There Are A Lot of Designers in New York City

Fifty percent more than are in Los Angeles, in fact. The Center for an Urban Future has a new report out that shows New York as the nation’s busiest hub for what the report calls “design industries.” That includes architects as well as fashion and interior designers.

Here’s some stats, followed by, of course, some concerns regarding where all these designers are going to live and work, and show their wares.

  • In 2000, there were an estimated 23,143 designers working in the New York City metropolitan region. By 2009, that number had almost doubled to 40,470—an increase of 75 percent.
  • No other city has nearly as many practicing designers as New York. While the New York City metro area had 40,470 designers in 2009, the Los Angeles metro area was next on the list with 23,170 designers, followed by Chicago (19,260) and Boston (10,920).
  • In 2009, the five boroughs of New York had 40 percent more architectural firms than the next closest U.S. city (Los Angeles) and two thirds as many as the third closest (Chicago).
  • New York has 50 percent more interior design firms than Los Angeles
  • New York has nearly twice as many members in the major industry association for graphic design companies (AIGA) as any other city. Fourteen percent, or 3,000 out of 22,000 AIGA members, are based in New York City; Chicago is next among cities with 1,200 members and Los Angeles has 1,100.
  • A vast majority of the city’s design firms are located in Manhattan, but, the number of companies in Brooklyn has exploded in recent years. Overall the number of Brooklyn-based firms grew from 257 in 2001 to 433 in 2009, a 70 percent increase. The number of graphic design firms in Brooklyn grew by 62 percent in that time, from 86 to 139, and the number of architectural firms nearly doubled, from 65 to 129.


The report points out that while the Bloomberg administration has admirably launched several new initiatives to support the city’s fashion industry, the city’s economic development agencies have not devoted any meaningful attention to other design industries and the city has also done little to promote the city’s designers. The report shows that other major design centers like London and Milan go to much greater lengths to brand their products at both local and foreign trade shows. Indeed, the vast majority of the designers we interviewed thought New York was far too complacent about its status as a design hub. :: Follow me on Twitter

  There Are A Lot of Designers in New York City