Employment Agencies for Graphic Design


I am looking for a design headhunter in Taiwan. Who would you recommend? Are they the best way to get into this business in Taiwan? Here is a link to my online resume and portfolio. In your HONEST opinion would finding work in my field be very difficult for me there?


Thank you for your time,


I don’t know how you would get established, as I’m pretty sure you need to offer something that locals can’t be hired for (English-language services spring instantly to mind). There are plenty of graphic design firms here, but would they be allowed to hire you? I think its doubtful.

I guess you could come here and teach English for five years or however long it is, after which you could get an open work permit and apply for any jobs you want to.

Why would they not be allowed to hire me? Please explain that further. I can get a work visa easily I believe since my wife is Taiwanese. Maybe I’m wrong though.

The prospect of holding off on my career for 5 years just to have the chance to work for probably less money than I’m making now isn’t that attractive. Today I’m not that concerned with salary as I just want as much solid design experience as possible but in five years?!?

As the spouse of a Taiwanese national you are entitled to an Open work Permit. Before applying for an OPW at the Council of Labor Affairs, you will have to apply for an ARC based on your marriage. Check out the OWP thread in the Legal Forum. The OPW allows you to work in any field. However, if you do not speak Chinese, you will be limited, unless you are extremely lucky, to teaching or editing work. Try one of the newspapers if you are interested in design. Copy editors at the Taipei Times are expected to lay out pages too. WFC (World Family Corp) produces ESL materials, videos, text books, etc. They are always on the look out for foreigners who they can employ legally without having to use up their work permit quota.

Thank you very much. WFC…do you happen to have a link to them that I may use? I’m also afraid that I’m ignorant as to what ESL materials are.

ESL = English as a Second Language. WFC is the parent company of ALE (Actual Living English). ALE is the activity/adventure side of the operation i.e. glorified English club. WFC produces ESL goodies to flog to ALE members. WFC is always involved in some or other project. Their Website seems to be down. Try greg@wfc.com.tw. ALE is looking for an English Materials Editor. 7706-9999 x 577
Carol Lin carol@ltl.com.tw

I think you will find it extremely difficult to find an entry level graphic design position in Taiwan. If any positions are actually open they will more than likely be filled by a recent local graduate. As well corporate design positions are in my opinion non existant. These seem to be filled by people who spend half of their time doing general office work. Graphic Design (or any design) as a discipline is treated entirely different than what you might find in Europe or in the US/Canada.

It took me 7 months when I arrived in Taiwan to find work in my field when I got an entirely unexpected call. This was when the economy was good and there seemed to be a demand for my particular skill set.

Where I work we have discussed a new hire and any mention of hiring another foreigner was dismissed with a sigh. Even with the proper language skills (I was interested in a young Japanese designer) they feel it’s just too much trouble for this type of position.

My advice is to reiterate what has been said. Find a copy or editing job with a publishing company, something working with text. Gradually introduce your design skills to them and perhaps if they can save money by having you design their publications you’ll be quite busy.

In addition it doesn’t hurt to freelance at night. I kept busy in my first 7 months here in just that manner.

Best of luck.

Originally posted by Anjinsan: Why would they not be allowed to hire me?[b] Please explain that further.[/b] I can get a work visa easily I believe since my wife is Taiwanese.

OK, your marriage to a local changes the field of play somewhat – you didn’t mention that in your original post. There’s no such thing as a “work visa” by the way – you get either a “Residence Visa” based on your employment, or a “Joining Family Visa” based on your marriage.

Re: why they would not be allowed to hire you. For a regular (not open) work permit, the application has to be approved by the relevant ministry – Education Ministry, Ministry of Economic Affairs, etc., depending on the job. If you’re applying for a job that they think can be done just as well by a local, they’ll reject the application. Simple as that.

If you can get an OWP, you have a lot more scope.

If you want another opinion, I would recommend that you put much more material on your online resume site. One newspaper graphic, one poster…this does not give me a feel for the depth of your talent or the variety of assignments that you have undertaken.
As for work here, there are many designers here ranging from mediocre to fantastic. Remember, design knows no language barrier and the Chinese go to design school too.
The above posts are sound – get into some form of media (if you can – that’s not always easy) and work your way up, if possible.
Good luck.

