What a fun weekend in Melbourne that was! Thanks to all who came and all those involved in putting the show on.

Thanks to the AGDA Victoria Council for their tireless efforts to bring the whole weekend together. Special thanks to Dan Cookson and Lauren Trevenen from Interweave, whose cool heads and dogged persistence kept the whole process moving forward.

Congratulations to all those that made the finalists cut, and also to the major trophy winners. Particular acknowledgement needs to go to Fabio Ongarato Design, Frost*collective, Garbett, Never Sit Still, and Re. for their extraordinary results. Outstanding work and outstanding people.

Studio of the Year

In the Studio of the Year award for 2018, Christopher Doyle & Co took the honours.

Studio of the Year aims to recognise the design studios within our industry that are exemplars of best practice in design and business.

With 22 Entries resulting in 22 finalists, including 5 Distinctions and 7 Merits, across a diverse range of clients and sectors, Christopher Doyle & Co consistently produce work that is on the leading edge of creativity and design. Their design craft, writing style and art direction has produced a body of work over the last 12 months that sits across arts, technology, business and design. From tailoring brand identities for small business and promotional campaigns for global digital brands, their work is apt and concise.

Chris Doyle himself has also been busy providing pearls of his unique wisdom to designers through a number of speaking events. Everything Except Design was an informal panel event held in both Melbourne and Sydney that captures and conveys the importance of life outside of work.

The studio is also the creator and driving force behind This Is Not University — an integral mentoring and career guidance initiative aimed at bridging the gap between full-time education and full-time work.

Their involvement with bettering the industry is admirable, their professional output over this past year has been exceptional, and their stance within the Australian design landscape is unquestionable.

Let’s celebrate this achievement.

Emerging Designer of the Year

AGDA also announced the inaugural Emerging Designer of the Year and this went to Josie Young from Christopher Doyle & Co.

The award for the Emerging Designer of the Year is to recognise young designers making their mark on our industry. This is aimed at designers aged under 30, who may work within a large agency, or who own and operate their own studio, or who may even practice as an independent designer.

Josie has been involved with work both highly regarded and awarded. For the past three years, she has been on the AGDA NSW Junior Council, acting as Junior Council Chair this year. Together with Em Sprouster, Josie created Dames and Dumplings — an integral mentorship event for young women in the design industry. This was launched in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2018 and will be rolled out in other cities in 2019.

Josie was a juror on the Student Awards Jury in 2017 and helped to shape a jury internship that was trialled at this year’s judging weekend.

Josie challenges the status quo. She unapologetically champions equality, representation and the role of women in the design industry. Between her leadership qualities, her design talent, and her remarkable contribution to the industry, she is an admirable role model.


Hall of Fame

Our Hall of Fame grew by two on Saturday night. Pieter Huvenneers and Annette Harcus were inducted during the awards ceremony. It was a touching moment hearing Tanis Wilson speak of her love and respect for her late partner. The follow up from Annette Harcus was a rousing speech that spoke of her journey, the great people she’s worked with over the years and her clients. Her words about AGDA rang true for me as well; it’s all about the people.

Special mention to Dom Hofstede and Graham Rendoth for their research into the inductees and taking the time to prepare the articles and brochures for our archives. Dom and Graham are both on the Hall of Fame Committee, along with Rita Siow, John Nowland and Mimmo Cozzolino. This committee has an important role to play in guiding AGDA on inductee shortlists, refining of the criteria and thorough research and investigation into suitable candidates.

They are also a linchpin in the Shine the Light strategy, which will give AGDA a strong platform for moving into the future...


Some rumination on the future.

AGDA has been undergoing a massive transformation over the past five years and will continue to adapt to our industry’s exhilarating state of flux for the next five.

We are still focusing on the things that have kept us going over the thirty year journey; strength of community, sharing of knowledge and wisdom, and the celebration of the practitioners that inspire us, challenge us, and encourage us to be better than we were yesterday. In every aspect.

However, there are also new directions for AGDA that are being driven by the community. We have been listening and behind the scenes, we are acting. We are building the values of diversity, integrity, leadership, into our organisational processes for AGDA, and the protocols for the board and regional councils. This simply makes AGDA a fundamentally better organisation.

Our community can be fractured at times but ultimately there is a common belief in the power of design to change the world for the better, even if it’s just a tiny bit.

The Board Members are volunteers. The Regional Councillors are volunteers. The Committees, Sub-Committees, Awards Juries, and Awards Team are all volunteers. The sheer ‘people power’ that goes into keeping AGDA moving is stunning. It’s our biggest strength and indicates the passion that people have for our organisation.

AGDA belongs to you, our members, and to the greater industry.

Let’s not lose it.

Nic Eldridge