an online conversation
about design management


Managing

Managing a design studio requires ongoing vigilance and consistent relooking at the studio direction.

Branding vs identity, concepts vs ideas.

How good is it when you’ve been mulling something over in your head and then you hear or read something espousing the very same idea but argued more eloquently than you do in your head, and suddenly your point of view becomes crystal clear?

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Campaigns with legs

When Carol and I started in business, our aim was to use design to develop campaigns for clients – in fact our studio was initially called Marketing Partners because we believed (and still do) that marketing is most effective when it's combined with great design.

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Am I too old for this?

So here’s the thing: this week LinkedIn published my work anniversary and suggested my contacts congratulate me for being in business 31 years. And they did, random messages from colleagues arrived all week. Read more...

Voyeurism for graphic designers.

I love peering into the window of other designer’s businesses. I love hearing their stories. About how they started, why they started and what they do. Read more...

When changes, iterations and amendments are a good thing.

For most of my career, changes during a project have been viewed as a necessary evil. Even when many clients promise the handover file is completely finalised, most designers realise zero alterations is an unrealistic expectation. Read more...

Working from Paris – a success.

Our experiment of working from Paris for a month has come to an end, and it was a resounding success. I would recommend it to anyone. Read more...

Paris on one phrase a day.

It has been surprisingly easy to work from Paris - I recommend it thoroughly – in fact clients see the arrangement as positive because they often get changes delivered ‘overnight'. 
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Working from Paris :)

May 1 was the start of a social experiment. I've packed up my studio and moved to Paris for a month. I want to see how easy it is to combine a holiday with working. Read more...


Design by numbers

Phew.

Finally finished crunching the numbers for the latest dmzine survey and participants will have the findings in their inbox later today. Read more...


Dmzine 2014 survey results

We've been collating the 2014 survey responses and can’t wait to release them because the results are proving very interesting.

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Why you need a business model for your studio

To start with it’s important to understand that a successful design studio business model shows a better way than the existing alternatives.  It defines the unique aspects of your business offering making your studio different from your competitors. Read more...



It's OK to make tea

It seems that everyday we hear the views of a different management guru eager to broadcast his or her thoughts about how we can work better, smarter, more successfully.

The one I read last week hit the mark … this theory is based on making tea.  Read more...

Mission, vision, values statements - a marketing tool?

These statements are the start for setting your target market, the service you will offer, and where you will offer it.   Read more...

managing a design studio


Why do clients choose you?

A simple question but the answer can have a major impact on new business development.   Read more...

Why clients choose a designer

Action plans

Some time ago I was shown a great way to use action plans for  day-to-day management . We put this into place in the studio and we all follow the same methods. It  has improved work flow and decreased management time.    Read more...

action lists for designers

When clients steal your work

You were asked to pitch on a job and the client said they are asking three designers to pitch and they are all being paid. Great. Even if you don’t win you have recouped SOME of the cost you put into the pitch.   Read more...

Clients stealing designs

Are long-term clients a problem?

Managing a successful design studio is a dichotomy between designers wanting to work on a range of different projects, and owners aiming to form long-term relationships with a select group of clients.   Read more...


managing design clients

How we (almost) lost two clients in one week

Keeping clients is never easy. Even those you have nurtured meticulously for two decades. So how did we come to almost loose two clients in one week.   Read more...


managing design clients

What I learnt from Rob Sitch

One of the challenges of a stable group of clients and working in a small team is the continual search for new inspiration.    Read more...

managing a design studio

Designers predicting the future…

Listening to 19 designers, educators and business people predicting the future made for an interesting Saturday morning. We were at Adapt or Die 2020, an event hosted by AGDA NSW as part of VIVID Sydney.  Read more...


VIVID Sydney

Why are designers so unkind?

Designers are the first to gripe if a client is not respectful of the thought and process behind a design, so why the change when talking about other designers?   Read more...

why are designers so unkind

Staying alive – managing risk

Managing a design business has some general business risks and some specific risks to our type of business. It’s worth looking at them all and making sure you have processes in place.

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managing risk in a design studio

Is graphic design disappearing?

In the mentoring I’ve seen a lot of evidence that small studios (three or less employees) are having a hard time making a living from their design efforts.   Read more...


Don’t expand your business, expand your thinking.

When times are tough, the first thought of many designers is to find more business, but what we really need to do is bring in more income, not necessarily more work.   Read more...


CEO’s wary of designers and creatives.

The survey below gives all of us something to think about. To get the trust of CEO’s we need to develop new approaches.  Read more...


The DBC in Paris

With Carol I have been working and vacationing in Paris since the beginning of May. It has been an interesting exercise in working remotely. Read more...


Design management in France

We are wrapping up four weeks in Paris where we have worked and enjoyed the sights equally. Part of our work commitment was to attend the end of year exhibition for students at the Paris College of Art (PCA).  Read more...