I have 2 ‘foreign-not-married-to-a-local’ friends who are graphic designers here. Neither of them had the slightest trouble getting their relevant visas/ARC

All I can do is try. Wolf Reinhold, sorry if I am missing the true intention of your post but…I don’t believe that I ever claimed to having more talent than Chinese designers and that was never the point I thought. I have alot of resource material from Taiwan such as magazines and whatnot and I’ve seen the work produced. It’s not imo out of my range. I do understand that locals can do what I do just as they can do what everyone on this board does right? The teaching needing whites is just racism that applies to some of us favorably imo. (My sister in law from HK speaks better English than I do and is overall a brighter bulb but guess who gets the job if we went in together?) I am on my third year out of school and I’m interested in becoming better every year. Your point on more material online sounds good, I used to use my website as more of a taste to set up interviews to show the rest but that wouldn’t apply as well to this situation would it? Back to motivation…I was thinking that since I would have an opportunity to live in Taiwan now, tomorrow or the next day with ease that I might get “lucky” and get into a GREAT learning experience at an agency. Perhaps that great experience is less than 20 miles from where I live too. Options are only options if they are thought upon. I dunno, but does anyone know of headhunters that work with graphic designers in Taiwan? Here we use headhunters alot.

Well, I too am looking at the possibility of working in the graphic/web design field in Taiwan. I’m not married, though I do have resident Taiwanese gf but there are no plans of marriage.

I co-own a company here in New Zealand but would like to live in Taiwan. I could easily support myself by continuing to do design work for my company, but wondered what restrictions I’d have about gaining clients from Taiwan.

Legally, what’s the best way for me to stay in TW, given that initially I’d like to give myself a 6-12 month trial to see if it’s for me?

Any advice would be most appreciated!

For those that are interested:
> Take a look at my portfolio

Get a student visa and go from there.

Wouldn’t that mean that I’d have to be a full-time student though, or don’t they verify that? I would happily be a part-time student if it’d make things any easier. I do wish to learn study Chinese and also further myself in art and design, though the latter may be difficult with without the former - I don’t know if such classes are available in English, are they?

Being a full-time student requires going to class two hours a day, five days a week, which would leave you time for other activities.

The powers that be do occasionally check to see that students are attending class. Nonetheless, some schools are still known more for their visa-granting ability than the quality of their classes.

I advise taking at least one beginner’s course. While it is possible to survive in Taiwan with no Chinese at all, knowing just a little can help tremendously – in looking for work as well as in daily life.

You will find a lot of interesting and useful information on work permits in the Legal Matters Forum moderated by Richard Hartzell.


Just as a matter of interest, does anyone know of who the ‘major players’ of graphic/web design in Taiwan are? I have found a few online that are good, and plenty that are terrible. I have heard from a few people that good original design isn’t as important to Taiwanese companies as it is in other countries. Is this a trend that’s decreasing, as Taiwan, like the rest of the world, becomes more brand-crazy?

If there are any other designers out there, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me personally.



Hope that helps you. Most of the websites that I got through researching individual companies from the list would fall into your second category. Hell I’m not even a web designer and I wasn’t exactly blown away. I did like your web designs though. Good work though I disagree about the color pink. My wife is Asian and has systematically purchased every gawd damned Hello Kitty item in the Sanrio catalog. (have you ever tried to make a call on a pink, plastic phone that is worth less in parts than what the average couch currently holds in dropped pocket change?)Pink is truly the color of hellspawn. TRy J.Walter Thompson, or any of the other American based, international players. Here is a quote from a Chinese Graphic Designer that may help you…

"If I’m not mistaken, I think I have heard about this one
Ogilvy & Mather
8/F Min Sheng Commercial Building, 51 Min Sheng East Road, Section 3,
Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: 8862 2505 5789 Fax: 8862 2505 2334

Btw, those companies that located on Tun-Hua S Road, , hsin Yi Road,and
Keelung Road, would probably be good ones to start with since they seem to
located in a very expensive, high standard sections of Taipei."

I’d be very interested to hear how your search has gone as I haven’t really tried yet and wouldn’t mind hearing about companies that were receptive to foreigners.

I would also like to hear from other members about a better source of print advertising that the three magazines my wife somehow suscribes too. They are pop culture, fashion or style type mags. I find it very, very hard to believe that the only formula for print design is 3-d looking headline, hot chick on product, in awe of product, caressing product, estatically in love with product and finished by cramming waaaaay too much body text in the available negative space below hot chick and product. The better ads seem to be featuring white people oddly enough. Are these international ads where a Taiwan agency merely plops on their text? Or are the fashion magazines in Taiwan just extrememly weak design wise in comparison to something that I should be viewing. I am not being a wiseass. I am not proclaiming myself king of anything. I am looking for where I may find strong designs as a rule. Any specialty magazines for Taiwanese by Taiwanese along the lines of Wired? (eh not best example but I hope you get my drift)

Here is a company you might want to check out, Up Creative (?)

I can’t remember them doing any design work for the web (and their web site shows their lack of experience in the medium) but I have found some of their package and print work to be rather well done.