The Creative Group Reports Hiring Trends for First Half of 2016

According to new research on 2016 hiring trends by The Creative Group, 11 percent of advertising and marketing executives surveyed planned to expand their teams in the first half of 2016. The majority of respondents (76 percent) said they expect to maintain staff levels and hire primarily to fill vacated roles in the next six months.

hiring trends 2016Fifty-eight percent of executives said it is challenging to find creative professionals today. “Companies have specific staffing needs, particularly in digital marketing, and seek professionals with precise skills and experience to support these initiatives. Low unemployment coupled with high demand is creating a competitive hiring environment,” said Diane Domemeyer, executive director of The Creative Group.

“Employers are also placing greater emphasis on finding job candidates who will fit well with their workplace culture, which is making the recruiting process even more challenging.”

Hiring Trends for Marketing and Advertising Specialties

Executives reported a range of specialties when asked in which areas they planned to add staff in the first half of 2016. Content marketing and creative/art direction topped the list (27 percent each), followed by brand/product management and print design/production (26 percent each).

Advertising and marketing executives were asked: “In which of the following areas do you expect to hire in the first half of 2016?” Their responses

27% – Content marketing
27% – Creative/art direction
26% – Brand/product management
26% – Print design/production
25% – Interactive media
23% – Account services
22% – Media services
20% – Web design/production
17% – Market research
16% – Digital marketing
15% – Public relations
15% – Customer experience
15% – Copywriting
15% – Social media
10% – Mobile design/development

Challenges Recruiting Creative Professionals

Hiring is getting harder for companies: Fifty-eight percent of advertising and marketing executives said it is challenging to find skilled creative professionals today. This figure is up 16 percent from six months ago, and the highest it has been since The Creative Group started tracking the figure in 2010.

Hiring managers at small marketing departments (100-249 employees) expect the greatest difficulty, with 62 percent of respondents reporting it is somewhat or very challenging to find the talent they seek.

When asked which areas are most difficult to fill, the top responses were brand/product management and customer experience.

The Creative Group Hiring Trends Report

About the Research

The national study on hiring trends was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 400 telephone interviews with approximately 200 marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 200 advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising, and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project, contract-to-hire, and full-time basis.


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B2B Website for Commercial Remodelers and Builders Seeks Photography Pros

DezignwallLRDEZIGNWALL is a B2B social website, specifically for commercial interior design, exterior design, architectural, products manufacturing, supply, contract, purchasing, development, procurement, and service professional, community.

Dezignwall creates a virtual marketplace to showcase and source projects and products specifically for the commercial remodel, new build, and contract environment.

Globally, the commercial construction and remodel industry totals in the trillions. This market includes interior/exterior designers, architects, and manufacturers of products for anything from local nail salons, coffee shops, stadiums, and malls to world-class restaurants, hotels, casinos, and travel and entertainment venues.

According to Dezignwall CEO and founder Joseph Haecker, “I realized that my commercial design colleagues needed a Houzz-like website specifically for our commercial needs. During the recession, I saw businesses close because they could not engage clients outside of their current marketing reach. What makes Dezignwall different is that we are a business-to-business solution, specifically for global commercial professionals.”

The web-based platform mixes a Pinterest-like focus on images with a Houzz-like search functionality. It also offers social-sharing tools for commercial design-team collaboration.

By making products and design images available in real time, Dezignwall wants to make it easy for commercial developers and design team to: (1) find sources of inspiration; (2) engage with manufacturers of products and services; and (3) work collaboratively in a virtual and mobile environment.

Referrals for Trusted Photographers

The site, which is currently in private beta, is seeking photography professionals for their “trusted photographer” program.

According to the site’s founders, “The success of this marketplace will greatly depend on our ability to produce high quality photo images in very large quantities.”

The DEZIGNWALL Trusted Photographer Program is a referral generator for commercial photographers that seek to grow their own business through exposure to new markets. Membership is free, and leads are provided free.

