99designs survey: Startups and other small businesses expect design to become increasingly important to their success

San Francisco
5 Jun 2012

We hear a lot from business and technology pundits that design is becoming an increasingly important factor in the success of companies, but does that sentiment trickle down to the people actually running small businesses and deciding how much emphasis to place on design work? To find out, 99designs polled 1,500 small business owners, start-ups, entrepreneurs and design decision-makers on graphic design and its importance to their business.

The results sent a clear message: small businesses really do care about design, and expect it to become increasingly important to their success in the years ahead.

Here are the key findings, which you can see illustrated in our infographic:

  • Small businesses consider design important to their success: 80% of small business owners consider the design of their logos, websites, marketing materials and other branding tools either “very important” or “important” to the success of their companies. Just 3% indicated design is “not important.”
  • Design will only become more important to business success in coming years: 67% expect graphic design to play an increasingly significant role in business success over the next five years.
  • Small businesses plan to spend more on graphic design in the coming year: 78% of survey respondents anticipate their companies will spend the same or more on graphic design work in 2012. Only 21% plan to spend less.
  • Affordability continues to be a factor for small businesses: 65% of small business owners said they would pay up to $500 for a new custom logo; 20% indicated they would pay as much as $1,000; and 15% indicated they would spend more than $1,000. With these numbers in mind, it’s not surprising to learn that the majority of small businesses are still taking a DIY approach: More than 50% source design work in-house or do it themselves, while 21% use freelancers, and 18% run crowdsourced design contests on sites like 99designs. Only 7% work with design agencies.
  • Blue is the color small business owners most associate with success: Fifty-seven percent of respondents associate the color blue with success; the second most cited color is green (35%) followed by white (32%), black (29%) and red (21%). Purple was the color male respondents least often associate with success, while women were least likely to select orange.
  • Apple topped the lists for best logo and best website, while Wal-Mart topped the worst lists for both categories: Asked to name the companies with the best and worst logos and websites, those identified most often were (in order of frequency):
    • Best logos: Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Google and FedEx
    • Worst logos: Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Pepsi, IBM and Google
    • Best websites: Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Nike
    • Worst websites: Wal-Mart, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace and Microsoft

About 99designs
The 99designs Business Design Survey was conducted online from March 2012 to May 2012. The 1,500 respondents were evenly split between 99designs customers and non-customers holding design decision-making roles within their companies who were polled through market research firm Ask your Target Market.

Media contact (Worldwide):
Lauren Gard