Good design is more than just cosmetic window dressing for companies, a new survey of small business owners shows. A majority of them think the design of their logos, websites, marketing materials and other branding tools is an important factor in the success of companies and will become increasingly important in the years ahead.
In a poll of 1,500 small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs in the U.S., 80 percent of respondents agreed graphic design was either "very important" or "important" to the success of their companies. Only 3 percent were naysayers. The survey was conducted by 99designs, an online marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design services.
Business owners believe design will only become more important to business success in the coming years, the survey found. Two-thirds expect graphic design to play an increasingly significant role over the next five years. [Read related article: Why Type Matters: The Power of Fonts in Business]
Reflecting their belief in the importance of design, small businesses plan to spend more on graphic design in the coming year. More than three-quarters of respondents (78 percent) said they will spend at least the same or more in graphic design more in 2012. Only 21 percent said they plan to spend less.
But affordability continues to be a factor for small businesses. The majority of them are taking a DIY approach, the survey found. More than 50 percent have design work done in-house or do it themselves, compared with 21 percent who use freelancers and 18 percent who run crowdsource design contests on sites such as 99designs. Only 7 percent work with design agencies.. Credit: Design success infographic courtesy of 99designs
"Small businesses recognize the growing importance of the web, mobile and social media channels like Facebook and Twitter for reaching and interacting with customers," Jeff Titterton, 99design's chief marketing officer, told BusinessNewsDaily. "We see this reflected in our own sales data, with more customers purchasing web and mobile app designs, ad banners and Facebook cover pages than ever before."
Titteron, who oversaw the survey, said there are discernible geographic trends.
"For 99designs, the U.S. leads the upsurge in mobile and web purchases, while in Europe our customers are still investing more heavily in traditional business and advertising products like print collateral and stationery," he said.