Lokking for designers

What I learnt spending 5 days with designers

1. Designers play well together.

Our mentoring sessions were traditionally one-on-one but more recently our Chair program has been with the whole design team to build a common goal. Spending the last 5 days alongside other designers proved how collaboration benefits everyone.

There were so many takeaways! I really loved learning in-depth about Empathy & Journey Mapping. It was great to really spend time pulling the methods apart and learning how they can best work in a (graphic) design context from experts. The fact this could be done in a group setting so that we could all benefit from everyone’s ideas and questions was brilliant too. I loved the way the two workshops (Mon & Tue) could stand alone but also interlocked. It has opened up a new skill set for me to explore and I’m very grateful and excited about that!

2. Designers and clients working together is a win:win.

DBC work with designers to make their studio more sustainable. Often retainers are part of early discussions. Retainers are great but they’re not the holy grail. They have to not only benefit the designer, they must also make life easier for the client. That’s when everyone wins.

Thanks for really interactive and actionable learnings today Greg and Carol. Anything that can further refine and define our saleable skills and add even more value to our clients and has everyone win. I too wish I could spend the week with you all!

3. When you are offering something of value, the cost becomes less important.

Many of our discussions were about costing on hours, selling on value. That’s why the ability to demonstrate design’s return on investment to a client is imperative. It’s also why comparing designers by their hourly rate is exactly the same as comparing apples and oranges.

Once again, another practical and informative training day that can be taken straight back into our agency, and billed to the bottomline. These events are a must for any agency or design professional looking to future-proof their strategic services within the design industry.

Carol and Greg – so human-centred yourselves! Thank you for so generously sharing your super sharp insights and methods that we can so practically implement into our creative businesses. Can’t wait to add extra value to my client relationships and projects, will get going right now!

Like the designers who participated, we’re taking our learnings from our first Business of Design week into planning our offerings for next year. If there’s something you’d like to see/learn/explore do get in touch. We love feedback.


Carol Mackay

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The Design Business Review is Australia’s only online design management magazine. It’s professional development information written specifically for Australian designers by Australian designers. Best of all, it’s free.


After 30+ years running a graphic design firm, Carol pivoted from client-focused projects to consult to the design industry. Now with the Design Business Council she uses her experience, and research, to help designers build robust, sustainable businesses, and help businesses integrate, and profit from, design.

The core of the DBC is the building a design community – over 85% of designers work in businesses with less than 5 employees, many less than 3. That means designers don’t have the same support network of other professionals. The DBC’s solution is supplement paid gigs with mentoring breakfast meet-ups, informative UNseminars and practical workshops in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

In 2018 Carol co-founded the Clear Communication Awards, and the Business of Design Week. Both will be run in 2019

An archive of her design work at mbdesign.com.au.
Her current work can be viewed at designbusinesscouncil.com and designbusinessschool.com.au.

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