Brought to you by The Designers Institute of New Zealand, The Best Design Awards is an annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product, digital and motion design along with three special awards - Value of Design, Public Good and Toitanga.

The National Graphic Design Awards were established in the mid seventies to celebrate New Zealand’s best graphic design. Attracting 300 entries, the awards exhibited 130 works as part of a touring exhibition and lecture series.

In 1988 the name was changed to the New Zealand Best Design Awards and enabled a growing community to benefit from the experience of a jury of international peers.

In 1992 the awards were expanded to include Spatial and Product design. 

By 1998 the Best Design Awards became a annual awards programme. 

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In 2010, Interactive was established as a distinct discipline. The Ngā Aho Award and Best Effect Award were added in 2012 and Public Good along with Moving Image in 2015. In 2017 the User Experience Award was introduced.

By 2020 Interactive became Digital and User Expereince was merged into digital. 

Toitanga was introduced in 2020.

The Gold Pin is coveted under each category as best in category, but its the very best piece of design in each discipline that is given the supreme Purple Pin and held up as work that raises the bar of New Zealand design.

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Black Pin

Each year, the prestigious Black Pins are awarded to individuals for outstanding achievement.

The John Britten Black Pin is awarded to a designer for their leadership, vision and achievement both in New Zealand and internationally.

The Designers Institute Black Pin is awarded to a member of the Institute who has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the design profession and design culture in New Zealand.

The Value of Design Black Pin is awarded to a company that champions the power of good design to create massive impact.


Desna Jury LifeDINZ Designers Institute Black Pin

Whilst many of the peers of this years DINZ Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement recipients’ are not able to be here tonight they have sent words laid out to read to show their love and respect for the recipient of this prestigious individual award. 

Desna Jury you touched so many hearts and minds and set so many young designers onto a career pathway that they could own with confidence. Your involvement in the Designers Institute was always steadying and forward thinking.

From the year 2000, Desna you were the Head of the School of Art and Design for nine years, then Dean of the Faculty of Design and Technology for six, and a Professor and Pro Vice Chancellor of Student Success at Auckland University of Technology.

You ran the School of Art & Design using the designer’s principle of ‘What can you take away from a problem to make things work”. You cut through drama and distraction - hitting the core of a problem with humane precision. People liked you because you loved innovation. But your great gift was protecting creative people so they could create. In your time, the school became a world leader in practice-led design research with the first doctorates and ground breaking research stepping out into the international arena.

Your passion for Design Education and the Design community extended into your participating as a Board member for the Designers Institute of NZ. You deeply believed on the value of design and ensured AUT Art & Design was connected with Better By Design’s CEO Summit.

Desna you actively built external relationships so your students could have exposure to co-designing with real businesses. You avidly supported AUT’s involvement in DesignCo and the collaborative Value of Design survey launched in 2017.

The Best Design Awards is forever grateful to your support of AUT hosting the Best Design Awards Judging Week venue over many many years. And like you, it was always wonderful to see a rich body of projects from AUT students enter Best and do well.

Desna you have always shunned the spotlight as in favour of the success of others, so it is wonderful to see you get the credit tonight with the Designers Institute Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement you so rightly deserve.

Speech as read at Best Design Awards 2023.

Black Pin


Jeremy Moon John Britten Black Pin

E nga Mana
E nga Iwi
E nga Waka
E rau rangitira ma
Tehei Mauri ora
Tena Koutou
Tena Koutou
Tena Tatau katoa

The John Britten Black Pin is awarded to a designer for their leadership, their vision and their achievements putting New Zealand on the global stage.

30 years ago, a young graduate met a farming couple,  and fell in love with a Merino teeshirt.  Two years later he bought 50% of their company, became its CEO, and set about transforming the business of Ice Breaker into a globally successful brand.

By now, most of you will have guessed that our 2023 John Britten Black Pin recipient is the successful entrepreneur and tireless advocate for design – Jeremy Moon.

 Jeremy’s approach to transforming Icebreaker was a masterclass in creating a design-led enterprise. To craft a compelling narrative, he originally worked with Brian Richards, who recalls:

“Jeremy’s piercing questions never changed. I always loved the intellectual scrap we had each time we discussed the brand. No other client has challenged me to the same degree and each encounter saw each of us sizing the other up, dancing round the ring, fighting for our respective ideas.”

 The outcome was the cutting-edge Icebreaker brand with clear points of difference:

“They were plastic; we were natural. They were about sweaty men; we were gender inclusive. They were about hard adventure; we were about kinship with nature” Icebreaker was indeed….. breaking the ice.

 More recently Rob Fyfe, sums up his experience of working with Jeremy, which again I totally concur with:

“He is the most relentlessly curious person I have ever met. When others were reaching a point of intellectual exhaustion, he would just be gearing up!!”

 And now in his most recent reincarnation, Jeremy has again applied his design thinking to a whole new category, and entered the Pet Food market with Animals Like Us, for which my two dogs are deeply appreciative….yes, that’s a brand shout out!

 From early in this journey Jeremy began to have bigger and broader influence, beyond his own enterprise. As a brand-centric business leader, Jeremy was appointed to Chair Better by Design, which came out of the 2003 Success by Design Strategy, which was itself a child of the now famous Knowledge Wave conference in 2001.

