New Zealand's Best

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The Designers Institute
Black Pin

Awarded to a member of the Designers Institute who has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the New Zealand design profession and towards design in general.

Professor Tony Parker FDINZ

Professor Tony Parker FDINZ

Tony Parker is described as having a refined sense of form development and aesthetic judgment and that he can articulate design in a way people can understand. Tony has an expert understanding of the way ergonomics, form, product architecture and customer engagement work together.

His extraordinary visual acuity ranges from his incredible drawing skills, his digital illustration skills to his appreciation of visual communication design. He is thoughtful and passionate about design and his horizon is international.

Tony's passion for design education has nurtured several generations of product designers, many of whom are scattered across the globe, much to their teacher’s delight. People such as Matt Holmes, Head Designer at Nike, and Danny Coster, who is in the inner sanctum of the design team at Apple.

As Head of Industrial Design at Massey for over ten years he has mentored young industrial designers and matched graduates with his incredible international networks. He himself has a Masters degree from the Royal College of Art.

He walks the talk by continuing to practice design at the highest level through his work with Gallagher. He is the creative brains behind a slew of innovative designs, from petrol pumps to the Hulme Supercar.

Professor Tony Parker is a past president (2007-2013) and a Fellow of the Designers Institute. He has been the convenor of the product judges at the Best Design Awards since 2007. He is currently Associate Pro Vice Chancellor as Research Director for the Massey University College of Creative Arts and, and a member of the Industrial Design Society of America.

The John Britten
Black Pin

The highest award given by the Designers Institute and celebrates an individual who has achieved significant success in the field of design both nationally and internationally.

Kris Sowersby FDINZ

Kris Sowersby FDINZ

Kris Sowersby works in a singularly solitary profession, and yet has achieved world acclaim for his craft. He is a thoroughly modern designer who has helped to redesign one of the most traditional of British newspapers.

While it may seem to be an unusual craft in this digital age, people like Kris have reinvigorated the art of type design. He has been described by admirers as one of the leading rock stars of type design because he combines historical knowledge with rigorous contemporary workmanship and finish.

Kris is a graduate of Whanganui’s School of Design, and after graduation spent three years teaching himself to design typefaces. His first retail typeface, Feijoa, was released internationally in 2007, and his second, National, won a certificate of Excellence from the Type Directors Club of New York. Since then he has received two more certificates of Excellence. Kris is a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale, he has been honoured by the Art Directors Club and this year won the Judges Choice in the Type Directors Club awards, for his Domaine Sans typeface.

Clearly, as can be seen by the commission from the Financial Times, Kris has achieved international acclaim at a relatively young age. Despite the antisocial time difference, Kris spent some months working on a new typeface for the new design of that august organ, the Financial Times, which has been widely praised by its readers. The typeface was aptly named Financier.

Kevin Wilson, Head of Design for the FT, said the newspaper specifically wanted type that wasn’t a traditional news typeface. He said “We wanted the typeface and redesign to have a considered personality to match our style of journalism, which is our strengths in analysis and comment.

“The reaction of readers to the font has been very positive. In focus groups, readers typically described it as “elegant, distinctive and more attractive to a modern readership.”

Kevin also said Kris was quirky, knowledgeable and fun to work with.