The Democratization of Design: Empowering a New Wave of Creators

    Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

    Edited by Andrew Kemp
    Andrew Kemp

    Andrew joined the State of Digital Publishing team in 2021, bringing with him more than a decade and a half of editorial experience in B2B publishing. His career has spanned the technology, natural resources, financ…Read more

    The Democratization of Design_ Empowering a New Wave of Creators

    Joe joined Issuu in early 2013 after more than 20 years of leading startup/growth companies in executive, business development and product roles. He served as...Read more

    The creative world is rapidly changing, and companies can either move forward or stand still and be left behind. The myriad of digital design platforms that have emerged has driven new design standards that will help grow the industry’s global market value to $45 billion this year. And it won’t stop there.

    Demand is now growing for design to be placed back into the hands of individuals, providing software companies with the unique opportunity to supply accessible, easy-to-use products that will allow anyone to become their own creator. 

    This democratization of design ushers in a new age where anyone and everyone can be a creator, generating a new market that prioritizes the individual instead of just business. Through adapting current offerings to focus on this next generation of creators, design and publishing companies can empower individuals to tap into their creative potential.

    To understand where we’re going, though, we first need to look at where we’ve been. 

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    Current State of Creator Economy

    The creator economy is increasingly convoluted, with everyone trying to turn a profit and own their personal brand.

    Yes, some content creators are outsourcing by hiring talent managers and designers, but those who are just starting out — or have not yet monetized at scale — largely create their own content. Yet the content creation process can be both daunting and time consuming.

    In fact, a recent study of the creator economy found that 57% of content creators (PDF download) spent more than five hours per week creating content. At the same time, 32% of creators earning between $100 and $10,000 per year spend more than 10 hours per week on content creation. 

    In an effort to keep costs low and profit margins high, smaller content creators without the popularity and virality of creators such as Zach King and Tinx can’t match the professionals’ level of investment.

    While creating content has its own challenges, making sure the final product is seen is a whole new hurdle. In a recent survey of content creators, 57% said their biggest challenge was content discovery (PDF download), with content monetization a close second. Additionally, with social platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Facebook adopting similar content formats, content creators now need to post simultaneously across multiple different channels if they hope to maximize audience engagement and grow their followings.

    Overall, there’s a lot of work to be done to optimize this fast-growing industry and support creators. From content creation itself to cross-platform publishing, individuals and content creators need tools that are both accessible and easy to use to ensure their futures are bright.

    This is why there is such a need for the democratization of design.

    Democratizing Design

    When thinking about design in general, it’s important to remember that the field has gained incredible recognition in recent years, bringing with it its own set of challenges and expectations.

    We now expect great design not just from companies who either employ experienced designers or can afford to outsource to them, but also from individuals and small businesses. Everything from an online menu or a blossoming social media account, we expect to see it expertly designed.

    But the truth is, design and content publishing have largely been established in a top-down model that creates an entry barrier to those looking to become creators. This is where publishers can step in to help usher in a new age of standardization, providing opportunities to meet the rising content creation demand from individuals. 

    It’s estimated that there are more than 50 million content creators worldwide, and this number is only set to grow. There is so much opportunity for individuals to be their own creator and publisher as long as they have the right tools at their disposal.

    By optimizing current offerings to focus on this next generation, design and publishing companies can help creators easily create unique content with easy-to-use services and features, including templates and designs. In addition, these companies can help disseminate content across multiple platforms to reach their audiences via every channel. 

    The Future of Innovation

    Any innovation will doubtless bring some level of concern. After all, if everyone has access to design and dissemination tools, what will this mean for professionals?

    It’s easy to worry that a respected profession can become obsolete once the masses have the same access to tools. But this thinking greatly underestimates the potential of content and creativity. Art has no bounds.

    Democratizing design allows this field to grow, while giving design and publishing companies a unique opportunity to empower this new generation of creators. 

    Disclaimer: The views, opinions and ideas expressed in this post belong to the author/s and do not necessarily reflect those held by State of Digital Publishing.



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