Otis Report on the Creative Economy

Since 2007 Otis has produced an annual presentation and report on the state of the economy in regards to creativity in the job market. A selection of very large companies attend these presentations including Nike, Mattel, Apple, YouTube, etc.

Los Angeles is home to more people working in the creative industries than any other city in the United States and the world. In recognition of this, the goal of the Otis Report on the Creative Economy is about convincing LA (and all of California as of this year) to promote and discuss ways in which to preserve, maintain and nurture this. 

An underlying reason for this gathering may also be to encourage companies to hire Otis College of Art and Design students. Hopefully when these companies leave the meeting, they will have Otis stamped in their brains and I’m sure that they will remember the school when graduates send in their applications.

It felt amazing being a part of something that people dream about. Okay, okay, people may not dream about attending an annual presentation by Otis, but the people that are attending this are the people students dream of working for someday. Thinking of this as a professional preview of what meetings and important gatherings will be like was a great experience. 

We as students are constantly told not to check emails and text messages during meetings. With these guys it’s another ball game. I did see many doing this, but it may be slightly more acceptable for them as professionals with real money and jobs on the line (although no less rude). Nonetheless, it was a privilege to attend this gathering and to see hard-working creative professionals in action.

During the event I heard Otis mentioned many times. The following Thursday I asked Laura Kiralla, the Dean of Student Affairs, if she thought this event actually had an underlying agenda to encourage companies to hire Otis students,or if she thought it was strictly about the report. In her opinion Otis is informing the elite of elite. In a sense these companies are gaining knowledge from Otis and learning how important our students are in the community, which in fact does leave a big ‘O’ stamped in these potential employers heads. I also asked what she thought was the overall goal of the event. She replied, “a chance for Otis to claim space in LA as a creative engine." This is a great way of saying LA is thriving with art and culture and what better way to help it thrive than to bring Otis into the equation.

Many fascinating ideas were discussed on how to get the city unified more unified in a creative way. One ideas was to brand LA itself. There was a suggestion of creating a standardized logo and monogram of LA with customizable text that would correspond to an LA event or neighborhood. In a way this would unify LA as one creative force that is unstoppable and with a bit of hometown roots in each logo.

This event provided artists/designers/students with some important information: the amount of money certain creative careers make and how the economy is affecting them and is affected by them. 

The reason students may not have heard about this event is because it’s not really for students. It is for creative professionals and is presented in a professional environment for professional people. These are the ones that are hiring and leading the worldwide industries. 

Just soaking up the atmosphere gave me a glimpse into what my future in the job market could be.

- Jonathan T. -


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