Remember the good old days? When a startup founder could draw up his own clunky logo, slap it on a Web page and call it a day? Now every startup needs to spend time, attention and money on slick branding and design sophistication - just to get in the game.
Design as a Differentiator
99designs, a marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design, polled more than 1,500 entrepreneurs, startup founders and small-business owners and found that 80% of them think the design of their logos, websites, marketing materials and other branding tools is either important or very important to their success. Just 3% said design was not important.
Blame Apple, says 99designs CEO Patrick Llewellyn. The world’s most valuable company has proved that elegance equals success. “Apple has shown that design excellence can lead to growth,” Llewellyn says. “We’ve seen successful startups like Airbnb, where design is at the forefront, beautiful simplicity. The way you interact with their design has played a part in their growth to prominence. We’ve seen the rise of Instagram and other startups with a very clean, well-designed look and feel.”
The survey also found that 67% of respondents believe design will become even more important to business success over the next five years. “I think this is because the startup and small business communities are more aware of design than ever before,” says Llewellyn. “So many things today in business involve design, whether it’s a Web page, advertising or a social media presence on Facebook or Twitter. Business owners realize their identity will be publically displayed across many different media, and they need to get it right.”
Blue Is the Color of Money
So maybe it’s time to redo your company design. The 99designs survey showed blue is the color most associated with success (must’ve been before the Facebook IPO), followed by green, then white (Apple again), black and red. Men most dislike purple while women hate orange.
Best logo: Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Google, FedEx
Worst logo: Walmart, Microsoft, Pepsi, IBM, Google
Best website: Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Nike
Worst website: Walmart, Yahoo, Facebook, Myspace, Microsoft
“It’s interesting about Microsoft and Walmart, that the public thinks their design sucks,” Llewellyn says. “There’s a hipness factor there - design and hipness are very much connected in the mind of the consumer.”
Ironically, Llewellyn’s survey also indicated that many startups and small-business owners aren’t willing to spend big money for professional design work. The numbers tell the tale: 65% said they’d pay up to $500 for a new custom logo, 20% said they’d pay up to $1,000 and 15% said they’d spend more than $1,000. More than half do their design work themselves or assign it in-house, while 21% use freelancers and 18% use crowdsourding sites like 99designs. Only 7% hire a design agency.