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Should designers export?

Whether times are good or bad, it’s always worth developing international business and now is a good time to be considering just that. Whatever the current uncertainties, there are still many opportunities for exporting and these are bolstered by the current favourable exchange rate.

UK designers have a lot going for them. The UK has a long-standing reputation as a centre of design excellence and innovation. UK design is seen as being passionately creative and eclectic, placing a high value on independent self-expression and judgement. It is known as highly professional and results-focused with a strong track record in delivering design-based services to commercial partners. And UK designers are skilled at working in multi-disciplinary teams and participating in creative/technical-scientific collaboration.

Europe and the United States are currently the major markets in which UK designers are operating, but there is growing interest in Asia, especially China, and in the Middle East. These markets are continuing to expand and their appetite for good design is developing all the time. In Asia product design, retail interiors and branding are most in demand. In the Middle East it’s branding, communication and interior design.

But this is not a quick fix. Many markets take years to understand and develop and companies have to devote time and resources to establish a presence. It’s worth finding out about the help available from the newly-formed Department for International Trade which operates both with specialist advisers in the UK and with commercial staff in British embassies around the world. There is also useful information from the Creative Industries Council.

Many companies have found that working for an overseas client makes them more competitive overall as it forces them to refine their offer, to really think about points of differentiation and how they present themselves. So for those companies not yet exporting now could well be the time to start doing so.

About: Andrew Summers

Andrew works as chairman, board member and advisor to companies and governments worldwide with an emphasis on strategy and innovation.

He was awarded the CMG for his contribution to international business and design.

Working internationally

exportThinking of exporting your design services overseas? Or already exporting but looking for new market information or strategy advice?

To make it easier for you to navigate the wealth of information available to exporters, we’ve pulled together the key details and advice relevant to the design industry and included signposting to further information and contacts.

What’s included?

2. First steps to exporting

3. Developing an export strategy

4. Leveraging reputation

5. Culture and language

6. Payment essentials
7. Exporting support and contacts
8. Design business case studies and guidance
9. Country guides and contact details

Image credits: © Roncivil | © Stocksnapper


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