The US graphic design services industry includes about 16,000 companies with combined annual revenue of $8 billion. Major companies are units of large, integrated design firms that provide graphic design services in support of a primary specialty like architectural, environmental, or product design, such as Gensler, ERM Holdings, and IDEO, respectively. The industry consists of privately owned companies and is highly fragmented: the 50 largest firms account for less than 20 percent of total industry revenue. Most firms are small: a typical business has one location, fewer than four employees, and average annual revenue of around $500,000. About 30 percent of graphic designers are self-employed.
Regional economic activity drives demand, because most graphic design firms are small and work locally. The profitability of individual companies depends on accurate bidding, timely delivery of projects, and a steady volume of work. Large companies have advantages in marketing and sales, breadth of services, delivery of complex projects, and supporting ongoing contracts. Small companies can compete effectively by responding quicker, adopting new trends, and specializing by services or markets. The industry is labor-intensive: average annual revenue per employee is around $130,000.
Customers and prospects become competitors when they bring design services in-house, rather than use graphic design firms. Freelance designers may be competitors or contract labor.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Major industry services are general graphic design, commercial art and illustration, drafting, and photography.
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