Become a Member

The DBA is a vibrant community of design consultancies and design-driven businesses – a powerful alliance shaping the future of design in business.

With a membership of over 450 businesses, the DBA is a valuable network, support and voice for all those involved in the delivery, commissioning and management of design who share a common commitment to operate at the highest standards of professional practice.

We support the development and growth of you, your team, your business and brand; we facilitate enlightening interactions with your peers and communicate the value of your work. Isn’t it time you joined us?

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Member Benefits

DBA membership gives you exclusive access to a wealth of services and programmes that will directly impact your business’ performance and enable you to clearly communicate the professional ethos and approach of your business or design team.

Our extensive and tailored range of member benefits provides professional and practical support to help you drive efficiencies, professionalism and results within your business.

The DBA is also uniquely placed to provide a powerful, united industry voice to champion the strategic and economic value of design to business and government. Join us and add your voice to our membership and proactively shape your own business’ and the industry’s future.

Why join the DBA?

Development and growth

Championing effective design and supporting design businesses to be more effective is fundamental to everything we do. With 1.69 million people employed in design roles in the UK and the design industry’s growth driven by a large proportion of start-ups, we are committed to supporting the continued growth of UK design businesses.

From benchmarking your rates and salaries against your peers’, an industry renowned training and events programme, to accessing expert advice and guidance, DBA membership delivers the tools and expertise you need to support the growth of your team and your business.


In a crowded marketplace, DBA membership articulates the values by which you run your business and sets your business apart; DBA members think about the bigger picture and know that the industry is stronger together.

Through events, training and consultancy we encourage DBA members to practise effective design, supporting the case for proving the value of design to business and government. DBA members are unique in their focus on raising standards and improving the perception of the design industry, and recognising the part they play in achieving this change.

Advocacy and a united industry voice

We’re uniquely placed to provide a powerful, united industry voice to champion the strategic and economic value of design to business and government.

We connect and collaborate with a range of organisations, associations and government bodies, facilitating positive change and ensuring design is properly represented in areas of importance to the industry. In a time where the strength of the UK’s design industry is clear, and the threats to its continued growth and success are real, DBA membership empowers you to help shape the future for design through a united and influential industry voice.

“Design needs a strong voice in the commercial world – to be perceived as a business necessity rather than a cosmetic option. The DBA is the only organisation our profession has to represent us where it matters, at the centre of industry and government.” Callum Lumsden, Creative Director, Lumsden Design

Member benefits

Membership for allWith services, resources and support for individuals of all levels, DBA membership is for everyone within your organisation. When you join the DBA, each member of staff is invited to register their own password to access the benefits available.

Events and training: DBA members receive an exclusive discount on events and training workshops. To ensure events and training are accessible to design businesses UK-wide, we offer an additional discount to members based 60 miles or more away from London.

In-house training: Save on time and travel costs with our in-house training programme, facilitated in the comfort of your own studio or office. DBA members receive additional discounts.

Free regional member networking events: The DBA member community is connected nationwide through regional networking and discussion events.

Twenty/Twenty Mentoring: DBA members receive a discount when they join our business mentoring programme as a Mentee, and receive high-level support from design industry pioneers in a one-to-one 12 month mentoring relationship.

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: DBA members receive 50% discount on entry fees to the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, as well as discounts on ceremony tickets. 

Resource library: Specifically developed for DBA members, our digital resource library contains essential guidance, templates, insight and tools to support you on all aspects of running or working in a design business.

Access to specialist advisers: DBA members have on-going access to free and impartial advice via our partnerships with specialist organisations covering legal, HR, insurance, tax relief support and more.

Unique membership statement and logo: DBA members can show and tell prospective clients that they are a member of the Design Business Association and set their business apart with the member statement and logo.

Annual Survey Report: the most in-depth benchmarking report in the design industry, analysing the fees, salaries, utilisation, income, recovery rates, benefits, and trends of DBA members, and is exclusively available to DBA members.

Jobs Board: Our jobs board is for design roles available within DBA member agencies and design businesses committed to the practise of effective design. The jobs board is free to advertise on for DBA members.

DBA Agency Directory: DBA members can curate their own profile on the DBA Directory, an invaluable online tool used by clients to search for agencies like yours. 

Advocacy and industry partners: Design doesn’t operate in isolation and neither does the DBA. We work with partners from business, government and the wider design industry to ensure DBA members’ needs are represented at the highest levels of business and government.

Third party discounts: DBA members receive discounts to third party events, services and products.

Member benefits in action

screen-shot-2018-10-29-at-15-41-25DBA Annual Survey Report

The DBA Annual Survey Report is the design industry’s most comprehensive financial benchmarking tool. Released each October it covers fees, salaries, utilisation, income, recovery rates, benefits and trends within DBA member companies. Data is segmented by geography and size of agency to make comparisons more relevant.

“For many years here at Elmwood we have used the DBA Annual Survey Report as a guide when we are creating business plans and budgets for our business. The information gives a number of benchmarks that then allow you to road test your own numbers and thinking versus what is happening within the sector. Always very useful!” Deborah Longbottom, FD, Elmwood


“As a small (and sometimes isolated) business, the DBA Annual Survey Report is the only way of really knowing how we compare with other agencies. Otherwise we’re just second guessing in the dark. It’s essential in helping us to benchmark what we pay our staff and what we charge clients, in order to remain competitive.” Andy West, Director, MultiAdaptor

Read more about how DBA members use the Annual Survey Report here. 

R&D Tax Credits

This valuable tax incentive rewards technological innovation, DBA partner and research and development (R&D) tax specialist, ForrestBrown, can help you determine if your design work qualifies for R&D tax credits and support you in your claim.

For design agencies, your R&D could be:

– A tangible product, or part of a product that has involved overcoming technical challenges. This could be through industrial design, (e.g. a new or improved car seat or medical device), structural, packaging (e.g. a new or improved bottle closure) or retail display (e.g a new or improved point of sale structure).

– A digital product, usually involving bespoke development that has solved a unique technological challenge for a client.

“The money we have recouped through R&D tax credits, with the help of ForrestBrown, has allowed us to continue investing heavily in the business, and has enabled us to double our revenue, head count and profitability over a three year period.” Nick Howe, Managing Director, Uniform


Read more about R&D tax credits, including how to claim, here.


Become a Member of the DBA

The DBA is an engaged and progressive community of design agencies and design-driven businesses who share a set of values and beliefs, and operate to a unique Code of Conduct.

Membership of the DBA clearly demonstrates a commitment to the belief that design should be treated as an investment and the highest professional standards for creative businesses.

Choose your Membership

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