Creative industries production is a sector of the economy that touches the lives of all Americans. The creative industries are for profit and nonprofit businesses involved in the creation and distribution of creative intellectual property. They are businesses we experience for enjoyment (watching a movie, attending a concert, or reading a novel); engage in for business (architecture, design, advertising); and invest in to enrich community livability (museums, public art, and performing arts centers).

Note: The information on this page was provided by Oregon Creative Industries.

Industry Overview

Creative Industries is a large, clean and economically impactful cluster in Oregon.

The phrase Creative Industries refers to a set of related industry sectors, and is cited by Americans for the Arts as the “high-octane fuel that drives the “information economy,” one of the fastest growing segments of the nation’s economy.” Creative Industries are often defined as those that focus on creating and exploiting intellectual property products such as music, books, film/video, theater, fashion, software and games, or providing business-to-business Creative Services such as advertising, public relations and direct marketing. Economic activities focused on designing, making and selling objects or works of art such as jewelry, sculpture, books of poetry or other creative writing, or fine art are also often featured in definitions of the sector because the value of such objects derives from a high degree of aesthetic originality (Wikipedia definition based on the definition provided by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport).

Oregon’s creative industries cluster includes companies, organizations, and individuals that create and monetize intellectual property products such as music, books, film/video, theater, fashion, software, and games. They provide business-to-business creative services such as advertising, public relations, and direct marketing. Economic activities focused on designing, making, and selling objects or works of art such as jewelry, sculpture, books of poetry or other creative writings, or fine arts are also often considered part of the cluster because of the value the objects derive due to a high degree of aesthetic originality.

Creative industries provide innovation strength. In an increasingly global economy, one competitive advantage we have is our ability to innovate. Successful innovation comes about by commerical use of new ideas as a result of market and technology know-how, coupled with design and creative talent. This ultimately delivers new or enhanced products, processes, or services that increase individual business profits, which contribute to the overall health of our region’s economy.  Professions typically listed as part of Creative Industries include:  Advertising, Arts, Design (interior, graphic),  Digital Media (film/video production, multimedia design), Marketing, Photography, Software (computer games and other interactive applications) and Visual and Performing Arts.

Creative Industries by the Numbers

Americans for the Arts defines the Creative Industries as both for-profit and nonprofit businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts. This definition includes 643 eight-digit Standard Industrial Classification Codes. See Arts and Economic Prosperity III for a summary of the Economic Impact of America’s Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry.

For the past 4 years, the Oregon Arts Commission has also measured the economic impact of the Oregon artistic creativity through the publication of the Oregon Creative Vitality Index. The index has two major components: 1) seven indicators of community participation in the arts (i.e., per capita museum and art gallery revenue from ticket and product sales) and 2) arts-related employment.  Arts-related employmentmeasures the level of creative occupations per capita and includes 36 creative occupational categories as measured by the Employment and Training Administration’s “O*NET” occupational network database.


Creative Services

Economic  Impact

Cluster Employment: 61,680 (2008)
Cluster Employment Growth:
 1.95% (2006-2008)
Average Wage: $65,801 (2006)
Wage Growth: 10.79% (2003-2006)

Source: Employment — 2010 Oregon Creative Vitality Index.  Wages — PDC/OECDD Creative Services Industry Cluster Report – Fall 2007. 

Cluster Strengths

  • American for the Arts describes the Creative Industries as the “high octane fuel that drives the information economy,” which is the fastest growing secotr of the economy.
  • The approval of the Regional Creative Action Plan and overall regional economic development strategies are helping to lay the foundation for future Creative economic growth.
  • The formation of Oregon Creative Industries as a non-profit trade association to help organize and move the cluster forward is another positive step.
  • Recent national attention and wards have been heaped on Oregon-based Creative Industries companies, projects and traded sector exports

Cluster Challenges

  • The state still doesn’t have a unique creative services-related identity or strong brand image.The Creative Industries cluster needs to get the word out globally about the creative output, talent and capacity of this region in order to attract additional business and investment from outside the region.
  • Local and regional client bases have been shrinking because of the declining number of headquarters and branch office locations of client industries.
  • Many Oregon schools are reducing arts or are not teaching skills required for Creative Services occupations. Oregon lacks strong creative services programming in its universities, communitiy colleges, and high schools.
  • State budget cuts mean the potetial loss of community arts, which will threaten the stability of talent.
  • Creative Industries need robust telecommunications bandwidth to succeed.

Key Initiatives

  • Develop and execute a brand strategy for promoting the region’s creative industries resources nationally and internationally.
  • Develop creative industries economic baseline data to assist in advocacy efforts.
  • Continue to build the base by organizing the creative industries cluster across the various vertical profession components of the creative economy ecosystem.
  • Create programming for industry-led praticum and internship opportunities for students to develop an interest in careers in the creative services industry. Give firms a first look at emerging young talent and encourage a continuous stream of potential employees.
  • Encourage new funding for collaboration between high school and community colleges and creative community programs to develop integrated learning on a variety of creative subjects.

Trade Associations

Oregon Creative Industries is an umbrella trade association, with several vertical associations represented as part of the Creative Economy Council, including, among others:

  • Portland Advertising Federation
  • Oregon Media Production Association
  • American Marketing Association, Oregon chapter
  • American Institute of Architects
  • AIGA (Graphic Designers)
  • DevGroup NW
  • Industrial Design Society of America, Portland chapter
  • American Society of Media Photographers, Portland chapter
  • International Interior Design Association, Portland chapter

Oregon Creative Industries (OCI) had its first Association Leadership meeting with OCI co-founders in December 2008.  Visit the Oregon Creative Industries Blog for the latest news.

Notable Companies

Example companies doing work in the Creative Industries Cluster include: Nike, Laika, Wieden + Kennedy, Ziba Design, Allied Works Architecture, and eROI.

Cluster Contact

Oregon Creative Industries
Steve Gehlen, 503-819-6219