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Membership benefits in action

untitled“The DBA has been fundamental to my own personal development and Elmwood wouldn’t have developed in the way it has without the opportunities the DBA opened up for us to learn from our peer group. I would encourage any design business to join.


The membership fee is only an entry ticket to participate.”


Jonathan Sands, OBE, Elmwood

See membership benefits in action

All DBA members use their membership slightly differently. Emphasis is placed on different areas depending on the nature and maturity of the business. This page gives you an insight into how some members make use of their membership to maximum effect.

Integrating the DBA into your entire business model and company positioning

Only one business can be the “most effective”, and at the moment that is a title claimed by Elmwood who position their whole agency on the fact they have won more DBA Design Effectiveness Awards than any other. But you don’t have to be an Elmwood to use the DBA in your positioning.

Read our exclusive Effective Elmwood case study here.

Paul Bremmer of Exesios a small Midlands based agency uses his DBA membership to argue the case for the value of his expertise and turn around requests for free pitching into business opportunities without giving away creative work.

Read Exesios’ case study here.

Effectiveness at the heart of what you do

Good Creative start every new project with the assumption they will enter it into the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. While this is an impossible dream, it ensures that each project has effectiveness at its core from the very beginning.

It also means the client buys into the concept and can evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the work they commission. Need help isolating what to measure? Have a look at this handy guide on evaluating design effectiveness.

“The Awards give us hard evidence of the real value of design.

The fact that design is an investment, not simply a cost, and that good design makes a brand not just more desirable but ultimately more valuable.”


Vicky Bullen, CEO, Coley Porter Bell

DBA Annual Survey Report

Statistics are meaningless without context. At a basic level all our members compare their fee levels, but many go that step further and benchmark the performance of their whole business.

Find out how members use the data in our DBA Annual Survey Report across their businesses.

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Developing your staff into tomorrow’s leaders

Liverpool based Uniform put together a management development programme based mainly around the DBA training offer to stimulate their growth. Within three years of completing the training programme they had almost doubled in size and their turnover increased from just over £2m to £3.5m. Read the case study here.

Taking personal development to a further stage is the DBA’s Twenty/Twenty mentoring programme. One of the first to sign up as a mentee was Ian Johnstone, MD of Quinine, which at the time of joining the programme was a one-person business. Quinine currently employees over a dozen staff. Read Ian’s story here.


From contracts to client opinion, legal updates to exporting support, our resources give you and your team instant access to expert advice and tools to help solve a wide range of business challenges. Create a DBA community account and sign up to our mailing list for our regular Roundup e-newsletter, brimming with the latest insights and news on design business management and the wider industry.

Events & Training

Whether junior designer or design leader, account handler or MD everyone benefits from fresh perspective, knowledge-share, new insights and debate.

Our events and training courses are renowned within the industry for their quality, relevance and proven capability to boost the confidence and performance of individuals and teams. From lively networking events to skills development workshops, from in-depth business growth programmes to stimulating round-tables, our extensive range of events and training has something to offer every member of your team, across all roles and levels within your business. Keep your eyes peeled for our latest offers to bolster the skills within your business.


Managing staff can be the hardest element of running a business. As soon as a staff member’s attitude or standard of work needs to be addressed, it has to be done in the correct manner to ensure legal compliance. As soon as an employee has to be dismissed or made redundant the possibility of litigation becomes real. These delicate issues are just some of the topics covered by the DBA HR helpline.

“Working in a standalone HR role can be difficult when you have nobody to discuss decisions with. It is very helpful to have an experienced employment law adviser to talk through specific issues and for confirming that my approach is the most appropriate one.”
– HR Manager, Dragon Rouge


The most common issues dealt with via the DBA legal helpline are contract based – either with developing standard terms and conditions, or understanding the contract terms of another party. IP advice and debt recovery are the other big areas that advice are sought.

Find information on our member only DBA legal and HR helplines here.

Who do you know?

One of the most common calls we get at the DBA from members starts with “Do you know anyone who can help us with…?” Many issues faced by businesses cannot be solved with a template or written ‘How to’ guide. They need a consultant who understands the industry who can give bespoke advice.

Whether you need financial, new business, HR or legal advice or a Non-Exec Director the DBA has a little black book in the form of the Experts Register which is your fast track route to the best consultants serving the design industry.


“Design is a critical source of competitive advantage. Through belonging to the DBA I am seeking to enhance understanding and influence breakthrough standards of creativity, professionalism and business performance that will benefit us all.

Brilliant clients, better agencies, deeper partnerships.”

Jeremy Lindley, Global Design Director, Diageo


Join us

To discuss getting the most out of your DBA membership, or to enquire about joining, contact or call 020 7251 9229.

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Image credits: © Konstantin Kirillov |


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