For more information visit the Trusted Photographer Program section of



Handbook Shows How to Design Your Own Fabric, Wallpaper, or Gift Wrap

To encourage novices in surface design, Spoonflower has published “The Spoonflower Handbook: A DIY Guide to Designing Fabric, Wallpaper, and Gift Wrap.”

Not long ago, few artists ever had the chance to design fabrics and wallpaper because printing even a few yards required a significant financial investment. Today, thanks to digital, print-on-demand printing, anyone with a computer, Internet connection, and idea can upload a file and have their design printed on a yard of fabric, wallpaper, or wrapping paper.

Spoonflower, a North Carolina-based start-up, prints short runs of fabrics, peel-and-stick wallpapers, and wrapping-papers for hundreds of thousands of creative people worldwide. Spoonflower customers then incorporate their printed designs into thousands of creative projects for the home or wardrobe.

For example, the handbook shows you how to use digitally printed materials to make:

  • A world traveler pillowcase with map designs
  • A stuffed gnome toy
  • Pet silhouette hankies
  • Zippered fabric pouches
  • Autumn leaf table wrap
  • Typographic wrapping paper
  • Food for thought table runner
  • Photo panel wall art
  • Damask shower curtain
  • Portrait pillows
  • Infinity scarf
  • Color-chip lampshade
  • Family portraits necktie
  • Coloring wallpaper and desk wrap

Designs on peel-and-stick wallpaper can be used to personalize your laptop, tablet, phone, and other flat surfaces.

Written in easy-to-understand language, this beautifully illustrated, 207-page book covers everything from design equipment and software to working with photos, colors, scans, repeats, and vector files. It talks about sources of inspiration and explains how to source images and use them legally.

The book was written by Spoonflower co-founder Stephen Fraser with Judi Ketteler and Becka Rahn. Jenny Hallengren provided the photographs. It was published by the Steward, Tabori & Chang imprint of Abrams.

According to Fraser, the project ideas and information in the Spoonflower Handbook can help everyone from quilters and crafty parents to professional artists and aspiring fashion designers: “We set out to create the most approachable book possible…This book is about the joy of making something mingled with the challenge of learning new things.”


The Spoonflower Handbook: A DIY Guide to Designing Fabric, Wallpaper & Gift Wrap with 30+ Projects


Can You Believe Photoshop Debuted Just 25 Years Ago?

To gauge how rapidly innovations can revolutionize entire industries and create new opportunities for millions, note that the first version of Photoshop was launched just 25 years ago this month. Who could have imagined how much creative power that program would unleash in designers, photographers, artists, and publishers?

Today, we see imaginative imagery and visual communications everywhere — in smartphone apps, on building-size wall murals, in interactive digital signage, and immersive multimedia displays.

According to a fascinating timeline and an interview published on the Adobe website and Photoshop blog, Adobe shipped its first version of Photoshop on February 19, 1990. The program originated in 1987, when Thomas Knoll developed a pixel-imaging program called Display. It was a simple program to showcase grayscale images on a black-and-white monitor. However, after collaborating with his brother, John Knoll, the two began adding features that made it possible to process digital image files. The program eventually caught the attention of industry influencers, and in 1989, Adobe decided to license it.

“Adobe thought we’d sell about 500 copies of Photoshop a month,” recalls Thomas Knoll, Adobe Fellow and Photoshop co-creator. “Not in my wildest dreams did we think creatives would embrace the product in the numbers and ways they have. It’s inspiring to see the beautiful images our customers create, the careers Photoshop has launched, and the new uses people all over the world find for Photoshop every day.” On YouTube, you can watch a video of Thomas Knoll giving one of his first demonstrations of Photoshop.

“For 25 years, Photoshop has inspired artists and designers to craft images of stunning beauty and reality-bending creativity,” said Shantanu Narayen, Adobe president and chief executive officer. “From desktop publishing, to fashion photography, movie production, website design, mobile app creation, and now 3D printing, Photoshop continues to redefine industries and creative possibilities. And today that Photoshop magic is available to millions of new users, thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud.”

