What's up with the lack of ID in LA?

After not hearing or seeing much Industrial Design going on in Los Angeles, I’ve been searching both Coroflot and the web in general for any and all firms/studios working in the product design sector [not softgoods]. I’m constantly finding SKD, Product Ventures, and a few other “traditional” firms in my searches, but am hoping to find a studio with a bit more of a future forward/disruption focus. Packing a rather successful 7-8 year old resume and portfolio involving CE, housewares, and lifestyle products; LA has recently become a blip on my radar as a place I’d like to live. Ultimately, I’m seeking to secure a senior/lead position in a somewhat intimate sized firm of 10-15 people. Any info/insights here would be much appreciated :slight_smile:

Check out the IDSA I think they often have ID events there so it would be worth checking out and getting some contacts, finding out about companies in that area. I’m sure there are quite a few in LA but I think most of the west coast companies are further up north.

I don’t know what makes people want to live in LA. In my opinion its completely over rated and 2 hours south you have one of the nicest place i’ve ever visited and lived in San Diego. Again though location may have to be decided by where the jobs are.

I’m not from the US though so I only know a little from my searches when I was over there. There should be some kind of design directory over there with a list of companies in?


Good luck

In LA you’re either in the movie business, or trying to be in the movie business. Every barista is an “actor” and every waiter is a “writer / filmmaker / camera operator”.

Many other great (better) cities out there in the US and worldwide that have much more ID presence.

I can see how it could easily be overlooked in a city that size with such a niche industry focus.

i’ve lived in the LA area for almost 4 years now. there doesn’t seem to be a particular strength of industries here that make tangible items here. not that there needs to be, but it is an odd place to live as a product designer. The firms and companies are very fragmented and niche-oriented regarding design.

i’ve wondered why there is absolutely zero product design in DC. i understand that there’s tons of government work here, but there is still a lot of graphic design and architecture here. what keeps a city from having at least one or two product design/ID firms? i just don’t get it. i see so many moderately-sized ID firms in rural areas in the midwest and northeast, so i’ve started to wonder what it takes to thrive as a design firm.

as an artistic mechanical engineer who’s currently doing research in the DC area, i’m at the point where i either need to leave the city and move to new york or chicago where there is work, or try to freelance a bit. but i would need to read up on how to get clients, and i’m not sure if being in an area with zero product design/ID makes it harder to get clients–it certainly makes networking more difficult.

Think about it. Those rural firms in the mid west have a ready client pool all over Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan where many companies are located, plus the cheap overhead of a rural location. Same in the North East. Tons of clients between NYC and Boston. In DC you have very high rent and no clients.

In LA there are a lot of entertainment firms and satellite automotive studios (though a lot have shut their doors), some great architecture firms, and some surf/skate footwear brands, but all of the CE is up in the Bay area or down in San Diego.

Think about it. Those rural firms in the mid west have a ready client pool all over Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan where many companies are located, plus the cheap overhead of a rural location.

And don’t even forget Wisconsin. It must have the highest per capita designer/square mile ratio in the US. Or, at least it seems like it. When you can buy a nice a 2,400 square foot home on a big lot in the $165,ooo range you’re in the right place.

I moved to CA (not LA) in 1978. Back then it was real, and it was nice. But now it’s not real nice…

Hmm…this news sounds a little discouraging. I’m already planning a move from Cleveland to the Orange County area. How is the freelance design scene around Irvine? Is it still a viable move?

i work in irvine, own a home in south OC.

here’s the skinny on freelance:

unless you already have an established cliet list, you’re going to be fighting with a LOT of other designers. being local doesn’t seem to be as important here, especially if you could hire a FL from somewhere else in the midwest with lower overhead/rates.

you want to live in OC? expect $1000/month to rent a room. the key is live pretty close to work or your commute is a royal bitch. you can slum it in santa ana, westminster, or other north OC cities, even LA, but all depends on what you expect. a two bedroom apt in irvine is about $1500. irvine is really safe, but really, REALLY boring. i rented a 1200 sq.ft. townhome in irvine 06-07 for $2450/month, 2 br/ 2.5 ba, 2 floors, one car garage, super close to work.