Two very different people

Design Business Council is Carol Mackay and Greg Branson.

We share values and principles but often take quite different paths to get to the same place.

That's what makes it interesting.

We ran a successful design studio for 30+ years working together but separately. Greg focused on the business of design: streamlining processes and procedures. Carol was immersed in the world of design and people: how best to unpack a brief, identify a solution and then present convincingly.

Doesn’t mean Carol doesn’t like or understand the business of design and nor does it mean Greg is not creative. Far from it. It means we designed a sustainable business to suit our personalities, our shared values and our lifestyle.

That’s why we don’t have a formula to our mentoring and coaching. Every creative business owner is different and every challenge they face differs. And it’s why two heads are better than one. We see things differently, and offer different insights. Combined we can help business owners learn more about the business of design.

Yesterday’s session was again very informative, the analytical approach to pricing and other business practices helps evolve a more coherent picture of our holistic operation. I have always found discussions with Carol and Greg to be grounded in a simple, consistent logic that is easy for SMEs to adopt and adapt.

Your genuine love for design and the industry as a whole is more than apparent, I look forward to continuing our relationship.

Adam O’Neill, General Manager Tuckshop


Carol Mackay

After 30+ years running a design studio, I accumulated a pretty special network of fellow designers. One thing most have in common: a dislike for the ‘business’ side of design. Most are impatient with any task competing for time spent doing what they love – designing.

Not me. I love that intersection between design and business. I built a career working with Ombudsman schemes, the Emergency Services sector and the Courts. My special power has always been an ability to use design to translate the difficult to understand or the unpalatable message.

I now use exactly the same skills with creative business owners. I translate the indigestible into bite-sized chunks of information. I share insights, introduce tools and embed processes to help others build confidence business decision-making skills. More confidence makes it easier to grasp opportunities. More confidence makes it easier to recognise a good client from the bad.

Outside DBC I have mentored with Womentor, AGDA and most recently with The Aunties.
And I’m a proud board member of Never Not Creative. Ask me about internships 😉

Always happy to chat, I can be contacted here.


Greg Branson

Most business consultants come from a finance background. That’s where I differ. My background is firmly in the creative space. I have degrees in photography and education and my extra-curricula love is a dark room, analogue photography and vintage cameras – a money pit if ever there was.

That’s why my interest in the business of design. Carol and I loved running a design studio but were adamant it was a commercial business and our energies should be well-rewarded. I started research into working smarter not harder early in my career.

Since then I’ve sat with many Australian creative business owners and discussed what’s working and what’s not. I understand the practicalities of a studio, and have empathy for the challenges but I know good profit margins are attainable.

Outside work, I’ve sat on committees at VCE, TAFE and University level and regularly guest lecture. I’ve previously served a two year term as President of AGDA Victoria and currently sit on the National Board. I am member of the US based Design Management Institute, known for it’s extensive research into design management, practice, strategy, design thinking and design effectiveness.

You can contact me here.

The Value-based Design Pricing workshop was informative, very useful but more importantly—inspiring. The workshop, while conducted on-line, was personal and that really worked for me. It was well paced and both Carol and Greg deliver actionable solutions with passion and dynamic conviction.

The workshop left me feeling excited and re-energized about my business and its potential. I am looking forward to moving forward with you as mentors, educators and motivators. 

Angela Spindler M.Des | Founder & Director. Depot Creative

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