Photoshop’s massive popularity can be attributed to its constantly evolving capabilities and pipeline of deep image science. This steady stream of innovations is now reaching customers faster than ever before. The Photoshop and Lightroom desktop and mobile apps are constantly updated as part of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Photoshop 1 was aimed at graphic arts and publishing

In an interview with Russell Brady posted on the Photoshop blog, Thomas Knoll points out that the first version of Photoshop was really ahead of its time: “Photoshop 1.0 and the first several versions weren’t really tools for photography – not only because there wasn’t appropriate hardware available in digital cameras, but more importantly, because there were no digital printers. The only real way to get photographic-quality output from Photoshop back then was to create four-color separations on film and take them to a printing press, where the first copy of your photograph might cost you $2,000…If you wanted to print a roll of 35 millimeter film, you’re talking $35,000 to $40,000. So, Photoshop 1 was primarily aimed at the publishing and graphic arts markets.”

After full-color inkjet printers were introduced, Photoshop users could scan the film, manipulate the images, and print them out. The explosive growth of digital photography in the 1990s further accelerated the widespread adoption of Photoshop.

Photoshop’s success has helped Adobe develop and deliver a wide range of products and services used by tens of millions of creative people worldwide. In addition to Photoshop, applications such as Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Dreamweaver and others have pushed creativity forward, no matter what the media. And today Adobe Creative Cloud services such as Behance and Creative Talent Search are helping a new generation of creatives find a global audience and market for their work .

Adobe is celebrating Photoshop’s milestone in a big way. For example, Adobe is showcasing 25 of the most creative visual artists under 25 who use Photoshop. To be considered, artists upload their projects and use the tag “Ps25Under25.” In the coming months, those selected will take over the Photoshop Instagram handle (@Photoshop) for two weeks and present their work for the world to see. Fredy Santiago, a 24-year old Mexican-American artist and illustrator based in Ventura, California is the first one chosen to display his incredible images.

Adobe has also launched its “Dream On” advertising campaign as a tribute to 25 years of amazing art created In Photoshop. The TV commercial includes incredible work from Photoshop artists and iconic images from major motion pictures that used Photoshop In the making, including Avatar, Gone Girl, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Shrek.



Adobe Blog Post: Celebrating 25 Years of Photoshop

Thomas Knoll Q&A

Adobe Photoshop Anniversary Timeline


New Website Helps You Produce and Ship Small Runs of Custom Designed Apparel

DESIGNERS. ARTISTS. The website enables designers to visualize, produce, and deliver small batches of their exclusive designs of apparel and accessories. Or, artists can promote and/or monetize some of their works by converting them into merchandise. You can preview your creations in 3D in the chosen style and size before approving it for manufacturing.

Right now, you can decorate more than 30 products including T-shirts, tunics, shorts, backpacks, dresses, scarves, trousers, and messenger bags. Sell the items through Etsy or on your own website.

“One of the barriers for emerging designers has been access to an easy and affordable manufacturing platform,” says Lee Hagelshaw, co-founder and CFO for With, you can produce designs under your own label and have them shipped direct to customers, without having to pay for a larger run from a manufacturer and being stuck with excess inventory.” And like e-books, no design ever goes ‘out of print’ because all products are made on-demand.


“We have continually improved our platform. Features such as advanced error checking point out any problems in visual design. Auto-fit, mirror and clone functions make it much easier for any creative individual to design professional looking products,” says Bala Selvarajan, Co-Founder and Chief Technologist for “We have also added a much requested feature from designers – the ability to select and reorder their older designs.”

As a pioneer in full custom, design-your-own apparel and accessories, vPersonalize’s 3D visualization and automated pattern-generation technologies support custom sizes, full-bleed, all-overprints, custom styles and choice of fabrics.


