Blundstone Design Integration

  • 2019

  • Design Strategy

Designed By:

  • Blundstone Australia Pty Ltd
  • Craig Mounsey, CMD
  • Mark Stewart
  • Mark Armstrong, Monash University
  • Louise Thomas, Brand Strategy, FoundedByDesign

Commissioned By:

Blundstone Australia Pty Ltd

Designed In:


Blundstone is a 149 year-old iconic Tasmanian footwear brand, transitioning from a manufacturing business model mindset to that of a global brand. Integral to that transition, Blundstone committed to integrating design thinking and capability into the heart of the business strategy, modelling and culture to increase innovation and competitiveness.

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  • For the first 135 years of operation Blundstone was solely a manufacturer in Hobart, Tasmania, supplying the Australian market. In 2007 it made the hard decision to shift most of its production overseas. Around the same time it began seeing growth in international markets as a lifestyle brand. This transition from manufacturer to global brand manager, from work to lifestyle, would require new approaches and capabilities to compete. The questions facing the business - How to discover unique innovation? Where will insights come from to drive that? How do we align around end user purpose and promise rather than simply product?

  • In 2014 Blundstone embarked on the then Design Integration Program. The aim was to build design and brand capability into the business' competitive strategies, organisational processes and culture. Two years after Blundstone employed their first Head of Brand, Design and Consumer Engagement to drive the 'integration' program. Since then they have invested in establishing design and brand teams, introduced insight-led product, service and experience design methodologies, run design thinking programs for staff, facilitated cross functional design and innovation forums, developed a global brand strategy and identity, and committed to building its first ever design centre.

  • Today, Blundstone is putting its end user at the centre of everything (see CEO quote). Personas are driving digital strategy and product design, delivering more innovative, higher value products and brand experiences. Business processes have been redesigned to integrate insight gathering, ideation and design prototyping and validating. The investment in brand development has led to the introduction of a new whole of business Global Brand Management business model and strategy. Blundstone's current 5 year strategic plan sees significant investment in design led research and development, innovation and insight programs, end user brand communications and experiences and a design centre.

  • I believe its worthy of noting the scale of the transformation and commitment around design and brand that has occurred. The whole perspective, mindset, practices and culture of the business has shifted from one of solely manufacturing for 135 years to rapidly becoming global and committed to design and knowing and engaging the end users of our products, around the world. Given the scale of change in some ways design and brand have now become the compass and the rudders for this journey. In addition I wanted to note that we are really now entering new realms of design led innovation and design, research and development partnerships with global suppliers and a university (Monash University), seeking to drive 'bluesky' design activities and design driven competitiveness. All these projects are centred around identifying and solving significant challenges with design, materials, production and communication.