From 2005 his energetic leadership delivered multiple inspirational CEO Summits; the Design Integration programme with teams of professional advisors coaching leaders to become design-led, and annual international  Study Tours – all aimed at creating consumer empathetic competitive advantage in global markets, and to create a community of design thinkers and practitioners in New Zealand. Through this leadership Jeremy has now bought design thinking from the edge of the paradigm to the centre, and design thinking is now ubiquitous across the New Zealand landscape.

Twenty years ago, the Designers Institute presented the Design in Business Award to Icebreaker. Tonight, we honour its leader who went on to enable many businesses in New Zealand to become Better by Design.…

Black Pin


Jef Wong FDINZ Designers Institute Black Pin

It’s a great thing to be part of this design community.

Connected to people like us, seeing how we all navigate a life in design.

Making change, not just for ourselves, but for those around us.

Knowing it’s making the journey ‘from – to’ that defines our design life.

This year DINZ celebrates a designer who has made that journey and continues it

Always growing forward, with the generosity to grow others along the way.

Defining what, at best, being a designer can be, and where it can take you.

 Taking his journey from then, to now

From the ‘I love to draw designer’, as a fresh faced AUT graphic graduate, who soon knew it would take more than natural talent, to make a mark in the industry.

To the ‘thinking harder designer’, who understood that graft was the secret ingredient in craft and putting the work into a well thought out idea, was at the heart of making something stand out, and stand for something.

From the ‘learn fast designer’, who took the chance at New Zealand’s most established design agency, to push bigger ideas on bigger stages, and expand what design can do.

 To the ‘team designer’, who saw the value in collaborating, designing like you’re playing in a band, not going solo.

The ‘Designer as mentor’, invested in new talent, pushing forward a design fellowship that has nurtured some of Aotearoa’s outstanding young designers. 

Designing how we flew, what we knew in the news, the brands we loved to eat and drink, from breweries, to producers and apples that rock. Creating the icons, that moved us, as Aotearoa moved forward.

Here is a Designer as creative champion – with 4 years as convenor of Best, D&AD judging, international speaking, and the occasional globetrotting ethnographic Las Vegas fly on the wall shenanigans.

This award goes to a designer who represents the very best of what the profession is, and what it takes to be a leader in this room tonight.

The creativity to see what could be.

The generosity to grow others.

From work ethic and a passion - going further, being better every day.

To a design leader who epitomizes diversity, inclusivity, and positivity in a modern Aotearoa.

Black Pin


Jamie McLellan PDINZ John Britten Black Pin

Jamie McLellan - Photographer Alistair Guthrie

Starting with a quote from Tim Brown, Allbirds CEO and founder.

“Allbirds wouldn't have been possible without Jamie McLellan, who is our 2022 John Britten Black Pin Award Winner. 

Jamie’s extraordinary design talents are a big part of Allbirds success for sure, but for me, it is his genuine kindness, his humour, his desire to bring other people into projects and put their needs ahead of his own, his dedication, his grace and, perhaps most importantly in the case of Allbirds, his resilience to keep on going when success was far from certain. Jamie's story is a humble one by his own telling but make no mistake this is a world-class practitioner of design and someone I am very proud to have as my friend and colleague, and to see so wonderfully and deservedly recognised with this award.”

High praise and deservedly so Jamie.

Tim highlights Jamie’s humanity, empathy and resilience which fuel Jamie’s design ability and have facilitated friendships with an impressive number of his colleagues, clients and eminent employers. 

Starting at Fisher & Paykel followed by a stint in the UK, Jamie’s portfolio is now full of award-winning quality products. The Candelabra lamp was produced during his tenure at Tom Dixon in London. A bike frame for Avanti, furniture pieces for Resident, beer taps, sails for Neil Pryde in Hong Kong, meal trays for international airlines, a biodegradable coffin and an impossibly expensive concept for a chair made from an aerogel material invented by Nasa.

From humble beginnings in New Zealand Jamie’s design collaboration with Allbirds founder Tim Brown led to the development of the woollen shoe that set the company on its phenomenal path to international success and acclaim. Now as Head of Design based in San Francisco, he is leading a team of talented designers and collaborating with Tim and his executives to grow an innovative global design brand focused on its green credentials. Up against established titans like Nike and Addidas, the New York Times calls Allbirds the go-to uniform for anyone who is anyone in Silicon Valley. 

Jamie’s work is characterised by a thoughtful clear conceptual framework and a quirky sense of humour. It is expressed through Jamie’s passion for simplicity, reduction and clean geometries. It is finessed with beautifully resolved detailing and underpinned by a deep appreciation of functionality, materials and human factors. Latterly the footprint of his work on the planet has become fundamental and is elegantly demonstrated through his work with Allbirds.

His mates reckon he’s charmingly clumsy and forgetful. Misplaces his keys and has risky time management. In your defence Jamie, these are the characteristics of a deep-thinking and focused designer, who is concentrating all his mental and creative effort on his work. Qualities of a major international talent I recognised the seeds of when you were a design student and qualities we all look forward to seeing more of in the future.…

Black Pin


Emirates Team New Zealand Value of Design Black Pin

Emirates Team New Zealand
It is always exciting to see design leadership from New Zealand making impact out in the world. It is even better when this leadership happens consistently, over many years and in the process changes the entire landscape of its chosen endeavour.

This is certainly the case for our 2022 Value of Design Black Pin Winner. 

