During my last season as an office zombie, I worked in my spare time with a graphic designer (former uni mate) to start a small graphic design business. The plan was to be a graphic designer-copy writer team, and the business idea looked like an exciting potential ticket out of the never ending cycle of bad days in the office.
However, because the office job bored every sparkle of energy out of me (I slept most of the time when I was not at work), the planning and establishment phase progressed slowly. Then I quit.
I suppose it was also a good excuse to forget about workplaces for a little while. I was not eager to enter a new work depression.
So we spent the autumn brainstorming, planning and formally establishing the business, and then we tried to market ourselves.
The market for creative services in Australia
Graphic design/copy writing/creative services is a wildly fragmented industry because anyone with a graphic design degree can provide creative services as an independent business, and many do. There are no prohibitive start-up costs and difficult requirements, all that’s needed is a a good computer and relevant software.
So small independent graphic designers fill up the horizon, all tail wagging to get small projects. Some of them don’t seem talented, but they seem to survive on a cheapskate market of small businesses with low visual standards. Others have stunning websites and portfolios. For the big clients, there are the established cool design studios that can charge a premium price.
We tried to gauge the competition and their offers by using business registers to find their websites and then research them, but there were just to many of them to get an overview. Prices were all over the place. All the good ones are capable of looking busier and bigger than they really are because this is the visual illusion industry, and it is very hard to assess how active they really are.