React or respond?

Seth Godin wrote about these two words a few months ago. Superficially they mean the same thing, but in reality they’re quite different – especially in the world of creative businesses.

That’s because creatives spend their life on the receiving end of feedback: from design directors; design managers; account service management and directly from clients.

How we react or respond to feedback can set the vibe for a project and the relationship …


Without realising it, much of the work DBC did during 2019 focussed around how designers respond:

  1. Insights from the UK ‘What client’s think’ survey centred around how clients would like designers to respond
  2. Our LinkedIn workshops was about designers starting/owning conversations to respond to clients, and
  3. Business of Design week shared the skills and tools designers can use to move client response from subjective to objective.

That’s why I was so surprised when I started 2020 reacting so strongly to the current environmental disasters. Seems others have reacted similarly – the feedback to our *Creatives making Morrison Understand* initiative has been overwhelming.

*CMMU* is my reaction to our Federal Government’s extraordinarily slow response to a global trend of reducing reliance on fossil fuels and increasing investment in renewable energy.

People I respect have suggested Mr Morrison does in fact understand the science of climate change but chooses not to respond. That’s where I think designers can help. Perhaps we can help change his (and therefore our government’s) mind.

Perhaps he’s struggling to understand the ramifications of his lack of action?

Designers have the skill to translate difficult to understand, complex scenarios into easier to read, and digestible messages.

Designers can bring clarity to the climate change message.

The *CMMU* initiative is about education and helping our Federal Government think differently. But it’s also about taking control.

Producing a piece of persuasive communication that clearly states our case is, in part, responding positively to a negative situation – that’s got to be good. Am I delusional in thinking we can change his mind? Maybe. Will it make an impact? Perhaps. Could the process of ‘doing’ make a positive impact on our mental health? Absolutely. I am sure it can help the feeling of being overawed or overwhelmed with the situation.

Hope you can join *Creatives making Morrison Understand*

A snapshot

What: *Creatives making Morrison Understand* is an invitation for creatives to use their skill to raise public awareness about climate change.

Why: To motivate our Federal Government to better meet the global response.

How: Communicate the effects of climate change using either a poster or a moving image. Skye Molyneux, through her studio Studio Bleux made the spectacular offer to print up to 20 posters for display.

When: Deadline for submissions, February 20.

Melbourne showing: Amber Bonney and her team at  generously offered their studio space in Melbourne. Date TBA

Sydney showing: TBC

To the broader public via street posters. In Melbourne – thanks to Scott Reinemann of Bossman Media, Shout Out Loud Printing have offered to print one of the submissions as an A1 poster and distribute it to 100 high traffic locations. How good is that? Great start. Other sponsorship TBC

Got an idea?

I’m interested to hear your thoughts (unless you are one of the nutter climate change deniers that have already stalked me). You can contact me here.

Got a design you’d like to submit? You can upload your submission here.
Original post here.


Carol Mackay

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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
Her current work can be viewed at and

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