Design Innovation:
From designing the first Americas Cup boats to foil, supercats, cyclors and most recently spearheading the foiling monohull’s rise here at home - design innovation and impact has always been at the heart of everything Emirates Team New Zealand does.

 With the most recent AC75 class development they have redefined todays sailors expectations around the speed and excitement possible in modern day regatta’s. Creating a halo effect that has trickled down into the new AC40 class now expanding pathways into the Americas Cup and increasing participation across the board. 

Design Culture:
Emirates Team New Zealand’s design culture encourages taking risks and is constantly questioning what design will look like in 10 or 15 years, then trying to design that boat now, ahead of time. Driven by a powerful inhouse philosophy of always building talent from within, they created virtually every component of Te Rehutai - shape, structure, mechanics, hydraulics and electronics. Continually developing in new areas such as machine learning, and collaborating to bring new technology onboard, prototyping with 3d printing to stay nimble and stay ahead of the game. 

 Design Performance:
As the dominant team of the past 20 years, chasing down a three-peat in the next edition would be unique achievement in the modern era. Winning the 36th America’s Cup on the water at home in the Hauraki Gulf created huge reputational value for both Tamaki and Aotearoa brilliantly showcasing both people and place into the living rooms of the world. 

 Design Contribution:
The 36th America’s Cup was the most watched America’s Cup ever with a dedicated viewership more than 3 times the size of the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017. Reaching a total global TV and live streaming audience of 941 million people, delivering incredible value to sponsors and the country alike despite the influence of COVID 19.

New ideas, new technologies and new partnerships are always at the forefront of this teams thinking - they are already on to the next design innovation, the next marine industry partnership, the next fuel innovation for chase boats - they never stop, they are always searching for more.

As Taiaha Hawke from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei beautifully explained the story of the name Te Rehutai: “Where the essence of the ocean invigorates and energises our strength and determination." 

Emirates Team New Zealand Your essence, Your determination, Your energy, your contribution inspires and invigorates all of us as a nation. We are very proud to award the Designers Institute Value of Design Black Pin for 2022 to Emirates Team New Zealand.

Value of Design Black Pin – recipients speech on the night - Emirates Team NZ – Dan Bernasconi…

Black Pin


Jonathan Custance Designers Institute Black Pin

Q: Were you predisposed to a career in design?
JC: I was… my father was a design engineer and he built an engineering business that grew out of a furniture manufacturing business that he purchased in Hawkes Bay. As a teenager I remember working in the factory, building furniture, learning a bit of engineering.  

I also remember at the age of 16 going up to the annual general meeting of the Society of Industrial Designers and meeting people like Rudi Schwarz who was the foremost furniture designer at the time… so that was my early exposure to the industry.

Q: What sort of furniture was your father making?
JC: It wasn't very contemporary, He focused on building the engineering side which ended up being a specialist in the country, for material handling equipment; things like electronically controlled conveyors. In terms of furniture they were bed makers and dining furniture but that sort of tapered off as the engineering side grew.

Q: What were your early memories of visiting that factory?JC: I was fascinated with all the machines and built up the skills as a teenager to run some of those. I was helping the cabinet makers with processing which I think exposed me to the practicality of materials and how things go together.

 Q: Did you then train in something similar?
JC: Well... I had to tell the career advisor at my high school that there was a thing called the School of Design in Wellington! At first I was going to do architecture but during the last two years of  secondary school I changed my mind and decided to go into industrial design.

Q: Following in your father’s footsteps or...?
JC: Largely because I enjoy building things and it seemed to be more craft oriented, more hands on rather than sitting in an office with a white shirt and tie in an architecture practice. So that degree sort of set me on the path.

Q: Where did you study and how would you describe your alma mater?
JC: I did industrial design at the Wellington School. It was the only place where you could study design - other than architecture – in Auckland. James Coe was the head of that institution and he was the founder of ergonomics in this country. That was a critical component. The industrial design course was quite diverse as industrial design is in a sense. It covered product, consumer design, ergonomic work, exhibitions, probably touched on the interiors side, a bit of retail. 

At that stage it was mostly the Fisher and Paykels who were engaged in employing graduates. In other words there wasn't a lot of jobs. I mean, if you think about it, mine was a class of 15 per annum that went through and probably half of those dropped out!…

Black Pin


Liz and Neville Findlay John Britten Black Pin

In 2020 this Black Pin was given to Liz and Neville Findlay, founders of fashion label Zambesi. We  spoke to them about the journey so far.

Q: Liz, so you came to New Zealand from Greece?
Liz Findlay  (LF): Yes. I was born in Greece and my older brother as well. My mother is Greek, but she was born and brought up in Russia. My father was Ukrainian and they met in Germany towards the end of the war. My family immigrated to New Zealand in 1951 on a vessel called the Goya.

Q:  So… what language did you speak at home?
LF:  My parents wanted to learn English, so although we learnt some basic Greek and Russian we were encouraged to speak English. I can still understand a few words. We have a few Russian and Ukrainian staff at our workroom so it feels a little familiar hearing them speak to one another. 

Q: It is quite a multicultural office.
Neville Findlay (NF)
Yeah, very much so!

LF: I think the thing with language is that if you're not using it in your home or in your workplace, you know, you don't retain it. Maybe if I had married a Russian or Greek, life with language would be different, but I didn't!

NF: Instead, you ended up with a Syrian Scot!

LF: Our girls are a real mixture!

