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What Design Work Should You Invest In? Industry Findings from 99designs

Guest PostGuest Post
October 16, 2018

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Brea Weinreb, Marketing Specialist at 99designs

Whether blending in or standing out, it’s best to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. This goes double for design work, with everything mired in visuals. Even having the same logo colors as your rival can lead to customers mixing up your brands.

We wanted some concrete data on the subject. So we sent surveys to hundreds of business owners and poured through three years worth of customer data from 99designs contests. Our research nailed down more than a few notable trends, some of which you can use to improve your business.

Who Gets the Most Design?

To see how you stack up to your competitors, we cleanly organized the data by our top ten industries: accounting, business, construction, entertainment, food, internet, medical, real estate, retail and technology.

When looking at who commissions the most design contests overall, the top three industries are:

  1. Technology (15.46%)
  2. Food (13.84%)
  3. Business (13.38%)
Pie chart of which industries commission the most design work

Who commissions the most design contests, according to our top ten industries.

The tech industries gets the most designs done overall, across all categories. They’re giving powerpoints, making mascots, trading business cards, posting infographics and making 3D models. The food industry comes in second, which is no surprise considering all the design involved in menus, food trucks, restaurant interiors, and brand marketing.

When it comes to the kinds of design projects prioritized, here are the top three categories across all industries:

  1. Logo design & brand identity
  2. Website and app design
  3. Business and advertising materials (cards, swag, etc.)

What we learned from this is that more than advertising or web design, clients are still investing more in logos than any other design field.  Which stands to reason, since everyone needs one. But we wanted to know more, so we dug a little deeper.

What 763 Business Owners Said about Logos

This summer, we sent out a survey about logo design to 763 business owners to see why this is the most sought after category of design work. We found that it was no coincidence — most entrepreneurs believe better logos can improve business.

For starters, a little more than 87% of all business owners actually have an official logo. Most of them, (65.87%) hired a designer to “make their business look more professional.”

Did it work? Many think so — a little over 38% said what impacted their success as a business most was their logo.

Our studies revealed that logos seem to be on many business owners minds. Nearly half (48.82%) have considered updating their logo, about a third of them because they wanted something more up-to-date, and another third because their current logo no longer reflects their brand.

So which industry values logos the most? Based on clients who have gotten a logo design from 99designs, the top three logo-heavy industries are:

  1. Technology (14.6%)
  2. Business (14.4%)
  3. Medical (12.2%)

In last place for number of logo-related contests is the accounting industry, who seem to rely less on new clientele and more on repeat clients and word-of-mouth advertising.

Each Industry’s Favorite Color

From a marketing perspective, color has an enormous impact on how your brand is perceived, with different colors subconsciously eliciting different emotions from the viewer. The right colors for your logo could convey your brand as modern or traditional, luxurious or affordable, all in just a glance.

At least that’s the ideal, but in practice most companies fall short. Almost half (48%) of business owners surveyed admitted they don’t bother to research the marketing implications of color when choosing their brand colors, and as many as 65% just choose completely arbitrary colors based on their own personal preferences. Very few (14.29%) even consider what colors their competitors are using.

If the practical applications of color in business were more accessible, business owners might think more strategically about which colors to use. With this aim, our Psychology of Color report went about analyzing which colors companies in each industry prefer, as well as what personality traits there were looking to exhibit as a brand. You can see fully detailed data analysis in the report, along with examples from real brands across a range of popular industries.

Bottom Line

What we learn from this data — concretely and with empirical evidence — is that logo design is worth investing in, according to hundreds of established companies. If these statistics teach you nothing else, it’s that companies should take a more proactive and strategic approach to design work, especially logos. Using your own favorite colors or an amateur design may appeal to you as a person, but as a business it’s a missed opportunity.

What do you need designed? Browse all 99designs categories and get started

Brea Weinreb is Marketing Specialist at 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. As an artist herself, Brea is passionate about visual culture and making design accessible across the globe. Connect with Brea and the rest of the 99designs team on Twitter.

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