get more profit from each projectHow to get more profit from each project

When times are tough and profits are low, raising your hourly rate is not the way to earn more. Instead, concentrate on selling your knowledge and expertise.

You’ve learned to understand your clients’ customers and used design to help them make decisions to benefit the clients. That’s the real value you offer.

For example, you might know how food packaging should look to entice a shopper’s eye or how to design for “people, purpose, process, performance” to simplify corporate reports. That knowledge is subject-matter expertise and it comes from working in specific industries.

We call these your pillars of expertise.

Think of it this way: these are the areas where your design skills and industry knowledge have impact to create the most value for your clients.

We’ve developed a design impact approach to build on your pillars of expertise. This program begins by looking at your current positioning and clients and then shows a methodology to price for impact. This program is totally customised to your needs.

A case study

We’ve just finished working with a mid-sized agency in Sydney. The principals didn’t like the idea of specialising because they thought it would “limit their creativity”. The design team loved working on a variety of projects.

We analysed their clients and found most profit came from two specific industries. Further research uncovered the agencies depth of knowledge in those sectors; knowledge built throughout their career paths. These were their design impact pillars.

We’ve helped them reposition the business. They didn’t become specialists but used targeted communication to reach new clients where they could have a significant design impact. Part of this new approach included creating a pricing model based on the value they delivered, not just hours worked. This was supported by them redefining their design process.

Recently, they landed a highly profitable project with a fee not calculated on hourly rates.


Raising hourly rates is an old way of thinking about the value of design. Instead, focus on how you use design to make a real impact for your clients. That’s where the true value lies.

If you’re interested in our 3 month repositioning program, contact me here. We’re taking a small number of pre-paid registrations before the EOFY.

Greg Branson

Contact me if you would like to learn more about selling design impact.

Design Business Council : business advice for creatives.
We help designers build better, stronger, more sustainable businesses.

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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.

Greg Branson

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

Greg has developed The Design Business School to help owners manage their business better along with showing designers how to get more involved in the studio and develop their career path. Contact Greg.

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