Design students (also) need to know handle a budget


The Belgian magazine DAMN focuses on the upcoming generations and their need for financial awareness to set them on the right road: creatives need support and allies in order to make their voices heard.

The Autumn issue of the Belgian quarterly magazine Damn features a reflection on money and creativity by Virgile Goyet. “Money, like a family secret, is everywhere and is unmentionable in  the design world,” the author writes. “The young still wander the biennales with their notebooks looking for inspiration as the adults around them strike €100,000 deals.”

As Goyet remarks, none of this is sustainable – like art, design is a deal-making industry. This is something the most recognised designers have taken on board and are constantly in negotiation: “Getting a gig, accessing key networks, collaborating with the right people aren’t merely unavoidable, they are the heart and soul of the game.” The author, who teaches at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de La Cambre (ENSAV), in Brussels, laments the fact that not many students are aware of this.

The problem is that many of them reject the idea of tying themselves into commercial deals. According to Goyet, this is partly because of the fact that from the 1980s onwards, financial millionaires have taken over from industrialists as the ruling class, and “while some markets are literally drowning in ill-begotten cash, most creatives are left fighting for scraps.” In this context “any objective requires capital, be it money, fame, or access,” and each of them comes with a set of dangers.

The key is to adapt the tools of business strategy to the fields of design and art. The playbook already exists in a thousand downloadable forms: institutions, activists, and social scientists have been rewriting it since the 1990s,” says Goyet, who stresses the importance of being pragmatic and frank with students: “we need to have an open and honest conversation about the insidious fears of not making it, not being good enough, or of missing one’s calling,” he concludes - it all comes down to a question of strategy.




Original Text: Virgile Goyet

Photo: courtesy of DAMN magazine

Magazine: DAMN

Publisher: DAMNtown Ltd

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20 October 2021