Q: Do you think that internationalism in any way colours your output as a creative?
LF: I don't think you consciously do that. I think that it's probably just inherent. My grandfather was a shoe maker in Russia so maybe it was in the genes! When we moved to Dunedin from Central Otago – my mother went to work for a local designer, as a seamstress. She loved making clothes and was very creative. She would manipulate patterns, make all our clothes and taught us all to sew. So, it could be that generation did make their own clothes and were used to doing it for themselves. So, that creative thing, I think, was encouraged by both my parents.

NF: It was born of necessity. They would do and make everything, it was part of the culture.…

Black Pin


Annie Dow Designers Institute Black Pin

Hi Annie, shall we take a quick blast through the past before we get around to your thoughts about the present and future? You’re originally from the UK, aren’t you?

Yes, that’s right. Let’s just say my father was a big influence in my life. The family immigrated to New Zealand. My father brought engineering, display sign & neon sign skills to the country.  He set up his own business, in signs and displays, prominently known back in the 70’s,80’s  and still know today as  The Display Group. Whilst my father was a big influence to me, he was also a very traditional, old school thinking Englishman. In his mind, my brothers who were in the business as myself , were going to be the ones that were left the assest. One day I proposed that I’d like a slice of the action as well. He wouldn’t have a bar of it. As much as I loved him, that was an archaic & unjust mentality. I certainly wasn’t hanging around as second fiddle, so I bailed for the classic o/s trip.

Sounds like an early crack at smashing the patriarchy. What happened next?

I hightailed it back to the UK, and then started to freelance at legendary studios like Pentagram. I worked at Billy Blue in Sydney on the journey over. I really started to gather experience and a love of a 3D, working with my father and other design studios, specialising in this discipline. The experience of designing display stands and rendering visuals for cosmetic companies, designing packaged consumer goods and making mock ups, I started to feel very at home. I have never rated myself as a strong designer, but I’ve always had the vision of what something should look like, how it should fit into it’s world it will live in. Someone once told me, I had the art of a distinct intuition & a great mind, mixing logic & the design magic – an understanding of commercial reality in branding. Packaging suddenly became my new love in London.

What appealed to you about it?

I loved that you had a small space to work with, like a mini poster, that’s a silent sales tool. That’s where my commercial brain kicked in. I came back to New Zealand, as my father was turning 70 – the main motivation to return home. I am not sure I intended to stay here. However other things were in store for me. Within a week of being here, I met the late Greg Dow and my heart & life took a big turn.  …

Black Pin


Clive Fugill John Britten Black Pin

Kia ora Clive, great to see you here at Te Puia. Shall we start at the beginning? What was your childhood like – any carvers in the family? 

No. My family background were all bushmen. They worked in the forest. The whole family. They were contractors.

And was that here, in Rotorua?

Yes, around this area. They worked blocks of bush over the back road to Tauranga, through Mangorewa Gorge. Blocks of bush out the back of Ngongotahā. My father worked in the old National Timber Company workings back in the ’20s and ’30s. Mostly around this area, although later on they did pull bush out of Minginui and up through there. When I was very young, they’d bring firewood home and it was all native stuff, so I learnt native timber pretty quickly and what types of wood were what.

I guess times have changed, regarding what’s firewood these days.

Well, the company dissolved a bit because they didn’t want to go into pine. They were all about native timber. As soon as the pine came in, my father saw it. He tried to convince my grandfather to go into it, but nobody wanted to, so the company just folded. I learnt a lot from my father. Heck of a lot of stuff from him because he virtually lived in the bush. There’s nothing he didn’t know about it. He knew all the trees. He knew Māori rongoā, the medicines. I got a lot of his practical knowledge, but I spent time in the woodshed with a pocketknife. That’s how I learnt. 

Really? Had you been exposed to any carving or seen something that got you going?

Sort of, yes. My first inklings of it were when I was at primary school; they used to bring exhibitions around from the museums. I’d see artefacts, patu and things like that. For some reason, I had a fascination with weaponry. Māori weaponry fascinated me. They had slideshows with all these weapons, and I started drawing them and trying to carve the shapes and forms with a pocketknife. I was very good at art at school, if there was an art prize around, I’d get it.

Other than that, what were you like academically? 

I was dumb as a two-bob watch, but there was reason for that. When I was at intermediate school, I started getting these headaches. I’d go home from school and lie down and after a couple of hours it was gone. Father took me to the doctor, Dr More was his name, one of the old school doctors, and he checked me out. “What’s wrong with this boy? he said. “I wonder. Come here boy. Read that.” I couldn’t read any of it. He said, “There’s his problem. Get him glasses.” I’ll never forget the day I walked out that door with glasses on. I could see for miles. Then my schoolwork picked up.

So, your art was eventually applied to different materials, through carving? …

Black Pin


Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Value of Design Black Pin

Fifty years ago, in the early days of design training in New Zealand, a concerned and motivated doctor and engineer, from the former Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, approached Fisher & Paykel for help solving a problem with dry respiratory gases being used on patients.They collaborated to add humidity to mechanical ventilation using a preserving jar and some piping – a quintessential piece of number-eight wire innovation. From that clever piece of thinking we can fast forward through five decades of increasingly sophisticated product development, the result of which is a company that has become New Zealand’s largest hi-tech exporter. A company that has consistently championed design processes resulting in sustainable commercial growth.

