Last Thursday night the Raleigh AIGA sponsored the first of two area studio tours. Hundreds (500+) professionals of every stripe showed up from veterans to students hoping to get a peak inside the firms, network and have a beer. Here’s a quick peak what I learned in my visits to four of the firms along with short intros to three area businesses:
1. The creative media cluster is real and growing. In a several block radius, there are about eight shops of varying size engaged in creative media from brand design to web app development to advertising and PR. Clients range from local and arts-oriented to national consumer and business brands.
Meet Woody from Flywheel Design
2. The cluster is niche driven. I didn’t get to all of the firms on the tour, but what I saw in my small sample was four very different companies with four different service offerings. If you can carve out a spot, you can succeed.
Meet Ben from Viget Labs
Read about Viget’s take on the studio tour here.
3. Durham is rising. You can feel the energy. Entrepreneurs are taking the streets – literally – reinvigorating old buildings and rewrapping the character of the downtown. There is a lot of work to be done, but with DPAC and the American Tobacco campus as its foundation, Durham is poised for further growth.
Meet Clara from Clear Productions
From outward appearances, the tour was a great success. I look forward to the next version from AIGA in Raleigh/Cary next month. It will be held from 5:30–8:30pm on Thursday, March 10th. Twelve agencies will be participating in that event as well: Capstrat, Creative Associates, Fabrik Agency, Fragment Labs, FWV, Hesketh, Mellonaid Creative, New Kind, Ninth Floor, Red Hat, R+M, and Signal Design.