History

AGDA is the peak national organisation representing the Australian communication design industry. With more than 3,000 members distributed throughout the creative, visual communications, applied design and technology sectors, it is dedicated to advancing the profession through an interrelated program of state, national and international activities in education, advocacy and professional development.

AGDA is a lead member of the International Council of Graphic Design Organisations, forming a global network of 187 member associations in 56 countries and consultative status with UNESCO, UNIDO, ISO and WIPO.

AGDA was founded in June 1988 by a small, dedicated group of Melbourne-based designers. Fifty designers from across Australia marched into history when they joined together on stage at the Mildura Conference to symbolise their solidarity and commitment to its formation.

In 1999, ten years on, these four founding fathers declared with some pride:

AGDA, look at it now, Australia wide, over 1,000 members, four biennial award nights, excellent support and social lubrication for designers of all ages. Who, ten years ago, envisaged that happening today! All AGDA members, please pat yourself on the back! There is still heaps to do, but shit, look how far we have come in ten years! —Mimmo Cozzolino
Birth of AGDA. A dream fulfilled. Vision + Effect – Frustration = Reality! As we move towards the age of transition, design and innovation will be the key factors to business—Wayne Rankin
Realising our individual and collective potential is the continued challenge. AGDA is a conduit for achieving excellence in professional practice.—Richard Henderson
What can be perceived can be realised. What can be conceived can be created. Success is often a function of how you see yourself. AGDA has not only improved our credibility and professionalism in the marketplace – it has raised our self esteem.—Trevor Flett
  • 2020
  • AGDA hosts first live streamed event, First Five Out.
  • Golden Ticket Promotion Winners Announced
  • 2019
  • 15 Months for 12 Membership Drive and Golden Ticket Promotion Launched
  • Craig Black Keynote presented in Hobart
  • Craig Black Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Craig Black Workshop presented in Brisbane
  • Seventeenth AGDA Design Awards. Held in Brisbane for the third time
  • Gert Sellheim and Lynda Warner Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Rebecca Cini Awarded Inaugural Emerging Designer of the Year
  • For The People Awarded Studio of the Year for the second time
  • Craig Black Keynote presented in Adelaide
  • Craig Black Keynote presented in Perth
  • Craig Black Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Craig Black National Tour Announced
  • 2019 AGDA Design Awards Call For Entries Launched
  • AGDA Student Awards Entries announced as free for AGDA Members
  • Brisbane announced as host city for the 2019 AGDA Design Awards
  • Adam J. Kurtz Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Adam J. Kurtz Keynote presented in Perth
  • Adam J. Kurtz Keynote presented in Adelaide
  • Adam J. Kurtz Keynote presented in Hobart
  • Adam J. Kurtz Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Adam J. Kurtz National Tour Announced
  • Design Means Business held in Perth for the first time
  • Discounted entry to D&AD Awards for AGDA Members announced
  • Warrick Sears appointed AGDA President
  • 2018
  • Zoe Hu Awarded Student Pinnacle for Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread
  • Andrew Ashton selected Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread by Zoe Hu (Student Entry) as his Judges' Choice
  • Annette Harcus and Pieter Huveneers Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Josie Young Awarded Inaugural Emerging Designer of the Year
  • Christopher Doyle & Co Awarded Studio of the Year
  • Sixteenth AGDA Design Awards. Held in Melbourne for the fourth time
  • Dames & Dumplings held in Melbourne for the first time
  • 2018 AGDA Design Awards Call For Entries Launched
  • Speciality Design For Good and Design Effectiveness Pinnacle Trophies announced
  • Motion Sub-Categories revamped
  • Emerging Designer of the Year Award announced
  • Dames & Dumplings held in Brisbane for the first time
  • Dames & Dumplings held in Sydney for the first time
  • Pecha Kucha held in Melbourne for the first time
  • 2017
  • Fifthteenth AGDA Design Awards. Held in Canberra for the third time
  • Alistair McCready Awarded Inaugural Student Pinnacle for Type As Monument
  • Martin Sharp Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Fabio Ongarato Design Awarded Studio of the Year
  • Leta Sobierajski & Wade Jeffree Keynote presented in Brisbane
