Relocating to STL

Hello everyone, it has recently become very real to me that I may be relocating to the wonderful city of St. Louis within the next year or two. As part of my effort to do some research on the area, I'm posting here in hopes that you all may be able to give me some insight.

Right now I'm a graphic designer living/working in Orlando, FL. I would be relocating as soon as next August - so about a year from now. I've recently graduated with a BFA in design and have a few years experience under my belt.

Any insight on what the job market is like up there? Orlando has been very rough lately, but I've managed to find work right out of school, which is great. How would you describe the market in St. Louis right now?

Down here I've been very involved in Ad 2 (ad2.org) similar to Ad Club/AIGA type of organizations - what is the community like up here? Is it big? I've loved being a member of Ad 2 and would love to get involved in something similar up in STL.

And lately, unrelated to design or anything of that nature, any advice on neighborhoods to look into? (least important of the questions, just figured I would throw it out there)

Thanks for any and all advice, it is definitely appreciated!

Comments

Honestly the job market here is not great either. Have been through several recessions now, design and advertising get cut. However the Ad community here is great, and you usually end up working with people more than once during your career. And St. Louis is a fantastic city! Being more on the entry level designer there are more job posts for that level.

What kind of interactive skills do you have? If you can hand-code web pages or write ActionScript in addition to having a solid design foundation, then you should do okay. It's still a little rough for people with 1 to 3 years experience, but the jobs are out there.

If you don't do interactive at all, then things are a lot harder. There are a lot of out of work non-interactive designers in town competing for jobs.

Group-wise the AIGA is good here. I don't know much about Ad Club.

I organize the Design Meetup, which is free and very large (733 members). It's a good, low-key way to meet other designers and talk shop.

Social Media Club is a good way to network with people in the social media and interactive space. Most of the people involved are very active and positive.

Advice on Neighborhoods: if you have kids, or plan to have them, it's all about the schools. Get into a good school district no matter what it takes.

If you don't/won't have kids, then you have more options. There are a lot of affordable neighborhoods that are being fixed up that are full of history and local flavor.

Good luck, and welcome to St. Louis!

Ahoy, stranger from afar. We may not be *quite* as friendly as those Minnesotans but I'm sure most local folks would happily arrange for an informational visit to their firm. I can show your around Cannonball.

In the meantime, post your portfolio here so local oglers can get a look at the goods you're bringing to town.

Best,

Skye

Thanks for the replies! @Quenchcre8tve - I figured as much, it's the same down here. I'm more on the entry level side as I've just graduated but it is good to know there are SOME opportunities there at least. I'm hoping it will only get better by the time I move. I'm very happy to hear that the community is good though, definitely helps a lot!

@J. Jeffryes Unfortunately, I've not incredibly well versed in interactive. I can design for the web no problem, modify and write some things but not necessarily write from scratch, I'm pretty familiar with flash and know a bit of actionscript - the interactive side is definitely something I'm trying to better myself in. Thanks for the info on some of the ad/social groups - when I get up there I will look into them.

@drinkspiller haha thanks! I've generally found everyone from St. Louis ridiculously nice. I'm going to try to arrange some informational visits when it gets closer to go-time but thanks for extending that offer! The soonest I would be up to visit again would be over the holiday season so we might have to make that happen!

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