Good Design Australia was originally established as the Industrial Design Council of Australia (IDCA). More than 60 years on, we continue to proudly promote and recognise excellence in design, creativity and innovation in Australia and abroad.
Scroll down to read our history and major milestones since being established in 1958 or select a year on the right to jump ahead.
The Council is conceived as a national umbrella organisation, based on the British ‘Design Council’ model.
The aim of the IDCA is to establish, maintain and promote high standards of design in manufactured goods, and to foster the understanding and appreciation of design in the community at large.
Mr Derek Wrigley and Mr Fred Ward play an instrumental role in the establishment of the IDCA which emanates from their offices of the Australian National University Design Unit.
The inaugural Director, Mr Colin Barrie and his Administrative Officer, Ms Beth Chalmers host the first IDCA Council meeting in the ANU Council Room.
Fred Ward, Derek Wrigley and Ron Rosenfeldt represent the design profession together with architect Professor F.E Towndrow. Australian industry is represented by Sir Archie Glenn, Sir John Burnett, Sir John Hurley and Sir Walter Scott.
Portrait of Essington Lewis, ca. 1945, National Library of Australia
From 1964, Good Design Labels, visible indicators of quality design and manufacturing, begin to appear on products in the marketplace.
The IDCA-led Australian Design Index for Good Design becomes a well-known register of the best designed and made products in Australia.
Together, these initiatives represented the formal start of design assessment and promotion in Australia, stimulating competition, debate, high standards of quality and industry growth.
The first Australian Design Centre opens in 1964 in Melbourne with a special exhibition of selected products from the Australian Design Index.
Lectures and seminars are held in Sydney and Melbourne to help with professional design development.
A steady flow of federal and state government funding assists with the establishment of a new Design Centre in Sydney, with more centres to follow in other capital cities.
Such is the success of the IDCA that the Commonwealth Government agrees to match dollar for dollar all donations to the Council from other sources.
With the aim of promoting greater awareness of good design in Australian engineering, this prestigious award recognises a product or system of Australian design closely associated with Australian life and industry and had the potential to make a substantial contribution to Australia's economic progress.
Much like the Australian Design Index, criteria includes standard of manufacture and construction, inventiveness of design, originality, aesthetic appeal, ease of operation and marketability.
Over 90 entries are received and the winning entry goes to a self-propelled grain header, designed by Kenneth Gibson.
With Prince Philip as figurehead, the Prince Philip Prize for Australian Design thrives for the next 10 years.
Manufacturers and designers strongly support the program and consumer perception of design continues to grow.
“I hope this whole exercise will provoke a great deal of discussion and argument on the subject of Industrial Design. I don't mind in the least if people disagree violently with our choice because it will mean that this is a subject worth attention and worthy of well-informed criticism.” His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.
Strong industry rallying and a new injection of funds from the Commonwealth Government sees it reopen later that same year and a new ‘Innovation’ recognition program is introduced to run alongside the Prince Philip Prize.
The Australian Design Awards (ADA) program is established and quickly becomes a valuable promotional tool for manufacturers and designers.
The Prince Philip Prize continues to be awarded, but only to products which have received the Australian Design Award.
Publicity for design is at an all time high with televised coverage of the Australian Design Awards Presentation on ABC television reaching audiences of more than four million.
The Awards Presentation is hosted by popular Australian TV celebrity, Ita Buttrose.
"Consumers, whether they be end users or other manufacturers, are increasingly seeking better products, components and services. The future manufacturing industry, and to some extent Australia's future prosperity, will depend on meeting this challenge for quality products at internationally competitive prices. The importance of good product design in the successful manufacture and marketing of products for local and overseas markets is widely recognised." Hon. Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister of Australia.
In 1987, in an effort to reinvigorate the movement, the Government re-launches the IDCA as the Australian Design Council and establishes a new role for the Council in design information and training.
Under the move, the Australian Design Awards program is aligned to Standards Australia's Quality Assurance Services (QAS) division and its Australian Standard Product Certification scheme.
The Awards are positioned as an important benchmark for continual improvement and international best practice for design.
The organising body for the IDCA is simply renamed the Australian Design Awards, a division of Standards Australia and located under the Design Services unit within Standards Australia.
The three-tier program of Australian DesignMark, Australian Design Award and Australian Design Award of the Year is introduced in 1993 and first awarded in 1994.
Winning products are displayed in the Powerhouse Museum for one year with the Selection added to the Museum's permanent collection of Australian design.
Criteria for the award include good design, innovation and the significance of a product to Australia's material culture.
Products must demonstrate innovation in design, technology or materials that are of real benefit to users. They must also show potential to become important in the lives of Australians, be significant to Australian industry and provide an opportunity for Australian design to be recognised in the global marketplace.
Recommendations aligned to the ADA program include targeted initiatives to celebrate Australia’s design successes throughout industry and the media and to develop a consumer process for the recognition and identification of Australian design through a credible design awards program.
Full Report Here.
