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Con Kennedy Visual Communications

Design Research

Overview of the Visual Communication Sector in Ireland

For my PhD research into entrepreneurship in the Visual Communication (Graphic Design) sector in Ireland, I have undertaken comprehensive research into the sector to determine the number of design practices currently in Ireland, their location and make up. Practices can include Limited Companies, Partnerships, Registered Business Names and Sole Traders (Freelancers). As sole traders are not required to register as business (until they reach certain criteria) it can be difficult to fully identify all designers engaging in Freelance activity.

Data has been gathered from a number of sources, including 100 Archive, Central Statistics Office, Creative Ireland, Design Business Ireland, ICAD, IDI and Media Street. Once collated, duplicate companies or individual freelancers were removed from the list. This information was then cross-referenced with the CRO, IEDR and SoloCheck to determine the make-up of the sector.

Companies that are/were in liquidation or have closed were removed, leaving 394 companies, business names or sole traders currently engaging the the design business in Ireland.
This data could then be matched against County and Dublin city postal districts to give a picture of where Visual Communication Design practices are, and how many and which type of practice exist.

Key findings are:

  • Greatest number of design practices are in Dublin, accounting for 55% of all practices in Ireland
  • Highest density of practices are in Dublin 2 area
  • Galway & Cork represent 12% of practices in Ireland
  • 63 new design practices formed between 2011-2014
  • 38% of practices are Limited Companies
  • A quarter of those engaging in the sector are Sole Traders which are not registered business names
  • Q1 2014 saw spike in new design business registrations with 4.5% of practices being formed
  • The average age of a design practice is 10 years
  • 21% of practices are considered Start-ups a they have being trading for 3 or less years
  • 70% of Limited Companies or Partnerships in the sector have at least 1 female director
  • All but 1 practice identified would be considered as a Small Business based on turnover

Specifically not included in this research are Advertising Agencies, Web Development Agencies and In-House Design Facilities such as those in Marketing Agencies, Public Relations Agencies, Printers or other Companies.

Infographic - Visual Communication Sector in Ireland

This data will be updated periodically. Last update July 2014.

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