In the most recent quarter, AIGA's Design Leaders Confidence Index slipped from 104.15 to 94.92. The second quarter of 2012, with a 9 percent drop, is still in the range of the 17 most confident quarters since the index was started in 2005.
Responses to this quarterly survey of more than 350 design leaders demonstrate cautious optimism in the design industry.
For instance, roughly 13 percent believe the overall economy is worse now than six months ago and about 12 percent feel the design economy is worse.
Looking ahead, only 8 percent think the economy, in general or in terms of design activity, will be worse in six months.
In terms of hiring, 84 percent feel their likelihood of hiring additional staff is the same or better than it was six months ago; 89 percent believe their likelihood of investing in hardware and software is also the same or better.