Operating costs become a major challenge and the quality and quantity of design projects submitted to the Australian Design Awards slowly deteriorates resulting in further desertion from the Australian design sector.
It isn't until 1997 that a revamped format, developed in close consultation with the design sector, is able to breathe life back into the ADA.
Featuring a world-first online application form and a first-round internet shortlisting process, the new program attracts more than 100 applications, with an encouraging 70 per cent submitted directly by design consultancies.
The first black tie Australian Design Awards Presentation Night is held at the Metro Theatre in Sydney with attendees coming together to celebrate the best in Australian design and innovation.
The ADA becomes Australia's Design Promotion Member of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), the global body for Industrial Design.
Weighed down by high overheads including staff and offices in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia and limited revenue streams, the 1999 program is put on hold while Standards Australia explores other options to secure the future of the ADA.
Despite this setback, with strong support from the Industrial Design community and armed with a new business plan and financial model, the ADA Team led by Dr. Brandon Gien, Manager of the Awards at the time, gain approval from the Board of Standards Australia to re-open the Awards under a break-even budget model.
The ADA focuses its attention on driving greater awareness of design through mainstream media with a cover story on the business of design in BRW (Business Review Weekly) magazine.
The 2000 Australian Design Award of the Year goes to Cochlear for the design and development of their revolutionary Cochlear Nucleus 24 Contour hearing implant system.
The prestigious Award goes to the Canon UI Card, designed by Canon Information Systems Research Australia (CISRA) and KWA Design Group and the revolutionary Solar Sailor Tourism Ferry, designed by Dr. Robert Dane in collaboration with CSIRO.
The ferry uses solar 'wings' that capture sunlight and wind for energy is is provided as an alternative to diesel powered ferries.
Other big winners include the Hunwick Harrop Phantom 1500 Motorcycle and Holden's new groundbreaking VU utility.
A successful Student Design Category was launched later in the year in partnership with Dyson Australia.
The Australian Design Awards Yearbook features a Foreword from the Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon. John Howard.
"Creativity and innovation are recognised worldwide as key drivers of economic and social well-being in the 21st Century. The Australian Design Awards continue to showcase the best in Australian design and provide sound evidence that these qualities continue to characterise the development of Australian industry." Hon. John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia.
New product categories are introduced and the rigorous judging process is further refined and simplified.
Nevertheless, the ADA continues to operate without federal government funding.
The 2004 Australian Design Awards Ceremony is held at Sydney's Town Hall with the Governor General of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery attending as Guest of Honour and presenting the Design Award of the Year to the Ford Design Team for the new Ford Territory AWD.
The design evaluation criteria and judging process is further refined to bring it inline with international best practice.
The 2006 Australian Design Awards Ceremony is hosted by popular TV host and comedian, Will Anderson with the Australian Design Award of the Year going to the S8 Series Flow Generator and HumidAire 3i Humidifier System designed by ResMed Limited.
The Australian Design Award of the Year goes to Melbourne based Catalyst Design for their innovative bike lamp called the Knog Gator.
The Awards Ceremony is hosted by Australian celebrity duo, Hamish and Andy at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).
The Australian Design Awards Yearbook features a Foreword from the Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon. John Howard, recognising design’s contribution to society and business in Australia.
“Design and innovation are integral to our nation’s ongoing economic prosperity. For this reason, the Australian Government is committed to maintaining an environment that is conducive to turning these new ideas into products that create jobs and maintain our standard of living”. The Hon. John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia.
Internationally-designed products available for sale in Australia are allowed to enter the Awards for the first time.
The Australian Design Awards are re-launched as the Australian International Design Awards (AIDA).
This bold move is aimed at raising the stakes for good design once again, allowing Australian design to be benchmarked against the best in the world.
A Design Award for Sustainability is introduced to recognise excellence in sustainable design practice.
The Australian International Design Award of the Year goes to Flaik, a personal tracking device designed for skiers and snowboarders designed by Australian design consultancy, CMD Design and Innovation - confirming Australian design can compete on the world stage.
Local design consultancies go head-to-head with multinational design powerhouses including Miele, Braun, Samsung, Volkswagen, Audi, Microsoft, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and British Airways.
Entries are received from countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, UK, Portugal, China, France, USA, Italy, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, The Netherlands and Czech Republic.
Australian designer Marc Newson wins with his Economy Class Seat for the Qantas A380 taking out the 2009 Australian International Design Award of the Year.
In late 2010, Standards Australia signs an agreement that results in the transfer of custodianship of the AIDA program to Good Design Australia.
Dr. Brandon Gien sets up this new design promotion organisation, established to operate the Awards and to continue the legacy of the IDCA in promoting design in Australia and internationally.
The transfer of the AIDA to Good Design Australia is aimed at positioning the program in a new environment, giving it the capacity to grow and better promote the rapidly changing design sector in Australia and overseas.
His Excellency, Mr Michael Bryce, becomes the inaugural Patron of the organisation.
Mr Bryce is an architect and designer acknowledged in Australia and overseas for his distinguished work in graphic, urban and environmental design.
