the design studio university

A ‘University’ in a design studio

Very few universities or private providers are able to show studio owners how to manage their business better. Business courses are too generic and don’t take into account the unique needs of a creative business owners and design courses don’t include the business knowledge a studio needs.

That’s why some studio owners are setting up their own ‘in-house university’. One example are the first graduates from the Design Business School, Business of Design Executive Program (BoD).

They have built a solid management group through the program, and now they’re going to start their own studio university to maintain it, and build on the solid business growth that it delivered.

Defining the skills

The studio teams identified all the skills available in the studio as well as each designer’s aspirations. From this they built a matrix that shows where the inhouse skills are available and where new skills are needed. For instance, when one studio identified some of the designers felt uncomfortable dealing with clients, the client service team took the role of teacher and shared their skills.

The matrix also showed what skills could be developed in-house and where they needed to do some external training. The team members who did the BoD program were able to use the skills they had developed in the program to help other studio members upskill in areas such as time management, client management, selling design value, evidence based design, design research and building a business case for a design project.

The BoD program also showed how to plan the university so that all the time taken by staff was paid as part of client jobs.
A self-funded professional development program!

Take away

Examine the skills and aspirations of the whole studio to build a matrix that can be the start point for your university.


Greg Branson

Design Business School

Contact Greg Branson if you would like to learn more about the many programs the DBS offers.

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Greg Branson

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

Greg has developed The Design Business School to help owners manage their business better along with showing designers how to get more involved in the studio and develop their career path. Contact Greg.