Design leaders confident about economic rebound, reports AIGA

11 November 2009
New York (United States) - The AIGA Design Leaders Confidence Index for the third quarter of 2009 recorded a dramatic rebound from its low point of just a year ago, increasing the confidence of design leaders.
New York (United States) - The AIGA Design Leaders Confidence Index for the third quarter of 2009 continued a dramatic rebound from its low point of just a year ago. The index rose to 99.01, up from 88.81 three months ago and 50.66 one year ago.

The increased confidence may reflect a realisation that the current recession has not hurt design practices as much as was feared, reports AIGA, the professional association for design. According to Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA, "We've been listening closely to many designers working out of studios, and they appear to be very busy. Margins are tight and clients are very demanding in terms of scope and budget, but there has been business through what economists suggest was the trough of the recession. Though advertising agencies and corporations had been laying off designers, those in design studios - who represent the majority of our survey respondents - may feel they have made it through the worst of the recession."

AIGA anticipates that the real measure of the state of the design economy is likely to come in the first quarter of 2010, as designers experience the effects of corporate budgets that were determined during a weakened economy.

Only 25 percent of respondents believe they will be more likely to hire new designers in the next six months. Many studios that are busy have avoided hiring, which, in the short run, makes business appear more robust.

Comparison to corporate CEO confidence

Design leaders' confidence is consistent with the Conference Board measure of corporate CEO confidence, which had increased in the second quarter of 2009 and increased further in the third quarter, although neither rose as dramatically as the design leaders' impression.

CEOs' assessment of current economic conditions was much more optimistic, with 68 percent stating conditions had improved compared to six months ago, up from 32 percent last quarter. In assessing their own industries, business leaders were also considerably more positive. Currently, 55 percent claim conditions are better, up from 24 percent last quarter.

While CEOs seem confident, consumers are not. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had declined in September, deteriorated further in October. The index now stands at 47.7, down from 53.4 in September 2009.

About the AIGA Design Leaders Confidence Index

In April 2005, AIGA began conducting a quarterly survey of design leaders to assemble an authoritative statement on the current conditions within the design economy.

This Design Leaders Confidence Index is modeled on the confidence indices developed by the Conference Board for private sector corporate leaders.

Each quarter we obtain the answers to a few simple questions from several hundred design leaders.

Over time, the responses enable AIGA to develop a confidence index of conditions in the profession that will be helpful to members and their colleagues in judging current conditions nationwide. The index will also help us in advocating the interests of the design community in Washington and with sponsors.

The next Design Leaders Confidence Survey will be conducted in mid-February 2010. For more information, visit:

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Bender
Manager, communications and marketing
AIGA | the professional association for design
164 Fifth Avenue
New York NY 10010
United States
T: +1 212 807 1990
F: +1 212 807 1799

About AIGA

AIGA, the professional association for design, is the premier place for design - to discover it, discuss it, understand it, appreciate it, be inspired by it.

Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design. AIGA now represents more than 22,000 design professionals, educators and students through national activities and local programs developed by 63 chapters and 240 student groups. AIGA is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational institution.