The GD Industry in a Flattened World?

This is a topic that was touched on in the Certification thread and it also popped up on some other forums. I thought I’d toss it out there formally.I just started reading Thomas L. Friedman’s “The World is Flat” — which is excellent so far, BTW — and it raises a lot of interesting issues, to say the least.The technology field, particularly the software industry, has seen — up close and personal — the effects of globalization as tens of thousands of software jobs have been moved to cheaper labor markets like India over the last 10 years. Few objected during the 90’s, when it appeared that there was something for everyone in the land o’ good ‘n plenty but since the bubble burst, many have noted that the off-shoring of jobs previously held here has sped up.

Industry implications?What does globalization mean to the GD Industry? I have not, as of yet, lost work or clients due to their desire to have the work my firm does completed by someone in a cheap labor market for a fraction of the cost, however I assume that as time goes on, that may not be the case.With the increasing trend of designers and developers separating content from style and using sophisticated style sheets to control the look of a page, what is to stop clients from simply hiring a designer in an emerging market from designing a new style sheet and completely updating the design of their site?And why should they pay my, or any other Western firm, $20K – $30K for the design and development of a sophisticated, database-driven site when they can get the same site built for $2K by Indian designers or those based in the former Soviet Union?Of course, off-shoring is a very emotional, hot button topic and it’s not hard to see the downside of it. But what are the positive implications of globalization for graphic designers? Are there opportunities for graphic designers to seize? Ways in which we can increase our value as well as our profits?Industry upsides?If it’s possible for an Indian programmer to deal with American and European clients thousands of miles away, is it not possible for each of us to expand our sphere and array of clients as well? If the world is truly flat, is there anything stopping a small firm from competing for work that used to be solely the province of large agencies? If Western and Indian software engineers can collaborage on projects via software, Internet and teleconferencing technology, what’s to stop designers and developers from collaborating and forming virtual offices and firms — despite being physically located many miles apart?Our industry is not like many other professional industries. There aren’t design think tanks or research groups that study and analyze such issues and try to figure out what they mean to our profession. What the opportunities are. What the downsides are. We have to distill this kind of info informally.What do you guys think? What are your experiences in this regard? Positive? Negative? See opportunities? See potential downsides? I think this is something we’ll have to really consider, since I don’t think the genie will get.chris{}

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