The evolution of digital creativity (and how you can keep up)

The evolution of digital creativity (and how you can keep up)
The creative industries are in a state of flux at the moment. There’s now demand for digital assets like 4K video and CGI, meaning a range of new formats and digital media to create with (not to mention deliver, store and back up). And with new platforms including mobile devices, agencies are having to change the way they work, and really having to think about how to stay ahead of the competition technologically in order to win new clients and take advantage of the additional business opportunities this exciting change brings.

The importance of the creative industries

To understand where the UK creative industries are heading, let’s first take a look at the current economic climate. By ‘creative industries’, we’re talking about the nine sectors HM Government Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) recognises as making up the UK’s creative industries: advertising and marketing; architecture; crafts; design; film, TV, video and photography; IT software and computer services; publishing; museums, galleries and libraries; and music performing and visual arts.

The UK creative economy is defined as total UK employment within three distinct categories: 1. Support jobs (eg finance) within the creative industries mentioned; 2. Creative jobs (eg design) within the creative industries mentioned; 3. Creative jobs outside of the creative industries, such as a PR manager for a bank. DCMS measures three contributions of the creative industries to the UK economy – jobs, output and exports:

Jobs: In 2013, on a combined basis, the three categories of creative job mentioned above accounted for 8.5% of total UK employment (890,000 jobs), and from 1997 to 2013, they increased by an average of 6.4% each year compared to just 0.6% per year in the UK economy as a whole.

Output: The total Gross Value Added (GVA) output in 2013 of those within category 1 and 2 above accounted for £76.9 billion or 5% of the UK economy – up from 4% in 1997 and higher than ever recorded before. Between 1997-2013, the GVA of the creative industries grew by 5.8% each year, compared to 4.2% for the UK economy as a whole. While it is hard to precisely calculate the economic output of the nearly 1 million creative jobs outside the creative industries (category 3), it is safe to assume that this will take the output of the entire creative economy up from 5% to be over 7.5% of the total UK economy.

Exports: Total exports measured within the nine creative industries mentioned above equalled £17.3 billion in 2012, or 8.8% of the total UK service exports – up from 7.9% of UK total GVA in 2004. From 2004 to 2012, creative industry GVA grew by 8.5% each year, compared to 6.9% for the UK economy as a whole.At this rate, by 2020 the creative economy could represent up to 10% of the total UK economy.

Keeping your tech ahead of the game

Creative output is changing though, and these days there are no longer such things as ‘traditional’ design and publishing houses who simply focus on print. Design companies these days have had to adapt to become digital agencies, with print being just one element. It’s now expected that agencies will be dabbling in video and CGI, as well as creating content for mobile platforms and digital signage (rolling 24/7 advertising and such). You want to be embracing all this new media so you can offer a wider portfolio to your customers.

Just as in the 90s we saw Apple come in to change the face of typesetting with Mac, we can see the same thing now with digital content creation on Mac. This does mean you may need to update your technology though, and think about new apps, new powerful computers and new media. Displays, Wacom tablets, printers and specialist software (such as font management) are the bread and butter of digital design workflows, but one of the biggest changes of recent years has been the move from Adobe Creative Suite to Creative Cloud. Adobe CC now gives teams access to the full roster of essential Adobe applications, rather than being limited to the Design Premium or Production Premium bundles, meaning they have all the tools they need to create content for multiple different platforms in one place.

The increased adoption of 4K

Over the next couple of years we also predict there will be an ever-increasing demand for high resolution video production across all content creation markets. We’ve seen the broadcast and film markets make this move in the last few years, and with the decreasing cost in cameras to capture in 4K and beyond, we’re seeing more and more digital marketing being produced in these formats. If you’re already working with demanding video content, you’ve probably seen the increased requirement for high speed storage, faster workstations and introducing new software packages into your workflows. Platforms such as DaVinci Resolve for high resolution editing and colour grading, Nuke from the Foundry for compositing, and 3D applications such as Autodesk’s Maya are quickly making their names known as the go-to tools to give your work the edge.

But even if your portfolio centres around traditional graphic design, it’s very likely that 4K and Ultra HD will figure into your day to day work in the future. With the adoption of higher resolution displays across all devices – from mobiles and tablets to 4K home televisions becoming the norm – HD content simply won’t deliver the same level of wow factor that something delivered in 4K will. We’ve also seen web platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix and Amazon adopt 4K standards for delivery, and more advanced compression formats enabling people to easily stream higher resolution content to whichever screen they get their content on.

It isn’t as simple hooking up your old workstations to brand new 4K monitors though – higher resolution formats requiring faster processors, high RAM counts and beefy GPU acceleration and most applications are designed for a specific balance of these to achieve real-time work. So investing in appropriate upgrades or, even better, new workstations is a must to get the most from a 4K setup.

Acquiring 4K content also requires a new breed of camera and recording format, with Sony’s FS5 being one of the most popular models capable of true 4K recordings in the mid-range professional market. Utilising advanced recording formats which are simple to manage as well as true 4K pixel-count sensors are the cornerstones to getting beautiful and versatile images to fit into your existing workflow. We’ve worked closely with manufacturers such as Sony to ensure we are experts in the entire creative workflow, understanding their cameras, formats and future display technologies such as High Dynamic Range.

More challenges for creatives

Of course, bringing 4K in-house means you will also need to think about how your current infrastructure will be able to cope with this new format. Is your internet speed and bandwidth up to scratch to deal with transferring large media? Do you have reliable backup and server solutions in place? Bringing your infrastructure in line with the needs of 4K work might sound like it’ll cost a bomb, but we can help you solve your pain points without costs spiralling out of control.

Free event: Creativity in the digital world

If you’d like to hear more about the latest demands from the digital media industry such as 4K, and how agencies are responding to them, save the date for an exclusive free event at our place in Soho on the 21st January.

We’ll hear from Georgina Drew, Head of Marketing at Jaeger, about moving from a traditional agency to a smaller ‘boutique’ agency. Also speaking will be Iain Seers, from Watershed Consulting, a renowned name in advertising and brands, having previously been Operations Director EMEA for Redworks WPP and Creative Systems Director for Ogilvy & Mather Group, working with huge global clients such as Ford and American Express.

We will also be hearing from Neil Rostance, Managing Director at Fat Free Media, a video production company, on the challenges he is facing, we’ll be talking all things 4K, CGI and video with our tech partners, and will have pre-sales consultants on-hand to dispense any workflow advice. To book your place, head to the event registration page, or get in touch with the events team on, call 03332 409 284.

How Jigsaw24 can help

Our team of pre-sales consultants have a wealth of experience within the creative industries and marketplace themselves, so we understand how businesses are changing. If you need to update any aspect of your tech, infrastructure or network, or you want to understand the options available to you, we’re the people to partner with. Just some of the solutions we can offer include:- Installations. If you are thinking of updating your tech, we are the people to come to. Our team are able to set you up with video production, CGI editing and full rendering workflow solutions.

Training. Bringing staff up to speed with new Adobe video and effects applications, and specialist software such as Cinema 4D, with our tailored training packages.

Infrastructure. Working with video means new file formats, and large file sizes such as 4K, so we can make sure you’re able to cope with our storage, backup and infrastructure solutions.

Advice. Of course, you may know exactly what you need from your workflow already, or may have already installed new technology, in which case we can provide advice on any aspect of your journey.

Want to know more about our solutions for digital creatives? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.