The business of Danish design(ers)

Nicky Nedergaard

Design education and the future work life of (Danish) designers are changing dramatically these years. On one hand, we witness a multitude of new design educational programs springing from the humanities, social and technical sciences, which are sure to increase the future supply of design competencies in the professional markets.

On the other hand, we see clearly the contours of future work moving towards a higher degree of freelancing, which in turn implies increased job precarity. Jointly, these developments present new issues of how to make sense of and manage a professional identity as a ‘designer’ whilst also having to cope with increased competitive issues as to how one properly stands out in order to attract clients in (local and global) markets likely to be flooded with design services.

With this project we empirically examine and theoretically advance new professional practices for running a sustainable small design business as a freelancing design professional (or small independent design studio/consultancy) in a Danish context. 

The project focuses in on the pertinent and interrelated questions of what it means to be a contemporary professional designer in a country globally praised as a ‘design nation’ and how such meanings relate to ways of organizing and approaching new market trajectories, demands, and desires for professional design services?