Ello Teams Up with Threadless to Highlight Work of Established and Up-and-Coming Artists is a simple, ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers. It was originally conceived as a private social network where people could be who they want to be and connect with people they love without getting bombarded by boosted posts, data mining, and ad salesmen. But a public version of Ello has recently been built for everyone to use. As a Public Benefit Corporation, Ello has vowed to never serve ads or sell user data to make money. (A Benefit Corporation is a new kind of for-profit company in the USA that exists to produce a benefit for society as a whole — not just to make money for its investors.)

Ello recently teamed up with the Threadless design community and e-commerce site to sell t-shirts featuring the Ello logo reimagined by independent artists.

ThreadlessElloDesignThe first T-shirt in the collection was created by Chicago-based artist Chuck Anderson (aka NoPattern), a fine artist, illustrator and photographer, also well known for his commercial work. He reimagined the Ello logo with a multi-color, drip-like background. The Ello x Threadless store will also offer black-and-white T-shirts with the original Ello logo for $25.

Anderson will curate the entire Ello x Threadless collection and work with established as well as up-and-coming artists to highlight their unique work.

“What’s truly special about us teaming up with Ello is the incredible commitment to supporting the arts,” noted Jake Nickell, founder and CEO of Threadless. “Both of our companies are rooted in creativity, and together we’re making art accessible to a wider audience.”

The Ello x Threadless online store will release a new limited-edition artist-designed Ello t-shirt bimonthly. An online timer will countdown to the next available design which will appear on the first and fifteenth day of each month. Once a design has been replaced, it will not be available again.

“Ello is about freedom − freedom from advertising, freedom to be who you want to be, and freedom to create. Working with brilliant artists like Chuck is a way we support Ello’s creative community,” said Paul Budnitz, co-founder and CEO of Ello.

“When Ello and Threadless approached me about curating their t-shirt collection, I couldn’t wait to begin our collaboration,” said Anderson. “This project stands out as it allows me to engage with new and established artists and be part of their creative journey.”ThreadlessLOGO

Threadless is a creative community that makes, supports, and buys art. Thousands of people worldwide submit their designs online. Then, the community picks their favorites, which get made into t-shirts, bags, wall art, and more. When you buy from Threadless, you directly support the artist who created the design.


Ello Threadless Store

Threadless Page on Ello

Ello: A Public Benefit Corporation


Survey Shows Workers Want Firms to Be More Creative

TCG-LogoCompanies may think they’re pushing the envelope when developing new advertising and marketing campaigns, but most of their creative employees would disagree, new research shows.

Seven in 10 (71 percent) of the creative professionals surveyed by The Creative Group (TCG) and AIGA said their firms don’t take enough creative risks with projects. More than one-quarter (28 percent) of respondents said they don’t feel empowered by their managers to take creative risks.

The research is part of the Creative Team of the Future, a joint project between TCG and AIGA that explores key trends shaping the creative profession and how to prepare for challenges and opportunities ahead. It includes a survey of more than 750 creative professionals and insights from leaders in the creative industry.

Key Findings

  • While 28 percent of creative professionals feel their company takes the right amount of risks, a majority (71 percent) believes their firm plays it too safe. Less than one-quarter (23 percent) of employees feel very empowered by their manager to take creative risks at work; slightly more (28 percent) don’t feel empowered at all.
  • About half (54 percent) of creative professionals are very comfortable presenting new ideas to their manager or team members; the rest have some qualms.
  • Just over half (53 percent) of respondents feel their organization is perceived as innovative.

“As the creative industry continues to change rapidly, staying ahead of the curve has grown more important — and more challenging,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Building a culture of smart risk-taking — taking a new approach or creating an edgy campaign, for example — can benefit organizations by empowering staff to come up with new ideas and remain innovative.”

Overcoming Creative Blocks

To help businesses foster smart risk-taking, TCG and AIGA have published a new report “Innovation in the House: Creativity Lessons From Five Top In-House Creative Teams.” t provides an inside look at how creative leaders at five innovative organizations, including Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, Square and Target, keep their teams inspired.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis.


The Creative Group

Report: “Innovation in the House: Creativity Lessons from Five Top In-House Creative Teams”

The Creative Group Creative Risks