There’s a romantic mythology around certain cities. In fact, all you have to do is mention them, and a thousand images are conjured up in your brain, the product of decades of history and popular culture references. Paris. Milan. London. Rio de Janeiro. New York. No matter where you live, you’ve likely heard of these places, and you know exactly what they are famous for.
But which cities (or countries) are best suited for professional designers? Where can designers have access to the most potential clients, a great culture of design appreciation, and all the other accommodations that creative professionals need?
The question today is: where in the world should designers work? Let’s survey the options.
Recommended Reading: How To Become A High-Demand Designer (And Get The Good Clients)
Home Is Where The Designer Is
The best place to work, hands down, for most designers, is wherever you feel “at home.” When a creative professional is grounded in a place, surrounded by inspiring people, places, and things, they are compelled to use this environment in the most productive way possible. You can “absorb” all the best, most inspiring things about your environment like a sponge, channeling them into more innovative designs.
Another thing to consider is the design community that exists wherever you choose to settle down. Are there many design professionals and organizations around you? This can either be a bad thing (“I need to move to a place with more designers!”), or a good thing (“I can be a trendsetter in this part of the world, yay!”). It’s up to you to decide what your priorities are as a designer, and whether or not you need to be in a “high design” or a “low design” area to produce your best work and find the most awesome clients.
Shaking It Up
For a certain minority of the world’s population, feeling “at home” is a negative thing, rather than a positive. These folks may feel a strong pull to be constantly on the move, and if they’re designers, that means packing up and roaming the globe in search of the next new source of inspiration.
If you find your greatest inspiration in Berlin for awhile, then decide you need to move to Vancouver, Tokyo, Sao Paolo, Sydney, or somewhere else, don’t ignore the pull of your design muse to pack up and go. It all depends on how you feel about the unique personality and culture of a city.
Read Also: How To Keep Your Design Skills Fresh
Networking From The North Pole?
Well, sure, why not? After all, the internet has brought the entire world virtually at everyone’s fingertips. More people are connected online than ever before, and the need to physically travel to a certain location because there is a larger community of creative professionals there is decreasing massively.
With Skype, social media, and email, just about any designer can work from anywhere in the world. It may take a bit more creativity to fashion just the kind of working life you want, but hey – you’re a designer. It’s your job to be creative!
Where The “Hot Spots” Are
There are some cities which are traditionally considered “designy” types of places – cities which embrace design on perhaps a greater level than others. New York City, Berlin, London, Tokyo, and Stockholm are among the more famous of these “design cities.”
There might be a larger design community living there, which provides greater opportunities for in-person networking (which, despite the popularity of the internet, is still very important to a designer’s career). Also, there are plenty of other cultural events going on in other creative fields – art shows, theatre performances, independent filmmaking, et cetera – that will undoubtedly give you plenty of inspiration for your design work.
But that’s not to say the rest of the world is simply uninformed when it comes to design. There are plenty of cities and countries with emerging design trends, which are busy incubating their own superstar designers. Also, it depends on your taste and your cultural expectations when it comes to great design. You may be from, say, a cultural background which is ambivalent about modern, European-influenced design, and may prefer the burgeoning design hot spots of Asia, Africa, or South America.
Read Also: Developing Good Taste In Design
Design Is Everywhere
Design is all around us. After all, everything that has made our lives better is due to someone designing a solution to a common problem. In that respect, every place needs designers, and potentially any place can be an ideal incubator for creativity and inspiration. There may be some obstacles that you will need to overcome in smaller or less well known places, but it can certainly be done, and you can enjoy a fulfilling career pretty much from anywhere.
In the end, don’t worry too much about your location. Again, your job as a designer is to improve people’s lives – and you can (and should) do that from anywhere in the world.
What Do You Think?
Where in the world do you live and create? How does the city you live in influence your design work and your career mobility?