Positioning Yourself for Success in the New Economy
Angela E. Yeh, IDSA, president, Yeh IDeology
There’s no question that America and the world is in the midst of an extremely challenging
economic time and as a result it is having a deep impact on the job market. Every business
sector has been hit, including the field of industrial design.
During the past two recessions, in 1990-91 and in 2001, the industrial design industry halted with
very little to no business; hiring was at a standstill. Both of those times design was perceived by
the business world as a secondary priority after business strategies were planned out. It took a
couple of years for hiring to reactivate after the initial hits.
Today, there’s a slight shift in pattern. Every business market out there is becoming aware of the
importance and full value of industrial design, beyond just aesthetics. More and more, top
corporations are reaching out to the ID community to give them an edge over their competitors,
whether it be by reevaluating business solutions through design research and strategy, taking a
holistic approach to new product development, or reengineering established systems for
marketing and innovation.
This time around we are witnessing businesses leverage design as a primary resource for longterm
strategic growth. After a momentary pause of reassessment, companies are reinvesting in
design earlier in their planning process and hiring judiciously.
As design professionals, we can each take part in the potential opportunity that lies ahead for the
ID industry. Whether you have been in the industry 15+ years, 5 years or are just graduating,
there is a range of factors that you should consider in order to ensure your career success.