Leading design business coaches


Greg Branson and Carol Mackay have built unequalled expertise in design studio management.

They apply this in writing, workshops, E-courses and the Design Business School.


Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and design’s role in business.

He co-founded Mackay Branson design in 1984 and built a practice that employed 11 designers with clients in government, insurance, hardware and pharmaceutical sectors. Underpinning this growth was the development of systems and methods that managed the design process. Greg was responsible for new business development using skills developed in marketing agencies in Melbourne and Sydney.

Greg has long been involved in the Australian design community with a two year term as President of the Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) Victoria and a national councilor for AGDA.

In 2005 he founded the Design Business Council (DBC) to provide design management professional development for designers and design clients.
 Greg has developed a series of business tools to help designers manage their business better along with a series of workshops that show designers how to use these tools. The workshops are written for studio owners, managers and account executives in graphic, product, interior and architectural design studios. Greg has extensive experience in mentoring and coaching design business owners and managers.

Greg has traveled in Europe, the USA and UK to research the role of design in business. He is a member of the US based Design Management Institute (DMI) an organisation that conducts extensive research into design management, design practice, design strategy, design thinking and design effectiveness.

In 2013 Greg wrote and produced The business of design a book that details the what, why and how of running an Australian design business.

Written entirely from a local perspective, this is the only Australian book to span all the business skills needed to start, manage and grow a design studio.


Greg Branson
Design Business Council
Level 3 /362 Little Bourke St
Melbourne Vic 3000


0412 762 045


Thirty-three years after founding and managing Mackay Branson design, Carol changed her focus from client-initiated projects to once again join forces with Greg at the Design Business Council.

Greg and Carol first worked together in 1982 in a marketing consultancy. They left to start MBd in 1984, building a sustainable business with a stable of loyal, long-term clients. Carol’s role was as creative director.

Throughout her design career, Carol has employed and mentored a variety of designers and worked with clients in the government, financial, banking, insurance, judicial and (for a change of pace), the not-for-profit sectors.

Her special power is comprehension – the ability to listen, understand the problem and then use design as a conduit between a client and their market. Her skill is in making the complex simple. Using words and images to package complicated content into bite-sized chunks of palatable information that can be easily digested.

With Greg, Carol has travelled extensively, meeting and talking with designers about their business. Despite geographical distance, challenges are often strikingly similar.

Since 2000, Carol has shared her experiences in weekly professional development newsletter written specifically for designers. In 2013 Carol and Greg expanded these learnings to co-write a book: The Business of Design.


Carol Mackay
Design Business School
Level 3 /362 Little Bourke St
Melbourne Vic 3000


0418 384 002