Design leaders maintain confidence in the design economy's growth

NEW YORK—May 14, 2012. AIGA’s Design Leaders Confidence Index rose again in the most recent quarter. For the first quarter of 2012, the index rose from 100.71 to 104.15—the second highest level of confidence since AIGA began monitoring confidence in the first quarter of 2005.

Responses to this quarterly survey of more than 350 design leaders demonstrate a continuing surge of optimism in the design industry. For instance, less than 7 percent believe the overall economy is worse now than six months ago, although slightly more (8 percent) feel the design economy is worse than in October 2011. Just over 80 percent think it will be the same or moderately better in six months, and 10.8 percent believe it will be substantially better.

Looking ahead, nearly all respondents are confident that the broader economy will improve over the next six months (95.8 percent) and also believe this economic growth will drive improvements in the design economy in the next six months (96.3 percent).

In terms of hiring, only 11.9 percent feel their likelihood of hiring additional staff has weakened in the past quarter. The optimism of the respondents also affects their willingness to acquire hardware and software: 46.2 percent believe they are more likely to invest in technology tools today than in January 2012; fewer than 9.3 percent expect to be less likely to invest (44.5 percent believe it remains the same).

In other measures of private sector sentiment toward economic conditions, The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence™ continued to improve, crossing the line where more CEOs are positive about the economy than negative. Nearly 70 percent say conditions have improved compared to six months ago, up from just 17 percent last quarter. A similar improvement is reflected in the assessment of their own industries: Forty-two percent of business leaders claim conditions have improved, compared with only 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

This optimism continues into the short-term future. Currently, about 59 percent of business leaders foresee an improvement in economic conditions over the next six months, up from 32 percent in the fourth quarter.

About AIGA

AIGA is the professional association for design, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA today serves more than 22,000 members through 66 chapters and 200 student groups throughout the United States. AIGA stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers. Learn more at

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