The purpose of this research is to investigate how differences in aesthetic design emphasis among new technology-based firms (NTBFs) can be explained. Four hypotheses are developed based on a synthesis of existing research in the fields of design, strategy and entrepreneurship. The hypotheses are tested based on a survey of 103 NTBFs. The results of the research indicate that aesthetic design emphasis is significantly related with the importance of aesthetic design in a firm's chosen sector, which can be classified as a positioning factor. Aesthetic design emphasis is also significantly related with founder characteristics, which are resources factors, namely founders’ technical education and founders’ experience of sales and marketing, respectively. The results of the research lend some support to the anecdotal notion that engineers do not appreciate the value of aesthetic design and suggest that the source of this lack of appreciation is their education.