Jack Morton Worldwide experienced a wave of layoffs last week, an anonymous source reported to Live Design, and the company confirmed it today. The layoffs were across the company and affected areas including creative design, and digital departments in New York and Boston, according to the source.

A spokesperson for Jack Morton says the layoffs represent a very small percentage of worldwide employees and that no single unit or department has been dissolved, and all are intact and capable and capable of moving forward with current projects.

A statement issued by Jack Morton Worldwide chairman and CEO Josh McCall, stated, “We are currently undergoing staff reductions in certain markets across our network in response to the economic climate that continues to impact so many businesses across a variety of industries. These actions are consistent with actions we know are being taken by other agencies in our competitive sector and throughout the marketing services industry. We are a strong and enduring agency that will navigate through these challenging times and do what it takes to maintain our industry leadership position.”

The source had the following statement about the current state of the economy, design, and the industry. “Compared to long established traditional design/ad agency models, and in my experience, a certain segment of the production-oriented event/exhibit industry has really struggled to change the perception that they are a ‘below the line’ marketing solution and, to that end, as they try to shift the focus away from their production roots, they seek to legitimize their new value by promoting their ‘design/branding/strategy’ experience,” the source said. “Several of these event/exhibit companies promote this experience before they fully understand the complex challenges associated with building a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary in-house design team. Building this kind of capability is not a ‘just add water’ kind of problem.

“I think that, in the current economic landscape, some event/exhibit companies will continue to have a hard time incorporating and building these new brand sensitive design components into their workflow in an attempt to legitimize their standing as a one-stop shop agency-like solution,” the source continued. “As many clients now take a more sophisticated approach to their brands, some event/exhibit companies will struggle to deliver as quasi-creative agencies that can truly compete with the smaller boutiques and the larger, more established ‘legitimate’ agencies that are now choosing to focus their design/brand/strategy teams on exhibits/events and other emerging marketing solutions.”