We research and write about the business of design

We understand it’s difficult for practising designers to stay current with the latest research and business trends. Managing clients, suppliers and other creatives leaves little time to explore new ways of doing business.

That’s how we can help. We research and write about the type of information we know is helpful to manage and grow a sustainable creative business.

We share in various ways. Each week we write a free weekly article about the business of design. We share information on LinkedIn and we write for publication. We wrote a long-form traditional book titled The Business of Design and we regularly publish short, succinct guides on specific subjects. More information below.

The Design Business Council is a trusted source of information.



We write short, succinct ebooks to support our creative business mentoring. They’re essential reading for creatives wanting to manage their business better. Each book is packed with practical, relevant advice to an Australian creative business – the type of advice you can immediately implement in your creative business. The type of advice that saves time, saves money and saves angst. The type of advice we wish we had known earlier.

Finance in a design studio.

Creatives generally don’t fail because they can’t deliver good design. They fail because they don’t manage their finances to remain viable. That’s fair because accounting is not usually part of a design curriculum.

Added to that, in a many sectors, business owners hire and work alongside financial experts. That doesn’t usually happen in many creative businesses because the majority have less than five employees, many with less than three. It means our financial expert is most likely a subcontractor, someone outside our business. That makes it imperative creative business owners need to know how to brief, and debrief with confidence and clarity. So, it’s no longer an option, creatives need to understand finance.

Finance in a design studio is a practical guide to managing the finances of a creative business. It includes all the factors creatives need to run a profitable, sustainable business.

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 $30 plus GST this 48 page ebook is an essential reference tool for any designer.

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

LinkedIn for designers.

A 52 page ebook specifically tailored to creatives wanting to chase new business.

Research consistently finds a vast majority of clients choose LinkedIn as the most important social media platform but surprisingly, few designers use LinkedIn.

Designers hate cold calling — picking up the phone to call a client fills many with dread. And most clients don’t like it either. Clients want to build a relationships. They want creatives who understand their business and have empathy with business challenges.

It’s tough to build a relationship online but we know LinkedIn works. 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.

It’s written specifically for Australian designers covering topics like:

  • why new business is important and why use LI works
  • what constitutes a good profile
  • how to use LI if you don’t like writing…
  • a sample LI new business strategy
  • case studies of Australian designers using LI

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.

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 important not to overlook other 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 and risk due to failure to innovate.

This publication dives deep into each of these areas and discusses how to assess and address each one.

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 AntonopoulosManaging Director, Tank

68 pages of risk management available for download at $30 + GST

What’s a fair wage?

The most popular article in the 20+ years we’ve been writing a weekly article was about wages in the creative industries. We took that as customer feedback and did a deep dive into research. The result is a 40 page ebook: What’s a fair wage?

Pay rates in the creative industry have always been arbitrary. Our industry has never been unionised or under a relevant State award so salary packages are often based on hear-say and market-demand. That makes it hard for creative business owners to come up with the right figure.

Our solution is an ebook about fairly rewarding creatives. We quote figures: benchmark wages and freelance rates based on our experience, experience working with/mentoring a range of creative businesses and input/feedback from a range of recruitment agencies. We quote appropriate wages for junior, mid and senior level creatives working in a variety of roles; from design to UI and UX to account managers and producers.

And because we know it’s not always just about the money, we discuss about other ways to reward (and keep) loyal employees.

It’s current, it’s relevant to the Australian design industry.

It’s as valuable for freelancers and employees as it is for creative business owners, covering topics such as:

•      benchmark wages for a range of positions in the creative industry
•      benchmark hourly rates for a range of positions in the creative industry
•      alternative ways to reward employees and why they’re successful

It’s 40 pages of relevant, current information available at $30 + GST


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


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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