This has been an incredibly busy year judging by the feedback we've heard from members. The profession is humming along at an incredible pace. The message is coming back consistently from designers, fabricators and vendors. It’s been growing over the past two years and the sentiment seems to be that the momentum is still accelerating. We are also either on the brink of uncertain political times over the next few years or lifting our eyes once again towards the heavens and being inspired by listening to Elon Musk's plans to colonize Mars.Either way, things look to get even more exciting for us in the next few years!
The good news is not only about space exploration. Experiential graphic design is entering a new age of growth of its own! Firms are starting to make big investments. Firm leaders are betting bigger on developing new teams, employing new senior level team leaders, developing in-house digital skills and making large capital investments in new facilities and equipment. The biggest challenge is finding trained mid/senior level people to support the growth. That is rapidly becoming a national economic challenge, but is probably felt even more sharply because of the size of our profession. SEGD continues to provide strong support for students and young designers to enter the field with more support coming on line in the fourth quarter.
SEGD is also moving in lockstep with your successes. This is another strong year with a predicted 15% growth. The third quarter was highlighted by a very successful SEGD Exhibition + Experience event. We have now completed one cycle through the new two-year education events format and it is working well. The goal is to ensure that we can gather various sub-communities that SEGD represents around the practice areas of wayfinding, exhibition design, branded environments, digital integration and innovation for a concentrated networking and learning experience at our educational events. The conference remains the opportunity for the SEGD community to get together, recharge your batteries and be inspired by practitioners, projects and the inspiring placemaking of a new city every year. There has been strong attendance at the events this year, despite how busy everyone is. E+E drew 150+ people in Washington and produced some exceptional talks that are now free to members on SEGD Talks!
The third quarter saw the launch of the new SEGD16 annual of excellence, which highlights the 2016 SEGD Excellence and 2016 Global Design Awards winners. We have seen the Annual popping up in social feeds from many of our members and hope that you enjoyed the new format.
Over the past four years we have met almost all of our targets: growing SEGD in financial stability, event attendance, membership, awareness, reach and new relevant content for the profession through the website. Literally hundreds of thousands of new visitors are finding experiential graphic design due to the search optimization and content creation work done over this period. All of this is great news in terms of the "What's in it for me?" side of the equation. "What's in it for you?" was an important issue we have been addressing since 2013 in order to ensure that SEGD becomes more relevant and valuable for the membership. A lot of content and positive results have been generated since then to help connect designers to clients, fabricators to designers and vendors to designers and fabricators on the website. We are now producing over 4,000 outbound links to firm websites every month. During this past quarter, we implemented a powerful new tool called Leadfeederto understand our visitors’ behavior on segd.org. The picture we are seeing has been insightful. Seeing visitors searching for firms, especially city and government entities really proves our initial insight that we have many visitors wanting to connect to designers and firms on segd.organd our actions to enable those connections on segd.org are paying off. Think about it as the activation of the virtual networking side of SEGD!
SEGD will continue to build value for members through strong, agreed-upon plans over the next few years.
Your association is in a great place, with the community growing steadily, though not nearly fast enough to significantly change our benefits yet! Awareness of experiential graphic design and recognition of the term itself is well aligned with the major shift of the US economy from a services economy towards an experience economy. Xlab, the event that profiles the way that the community is using cutting edge technologies to connect people and place through new experiences is coming up on October 27-28 in New York City. We look forward to seeing you all there.
Like the profession, SEGD needs to take the next steps to build on the solid foundations established over the past four years. For more on how you can help, please read, “How Can You Help Make Your Profession Stronger This Year?”