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 any gaps between creatives and their business knowledge.

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

Carol’s special power has always been an ability to use design to translate difficult to understand or complex messages. She believes design brings clarity to complex issues. From clarity comes understanding, and understanding leads to knowledge. She now uses those beliefs to help designers de-mystify the complexities of managing a small business.

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

Outside of DBC, Carol works pro bono as an external design resource for those that cannot afford design and she mentors designers directly and indirectly, through organisations such as Womentor and AGDA.

An archive of her design work can be seen at Current work can be viewed at and

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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