101/0202/0303/04
Branding and Graphics1,9002,0222,5592,611
New Media1,2361,4982,3542,357
TV, film and video228491750774

TEACHER, LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE
20002001200220032004
Female16.517.718.82122.9
Male11.511.812.414.014.4
Total2829.531.23537.7
Graduates of UK creative arts and design courses (thousands)
(Higher Education Statistics Agency, Jan 2005)

Flash in the pan

“Flash is booming,” says Corps Business, who run training courses in digital design software applications. In 2003 they ran 46 training courses in Flash, in 2004 that shot up to 264 – an increase of 575 per cent. Dreamweaver courses also surged from 77 to 180 courses, and InDesign leapt from 64 to 172. In contrast poor old PageMaker sunk out from four courses to zero.

What’s driving this thirst for training? Graphic designers training up in Web design skills, says Corps.

Who does what

Agencies offering graphic design: 2,611
Agencies offering multimedia/new media: 2,357
Agencies working in TV, film & video: 774
(British Design Industry valuation survey 2004)

UK design agencies

Number of agencies: 4,000
Total employed: 70,000
Percentage employing ten people or less: 70

Industry money 2004

Turnover: down in 2003/4 by £1.4bn to £3.9bn (-26 per cent)
Fees: down by £500m to £3.1bn
Overseas income: down by £100m
London market share: down by £400m to £2.2bn
(56 per cent of the industry turnover)
(British Design Industry valuation survey 2004)

Employment by industry

Graphics and branding: 45,500
Web and Internet: 33,900
Offline multimedia: 9,800
Electronic games: 9,400
Post production: 6,000
2D/3D animation: 2,100
Digital special effects: 700
Total: 107,400
(Skillset Census 2004 combined with BDI Survey 2004)

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<h2>Dick Powell</h2>
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<b>Seymour Powell, D&AD President Elect</b> <BR>
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.seymourpowell.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.seymourpowell.com</a>, <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.dandad.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.dandad.com</a>
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“I would say we are cautiously optimistic about the state of the design industry in Britain today. 
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“We’re in the middle of a period of change and have been in it for a while and we don’t yet know where we’re coming out. Much of the manufacturing in this country has gone to China. It’s a myth peddled by the government that the creative and innovative skills will continue to prosper here. <BR>
But, it’s ridiculous to imagine that the Chinese won’t be able to match our creative industries – they’re already doing it.
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“It’s analogous to what Japan did after the War in 30-35 years, what Korea did in ten years – China is doing it in three or four.
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“Yes, that scares us a great deal. It’s happening in my arena – mass-produced consumer products – but it will happen in all areas of design eventually too. But there is always a cultural dimension – we will always need designers who understand and interpret the culture of local markets. It is also providing opportunities for many UK creative companies to work with China and also in China.
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“We’ll see a continuing blurring of boundaries in hardware and software. One of the reasons Apple is so good is because they have hit home on integration. They design the software and the hardware and as a result are miles ahead on usability.”
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“Designers are a desperately underpaid lot – very few make money in this industry. Yes, you can make a decent living but we all do it because it’s creatively rewarding and we can make a difference.<BR>
“Design is a bridge between art and commerce, between culture and industry, that’s what we do. We’re not artists, but you can never let go of the artistic and cultural side of what we do.”
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