Quality in Saudi advertising design
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This research investigates reasons for differences in quality between advertisements created by local and international advertising agencies operating in Saudi Arabia. It focuses on the investment in, and use of, computer technology as a factor in creating these differences, along with other factors such as work practices, skills, organizational structure, education and design strategies.The objectives of this research are to identify the causes of differences in quality of advertising design outputs between local agencies and international advertising agencies operating in Saudi Arabia; to compare the advertising design processes, practices, resources and difficulties of local and international advertising agencies; and to identify strategies that may improve the quality of local advertising design.The research uses a multi-method approach, using both questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to collect data from 223 professionals working in the field of advertising design in four major cities in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Khamis Mushait). Participants were selected to provide a balance between local and international advertising agencies. These data confirm that advertisements created by local advertising agencies are commonly considered lower in quality than those of international agencies; it also quantifies participants’ understanding of the reasons for the differences. These reasons, rarely operating alone, include the skill of local staff in using modern computer technology and design software; weaknesses in professional processes and business structures; insufficient design education and training of local designers; limited investment of financial resources in local agencies in terms of technology, management and employment; low investment in novel ideas and concepts; and over-involvement of clients in creative processes.Several strategies and policies to improve the quality and strength of the local advertising industry are identified. In particular, improve the take up and use high performance computer hardware and appropriate professional design software in the field of local advertising; this research also identifies the importance of improving Saudi design education and training, with particular note made of the lack of training in this field for males in Saudi universities. Local Saudi media have a significant role to play in helping to improve visual cultural awareness in Saudi Arabian society. This research offers insights and suggestions that will have positive benefits for local advertising agencies and their clients.
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