Creative Business in a simple community

While everyone is trying to get a job in design hot spots like SF, NYC or London etc because those are the places where “everything” happens, I have a dream of setting up a creative business in a simple rural community because there will be so much that I can bring to that community.

However, what can a simple community mean for the creative business?

I am not too concerned about design resources such as prototyping facilities or even client sources because with IT and improved infrastructure, factors like these has become less important when choosing the location.

So does any of you know or have experienced being a part of a creative business in a simple, rural community? What happened, or what could have happened?

It is far eaiser to do now of course with the web and vid confence because your rual community is not going to supply you with anywhere near enough buisness to keep going. You can run your shop from anywhere, provided you have good access to a airport, and high speed data link because again your clients are not local. If your in the hinterlands you will see things differently, and that is not allways good because for the most part product design is safe design, the client wants to feel your in direct touch with the heart beat of his customer base, if your out with the deer and cows there might be a issue. The other aspect is just face time, both in the media and in real space, something that you cannot do from out in the bush. In the end the smart way to go make a big splash, then when you have some good steady clients head for the hinterlands, not the other way around.

A lot of industries tend to cluster. Silicon Valley, Motor City, Portland and Boston for footwear… I think it is best to locate near the hub of what industry you want most of your clients to be in for the reason zippy mentioned.

This is something I have explored extensively. I like the easy pace of life and wide open landscapes that living in a rural area offers, but its usually at odds with “good paying” jobs and other money-making opportunities necessary to have what most consider “the good life” or to be “successful”. (i.e. have more toys than the next guy…)

I think its a perfectly fine place/way to live, but you’ve got to realize that its not going to be the same lifestyle, or garner the same respect, that big city life offers. Sure, it can be done (look at Frank Lloyd Wright, for example) but the odds are against you (if you want to be a household name, anyway).

Creative opporunities occur in rural areas, but its not the same work as one would expect to find in a major urban/industrial area. In terms of bringing ‘something’ of benefit to a community, a designer should have a lot to offer. City planning. Architectural input. Parks. Products for local markets. There’s not normally a lot of money or fame in projects “for the better good” or for such small markets but it could provide a deep sense of fulfilment that designing widgets for big box stores or whatever could never match.

Take for example, Auburn University’s Rural Studio in Alabama. They do some incredible work designing and building visually stimulating low-cost housing and public spaces. But even their success is not without problems: a recent newpaper article I saw outlined some locals’ backlash against “non-traditional” homes. Link to article.

Yes that’s obvious, but I am interested to know how a simple, rural community can benefit the company. Afterall, it has to be both ways, or else it’s not going to sustain.

I think rural firms get ‘locationally challenged’ when it comes to hiring young designers.
Cultural Cities like SF, NY and Chicago do have an added attraction to someone looking for a job.

Motorola set up their ID group in downtown Chicago after finding that their 45-minute away Shaumburg Campus was too far from the cultural center!

MC, you probably know how hard a time Whirlpool has getting the talent out to the middle-of-nowhere, despite having such good work conditions.

I just bumped into a similar thread with people expressing similar viewpoints much better than I put them:

Ahhhh, location…

a sense of “place” can be absolutely critical to any designers process. I have lived in portland, OR for 20+ years now, and have found that long walks, at night, in the rain, with my hood pulled tight against the driving mist are the times when that elusive solution to a given problem finally works out. These are specifically portland scenarios, and are rooted firmly in this place. this works for me, however, I realize a long walk in the pouring rain may be close to hell for others.

I firmly believe that everyone has a certain set of parameters that allow them to perform at their best.
these can involve the right music, an appropriate level of caffeine, a recent love, telling an elderly woman on the bus she is beautiful, or any number of other catalysts.
the trick is finding what these catalysts are for you. If it happens that you produce your best work over s’mores, while doing cartwheels, then so be it.

the location where you choose to work doesn’t need to be the same as your “office.” i.e. I know a few designers who live on the oregon coast, (1 hr away) and keep an inexpensive apartment in town, or deal with the commute. An hour surfing in the morning is what helps these people perform at their highest level, and they have found a way to make this feasible in their respective places of employment. Some have worked out a 10-12 hours in office M-Th, 3-day weekends, with exceptions made for client meetings, dodgeball, birthdays, etc.
At the end of the day, your employer should want you to produce the highest caliber of work you are capable of, and output/ability/deadline dependant, your specific location becomes less important

in addition to FLW (who, by the way relocated taliesin twice, once to wisconsin, and again to arizona, both BFE locations at the time) there are other precedents for moving to “more inspiring” locations.

case in point: tord boontje moved his studio to “a little village in france”

Rem Koolhaas also made a decision to house his studio in a “backwater”(rottrdam), although I forget the specific source for this.

Moving your business to the sticks is a risky endeavor, and rife with complications, but not impossible. It may come down to a judgment call between inspiration and opportunity.

If you have a established client base with whom you have a long standing, trusted and continuing relationship, then by all means head for the hills. If any of these things are lacking, consider your decision carefully. A few months “out of the loop” can have long-lived ramifications.