Design Leaders are optimistic about 2011

AIGA's quarterly measure of confidence in the design industry shows marked improvement

NEW YORK—February 14, 2011. AIGA's Design Leaders Confidence Index reached its highest level since April 2005—when AIGA premiered its quarterly survey—jumping 6 points in the last quarter of 2010, from 98.99 to 105.09. That increase is consistent with other measures of anticipated economic activity, most notably the Conference Board report that CEO confidence increased 12 points in the last quarter of 2010. This also parallels recent increased optimism in other indices, including the rise of the Leading Economic Index, consumer confidence, the Employment Trends Index and help-wanted ads online.

The most recent AIGA survey of more than 400 design leaders reflected that the majority were confident the state of the economy as a whole—and of the design economy in particular—would be moderately better in the next six months. Roughly three out of five leaders concurred with that assessment, although few thought conditions would improve more than moderately. Overall, there were substantially more optimists than pessimists.

Fewer than 7 percent of the respondents felt that the design economy was worse today than six months ago, and only 5.4 percent felt that conditions would be worse six months down the road.

In terms of acting on their optimism, 47.9 percent felt the chances of hiring staff were about the same as in October, and 38.9 percent thought the chances were better. Only 11.2 percent thought the chances were worse, and just 9.5 percent said they were more likely to defer hardware and software purchases than in October.

Because corporate CEOs' perceptions could drive demand for design, it is worth noting that The Conference Board Measure of CEO ConfidenceTM bounced back in the final quarter of 2010, also reflecting more positive than negative impressions. Currently, 56 percent of business leaders anticipate an improvement in economic conditions over the next six months, up from 22 percent in the previous quarter. Much of the pessimism felt earlier in 2010 seems to have given way to optimism.

About AIGA

AIGA, the professional association for design, stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers. AIGA's mission is to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, and is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational institution. Today AIGA serves more than 20,000 members across 65 chapters and 200 student groups.

For further information, please contact: Jennifer Bender
AIGA | the professional association for design
Tel 212 710 3136 Fax 212 807 1799