Throughout all those years of change, there have been two constants that drive Fisher & Paykel’s people still: putting the patient at the centre of everything – to spark new thinking and, consequently, innovation; and two, placing designers close to the patient – which results in empathetic thinking and meaningful solutions.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare should take pride in its work; last year the company’s products helped 14 million people, in hospitals and at home, giving patients not just an improved quality of life but often life itself. One of the company’s areas of expertise is the treatment of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. It’s a condition that tests Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s ability to innovate to the full, because, for starters, because no one wants to wear a mask and pump in bed, and secondly, making it stay on comfortably when the physics of breathing wants to push it off is the trickiest of design paradoxes. However, the company’s success in this area can be seen in its potent growth, with a billion dollars in sales cracked last year.

Chris, congratulations to you and your colleagues on winning this award. Shall we have a quick recap on the genesis of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare for those perhaps familiar with the fridges, ovens and washing machines, but less familiar with the hospital, homecare and surgical products?

Thank-you. We are honoured and privileged to be acknowledged with this award. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare became a listed company, separate from Fisher & Paykel Appliances, back in 2001. We’ve been two entirely distinct companies since then, and we don’t share design resources.

That said, we do have many decades of shared history, including the utilisation of some F&P Appliances motor technology which helped establish some of our earlier products. What we also have in common are company founders who had a relentless commitment to solving problems in the appliances business, and they applied that knowledge to improving outcomes for patients.

We still both have a culture of original thinking and immersive experiences which leads to the innovative solutions required to create better products, processes and practices.

Here's a general question – if you could name a couple of factors at FPH that have contributed to innovation through design what do you think they would be?


Rik Campbell and Steve Le Marquand John Britten Black Pin

 Best Design Awards 2018 Annual - case study

 Stranger Things

The Internet, font of knowledge that it is, can make it hard to separate fact from fiction. Improbable-sounding things might be true; plausible-sounding things might not. In the middle is a host of part truths and red herrings, misdirections and obfuscations. The truth might be out there but it can be hard to discern.

Somewhere, in this Internet, lives Resn – New Zealand’s best digital company (probably a fact), which was founded in 2004 by 2018 Black Pin recipients Rik Campbell and Steve Le Marquand, and, subsequently, formed in their own image.

Resn, according to Resn, peddles “gooey interactive experiences that will amaze and stupefy” to the world. They also self-describe as “the Internet energy ball”, “Self-proclaimed Web Perverts”, “Digital boffins/idiot savants” and “Creators of the Digital Disco Breakdown”.

In short, they are an internet mystery, occupants of a digital halfway-house built at the crossroads of reality, a Kiwi Upside-Down – a place, at the wrong end of the world, with portals (a.k.a offices) in other realms, The Netherlands, China and America. From Wellington, Campbell and Le Marquand have implement their own inconoclastic vision of the Internet. They disregard convention, make their own way, and have what appears to be a huge amount of fun in doing so.

They’ve made masterful digital campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands – and have done it with such rude good humour that you might wonder if they’re serious or not. But they are, of course. It can just be a bit hard to separate the myth from the man, or, judging from some of the photography, the pirate from the person.

Sons & Co.’s Matt Arnold touched on this when introducing Le Marquand and Campbell at a Designers Speak® talk in Auckland.

“They are seriously smart people doing seriously good work. They are New Zealand's best digital designers. One of the most admired in the world. Respected unconditionally. They have 75 people in four countries. And not crap countries. Proper ones.”

Their humour, said Arnold, is a “a New Zealand thing”, a deflection, a diversion tactic.  

“It's a form of modesty, but it's this irreverence and sense of mischief that makes them so distinct in an industry that is typified by self-important blowhards. Resn is the Trojan Horse: looks like a novelty-sized wooden pony, but open the hatch, and you're staring at 75 cold-blooded killers…On the one hand, a clownish, immature ridiculousness, and on the other, a serious, no-nonsense rigour that is frightening in its intensity.”

Interestingly, there’s not much biographical information available about Le Marqand and Campbell (and disclaimer – the interview that follows might not put too much more flesh on the bones) which suggests, to me, a desire to avoid the creation of self-aggrandising mythologies. Either that or it’s a cunning plan to exaggerate personal mythologies through absence of information and swell of rumour. I think it’s the former – they live to do great work.…

Black Pin


Kent Sneddon Designers Institute Black Pin

Kent is best known as the design architect for the Aurora Jet Shower, which turned showering from a daily chore into a luxurious water experience.

Kent graduated from the Wellington School of Design, and first worked with noted designer Peter Haythornthwaite and then Fisher and Paykel where he went on to lead the development of a global strategy for a new generation of appliances and concepts for the company. 

He joined Methven in 2006 and built a design team that developed many innovative technologies, shower products and tapware collections.

During his time at Methven, the design team won Best Design Awards, a Good Design Green Award in the USA and Red Dot Design Awards in Germany. 

But Kent and his team just didn’t design showerheads and taps. As head of design for Methven Kent believed that a designer’s role was to listen and talk to customers. So they researched how people showered and how water spray affected different peoples’ skin. He and his team were also concerned about sustainability and water conservation, and their water saving shower heads were a particular success in the Australian market, where water is short.

Former colleagues said Kent had a great sense of aesthetic and a persistence to make sure the design intent made it through to the final product. He would challenge the boundaries and preconceptions of what could be done.

