Graphic design is just a luxury in some parts of the world, and this makes me sad.
I’ve just returned from a trip to Europe and it’s fascinating to see how design and marketing are used in other cultures. Large cities like London are pretty much in line with here in Melbourne, but visit a small town in Italy and you’d be pressed to find anything that looks like it’s been created by a professional designer. Having spent all my life in Melbourne, I took it for granted that we can make a living by doing what we’re passionate about. In other parts of the world, people aren’t so lucky.
I have so many creative and talented cousins in Malta who have to work other jobs and produce art as a ‘hobby’ because there’s simply no demand for their craft.
It’s a world that’s difficult for me to comprehend. To me, graphic design is vital, not just visually but strategically. Having a strong brand identity, powerful online presence and marketing strategy is the mantra I deliver to all my clients. It may just be the 21st Century Gen Y-er in me talking, but when I walked past these places all I could think was “if they posted on Instagram they’d make a killing” or “why don’t they have a website?!”. True, you can run a successful business without an ounce of design, but you will be limited. I suppose it all boils down to where in the world you are. Joe’s fish restaurant in will survive in Malta purely off local and tourist traffic, but move his restaurant to Darling Harbour, Sydney, and Joe will need a marketing strategy to deal with the competition.
So I mustn’t take it personally that some places overlook design. Every city, every industry and every business is different, so it’s important to do what works for you.