  • Leta Sobierajski & Wade Jeffree Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Leta Sobierajski & Wade Jeffree Keynote presented in Adelaide
  • Leta Sobierajski & Wade Jeffree Keynote presented in Hobart
  • Leta Sobierajski & Wade Jeffree Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Leta Sobierajski & Wade Jeffree International Speaker Tour Announced
  • 2017 AGDA Design Awards Call For Entries Launched
  • Simon Mundy Presented with AGDA Industry Recognition Award
  • AGDA supports DesignToUnite as Major Partner
  • Design Means Business held in Brisbane for the first time
  • 2016
  • Free .Design domains for AGDA Members added as a Member Benefit
  • Design Means Business held in Canberra for the first time
  • Fourteenth AGDA Design Awards. Held in Adelaide for the third time
  • For The People Awarded Inaugural Studio of the Year
  • Mimmo Cozzolino and Alison Forbes Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Nous Awarded Inaugural Volunteers' Choice for Newstead Brewing Co. Van Livery
  • Mr Bingo Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Mr Bingo Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Mr Bingo International Speaker Tour Announced
  • Design Means Business held in Sydney for the first time
  • Linda Jukic announced as 2016 AGDA Design Awards Jury Chair
  • Motion given its own AGDA Design Awards Category
  • Studio of the Year Award announced
  • AGDA Design Awards Judges' Choice Trophies Announced
  • 2016 AGDA Design Awards Call For Entries Launched
  • Shot Down held in Brisbane for the first time
  • Alistair Hall Keynote presented in Adelaide
  • Alistair Hall Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Shot Down held in Canberra for the first time
  • Shot Down held in Perth for the first time
  • Jessica Walsh Workshop presented in Brisbane
  • Jessica Walsh Keynote presented in Brisbane
  • Jessica Walsh Workshops presented in Sydney
  • Jessica Walsh Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Jessica Walsh Workshops presented in Melbourne
  • Jessica Walsh Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Liz Grant appointed AGDA President
  • 2015
  • Jessica Walsh International Speaker Tour Announced
  • AGDA Forum / The Pinnacle of Design held in Sydney
  • Thirteenth AGDA Design Awards. Held in Sydney for the third time
  • First Five Out held in Brisbane for the first time
  • Andrew Johnstone Keynote presented in Hobart
  • Andrew Johnstone Keynote presented in Launceston
  • David Pearson Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Design Means Business held in Adelaide for the first time
  • Stuart Watson Keynote presented in Adelaide
  • Stuart Watson Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Stuart Watson Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Shot Down held in Adelaide for the first time
  • Design Means Business held in Melbourne for the first time
  • Winning or Whinging held in Canberra for the first time
  • Winning or Whinging held in Adelaide for the first time
  • 2015 AGDA Design Awards Call For Entries Launched
  • AGDA Design Awards Announced that it is now an annual awards program
  • Richard Henderson Keynote presented in Hobart
  • Richard Henderson Keynote presented in Launceston
  • Winning or Whinging held in Sydney for the first time
  • Vince Frost Keynote presented in Perth
  • Vince Frost Keynote presented in Adelaide
  • Vince Frost Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Vince Frost Keynote presented in Canberra
  • Vince Frost Keynote presented in Brisbane
  • Vince Frost Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Vince Frost National Speaker Tour Announced
  • Sons & Co. Keynote presented in Adelaide
  • Sons & Co. Keynote presented in Melbourne
  • Sons & Co. Keynote presented in Sydney
  • 2014
  • Twelth AGDA Biennial National Awards. Held in Hobart for the first time
  • John Copeland, Garry Emery, David Lancashire and Barrie Tucker Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Pecha Kucha held in Sydney for the first time
  • Jonathan Ellery Keynote presented in Sydney
  • Jonathan Ellery Keynote presented in Adelaide
  • 2014 AGDA Biennial National Awards Call For Entries Launched
  • AGDA Biennial National Awards Distinction & Student Distinction Trophies Announced
  • AGDA Biennial National Awards Categories Updated
  • AGDA Biennial National Awards Design For Good Category Announced
  • Shot Down held in Sydney for the first time
  • First Five Out held in Sydney for the first time
  • First Five Out held in Melbourne for the first time
  • First Five Out held in Adelaide for the first time
  • AGDA Australian Design Biennale announced that it will be held in Hobart for the first time