He had a bold and confident style and was not afraid to use curves and flowing surfaces to express and embody character and personality into the product.His sketching, they said, was phenomenal and he could change the direction of a conversation with a drawing to give clarity to the vision he was describing. 

He was an extremely talented designer and although he had achieved a lot he still had far more to give. His growth and ability to integrate design into business was one of the great success stories for the journey of design led business within NZ.

His passion and enthusiasm was infectious enough to pull everyone else along on the journey, always a combination of hard work mixed with a lot of humour, said friends and colleagues. His casual style created a fantastic team environment and made him fun to work with. The big personality that he was meant that he had a wide reach of influence, making the gap left by his passing a great void. 

His growth and ability to integrate design into business was one of the great success stories for the journey of design led business within NZ.

This year, the Methven celebrates its 130th anniversary and Kent would have been gratified to learn that the company was awarded the Best Shower Brand of the Year in the 2017 Bathroom and Kitchen Update awards in the UK, against such global giants as Grohe.…

Black Pin


Dan Bernasconi John Britten Black Pin

As the team’s Technical Director, Dan this year channelled 25 years of study, experience and innovation into one incredible moment - sending a brave and revolutionary boat design flying over the finish line in Bermuda to claim the ultimate sailing prize.

It’s been a long voyage for Dan. But it’s been a straight and purposeful one. Growing up in England, his love of numbers took him to Cambridge University. Drawn to the tangible rather than the abstract, he switched from pure mathematics to engineering and the practical application of maths and physics to design problems.

This soon led to the role that introduced Dan to the world of high-tech sport, as a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer for the McLaren Formula One Racing team. 

At McLaren he quickly learned about the day-to-day realities of a being part of a high pressure, high performance design team with a razor sharp focus on winning.

“Good design is having a clear understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve; being open to exploring as wide a realm of solutions as you can; focusing on the best options; and then thoroughly optimising the chosen solution.”

Over the next six years Dan’s own focus became racing simulations and the iterative design process, as every last ounce of speed and performance was coaxed out of the team’s racing car designs. 

At McLaren, he also learned the art of managing engineers, from his boss Dick Glover. As Dan himself admits, great engineers are not necessarily great managers of people. But a key piece of advice from Glover has stayed with him: you will never be able to do all the work you want to do yourself, so view your team as an extension of your own capabilities, giving you the resources to do more of the things you want to do.

Dan Bernasconi always had more of a passion for boats than for cars, however. So after taking time out to complete a PhD in Mathematical Modelling and Aerodynamics, he moved to the world of high performance sailing at the end of 2006 and to Emirates Team New Zealand in 2010, where he has been ever since. 

The team’s win in Bermuda was a triumph for design leadership. Over many long months and thousands upon thousands of simulations, Dan and his team of specialists worked to design the most radical boat they could within the rules. From engineers to management to the amazing sailors, everyone was onboard with their mission; to explore, to be radical, and to win.

From the finely tuned dagger boards to the complex foiling systems required to propel their AC50 to victory, Dan attributes Team New Zealand’s success to an attitude of experimentation and creativity. …

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Ben Corban Designers Institute Black Pin

Corban knows a thing or two about hard work. His Lebanese great-grandparents were pioneers, founding Corbans Wines in the rugged gum lands of West Auckland in 1902. Two generations hence, and the family work ethic remains strong. “They started a commercial winery in an industry that was in its infancy in New Zealand,” says Corban. “We were brought up to understand the energy and perseverance it takes to build something. But to also love what you do – because you spend a lifetime doing it.”

Corban didn’t go the winemaking way. He studied painting at Elam School of Fine Arts and Goldsmiths, University of London. The art world was booming in the mid-nineties when he was in London, and he watched while the YBA movement turned traditional arts practice on its head. “When Damien Hirst sold his preserved shark to Charles Saatchi, he sold the idea of the work first,” says Corban. “That transaction was fascinating. It was the inverse of traditional arts practice.”

Corban and his friend Dean Poole were so taken by this creative model that they returned to New Zealand and in 1999 set up a design company with a difference. They would present clients with a strong idea and then develop the most appropriate execution of it ­– across multiple disciplines and media. They operated at the intersection of design, culture and business, with the ethos that it’s not what design is, it’s what design does that counts. 

“We live in a time where change is not only constant, but more amplified than it’s ever been,” says Corban. “Design, as one of the drivers for innovation, is now more important than ever.”

Alt Group was founded as a classic start-up in a garage in Grey Lynn. They read lots of books, learnt quickly and began by doing work initially for people they knew. Every job was important and each job led to the next. And the rest, as they say, is history. Seventeen years later, Alt Group is New Zealand’s most awarded design company, having won over 450 local and international design awards, including eight Purple Pins, 30 Red Dots and the German Design Award. Corban is now managing director, and responsible for a multidisciplinary team of 24 strategists, designers and content developers, who work across New Zealand and on an increasing number of international projects.

“Design is a process of not knowing and finding out,” says Corban. “And when you say that to a client, it can be reasonably confronting. But, simply, that is the process. We bring collective experience and an objective point of view to an organisation, along with established systems and processes. The steps, jumps and leaps forward happen from the intersection of different perspectives and ways of thinking. Design can be used to generate insights, give form to ideas and make thinking visible.”…

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Danny Coster John Britten Black Pin

Coster’s career began with a job in his father’s hardware store in Mount Eden, Auckland. While mixing paint and cutting timber, he also helped customers find creative ways to solve their DIY problems. At home, he was surrounded by his mother’s paintings of landscapes, still lifes and abstract subjects. His childhood was defined by design and craft, and he often found himself in the art department at high school while his mates were on the sports field. 

