21 Dazzling Business Ideas for Designers in 2023

As a design entrepreneur with over a decade of experience assisting startups, I‘m thrilled to see creatives turn their talents into thriving and profitable businesses now more than ever before.

Companies in all industries are prioritizing visual branding, customized products and exceptional customer experiences ‒ fueling tremendous demand for great design in digital, print, environmental and industrial realms.

Here are the top 21 design-centric business ideas poised for massive growth in 2023:

Digital Design Agencies

Digital design specialists can choose from a myriad of booming niches:

App and Product Design Firm

  • Over 204 billion apps downloaded globally in 2019, projected to grow to 258 billion by 2022
  • Design highly intuitive and attractive interfaces for mobile, web and desktop apps
  • Offer end-to-end design and prototyping or collaborate with developers

UI/UX Design Studio

  • UI/UX an $80+ billion industry growing over 15% annually
  • Shape positive user experiences and journey maps for digital products
  • Conduct user research, testing and analytics to refine designs

Branding Consultancy

  • 76% of consumers say brand consistency across channels influences purchase decisions
  • Develop cohesive visual identities, logo design systems and branding guidelines
  • Advise clients on brand strategy and marketing communications

Web Design Agency

  • The web design industry valued at over $31 billion currently
  • Design custom websites optimized for speed, response and conversion
  • Stay updated on trends like page builders, no-code tools and animations

Print and Environmental Graphic Designers

Bring ideas to life by designing for the physical spaces around us:

Signage and Display Service

  • Indoor signs and displays a $6 billion dollar industry in the US growing over 4% annually
  • Design wayfinding systems, promotional signs and displays for retail/events
  • Expand into installation and large-format printing

Product and Packaging Design Studio

  • Packaging design drives 40% of consumer purchasing decisions
  • Craft consistently branded packaging solutions optimized for function
  • Collaborate with product designers on form and function

Merchandise Brand

  • The promotional products industry worth $23.2 billion in the US alone
  • Create custom apparel, accessories, tech goods and more
  • Use print-on-demand fulfillment services for easy scalability

Print Design Agency

  • The print design industry value expected to reach $954 billion by 2026
  • Produce marketing materials, stationery, concept art and more
  • Offer variable data printing and targeted direct mail solutions

Interior and Spatial Designers

Take on residential or commercial projects designing indoor environments:

Interior Design Studio

  • The interior design industry has grown over 5% annually from 2015 to 2020
  • Consult with clients to shape the aesthetics of any residential or commercial space
  • Survey spaces, develop layouts and specifications and oversee installations

Landscape Design Firm

  • Landscape design and architecture a $5.5 billion industry in the US, growing 4.1% annually
  • Design stunning outdoor living spaces increasing property value by 10-15%
  • Offer 3D modeling to bring ideas to life

Event Design and Décor Company

  • The event production industry to reach a value of $1,125 billion by 2028
  • Provide creative direction, décor and displays for corporate events and weddings
  • Own or rent event furniture, lighting, linens and decor inventory

The opportunities are truly wide open for converting design talent into a profitable business today in a variety of specialties. Key steps to success typically include:

  • Determining services aligned with your strengths, interests and existing portfolio work
  • Researching the target customer, competition, and licensing/insurance requirements for the niche
  • Outlining services, pricing packages and ideal customer profiles
  • Building a portfolio website, design tools library and work samples
  • Growing your network and marketing through social platforms, small gigs and proposals
  • Delivering exceptional customer service and adapting to feedback/trends

I‘m very passionate about seeing creativity thrive in business. Please reach out in the comments or via email if you have any other questions!