We write about the business of design, often.

We understand it’s difficult for practising designers to stay current with the latest research and business trends. That’s why we have written a series of business of design resources.

Sometimes it’s hard to see to the end of the week, let alone ponder future trends.

That’s why we write to share our knowledge and our recent research.

We have written a number of business of design resources. We email a weekly newsletter about the business of design, we share information on LinkedIn and we write for publication.

LinkedIn for designers is an ebook based on the very successful workshops we have run across the country.

The Business of Design, is still the only book available about starting, managing and growing an Australian design studio.

The Finance in a design studio ebook gives an indepth look at how to manage the finances of a design studio to be profitable.

The Design Work Experience is a package that helps ease the strain of taking on a design work experience student.

The Design Business Council is a trusted source of information.


How bad can it get?

Risk management for creative businesses

If the pandemic taught the creative industry anything, it taught us the better we understand our business, the easier to identify, understand and assess risks.

But what are the risks we face?

The 2020 Risk Management Survey by the Governance Institute of Australia found 60% of respondents thought potential damage to brand and reputation is their most immediate and serious risk. While that’s a great stat to weave into a client conversation, it’s also important not to overlook other potential risks.

And once recognised, what do you do about these risks? Research outlines four main strategies: avoid; reduce; transfer or accept. We’ve just finished writing a new ebook focussing on two of these four: ways a creative business owner can avoid, or at least reduce the potential risks.

We’ve researched and identified five potential areas of risk to a creative business:

  • risk to your reputation
  • risk of unplanned growth
  • risk to you or your employee’s health
  • risk of financial insolvency
  • risk to your intellectual property
  • risk due to failure to innovate.

This publication addresses each of these areas and outlines how a creative business owner can assess and address the risk to their business.

Order your copy here for just $30 + gst.

How bad can it get? testimonials

“As a creative, risk is something I embrace in design, but I abhor risk to my business and my livelihood. That said, I struggle to recognise risks to my business until it’s all too late.
That’s why I loved this ebook. It took all the possible scary scenarios I carried in my head and laid them out clearly and succinctly. It means I now better understand the potential risks … it’s not as bad as I first thought.”
Agency owner, Sydney.

Understanding our businesses intimately is the key for every creative professional. Understanding the risks, both known and those on the horizon are what will help us unlock the greatests opportunities in our businesses. I read through DBC’s “How bad can it get?” ebook and was nodding after each page. Yes it can get bad, and sometimes the ‘bad’ is hiding in plain sight and we subconsciously choose not to see it. This DBC book gives some really great insights into the areas where risk exists, and does a great job in lifting the rug under which we sweep all those things we choose to leave for another day. Read it, weep and then get on with building a great creative business.”
Jim Antonopoulos, Managing Director, Tank

“Thanks … this is a perfect end of financial year checklist for my business.
Design Manager, Melbourne




LinkedIn for designers

An ebook for designers who want to use LinkedIn to get clients

In a recent UK survey (validated in Australia)  93% of clients claimed to be active on LinkedIn. The same clients said they don’t use websites to research prospective designers and nor do they scroll through Instagram. Clients social media of choice is LinkedIn but where are the designers?

Surprisingly, few designers use LinkedIn, and fewer still are using it well. There is huge potential for it to be central to your new business strategy.

Designers hate cold calling — picking up the phone to call a client fills many with dread. And most clients don’t like it either. They would much rather build a relationship with a designer. They want designers to understand their business and have empathy with business challenges.

We know LinkedIn can be used for designers to build that relationship and form that trust. We know because over the past 10 or so years, we’ve mentored and coached many Australian designers and the one challenge common to all is the struggle to find new clients. We’ve used the approach outlined in this ebook and without fail, it’s always worked to help identify prospective clients and find the right information to tailor a bespoke approach.

This book is written specifically for Australian designers. And it’s practical covering topics such as:

  • why designers should ‘do’ new business
  • why use LI to do new business
  • what constitutes a good profile
  • practical tips on how to use LI as a new business tool
  • how to use LI if you don’t like writing…
  • a sample LI new business strategy
  • case studies of Australian designers using LI

Order your copy here for just $30 + gst.

