Embrace change – don’t just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Work shouldn’t be a trudge. Sure, it’s probably unrealistic to skip through every day but that doesn’t mean we need to stomp about doing exactly the same as yesterday, as last month, as last year.

It’s not good for you, it’s not good for your team and it’s not good for clients.

Furthermore, it’s not good for your mental health and it’s not good for your physical health.


Have you every stopped to consider why you work when you work? Historically, most studios worked at least 9 to 6, 5 days per week but it doesn’t have to be. Traditional works hours are changing.

They’re changing because creative teams are cracking under the constant pressure to deliver. Mental health challenges are introduced by a lack of work:life balance. Increasingly designers are realising it’s not what they want. It’s not what they dreamt of when they started their career.

So if design studio owners don’t change, they may be left looking at a swinging door as their designers leave, one by one.


There are options and we’re going to explore them.

Our next UNseminar explores initiatives by studio owners trying to find a better way to do business. Studio owners showing leadership by acknowledging that change is needed. May not be perfect changes, infact some changes didn’t stand the test of time – we’re going to talk that through.

One of the options to explore is to simply work less hours each day. Charl Laubscher does that with his studio Love+Money. His team leave the studio by 3pm each day. It was 2:30 but that proved too short a day! Charl is going to talk us through how that works with his team, and with his clients. What he has tried, what works and what doesn’t.

Another option is to work less days. Versa – a digital agency – close the studio of a Wednesday. I couldn’t find anyone to talk at our UNseminar by I have found some background here. We’ll include that in our discussions – I know we’ll have audience members successfully working a four-day week.

Another option is change your business model completely. Jenny McLaren and her business partner Lynne Donnelly did that. After 20 years of running their business – Aer Design – based on a traditional studio structure they’ve changed their method of working to get more flexibility for them and their clients. Jenny’s coming to talk through that.

All these options are based on the future, not the past. They’re all options aimed at getting a skip back into your step.


We’re all guilty of just putting one foot in front of the other aiming to get through the day, through the week and through the month, but it doesn’t have to be like that.

For clients we try to see the world differently; to look beyond the obvious and expected and seek novel solutions to problems. Why not do the same for ourselves? Why not actively seek talternative ways of working to keep yourself, your team and your clients happy? There are options, it’s just a matter of finding the right option for your studio.

Come to our UNseminar to explore what’s out there, that way you can embrace change.


Carol Mackay

Want more information like this delivered to your inbox every Wednesday?
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.


Carol Mackay has embraced change. After 30+ years running a graphic design firm, she 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.

She now uses her skills to help designers de-mystify the complexities of managing a small business. 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.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.