The State of Designers Immigrants

All the data you’re about to see is the result of an informal research I decided to do after publishing a podcast where I interview Brazilian designers living in the USA. There are some important points to clarify before you go through the slides below:

  1. Since I don’t have a huge list of followers, and this is a very niche group of people, I consider 94 responses a big achievement for the project. Big thanks to everybody who shared the survey. 🙌
  2. Based on survey guidelines, I’d need 90 answers to validate a survey of a population size of 1.000, I got a little bit more than that, which gives us a good number to paint a picture of where these designers immigrants are and what they are doing.
  3. I believe there is no lack of information for English speakers, so I try to help designers by producing content mainly in Portuguese and sometimes in Italian, which certainly affected some of the answers, ie: country of origin and language.
  4. There were no required answers, some of them were multiple choice and some not, this will also affect the final numbers (not always adding to 94)
  5. Answers came from 35 different countries! 🌐 😃
  6. I’ll keep the survey opened, so we can (maybe) review these numbers in the future.

Last but not least, being an immigrant is always hard, even though among all types of immigrants we must consider us pretty lucky. We chose the industry we wanted to work for, we love what we do, we live legally in the country we chose to live, but still, we have to adapt to a different culture, deal with all the bureaucracy for visas, contracts, all granted things for natives, put on top of that the fact that you need to communicate in a new language and all the nuances that comes with it (here is a very nice article written by Fabricio Teixeira on this topic).

I can clearly recall all the times I was about to give up, I migrated two times to two different countries, I felt bullied, alone, tired, but as you will see, we’re lucky to meet good people in the places we work (check the difference below on the responses about discrimination in and out of the work environment), and they certainly make our lives better, so thanks to all of you who understand all the struggles an immigrant goes through 🙇, and for you who is still trying to “make it”, don’t give up easily, as one of the survey options say — the world is too big to born and die at the same place — but even if you do decide to go back, it will be an unforgettable adventure that will for sure turn you in a better person. 👊










It's really interesting to see the exact opposite answer as the reason to go back to their native country, "I don't fit anymore" basically means that all the aspects that make us French, Italian, German, Brazilian, Spanish, Turkish, etc… were removed from our "roots", which gives room to absorb new habits, rules and a new culture, making them a stranger in their own country.


I included the last one "I Design, therefore I'm a Designer, period" because I wanted to see if respondents would connect with the idea that designers should solve problems, leaving aside the different mediums and specializations.


gorgeous slide :)




Hope you liked, feel free to send me suggestions, corrections, did I miss something important? I know there are a lot of designers immigrants out there that didn't participate in this survey, maybe you can help to reach them by sharing this post or just giving some claps :)

Thank you! Grazie! Obrigado! Gracias! Merci! Danke! 谢谢!, 고맙습니다!, ありがとうございました …


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What is your country of origin?
Brazil — 25
Italy — 5
UK — 5
Colombia — 4
Australia — 4
Romania — 4
Indonesia — 3
Netherlands — 3
Spain — 3
Belarus — 2
China — 2
France — 2
South Korea — 2
Russia — 2
Portugal — 2
Ukraine — 2
Taiwan — 2
Belgium — 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina — 1
Canada — 1
Czech Republic — 1
Dominican Republic — 1
Egypt — 1
Estonia — 1
Germany — 1
India — 1
Israel — 1
Kuwait — 1
Mexico — 1
New Zealand — 1
Pakistan — 1
Philippines — 1
Slovakia — 1
South Africa — 1
Thailand — 1

What country are you currently living in?
USA — 36
UK — 12
Germany — 6
Canada — 4
Netherlands — 4
China — 3
Ireland — 3
Singapore — 3
Spain — 3
Sweden — 3
Mexico — 2
Switzerland — 2
Australia — 1
Austria — 1
Belgium — 1
Brazil — 1
France — 1
Greece — 1
Iceland — 1
Italy — 1
Japan — 1
Poland — 1
Turkey — 1
United Arab Emirates — 1

For how long have you been living in this country?
Less than 1 year — 13
1 year — 4
2 years — 9
3 years — 15
4 years — 10
5 years — 10
6 years — 8
7 years — 7
8 years — 3
9 years — 2
10 years — 6
+10 years — 6

How old are you?
Youngest 20 years old
Oldest 46 years old

What language(s) do you speak? (Multiple choice)
English — 92
Portuguese — 28
Spanish — 27
Italian — 10
German — 10
French — 9
Chinese — 6
Dutch — 5
Russian — 4
Japanese — 3
Korean — 2
Hebrew — 2
Arabic — 2
Swedish — 1
Thai — 1
Hindi — 1
Catalan — 1
Croatian — 1
Hungarian — 1
Hurdu — 1
Romanian — 1
Ukrainian — 1
Indonesian — 1
Slovak — 1
Bahasa — 1

How do you feel about living in another country?
Great — 48
Good — 33
It’s ok — 13
Nobody mention “terrible” experience

What was the main reason you decided to left your country of origin? (Multiple choice)
Work Opportunities — 71
Life Experience — 48
Life experience, Just trying something different, the world is too big to born and die at the same place — 36
Better pay — 26
Study — 24
Other — 13
One answer was WAR

Whats the one thing that you miss the most from your native country? (Multiple choice)
Family — 72
Friends — 54
Food — 34
Culture — 29
Weather — 17
Dog/Cat — 9
Social safety net, healthcare, education, lack of gun violence, lack of Trump — 1

Do you plan to go back to your country of origin? (For once, not considering vacation time or temporary visits)
No — 56
Yes — 38

Whats your job title?
App designer
Art Director
Lead Designer
Associate Design Director
Creative Director
Design Advisor
Design Director
Designer
Digital Asset Lead
Digital Product Designer
Director of Product Design
Director of User Experience
Ecommerce Product Manager
Experience/Exhibit Designer
Freelancer
Graphic and motion designer
Graphic designer
Head of Design
Interaction architect
Interaction Designer
Lead Product Designer
Partner
Principal Designer
Product Design Manager
UI Designer
UI Expert
UI/UX Designer
UX Designer
Service Design Lead
Product Designer
Strategic Designer
Visual Designer
VP of Design

What type of designer are you? (Multiple choice)
UX/UI Designer — 62
Product Designer — 57
I Design, therefore I’m a designer, period. — 29
Graphic Designer — 25
Brand Designer — 12
Editorial Designer — 5

For how long have you been working as a designer?
0–3 years — 5
3–5 years — 11
5–7 years — 14
7–10 years — 27
10–15 years — 21
+15 years — 16

How did you find work abroad?
Applied online — 29
Recruiter reached out — 19
Networking through friends, old work colleague, social media…

Are you the only designer immigrant in your team?
No — 63
Yes — 28

Do you feel any sort of discrimination at work?
No — 78
Yes — 8

What about outside your work, doing normal things, such as going to doctor’s appointments, post office, stores…?
No — 61
Yes — 24