As a reply to Martin Lowe’s letter on hard selling versus creativity (DW 16 April), here’s a snippet from an article in the Italian press.
Tucker Viemeister (ex-Smart, ex-Frog) states in the March/April issue of Modo that Bruce Nussbaum of Business Week has predicted that “(in the future) just six design studios would survive : Samsung-Ideo, all china Ziba, Pininfarina-Continuum, RitaSue Dreyfuss, Fitch-GVO-Lunar-Sunberg, Herbst & Teague and Smart-Frog”.
April fool or not, it’s clear that competition is putting the squeeze on smaller design groups. It is neither simply a question of scale or of logistics. Where it’s clear that two guys running a floor of G3’s in the back-bedroom can run head to head with the biggest players on graphics and multimedia projects, the question is, if you look at the end results, where’s the advantage? Ground breaking work, more personal responses to niche markets or simply smaller fees?
Try this for a parallel: at this year’s Milan fair, the “official” halls were again dominated by the same “star” companies, with the onus on beautifully executed pieces with exquisite finishing. In contrast, the Young Designers hall showed more creative pieces which were generally more innovative and more varied.
As Milan inadvertently points out by default, there’s room for both the major player and the little guy, as long as the latter plays by his own rules.