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About the Design Industry in New Zealand

There is a strong correlation between national prosperity, economic growth and a thriving design sector. International evidence confirms that design leads to more competitive firms making and selling higher value products and services.

 

Design is dynamic and can stretch across a number of applications, industries and occupations. Great design is good for the environment, good for business and good for social cohesiveness.

 

New Zealand’s distance from the rest of the world, and the need to create highly scalable product solutions for diverse foreign customers, means we must continue to embrace design research, capture customer insights and translate those insights into real market opportunities.

The Future of Design

Design is no longer just adding on aesthetics at the end of a job. The following list shows the top ten jobs in design employment and the number of employees in those roles. These roles make up 29.4% of total design employment in New Zealand:

 

1. Strategy development 4,614
2. Design development 4,512
3. Program design 4,428
4. Production management 2,664
5. Print production 2,083
6. Digital touchpoints 2,025
7. Implementation 2,012
8. User testing 1,987
9. Documentation 1,904
10. Content development 1,484

 

This suggests that employment in design is fairly diverse as it is not heavily concentrated in a small number of processes, indicating that design is less susceptive as an industry to change or shocks.

Valuable Design Disciplines

  • Design Education

  • Innovation/Invention

  • Graphic Design

  • Interactive Design

  • Motion Design

  • Product Design

  • Service Design

  • Spatial Design

  • Strategy

Locations of High Design Activity

  • Auckland

  • Wellington

  • Christchurch - Manufacturing and high tech/information and communications technology sectors

  • Waikato - Agriculture

  • Dunedin - Through the university and its research and commercialisation arms.

High Performance in Design

There is a broadening use of design as an effective process; in exporting firms, technology, health, conservation, the public sector and within cities.

 

The product design and interactive design disciplines are the two biggest individual contributors towards design’s GDP. Over $4.5b of economic activity, contributed towards national GDP, comes from these two design disciplines, making up approximately 46% of the design total.


Regional analysis shows that Wellington (contribution of $1.5b or 15% of design GDP) and Auckland (contribution of $3.7b or 36% of design GDP) make up just over half of design’s contribution to national GDP.

 

Approximately 4,000 companies in New Zealand undertook some design activity in 2016. This was approximately 0.7% of total companies in New Zealand.

Industry Snapshots

  • $10.1 Billion - Contributed to GDP by design

  • 94,200 - FTE design positions in New Zealand

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