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Talent Has No Borders: Meet the New Global Creative Class

Fredrik Thomassen
Fredrik Thomassen8 min read
Talent Has No Borders - Meet The New Global Creative Class

The “best design talent” isn’t limited to the “best design schools.”

From Mexico’s Frida Kahlo to Japan’s Yayoi Kusama, the greatest artists of the past century prove that design transcends language, location, culture and credentials.

The internet and the rising tide of remote work have uplifted a new global creative class fed by a growing business demand for fresh design and digital content.

Today, the notion that the world’s best creative talent is concentrated in New York is an outdated myth:

  • A new digital monoculture has emerged through shared content and experiences, meaning a designer in Colombia can relate to their American counterpart today better than in the 90s.
  • Half the global population is now connected to the internet, with access to the same quality education online and more opportunities to apply their skills working remotely with global brands.
  • More than 20% of the world speaks English allowing people to collaborate with others who may not share the same native language.

Forward-looking companies like Netflix and Adobe have already embraced a new reality in the competition for top talent:

“Best” knows no borders—to compete on the world stage you have to recruit the best talent in the world too.

This is at the heart of Superside’s mission to create more economic opportunity by connecting the global creative class to the creative needs of fast-growing companies.

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The Power of Globally Distributed Creative Teams and a Global Perspective

The “power center era” that assumed you must be in San Francisco to work in tech, or that you must be in LA to be in the film industry is dead, according to Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer at Adobe.

I like to call creativity the world’s greatest recycling program because it’s people going out in the world seeing things, mistakes of the eye, other people’s creative work, traveling, culture, clashes of culture, subculture, all of this type of stuff. These inputs then express themselves in the outputs—meaning the work.

—Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer, Adobe

What you see when you "see the world"

The perfect example of cultural influences on creativity is Mati Klarwein, who pop art pioneer Andy Warhol called “the most famous unknown painter in the world.”

Born in Germany and raised in the Middle East, Klarwein spent the 50s traveling, finding artistic inspiration in Tibet, India, Bali and North Africa. The global perspective he gained through these journeys inspired his unique style—evident in the iconic album covers he produced for well-known musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Miles Davis.

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Inspiration is everywhere

A more recent example is Netflix’s ongoing investment in international content from South Korea’s Squid Game to Spain’s Money Heist to France’s Lupin (to name a few). As Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, says, “Great storytelling transcends borders.”

For distributed creative teams, a global perspective lets them produce fresh, original work without being in the same room or continent.

The world is our superpower

Superside leverages the cultural diversity of a global workforce to deliver the following advantages:

  • International experience from locals. With a wealth of cultural contexts to tap, customers have sourced designers based on regional experience to localize ads for international expansion.
  • Rapid ideation. Superside’s collective creative mind of over 600 and growing has been harnessed to quickly generate entire libraries of unique presentation templates without running out of ideas.
  • Diverse perspectives. Fresh eyes from Superside have helped breathe new life into old assets that have been creatively exhausted by internal teams.
  • A collective of specialists. Niche industry experience or expertise requirements for unique projects, like motion design, have been satisfied by sourcing from the global Superside community.
  • Asynchronous collaboration. Your Superside team can work while you sleep for fast turnarounds. You can brief your design project at 5 pm your time and wake up to a first draft in the morning.
Zoho’s in-house designers don’t have as much direct experience creating presentations for niche industries, like artisan cafes or independent jewelers. Why would they? We’re a tech company! Everything we do is themed around Zoho’s brand. But because Superside’s designers have been exposed to so many industries and so many business types, they were able to offer that as part of the service they provided.

—David Elkins, Head of Content Review, Zoho

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Designer Natalia’s personal project, It’s not about place, it’s about stories,” is a collection of abstract postcards inspired by photographs she took on her last trip through South America.