He sat on the Board of the original Australian Design Council in the mid 1970’s.
Another record number of entries are received with an ever expanding international Jury taking part in the design evaluations.
The 2012 Design Award of the Year goes to the Deepsea Challenger, a single occupant research submersible designed and built in Australia by Hollywood Director James Cameron and Ron Allum in collaboration with local design consultancy, Design+Industry.
The 12 ton sub is designed to access the darkest corners of the ocean where depths exceed 11km straight down, deeper than Mount Everest is high.
Good Design Australia wins a competitive tender to manage the prestigious Victorian Premier's Design Awards program on behalf of the Victorian Government.
The Awards align with Vivid Sydney, the world's biggest festival of light, music and ideas and the inaugural Australian International Design Festival launches.
The Design Festival includes an international design conference, public product showcases at Westfield shopping centres, as well as the Awards Ceremony itself and series of VIP celebrations.
Good Design Australia launches the Design as Strategy Forum - a new design and business conference with a focus on design as a business strategy.
Richard Seymour, co-founder of Seymourpowell, is the headline speaker together with Dong Hoon Chang, the Head of Design for Samsung Electronics.
Thought leaders from companies including Suncorp, Westpac and Deloitte share why investment in design is critical to business competitiveness and growth.
Gerhard Vorster, former Chief Strategy Officer of Deloitte Australia, becomes Patron of Good Design Australia.
New prizes are introduced for design excellence in society, environment, business and industry.
These new forms of recognition are aimed at promoting design that shapes the future economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects of Australia and our planet as a whole.
Tesla Model S dominates, winning the 2015 Australian Good Design Award of the Year.
The Design as Strategy Forum hosts speakers from the US, UK and Australia. All share a common belief in the power of design to transform cities, social enterprises, products, services and business models.
Progressive case studies are shared on how design-led innovation has resulted in progressive change in business, society and the environment.
The Good Design Festival is the largest yet, taking place at the iconic Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney, at the heart of Vivid Sydney.
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia writes the Foreword for the 2016 Good Design Awards Yearbook.
“Our nation’s future prosperity depends on the contributions of a strong creative design industry.” The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia.
The Design as Strategy Forum quickly becomes one of the most respected design and business gatherings in the Asia-Pacific Region with headline speakers including Professor Ian Harper, Board Member of the Reserve Bank of Australia and Jerome Reid, Commander in the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) speaking about design-integration at the highest levels.
The Design as Strategy Forum celebrates its 5th year with Forums held in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Forum focuses on 'Innovation as an Object of Design' with headline speakers including Professor Roberto Verganti from Italy, Innes Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group and Giam Swiegers, Global CEO of design and engineering firm, Aurecon.
The coveted Australian Good Design Award of the Year is a tie for the second time in the history of the Awards and goes to the Game of Awesome, designed by New Zealand based designers Chrometoaster and to the Brisbane Flood Resilient Ferry Terminal, designed by Aurecon and Cox Architecture.
Good Design Australia becomes Series Partner for a new TV show on Channel TEN and ONE called Australia by Design Innovation with Dr. Gien from Good Design Australia co-hosting the show with fellow Judges, Tim Horton and Terri Winter.
Danish Architect, Jan Utzon (pictured), son of Jorn Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House, attends as the Guest of Honour to present the 2018 Australian Good Design Award of the Year which is shared between Facett, a world-first modular hearing aid in the Product Design Category and Growing Human-Centered Design Across Queensland Government in the Service Design Category.
The Ceremony is followed by a three-day Good Design Showcase Exhibition at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, launched alongside Vivid Sydney and opens to both the general public and the design industry.
The inaugural Women in Design Award is launched to recognise and celebrate women who have made significant contributions to the design sector and to encourage a more diverse and equal representation within leadership roles and in the design and creative industries.
The inaugural recipient of the Award is Sharon Gauci, Executive Director of Industrial Design at General Motors, the first Australian woman to hold this position.
The 2019 Good Design Team of the Year goes to the Caroma Design Team led by Dr. Steve Cummings.
Dr. Jan Owen AM becomes Good Design Australia's Patron taking over the role from Gerhard Vorster who assumes the role of Patron Emeritus.
Headsafe’s Nurochek System takes out the 2020 Good Design Award of the Year designed by 4Design and Headspace. Nurocheck is a world-first device offering an on-demand objective assessment of brain health to help assess brain health for injuries such as concussion and illness including dementia and PTSD within two minutes.
The Good Design Team of the Year goes to Design+Industry and the Woman in Design Award is awarded to Mia Feasey, CEO and Founder Siren Design Group.
The Australian Design Council is re-established a not-for-profit industry body that advocates for a design-led future for Australia and champions the role and importance of design to address complex social, economic and environmental challenges.
Good Design Australia's inaugural Patron, Michael Bryce AM AE KSTJ sadly passes away. The Patron's Prize for Australian Design is renamed the Michael Bryce Patron’s Award in his honour.