Scarrott pulled out a few insights, and suggested some actions. One of the points he made was that many designers don’t have the basic business skills they need.
He cited the example of one designer who, in a bid to work out their rates, asked their mum to phone around other agencies to find out what they charged.
Scarrott’s point was possibly a bit of a generalisation (and the example certainly shows a good level of creativity and inventiveness) but it does highlight a serious issue.
Something I’ve heard countless times over the past few years from both graduate designers and their employers is that design schools don’t teach business sense.
This means that every summer, thousands of wide-eyed young designers emerge from universities with (hopefully) bulging portfolios and (ideally) a brain full of ideas, but with absolutely no understanding of design as a business.
As one commentator said on our story, ‘I’m coming to the end of a four-year degree in product design and we’ve not been told a single thing about the business of design or “how much we’re worth”.’
Again, this sounds like a bit of a generalisation, and there must be colleges out there that are preparing their students for the world of work, for example through placements or by inviting practising designers in to speak.
But is it happening enough? Not by the sound of it.