Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

What Will Change In The Creative Industries After 2020?

Note to students and young professionals

Nandita Abraham
Jan 10 · 6 min read

The Creative Industries: Design, fashion, communication, media and all innovative businesses have been looked at by students and young graduates with great interest. These are careers that promise excitement, purpose, travel, self-fulfilment and money. Working with design and media students for the last twenty years, I have seen gradual changes in the industry and worked to readjust classroom learning accordingly. 2020 has been different. In 2020 we saw radical shifts like never before. Shifts in the way we approach, create and consume design, fashion and media. Disruption and chaos all around.

Many young people ask me: Will the creative industries die or become less important? What has changed? What will stay changed? How can we prepare ourselves to be successful in the new normal? Who is responsible for growing and evolving the industry? These are some of the questions you will find an answer to in this post.

Media and communication industries are growing the world over. Entertainment, Games, E-sports, User Experience, Space Design, Internet of Things, Interactive Products, Moving Images are innovating rapidly. Creativity and Design are identified as clear skills essential not only in their industries but also in all industries across the board. Designers are being called upon to work in consulting companies looking at solving products and services, systems, etc. The industry will flourish, the jobs you do may change, you will have to be resilient and adaptive to learning new skills, but 100% there will be super exciting things for you to do.

Here are some changes that have already started trending and will take full form over the next two years:

a. Everything Digital
Software and digital interfaces to create, to communicate, to experience to market and design. Online interactions, digital sampling, 3-D views, digital events, walkthrough experiences, are here to stay. Augmented and virtual reality, avatars, digital badges and a whole simulation of life online.

b. Careers in Content
There is increased consumption and influence of digital content, both visual and written. Careers in content creation, curation and management will become way more lucrative and exciting in the future. Bloggers, vloggers, photo bloggers, video content creators, ad films, fashion films, influencers, to name a few.

c. Health is Wealth
Physical and mental well-being are vital trends both for today and the future. Design and Design thinking around health services, apps, products, naturopathy, fabric finishes and health trackers will be central to our concerns even after the pandemic. Simultaneously, a whole slew of well-being services like counselling, meditation, yoga, coaching and various therapies will gain importance. A lot of this will be conducted online.

d. Technology Centred Products and Fashion
The internet of things and our way of living will include more and more experiences with products and services embedded with technology. Applications to improve nearly everything will be available. Wired clothing for different climates and body shapes, doctors, the army, people with disabilities and sportspeople.

e. AI as a Designer/Creator
The amount of data that AI centres are collecting is already equipping them to churn out products based on consumers’ preferences and usage. Logos and communication are also AI-led. This will continue to happen, and designers and creators may have to explore collaborating with AI for magic. Scripts could be AI-created, experiences AI designed.

f. Consciousness
Through the pandemic, one of the mind shifts we have seen is that people have become more conscious. Conscious of what they consume, how much, where they buy from, where their product was made, what raw materials etc. Sustainability, sustainable design and processes have become more critical than ever before and will stay.

g. Micro designers and entrepreneurs
With the breakdown of large retail formats and digital ways to reach your consumer like Instagram, there will be an increased number of smaller entrepreneur designers. This democratisation of design will benefit conceptual designers and those with new innovative ideas. The consumer too, will lookout for a designer who matches his values and aesthetics

f. Everything Designed
Yes, all industries are looking at Design and creativity as core differentiators for their work. IT, hospitality, infrastructure, health, governance, systems all are beginning to be a canvas for Design.

This is an opportune time for young people to reset their expectations and prepare themselves for the times ahead. It is not enough to have a college degree, even if it is in design or fashion of media. You will not be judged based on the degree but on what you can do.

As per the world economic forum, the top skills required in the future are analytical thinking and innovation, active learning, complex problem solving, creativity, originality and initiative. Skills that will become more important are new technologies, adaptiveness and agility. Multidisciplinarity, collaboration with people from other areas and communication are critical as you go along.

You will have to reflect and see what kind of a creative you would like to be, which of these skills you would like to hone and how. This is an excellent opportunity for you to really look at what is important to you. Look at the changes in the industry. See how you can build your experience and your portfolio. Differentiate yourself and create your own brand name.

a. Learn something online
There are multiple sites, many of them free where you can learn more. Do these courses to learn more, not just for certification. Learn about AR, VR. AI. ML. Try Coursera, IBM, Lynda.com

b. Identify and follow attractive role models
Look at what others are doing the world over. These may be designers, influencers, futurists, thinkers. Anyone who could inspire you through their work and viewpoints.

c. Keep abreast of changes in the world
Changes don’t have to be in Design but anything you are interested in; music, gaming, gardening, UI, speculation. Attend talks, conferences, concerts, international design awards, places where you will see more and hear new ideas.

d. Grab any opportunity to do multidisciplinary projects
Network as much as possible and look for opportunities to participate in hackathons and other projects where people are looking for interested people to work with. Do them. You will meet people from different disciplines, learn from them, and create something unique that no one else will have.

e. Learn to tell your story well
This is very important. Creating or telling your story is like a performance. It has to wow people, have an intense journey and a takeaway that makes you and your work special.

As a creative individual approach each situation, each problem, looking at the possibilities. Don’t treat anything as ordinary. Take every opportunity now, it doesn’t matter if it is a lockdown. Life goes on, and it is not waiting for anyone. Create your network; meet as many people as possible. Ask questions. Learn new things.

Also, get some help yourself. Get a counsellor, find a mentor who understands you and will encourage you to push your boundaries. Create a support group of positive like-minded people who will not judge you.

Keep learning, keep working. Freelance. Freelance for free — you never know when you will meet someone or get an opportunity that will change your life. Remember these are extraordinary times and its very special to be a part of these times.
You are the Covid Creatives!
Your skills are the envy of many. You are responsible for your success. If you can manage yourself, manage your learning, manage your mindset — you will create a path and career that is robust and full of possibilities.

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