  • AGDA contract first Full-Time staff
  • ONE AGDA Launched at events around the country
  • New AGDA website, designed by Reactive and developed by Bravo launched
  • 2013
  • Rita Siow, AGDA Executive Director retires
  • Nic Eldridge appointed AGDA CEO
  • AGDA Ltd incorporated under a new Constitution 16 July 2013
  • AGDA International speaker Tour, Ian Anderson, Design Republic, UK
  • AGDA advises on Canberra Centenary Typeface Competition Terms and Conditions
  • AGDA Industry Benchmarking Survey
  • Practice Note updated: What Every Business Needs, AGDA Intellectual Property & You, How to be a Successful Freelancer
  • Lead Generation National Workshops
  • AGDA, DIA and DINZ sign MOU
  • AGDA International Speaker Tour, Debbire Millman, USA
  • AGDA Australian Poster Biennale, in conjunction with UNICEF, judged by Alain Le Guernac; Conpendium produced in partnership with Digital Press
  • Glob-Allmix international Poster Exhibition, Melbourne
  • Enterprise Connect Design Integration Symposium
  • AGDA publishes AGDA Awards 2012 Compendium, Winning Isn’t Eveything Awards, Agenda #32 (Design Effectiveness), Agenda #33 (Students Awards)
  • AGDA brand identity trademarked
  • AGDA supports AGideas, WA Tradestart Emergence Conference, CATC Type Camp, SemiPermanent, Analog-Digital
  • AGDA Mildura Chapter established
  • 2012
  • Eleventh AGDA Biennial National Awards. Held in Melbourne for the third time
  • Ken Cato Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Design Narratives - Bill Reid
  • National Design Policy - Pozible launch
  • AGDA supports Semi-Permanent
  • Conversations with Designers - Fiona Sweet
  • AGDA signs Hyundai Fleet Discount for members
  • AGDA supports Copyright Council 2012 Seminar Program
  • AGDA receives WIIN Grant for Business Workshops
  • Paul van Barneveld appointed AGDA President
  • AGDA-GDC sign MOU on Professional Certification
  • AGDA supports Cultivator Conference in Mildura
  • ADB AGDA Awards Event Celebrations in Melbourne
  • ADB 'Twenty Years of Glass Mountains' AGDA Awards Restrospective
  • Design & Thinking Screen Release
  • AGDA Terms & Conditions Template completed
  • AGDA-CIIC Business Model Canvas Workshops
  • Vale Ross Renwick
  • AGDA interviews Herman Miller's Steve Frykholm
  • New AGDA Membership Cards and Notebook launched
  • AGDA Poster Annual Exhibiton at Gallery of Australian Design
  • Australian Design Biennale launches AGDA Awards Call for Entries
  • Blair Enns Workshops ‘Building the Expert Firm'
  • AGDA sponsors Agideas Workshops
  • Icograda World Communication Day
  • 2011
  • AGDA Awards Exhibition 2010 showcases at Austrade, Taipei
  • AGDA conducts Business Review via Enterprise Connect
  • AGDA International Speaker Tour, Blair Enns, Win Without Pitching, Canada
  • Signs CIIC Enterprise Connect MOU
  • AGDA Poster Annual 2011 Exhibition Launch - Sydney
  • Submission to National Cultural Policy through ADA
  • Signs Agreement with DES for Pantone in AGDA Store
  • AGDA Promotes Member Directory in BRW
  • Sir George Cox (DBA UK) speaks to NSW Parliament
  • AGDA Poster Annual Catalogue - Christmas gift to members
  • Paul van Barneveld elected National President
  • AGDA supports KW Doggett 2012 Calendar
  • Conversations with Designers - Dom Bartolo
  • 2010
  • Tenth AGDA Biennial National Awards. Held in Brisbane for the second time
  • Max Robinson &and Harry Williamson Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • AGDA International Speaker, Arnold Shwartzman, London
  • AGDA Gordon Andrews Scholarship awarded
  • AGDA International Speaker, Javier Mariscal, Spain
  • AGDA Sponsors AGIdeas, Semi-Permanent, Desktop
  • AGDA recommends ADC renaming to Australian Design Alliance
  • AGDA Student Brief Competition
  • AGDA International Speaker, Jonathon Barnbrook, London
  • AGDA Poster Annual
  • AGDA Industry Benchmarking Survey
  • AGDA contributes to RMT Design Archives
  • Typeface Film USA tours AGDA cities
  • Artisan Recruitment joins as AGDA Premium Partner
  • AGDA hosts Icograda Design Week Brisbane
  • AGDA Awards Exhibition 2010 showcases at AIGA and Pratt Institute, New York
  • 2009
  • AGDA Awards Exhibition extends to Pratt institute, New York
  • AGDA Sponsors AGIdeas, Semi-Permanent, Desktop
  • AGDA International Speaker, Jonathon Frere Jones, New York
  • AGDA Poster Annual launch
  • AGDA International Speaker Tour, Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry, New Zealand
  • AGDA International Speaker Tour, Barbara Glauber, Meta Design, New York
  • AGDA International Speaker, Rick Poyner, Eye Magazine
  • AGDA joins Designers Accord
  • Autodesk joins as AGDA Premium Partner
