Saturday, May 16, 2009

Designing Young Women Are Big Shots These Days

Find out how animal spirits (instincts) can turn into a viable business by capturing Kay S. Hymowitz's elaborately written article, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Businesswoman," for the City Journal, April 2009.

Here's an excerpt:
It’s no coincidence that these designers are all female. The design economy has been a boon for women. In the 1960s, says Eric Baker, graphic design was a closed fraternity; there were few women in art departments or design studios, just as there were few in law offices or on factory floors. Today, by contrast, women constitute 60 percent of design-school students, and design studios are full of them. (The technology-based areas of Big Design are still largely male, however.) It may be that the design sector suits women particularly well. As the management maven Tom Peters notes, “Women buy most stuff, hence women should design most stuff.” Plus, as Daniel Pink points out in A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World, some recent neuroscience suggests that women may be stronger on a range of right-brain talents—empathy, emotion, and sensitivity to beauty—that serve them well in the design economy.

Because designers tend to be independent-minded, they gravitate toward entrepreneurship, as do women these days. According to the Labor Department Occupational Outlook Handbook for this year, 25 percent of graphic designers are self-employed, as are 30 percent of industrial or commercial designers. There’s no way to know what proportion are women, but it’s a good guess that it’s high. The Center for Women’s Business Research finds that nearly half of all U.S. businesses are female-owned; women start ventures at twice the rate of men. On the website Etsy, a kind of eBay for indie craftspeople to hawk their wares, 95 percent of the 185,000 artists are women, with an average age of 33. True, they’re primarily stay-at-home moms and college students looking to supplement their income rather than make a full-time living, but some of those 185,000 will become the next Sarah Cihats and Jill Maleks.

What are Big Design’s future prospects? ...
Note: Design pictured above is that of Sarah Cihat.

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