An abundance of freelance marketplaces has made it cheap and easy for anyone starting a business to hire graphic artists to design logos, websites, and other marketing collateral. Upwork, Elance, Guru, Fiverr, DesignCrowd, Behance, and 99designs are just a few of the online platforms business owners can search to find designers for hire.
Pamela Weber, chief marketing officer of the crowdsource graphic design marketplace 99designs, established in 2008, says the frequency with which startups tap her contributors has given her an insider’s perspective on the small business landscape. “Generally speaking, you do a logo when you’re about to launch a business, so we’re able to observe new business trends firsthand,” Weber says.
Since its inception, 99designs has worked with over 350,000 unique customers and over 1 million designers to whom it has paid out $132 million.
Based on the design contests launched on 99designs in recent months, and the more than 46,000 designs posted on its site every day, Weber predicts the hottest categories in which new businesses will be launched in 2016.
1. Marijuana. Requests for designs from cannabis-related businesses and services of all kinds are surging on 99designs. Entrepreneurs are hoping to ride the legalization train to riches, Weber says. “Regulatory changes in the industry are enabling significant growth, and marijuana is the fastest growing industry in US, according to a report in the Huffington Post. We’re continuing to see evidence of that and we expect to see more,” she says.
2. Alcoholic beverages. Microbreweries and wineries are two of the hottest business categories for new logo designs right now. Weber, who has a background in the beverage industry, says, “The U.S. is a relatively mature beverage market, so it doesn’t grow that much; it’s mostly share shifts. In the alcohol sector, big beer brands used to dominate. Now, people are more apt to open a bottle of wine, and everyone is into the craft brews.” Weber says craft brewers seek interesting logos and packaging. “It’s an artisan craft, so they want their designs to be as unique as the brew they’re creating. They’re meeting a demand and they plan to look good doing it.”
3. On-demand delivery services. Subscription boxes such as Stichfix are popping up to cater to a market that prefers to hit the purchase button instead of hitting the gas to the nearest store, Weber observes. She has seen projections that the market will grow to $465 billion. “It’s obviously split up among many categories, but that’s massive and it’s amazing to think how a category of that size has come into existence just in the past few years.” Among the brands 99designs has created art for are The Fruit Guys and Washio, a pickup and delivery washing service.
4. Restaurants. While Weber says it’s no surprise that new restaurants will continue to sprout up in 2016, what’s of interest to 99designs is “the numbers in the hospitality industry that are working to maintain an element of design and an appeal that is ever-evolving with the time and their customers.” She says niche offerings are especially popular. “We’re seeing more requests from unique food offerings such as vegan, organic, specialty bakeries, specialty cupcakeries. Similar to craft brewery design, we see a lot of great work here. The designers are really interested in being part of these artisan businesses.”