  • AGDA participates In Icograda General Assembly Beijing
  • Brenton Murray elected National President
  • AGDA Strategy Planning and Implementation for 2010
  • AGDA forms Australian Design Council (ADC) with Association Stakeholders
  • 2008
  • AGDA National Design Conference held in Adelaide
  • Ninth AGDA National Biennial Awards. Held in Adelaide for the second time
  • Geoff Digby and Alistair Morrison Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • AGDA Awards Exhibition debuts in AIGA New York
  • AGDA Awards Exhibition showcases at Pratt Institute NYC
  • Patrick Thomas International Speaker Tour
  • 2007
  • AGDA National Design Conference held in Gold Coast
  • 3rd AGDA-Gordon Andrews Scholarship awarded
  • Chip Kidd International Speaker Tour
  • AGDA Constitution revision completed
  • Fiona Brine appointed AGDA President
  • 2006
  • Eighth AGDA National Biennial Awards. Held in Canberra for the second time
  • Frank Eidlitz and Brian Sadgrove Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • 2nd AGDA-Gordon Andrews Scholarship awarded
  • Inaugural AGDA Student Awards launched
  • George Hardie International Speaker Tour
  • Fiona Brine elected AGDA President
  • 2005
  • AGDA National Design Conference held in Noosa
  • AGDA participates in Melbourne Design Festival as Organisation Partner
  • Stefan Sagmeister International Speaker Tour
  • 2004
  • Seventh AGDA National Biennial Awards. Held in Sydney for the second time
  • Richard Haughton James and Lyndon Whaite Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • AGDA International Speaker Tour, Scott Stowell, Open NYC
  • AGDA participates in State of Design Festival
  • Inaugural AGDA-Gordon Andrews Scholarship awarded
  • Alvin Chan International Speaker Tour
  • Scott Stowell International Speaker Tour
  • Simon Pemberton elected AGDA President
  • 2003
  • AGDA International Speaker Tour, Paul Sahre, The Office of Paul Sahre, NYC
  • AGDA-AQUENT Industry Benchmarking Survey and Report
  • 2002
  • Sixth AGDA National Biennial Awards. Held in Melbourne for the second time
  • Geoffrey & Dahl Collings and Bruce Weatherhead & Alex Stitt Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Sixth AGDA International Speaker Tour, Vince Frost, Frost Design UK
  • David Terrazas elected AGDA President
  • 2001
  • AGDA participates in Fresh Conference as Organisation Partner
  • AGDA International Speaker Tour, Scott Santoro, Worksight NYC
  • 2000
  • Fourth AGDA Queensland Design Conference
  • Fifth AGDA National Biennial Awards. Held in Brisbane for the first time
  • Douglas Annand and Arthur Leydin Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • AGDA ISS Student Fellowship awarded
  • AGDA supports Screenrights Bill and Digital Bill through Vizcopy
  • AGDA participates in BusinessNSW and BusinessQLD Top 25 Survey
  • AGDA International Speaker Tour, Carlo Pagoda, Primo Angeli Inc
  • 1999
  • Sydney Design 99
  • Rita Siow appointed AGDA GM
  • 1998
  • Fourth AGDA National Biennial Awards. Held in Adelaide for the first time
  • George Kral and Eric Maguire Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Third AGDA Queensland Design Conference
  • AGDA ISS Student Fellowship awarded
  • John Frostell elected AGDA President
  • 1997
  • AGDA ISS Professional Fellowship awarded
  • AGDA-DIA Summit in May planning Sydney Design 99 - International Design Conference and Trade Exhibition.
  • 1996
  • Third AGDA National Biennial Awards. Held in Canberra for the first time
  • Max Forbes and Lance Stirling Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • AGDA website launched
  • AGSM-AGDA Graphic Design Industry Study undertaken.
  • Andrew Lam Po-tang appointed AGDA GM
  • 1995
  • Third AGDA Queensland Design Conference
  • 1994
  • Second AGDA National Biennial Awards. Held in Sydney for the first time
  • Gordon Andrews Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Second AGDA Queensland Design Conference
  • Russell Bevers elected AGDA President
  • 1993
  • First AGDA Queensland Design Conference
  • Agenda revamped by Ian Kidd.
  • 1992
  • National Secretariat Office established.
  • John Nowland elected National President.
  • AGDA's Inaugural National Biennial Awards. Held in Melbourne for the first time
  • Richard Beck and Les Mason Inducted into the AGDA Hall of Fame
  • Inaugural AGDA Awards committee assembled
  • 1990
  • National newsletter Agenda printed.
  • The Association incorporated
  • AGDA's first National AGM
  • 1989
  • AGDA Constitution officially endorsed and formal elections held.
  • AGDA's First National Executive Meeting held at the Mildura Design Conference
  • 1988
  • AGDA founded
  • Wayne Rankin installed as AGDA's first National President