Coster left school at age 17 for an internship in Tony Winter’s retail design studio in New Lynn. This led him to pursue an industrial design diploma at Wellington Polytechnic. “I always liked complex problems,” explains Coster. “And it was the multifaceted aspects of the profession that drew me in.” 

At Wellington Polytechnic, Coster learnt how to translate ideas into process. Academic projects led to a real-world contract in which he and his schoolmate John Woolett were tasked with redesigning the entire range of Hutchwilco life jackets. This experience was his launching pad to a job at KWA Design Group in Sydney. 

“I had to develop my own point of view,” says Coster. “It was a time to work out how I could add value to the conversation. Humility was my foundation, and it allowed me to contribute in a way that served me well in the years to come.”

“I had to develop my own point of view,” says Coster. “It was a time to work out how I could add value to the conversation. Humility was my foundation, and it allowed me to contribute in a way that served me well in the years to come.”

After four years in Australia, Coster set his sights on America. Apple offered him a position in 1996—about a year before Steve Jobs returned to transform the company into one of the most innovative and successful consumer brands on the planet. In his 20 years at Apple, Coster was a core member of Sir Jonathan Ives team and contributed to the design direction for a wide range of iconic Apple products. 

“Apple was the ultimate environment for elevating design,” says Coster. “They were so supportive of what could be quite fragile ideas that, if they had not been given the space and time, might never have come to life. It was a blessing to be with a wonderful company with such good friends and inspiring leadership.”

Coster is discerning about the future of technology and its impact on people’s lives. “Design can foster an intimacy that has been lost through technology,” he says. “Today, we can be in touch with anyone, anywhere, at any time, but it’s fleeting. If design could bring more compassion to how we share, and help us be more present with one another, well, that would be a big deal.”
Coster is Vice president of Design at GroPro.

—Andrea Stevens

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Professor Tony Parker Designers Institute Black Pin

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.

—Andrea Stevens

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Kris Sowersby John Britten Black Pin

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.

“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 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.

—Andrea Stevens

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Mark Cleverley Designers Institute Black Pin

The Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement recognises a someone who has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the design profession.

Calling Mark Cleverley’s contribution to New Zealand design ‘lasting’ is almost an understatement. From graphic design, to object making, pottery design, textiles, teaching, and architecture, there’s hardly a type of design that Mark hasn’t touched over his six decade legacy.

To describe the extent of Mark’s multi-faceted career in full would take hours. But in brief, Mark started his illustrious career at age 18 in Hamilton as an architectural draughtsman at the NZ Co-operative Dairy, then moved to Christchurch to work at Warren and Mahoney. He won a scholarship to the Elam School of Fine Arts, and was one of the first students in the new graphic design programme. From there, he freelanced in graphic design – and even designed the Ballantyne’s façade and engravings. He ventured to the big smoke for a brief stint in advertising, then dived into the 3D world of packaging.

During this time, he made his first foray into stamp design. And he certainly stamped his mark. He introduced modernist, simplified designs to New Zealand Post – a move that proved incredibly popular.

Arguably, his most prominent work was as a creative director at Crown Lynn. He was always one step ahead of worldwide trends, creating new designs and printing techniques, taking reference from indigenous patterns, fighting traditional ideas. But his most influential role was teaching in Christchurch and Wellington – his students rave about his passion for typography and design history, his clever and challenging briefs, and above all his engagement and enthusiasm in their own projects.

Mark has been an important player in the international design industry. In 1972, he was made a full member of the prestigious UK based Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (SIAD), and was also nominated as the NZ representative at the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) Interdesign conference in Canada in 1974.

During the sixties and seventies, he was involved in founding professional design organisations – the ancestors of the Designer’s Institute – to create a supportive network to promote and connect designers around New Zealand. He even helped establish an early version of the Best Design Awards.

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Matt Holmes John Britten Black Pin

With his accomplished career, one suspects Matt Holmes has already achieved a kind of design nirvana upon top of which the Black Pin for Career Achievement is, perhaps, a cherry – albeit a sweet one – on top.

Holmes, a Nelson boy, has, through design, ended up quite a way from the top of the South Island. Since May ’97 he’s been based in Portland, Oregon, working his way through the ranks to the position he holds today: creative director of innovation at Nike Global Footwear. There, on a campus of around 10,000 staff, including 800 designers, Holmes works out the future product directions of the footwear and apparel giant.

Talking with Holmes, one thing is obvious. He loves his work; however, importantly, he’s found a way to maintain delight and curiosity, two qualities he exhibited as a sports-mad Nelson youngster extending the life of his weekday tennis shoes ($9.95 Bata Bullets) with metal plates, Shoe Goo, tape and deodorant roller balls (toe-dragger) so his number ones (Nike Resistance, yes, presciently on brand) were preserved for Saturday mornings. He’d literally rip through a pair of Bata Bullets in a fortnight, he says. Modifications were essential.