A DesignOps Solution for Working While Worlds Apart

Superside is a community of top-tier Graphic Designers, Illustrators, Motion Designers, Art Directors, UI/UX Designers, Video Producers and other Creative Specialists. The team and their transcontinental perspectives, spanning 57 countries and 16 time zones, are organized into flexible creative teams that can scale up and down to suit a company’s unique needs.

Many studies show that cultural diversity results in better creative performance—especially when a "cultural broker" acts as the hinge to communicate and coordinate between different members.

Superside’s software and services are built to act as that link, combining a collaborative platform with stress-tested design processes and a dedicated creative team. Some Superside subscriptions also include Design Directors and Copywriters, integrated into the team to assist with design planning and creative concepts.

The entire process is fully managed by Creative Project Managers with years of experience coordinating with diverse teams to deliver for global brands. A Customer Success Manager is also assigned to each account to help with onboarding, training and ensuring that customers see the greatest benefit.

A Future of Work With Fair Wages for the Global Creative Class

Freelance marketplaces and online design competitions have helped creatives get greater exposure to more opportunities on a global scale. But, these solutions often require talent to spend more time looking for work rather than doing the work.

One of Superside’s core values is to compensate talent based on their skills so they can grow in their roles—bettering the level of the creative they produce and the quality of life they enjoy.

Instead of spending 50% of their time looking for clients, Supersiders get exciting client work that comes to them from hundreds of fast-growing companies, including the likes of Shopify, Puma and Facebook.

Equal access to opportunity is Superside’s vision. Our global community leads to boosted creativity and fresh ideas, and equal salaries regardless of geography attracting people all over the world and allowing them to move and work from wherever they want. If we can drive that change in the world, Superside has a narrative—a reason people choose to work here and businesses choose to partner with us.

—Haakon Heir, COO, Superside

This access to opportunity and fair wages builds communities around creative talent. New communities are sprouting up in smaller towns, thanks to the pandemic’s shift to remote work. When communities form, local businesses develop, creating better housing, jobs, food, and safety.

When people have more disposable income, they spend more locally—supporting their communities. From a small village to an urban neighborhood, when you bolster the local economy, you strengthen the community around it.

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Designer Estefany is teaching locally and abroad to help her community. See her Instagram for more details.

Opportunity Through Education vs. Gatekeeping Through Credentialism

Credentialism—the need for degrees, certificates and diplomas to qualify for a job—gives an unfair advantage to those who can afford university tuition, benefit from nepotistic application processes, or simply won the lottery of when and where they were born.

For creative talent, the proof is in the portfolio—and true potential gets unlocked when theoretical education meets practical, real-world projects.

This isn’t just how we scout talented people across the world—it’s how we invest in them. It’s one of the reasons we launched Airstart to teach technical creative skills, like After Effects Mastery, and workplace skills, like managing client expectations and inter-team collaboration.

Unlike the traditional education system or more recent boot camps, Airstart offers industry-focused learning where students use relevant creative briefs as projects. The structure of the courses blends technical and workplace skills to succeed in the real world with detailed feedback from experts in the chosen field. Together, students expand their professional and peer network which opens the gateway to global opportunities.

Global inequality in educational access creates unfair access to job opportunities. And because the internet is uniquely positioned to level the playing field in learning, we see Airstart as the natural evolution towards achieving our mission: to create more equal opportunities globally.

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Check out designer Timi Alonge’s branding identity work for Healthy Foods Agro Ltd.

Designing the Future of Creative Work

An internet connection is all it takes to make the world a smaller place for a single person, putting access to education and opportunity fingertips away.

At Superside, we believe in a future of work that's more inclusive, celebrates both merit and diversity, and gives the new global creative class access to more significant economic opportunity and global companies a better way to work with proven talent across continents and timezones.

Because the future of work belongs to more than just the United States, it belongs to the world.

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Published: Aug 1, 2022
Fredrik Thomassen
Written by
Fredrik Thomassen
Fredrik Thomassen is the CEO and co-founder of Superside.

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