So you’ve done 4 years at university – you’ve graduated and are now ready to launch yourself into the world as a textile designer. Mmm, perhaps not, it would seem that what we’ve been told about our future career is wrong. That leaving uni and getting that 9 – 5 design job perhaps is no longer the norm. So what has changed over the years. C 19th Great Britain was once known as The Workshop of the World especially in the world of textiles, where new engineering created a way to mass produce goods for the market both at home and abroad. Design was huge with railways, bridges and ceramics being just some of the major things which shaped and financed our country then. The population was growing and families were large, most people were earning and able to buy, especially in the prosperous manufacturing towns. The century was to become known as the ‘consumer revolution’ where the different social classes could purchase similar basic items. In the C 20th work was available for most people and manufacturing was still strong but now a lot of our basic things were being created abroad where costs were lower. Two World Wars greatly affected Great Britain. During both, women had begun to have a voice and replaced men in the workforce opening up opportunities away from domestic service, they too were earning now although not on the same scale as men. They were doing jobs never imagined before.
By 1945 Britain needed rebuilding, population was on the increase again probably because of an increased knowledge in medical science and also large-scale immigration. Lifestyle expectations were greatly increased and the Baby Boomers as they termed the generation born 1946 – 1964, were amongst the first to experience Transistor radios, Rock and Roll and TV. This was the era of free love, the 60’s, fashion and pop-culture. By 1965 changes were happening very quickly. The Generation X population were being born, those who would be bought up with music on the radio, on record players and TV – MTV. The baby boomers and Generation X were to go on to create Generation Y born 1977 – 1997 also known as the Net Generation and this is probably where all ‘normal’ career expectations that their parents talk about, change. Where their parents were bought up with typewriters and dial telephones and fumbled around with new technology as it was introduced, these 20 somethings are able to multi task with the various technologies, they have a better switching ability with a better working memory, they are digital natives. The Boomers and Gen. X would probably expect to work 8 hours a day 5 days a week and work in employment for which they trained, for our new Net Generation this expectation looks like it will be the exception. They will connect with work, with virtual offices becoming the norm. Designers could use their skills through designing services as SNOOK are doing.
This talk from Don Tapscott ‘Grown up Digital – The Net Generation and the Transformation of Learning’ will change your views on the Net Generation and the future looks very exciting on how they may shape the future – it’s probably one of the most interesting lectures you’ll hear on the net.
So what happens now, the Baby Boomers are now either retired or coming up for retirement. No longer seen as old and wrinkly, myself included, we’re embracing change and tackling new challenges. Those in the public eye are seen as style icons …..
getting leading roles in some of the top movies and of course there are the rock stars who are all making a come back and being loved by a new generation.
This population is now out numbering the under 16’s and yet those in design are still creating for a generation of youth so perhaps using the statistics available we can begin to reach and market ourselves to the correct clientele.
This is when we have to really think about reaching out to the people who we want to create for, to quote the youngest ever CEO in the UK Emma Walker of Craft Scotland we have to know our target audience. And Emma certainly knows how to reach an audience, in just three years she has taken scottish craft from an insular market to a worldwide audience – with incredible success recently, at The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. We have to market ourselves at all times, where ever Emma goes she champions Craft Scotland – wearing her C word badge at all times and this sparks conversation. But she also suggests we become like Sherlock getting to know our audience from the moment we first meet. We are surrounded by our audience daily whether friends or strangers and the people we speak to everyday through online resources or face to face so creating a brand is really important – this was spoken about by Jonathan Baldwin in my second year Design Studies and I have given a lot of thought to this already with business cards and an online presence here and through twitter and Linkedin. Now I have to keep designing and hopefully make some awesome designs.