A business school for creatives

Build confidence in your business knowledge

We know successful, robust creative businesses are built on sound business decisions.
Knowledge makes the decision-making quicker and more confident.
That’s where we can help.
We share practical tools, resources and skills to help designers build business knowledge.


Practical, succinct ebooks

Our ebooks are the first step, and a quick way to build your business knowledge. They’re short (around 40-60 pages), practical deep dives into areas we often asked about when mentoring.

They’re written by designers for designers. No jargon, no academia and no industry-speak. The ebooks are written in plain language and where possible illustrated with annotated diagrams. Topics include:

  • Finance in a design studio: de-mystifying numbers
  • What’s a ‘fair’ wage: exploring roles and rewards
  • What’s the risk?: discussing the ‘what-ifs?’
  • LinkedIn for designers: using LI to find clients.

They’re written specifically for Australian designers and are resources you’ll reference again and again.


Management programs

We offer two flexible, online programs, both written by design practitioners for designers.

The Design Studio Management program is delivered completely online in a flexible format. You can do as little (use it as a library) or as much (access mentoring along the way) as you want. It’s about managing your studio, time, clients and other creatives. It’s flexible – there’s a range of ways to access the material, the choice is yours.

The Business of Design shortcourse is a 3-month program to help designers build business knowledge and confidence. It includes 3 x 2-hour consultations with conversation inbetween and is perfect for designers wanting help to unpack their business, solve a business challenge or meet a goal.


Mentoring to get you started

Not sure where to get started but hungry to learn? It’s always valuable to discuss options with an experienced practitioner.

Carol Mackay and Greg Branson successfully ran an Australian independent studio for over 30 years and more recently have mentored, coached and worked alongside hundreds of Australian creatives, helping them build confidence in their business decision-making.

As well as our programs, we offer flexible ‘ask-us’anything’ mentoring by-the-hour or packaged as a 3 month program covering the fundamentals of what you need to know to manage a design studio. Our mentoring is low on theory, instead it’s practical, relevant information you can take back to your studio and implement immediately.

If you own a creative team or run a design studio, Greg and Carol will help you transform your business into a far more valuable, strategic and future-proofed business.

Peter Gould  gould studio

Business resources for designers

The web includes a myriad of business information but little is tailored to creatives and none aimed specifically at Australian designers managing a creative business. That’s a problem because most designers by default are business owners.

The Design Business School was founded to fill that gap.

This is content written by Australian design practitioners for Australian designers about managing an Australian design studio. That includes managing your studio, finances, people, projects and clients. It’s also about managing your own expectations.

Design management doesn’t need to be a solo-sport.

Free resources

Not got the cashflow to invest right now?
We get that, times are tight.
Here’s a few (free) ways to access our research and insights.

Free weekly article

We write an article about the business of design every single week. It’s free, and emailed every Wednesday at 10am AEST.

Topics include estimating, pricing, managing clients and managing a studio. We talk about new business, client sectors and pillars of excellence. And we share our research — nuggets of information we learn from our coaching and mentoring over at the Design Business Council.

You can register for the Design Business Review and access our archive library of articles here

Follow us on Instagram

Instagram posts, stories and reels are where we play. We share what we’re doing, as well as sharing links, topics and resources we think might interest designers and their design business.

We’re always happy to be tagged if you think you’re doing something that will interest us.


Connect on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a valuable arena for any designer because research shows it’s the social media platform of choice for clients in most industry sectors.

Connect to us to tap into our network of global creatives — we’re always sharing, commenting and posting nuggets of information.

We share content to help designers work smarter, not harder and information to help designers build strong, robust, sustainable businesses.

Here are the links to connect with Carol and Greg.

Say hello Facebook

A necessary evil. Facebook is a place where we post our latest articles and are open to discussion. We also share information we think of interest.

And it’s where we share our thoughts and comment on other articles … we’re always up for a chat.

Connect to our DBC facebook page.

A huge thanks to Greg and Carol for the wonderful business insights they share. As a creative first and a business mind second, I am so grateful for how you simplify business concepts into manageable steps and processes to grow our studio with purpose and intent. You have an incredible knack for wording things in a way that speaks directly to our industry and the pain points we may encounter along the way.”

Georgie Kropman, Chief Creative Officer. Bright Yellow

About the Design Business School

The Design Business School was founded by Carol Mackay and Greg Branson.

First and foremost we’re graphic design practitioners. We ran a successful studio for over 30 years before packaging that knowledge, our experience and many years of research into resources to help the next generation of designers.

We work as graphic design coach and mentors and founders at the Design Business Council. Our aim is to help designers manage their business better.

Much of our work is mentoring — sometimes face-to-face, sometimes online. We mentor one-on-one and in groups but that said, we understand not everyone wants, or can commit the time or the money, to be mentored right now.

The Design Business School packages the material we use mentoring into DIY resources. It’s a place you can download resources to help you manage your creative business. And best of all, you can start when you want and work at your own pace.

DBS is a library of knowledge ready to go when you are.


Free weekly email about the business of design

We’re continually refining and researching new ways of managing a creative business and each Wednesday we share what we know in a weekly email. Use this button to subscribe to keep up to date with the latest news about the business of design.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to get weekly insights about the business of design