Professional designer organization AIGA just released its 2021 Design Point of View report, exploring the impact of COVID-19 upon designers and work trends to watch for in a post-COVID environment.
AIGA surveyed 5,437 participants in over 100 countries to capture a snapshot of the design industry during a tumultuous and historic moment in time. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic put economic pressure on many designers, with unemployment rising to 6% from a previous level of less than 1%. Also, 4 in 10 reported a negative impact on their income, and 20% struggled to stay afloat, considering leaving the profession entirely.
“This major research initiative is an in-depth look at the design industry that allows us to get a better understanding of the profession as well as its larger impact,” said AIGA Executive Director Bennie F. Johnson in a press release. “AIGA’s goal with this new research is to build actionable insights into a dynamic profession that continues to evolve and expand in new directions. We want to know what the industry looks like today and tomorrow, and the ways in which design is transforming our world.”
Approximately half of the respondents said they volunteered their talents on community projects during the pandemic, and 60% believe design plays a role in emerging from the COVID crisis stronger.
New technologies like AI and Machine Learning, augmented and virtual reality, collaboration software, online behavior tracking and modeling, and virtual workplaces and telepresence as the top tech trends that the community believes will cause the largest impact on the design industry.
AIGA found that the issues in the design industry that still need to get addressed include pay gaps, underrepresentation in leadership specifically, and for certain groups, industry-wide. Additionally, the industry must continue to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
“What we found in this research is not only how much there is to celebrate in the design community, but also how much more needs to be done to continue creating a better community for all. These findings will help us better understand who makes up the profession and how we can create a sense of belonging for the broader design community,” added AIGA’s Chief of Insights & Learning Dr. Rubens Pessanha in the same press release.
The 2021 Design POV research was conducted with support from PepsiCo. Go here to read the report in full.