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Brandon Gien for Good Design Australia

In the context of Friday’s 2012 awards ceremony in Sydney, Australia, Alice Blackwood spoke with Managing Director of Good Design Australia and Chair of the Australian International Design Awards Mr Brandon Gien

Brandon Gien for Good Design Australia


July 23rd, 2012

Now in its 2nd year of its new format (following the change from Standards Australia to Good Design Australia last year), how is the awards program structure benefiting entrants, finalists, and award recipients?

For a start, we have created new dynamic online experience through our new website that was launched in line with the 2012 Australian International Design Awards. The new site offers entrants and winners an opportunity to profile their latest products and services through a clean and sophisticated interface together with social plug ins, videos and a whole lot more. We will continue to build on this site to deliver a unique online experience to entrants, finalists, award recipients and the wider community.

Our focus on mainstream media continues and this year has been the best so far in attracting media attention to Award winners. At the end of the day, companies want profile and credibility for their new product or service entering the market and this is where the Design Awards play a key role.

We have placed much more emphasis on international promotion of the Design Awards through attracting leading international judges to the Awards. This has also resulted in more international brands based in Australia seeing the value of entering the Design Awards and the promotional opportunities it has to offer. We have also recently signed an MOU with the Korean Institute of Design Promotion (KIDP) who operate the Korean Good Design Awards. This MOU will allow licensees of the Good Design and Design Award to jointly use the Korean Good Design Award logo in their marketing and promotion. Finally, we made a significant change to the presentation format of the Awards and this has resulted in a more dynamic night that attracts key media and VIP guests. This year, the Patron of the Awards, His Excellency Michael Bryce, the NSW Premier and other VIP guests including Director James Cameron attended the night – further elevating the importance of the Design Awards.

Deepsea Challenger Design Award of the Year 2012

How do you go about evolving an awards program, year-to-year, in a way that it is just as credible and more attractive to entrants?

This is very challenging. Our audience is the design industry and they expect that each year we lift the bar and try something new. With our new presentation format, the Awards night was much more dynamic and the after party celebrations attracted a whole new look and feel that was embraced by everyone.

We also expanded the Awards this year to include a Service Design category to recognise the role of design in the service sector. For the Awards to remain relevant and exciting each year, we go through a natural evolutionary process to guide the Awards forward and ensure they continue to lift the creative bar.

Range Rover Evoque 2012 Automotive Design Category Winner

Tell us about some of the highlights of the judging process this year.

One of the highlights of this year’s Judging process was the calibre of international judges that joined us from all corners of the globe: Magnus Aspegren, Director, Asia Pacific of BMW Group DesignworksUSA; Pontus Wahlgren, Design Director of IDEO; Bruce Claxton, Senior Director, Design Integration for Motorola; and Jan Stavik, Managing Director of the Norwegian Design Council.

What’s more, we organised a public Meet the Judges forum at Sydney’s flagship Apple Store on George Street, where people were literally walking in off the street to see what they had to say about judging this year’s Australian International Design Awards. In their own words, we take this judging process very seriously. We physically test all the entries from a usability perspective, plug them in, try them on, bake cakes and wash windows, you name it! Very few Design Awards around the world test products with the same rigour as the 50+ year old Australian International Design Awards. And our international judges are standing up and taking note, often entering their own products in the years following to be part of the process again and again.

Another highlight was having a fully-fledged film crew on board capturing material for their online weekly show F.A.D. (aka Fashion. Art. Design). Our host for the Awards night Lee Lin Chin was also part of this process. The crew captured some beautiful footage of the judging process such as judges riding bicycles, mowing lawn and installing furniture. It really was a unique experience and one we’ll never forget.

Garject 2012 Consumer Design Category Winner


Australian International Design Awards


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