Helping creatives manage their business

Design Business Council was founded by Greg Branson and Carol Mackay to help improve the business capabilities of Australian graphic designers.

It’s a gap in the market – the business of design is an area that is often neglected in the Australian design industry. With the majority of design studios being micro businesses it’s difficult for designers to stay current with, or get on front of, design trends and technology let alone worrying about management practice. That’s a problem because examination of mature Australian design studios shows sound management skills are integral to success and growth.

The DBC helps creative executives develop business knowledge and skill. We help designers:

  • examine their business model
  • develop a deeper understanding of their clients
  • define the value design contributes to their clients’ business
  • demonstrate a return on design investment
  • integrate design processes and design thinking into their clients’ business
  • elevate design to a strategic tool that businesses can leverage
  • analyse the profitability and productivity of their studio
  • develop new business strategies.

For more information, contact Greg or Carol.

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The founders


Carol Mackay

Carol is on a mission is use her experience and insights to bridge gaps between creatives and their business knowledge.

She is one of those rare souls that knew exactly what she wanted to do and has worked in the same profession all of her career. After graduating with a design degree from the RMIT University, she worked briefly in advertising before escaping to a design studio environment. She progressed rapidly from design to studio management before establishing Mackay Branson design with Greg Branson in 1984.

In 2018, she transitioned from client-driven work to share her experiences with other designers via the Design Business Council.

One of her first initiatives was to co-found the Design Business School: a business school created specifically for Australian designers. She’s co-written content based on her, and others, experience managing Australian design studios.

Carol’s skill has always been using design to translate difficult to understand or complex messages into bite-size chunks of information, more palatable and easier to digest. She used to do that for government organisations, ombudsman schemes and the judicial and finance sectors.

Now she translates business concepts into practical tools, resources and skills designers can use everyday.

Outside of DBC, she works pro bono as an external design resource for those that cannot afford design and mentor designers directly and in 2018 via Womentor.

Contact Carol for a chat 0418 384 002


Greg Branson

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

With Carol Mackay he established Mackay Branson design in 1984. They built the practice up to employ 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.

Outside of DBC, 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 co-founded the Design Business Council to provide design management professional development for designers and design clients.

With Carol, 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.

Greg is active on a range of curriculum committees, at VCE, TAFE and University level having served five years as Chair of the industry advisory committee for the Communication Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University. He also delivers regular lectures to undergraduate and post graduate design students and academic staff at Australian Universities.

Contact Greg for a chat 0412 762 045

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