LinkedIn for designers testimonials

People laugh at me when I say that LinkedIn is my favourite social media tool, but Design Business Council’s LinkedIn for Designers identifies why. Not just about networking, this savvy and valuable guide for designers (or anyone!) shows how to optimise LinkedIn to match your new business strategy. Full of thoughtful tips, easy steps to follow and clear examples to boot, this guide is perfect for anyone looking to strategically secure new work.
Libby de Souza, Senior Producer, Portable.

If you are a design professional looking to bolster your new business strategy, this e-book is for you. It’s full of convincing examples and actionable tips to harness the benefits of LinkedIn for new business development.
Audrey Mailhot, Design Manager, Swearwords




The Business of Design

A publication for all design businesses

The Business of Design is the essential reference for all Australian design businesses. It contains all the information needed to start, manage and grow a design studio.

It’s a practical tool written from a completely local perspective. It’s about the Australian design industry, written for Australian creatives, by two Australian design practitioners. The content is relevant to micro-, mid- or a large studios. They all face similar challenges.

Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find:

  • the Australian design scene – a snapshot of our industry
  • how to plan a design business – what to do now, and the next steps to take
  • costing, budgeting and (best of all) how to explain design value to clients
  • how to grow a studio, where to get new business
  • financial management, from managing debts to financing your business
  • the design business model canvas and what makes it invaluable.

At $30 plus GST this 192 page book is an essential reference for your business.

Order your copy here.

The Business of Design

The book is written in simple language, taking a billion complex business concepts and ordering them into a concise, logical and easy to follow read. The Business of Design sells for $90. (I’d strongly suggest that would be the best $90 you could invest in your design business)

Dave Ansett, Truly Deeply, Victoria



Finance in a design studio

Finance in a studio de-mystified

Design studios don’t go bust because they can’t deliver good design. They go bust because they don’t manage their finances to remain viable. It’s no longer an option, designers need to understand finance, at least enough to understand and brief their accountant.

That’s why we’ve written a practical financial guide for designers. It includes all the factors designers need to consider to run a profitable studio.

Information like:

  • how to understand a profit and loss statement
  • how to calculate hourly rates
  • understanding different cost structures
  • understanding different revenue streams
  • discussion about the four most common problems in a studio: cash flow, debtors, profitability and capital finance.
  • how to develop short and long-term financial measures.

At $20 plus GST this 48 page ebook is an essential reference tool for any designer.

Order your copy here.

Finance in a design studio

I struggled to comprehend the finances in my studio before I found this book. It now sits permanently on my desk. It’s must go-to reference guide, especially useful when I speak to my accountant.

Suzanne, Design studio owner, Sydney, New South Wales



The Design Work Experience Kit

A kit to make design work experience easier

A majority of Australian design businesses have less than five people, many of those are less than three. That can make it onerous to offer work experience. We’ve written a package to make it easier.

The package has two components:

The buddy book

This is a handbook for work experience students to help them through the week – just like a member of staff standing next to them all week, only better!
This book is supplied as an InDesign file so you can customise it for your studio or as a PDF for students. It includes:

  • templates to describe your studio and introduce your team.
  • an outline of the legal stuff
  • a list of expectations and responsibilities for the students
  • hints to help the student get through the week.

A student workbook

This self-sufficient 20 page workbook will help students complete work experience in a design studio. It covers:

  • how work experience works
  • suggested interview questions
  • worksheets, timesheets/diary
  • help write a design brief
  • achievements checklist to record outcomes.

Total cost for two ebooks $55 inc gst.

Order your copy here.

Design Work Experience kit – two ebooks

As a student I valued work experience but as a design studio owner it was a pain. This book has been my saviour. It has continually saved my @rse and makes it easier to do something I know is good for the industry.

I use the student booklet to help ease the kids into the studio. Reading the intro gives them time to sit and just observe for a while, and helps them feel comfortable. Outlining expectations, what we’re going to do and what we expect of them has made the whole experience easier on us both.

Rolf, Design studio owner, Melbourne, Victoria


The easy way to stay up to date

We produce a weekly newsletter about the business of design. It’s written specifically for Australian designers and it’s an easy way to stay current and learn skills and tools to help you manage your business better. Subscribe here.


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