The Business of Design leadership program

Our design industry is disrupted, and it’s harder for ‘traditional’ studios to survive. It’s more important than ever to build a strong management team to share the load. That’s why we’ve written a program for a studio owner wanting to increase the skills of their team. There’s nothing else like it: the whole studio learns together, using your studio and your clients as the case study.

The result will be a robust and sustainable design business.


Name: Business of Design leadership program

Vision: Build robust management skills to deliver sustainable creative businesses

Market: Studio owners wanting to build a management team

Resources: Workshops, online readings, PDF factsheets/activity worksheets, The Business of Design publication, skype/email mentoring.

Commitment: Flexible, 4 terms of approx. 12 weeks – allow 12 months


We’ve written a program to help reposition a design business. It teaches practical business skills to your designers using your studio and your clients as case studies. The result will a strong leadership team and a sustainable, resilient studio.

The content is written specifically for Australian designers by Carol Mackay and Greg Branson design coaches and mentors. It’s unique, there’s nothing else like it.

This is what Rikki Clarke, Founder of Creative Spaces had to say about the leadership program.

“We were excited to commence the Design Business School with Greg as it gave us an opportunity for the team as a whole to come together – separate to talking about specific projects. While we were a little unsure as to how the content would relate to all the staff, it proved to be a great learning experience for us all. The staff brought their own ideas to the table and it provided a greater depth in understanding of how a design business needs to run and how we can relate better to our clients. It has really opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for us.”


Topic one: The Australian design marketplace
Competitive advantage begins by understanding your competitors. How many you have, what size they are and what services they offer — these questions can be answered by understanding the design industry.

Topic two: The competitive landscape
The second stage of gaining competitive advantage is to analyse and understand your clients.
This topic helps you add client knowledge to competitor analysis and refine your competitive advantage.

Topic three: Your vision for the business
Your vision for yourself and your studio is one of the things that makes you unique.  This topic helps you define your ‘onlyness’ and outlines how that gives you a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace.

Topic one: Understanding design value
Selling traditional design services is a transactional activity. Selling design value takes the transaction to a relational level.
This term shows you how to change the way clients see your business – moving from transactional design to relational design

Topic two: Designing demand
Studios are finding that it’s no longer sustainable to rely on organic growth.
During this topic you devise a way to design demand for your studio’s services.

Topic three: Selling design value
This topic is all about showing clients how design adds value. The material explains how to unlock the client’s perception of value and then demonstrates how they can get a higher return on their design investment.

In studio face-to-face workshop.

Topic one: Capturing design value
Businesses capture value by converting low cost raw materials/labour into high value products/services.
This term shows how designers can add more value through the use of design and how to capture and keep some of that value-add.

Topic two: Planning for value
Sustainable design studios put tools and processes in place to ensure they can accurately predict their growth and manage it.
This topic shows how to develop a budget for expenses and a sales forecast. It shows how you benchmark against your peers.

In studio face-to-face workshop.

Topic one:    The Design value chain    
Integrating design into every aspect of a client’s business means more work for design businesses.
This topic explains how design value can be added to a business and how to pitch a business case for design integration.

Topic two: Design in business
This topic demonstrates how to move design from being an afterthought, added after a product or service has been developed. The material explains how design can be integrated into business at the strategy level.

In studio face-to-face workshop.

The content is delivered online and supported by a face-to-face workshop at the end of each term.

The learnings can be done in the studio or at home, solo or up to four staff can enrol to study as a team. Either way, it’s learning about the business of design using your studio as a real working case study. That means you can use your new skills to develop your business.

Greg Branson

Need to know more?

Want to know how the Design Business School programs will help you improve your studio performance?

Call Greg 0412 762 045


Design studio owners

Design studio managers

Client service directors

New business directors

Studio managers

Design managers


The learnings stick because the activities are practical – tools and resources you can use everyday. The take-aways are relevant because you’re using your studio and your staff as a case study.


You learn at your own pace but you are not alone. A face-to-face workshop introduces and wraps-up each term. In between Greg is on email or skype to help you implement what you learn.


This program is based on industry insights honed from a decade of workshops and mentoring Greg has done with Australian studios. We know the result will be a better performing, more capable business.

Not ready to commit to the Business of Design leadership program yet?

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