Born in the UK to creative parents (Mum: sculpture and piano; Dad, “everything”), Holmes was five when he arrived in Nelson, a town that was perfectly suited to his parents’ arts and crafts inclinations. At home, he learnt woodworking, welding, metal casting – aluminium, bronze – air brushing and sculpting. A few years later, the school guidance counsellor, finger perhaps not on pulse, suggested he enrol in nursing school – which he duly did, before being saved from a life of saving lives by a ‘Delorean moment’. That is, he saw a Delorean (you know, Back to the Future’s time machine, if you have to ask you’re too young) on the streets of sleepy Nelson. He saw it when he was answering a classifed ad placed in the Nelson Evening Mail for a pair of Nikes, believe it or not. “It stunned me,” he recalls. “Wow! Somebody is making these things?”

The following day he went to his art teacher on a quest to find out “who does cars, shoes and equipment?” “An industrial designer.” “Why have you never told us about industrial design!?”

One viewing later, of a video showing Phillips designers at work on radios, and he knew; “This was it.”

“It stunned me,” he recalls. “Wow! Somebody is making these things?”

Wellington Design School beckoned. Leon Yap, Noel Benner, Mark Pennington, Tony Wincart and Helen Mitchell were lecturers. Workshop tutor Eric Bond is fondly remembered: “He was just brutal but you learnt so much about perfection; you’ve got to keep doing it until you get it right”. Tony Parker, he recalls, was the only professional industrial designer. “He was our role model…great at rendering and finishing skills. He was super talented.”…

Black Pin


Cathy Veninga Designers Institute Black Pin

In 2013, the Designers Institute of New Zealand honoured its Chief Executive, Cathy Veninga, with its highest award – a Black Pin for her outstanding “contribution of service and leadership to the institute.” As Tony Parker, a Fellow of the Institute, said at the awards presentation, Veninga is “totally dedicated to advancing the importance and contribution of the New Zealand design profession, to the value and quality of design professionals in our country and to the vitally important role design makes to our economic performance, cultural expression, national identity and sense of wellbeing.”

Like all Black Pin winners, Veninga has a long background in design leadership. She was first elected to the Institute’s Board in 1998, was its first female president – an important milestone with gender parity in design and architecture still under the microscope around the globe – and, in 2005, she was appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer of the Institute in 2005.

“At that time there were major global influences around design thinking and we needed to be responsive to this thinking as a professional body if we were to remain relevant,” she says. “Organisationally, and as a design community, we had to stop navel gazing and develop a more inclusive collaborative approach to the way we worked and engaged. The Institute, as a multidisciplinary organisation, gives us this rich and our unique point of difference.”

Veninga’s career in design could be considered synchronous with the growing sophistication of New Zealand’s growing design industries and cultures.

Up to 2005, the Designers Institute was an organisation that relied solely on the voluntary support, hard work and passion of its members. A full-time CEO provided some real operational structure to the organisation and allowed it to widen its ambitions while improving its ability to respond nimbly to challenges it faced.

Over the years, it began developing richer programmes that both inspired, educated and justified membership. The Designers Speak Series, says Veninga, has been especially successful in communicating the challenges designers face; “it talks about design process; it gets inside the stories”.

From the outset of her tenure, Veninga says her aim has been for the development of an inclusive organisation that encouraged the development of peer relationships through industry events. Importantly, the exponential growth of the Best Design Awards provided an annual benchmarking activity for the industry.

“The significance of the Best Design Awards is that has been crucial to raising standards in design while also providing a window of insight into what is actually happening in the design community. It is also an opportunity for those involved in design to get together with their clients and colleagues.”…

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Grenville Main Designers Institute Black Pin

The Designers Institute Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement is conferred upon an individual, who, as a member of the Designers Institute of New Zealand, has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the design profession and to design in general.

Grenville Main, creative director and managing director of the design consultancy DNA and Fellow of the Designers Institute of New Zealand, has done more than most to improve the perception and raise the value of design in this country.

Across his career, Main has worked to improve the perception of graphic design above that of “the colouring in guys”. He works strategically with significant companies, improving their systems, communications and services. He has also played a key role in fostering the talents of a number of New Zealand’s top designers.

It was at a youngish age that Main discovered his own talents lay in the visual arts. As a student at school he recalls being “relatively aimless” until a career councillor suggested he venture into the art department. He took to it, and cites himself as being lucky to have someone at school suggest that he go to polytech to do a course in design. He was young, though, but already a potential disruptor: “I was seventeen-and-a-half when I began design school and loved it. I had a bit of a rocky road; I had a poor professional attitude and was actually put on probation for my last year, so I had to sharpen my attitude up. Actually, I’ve probably still got a poor professional attitude…”.

Out of design school, Main was employed by Gus van de Roer, who was confident enough to entrust him with the task of establishing Van de Roer Design in Auckland. He eventually returned to Wellington, “took a bit of a break to work on Wellington’s version of Metro magazine for while”.

“I can’t remember what it was originally called, Cosmo I think, which was a disastrous name, but then they called it City Mag”. Lloyd Jones was the editor, but Main was soon on the move to Bright Newlands and Associates (BNA), where he became a partner, helping to help drag the company through the post-1987 doldrums.

BNA was eventually renamed DNA in 2000. It is, says Main, “a classic little Kiwi company”.

“It started off with five people and grew to 60 at one point, until the recession said that that might have been a little on the high side. And, we’ve developed as the industry has. We’ve got people in service design, we’ve got people in digital, and we’ve got people researching services and experience out in the field with customers. We’ve become a lot more user-focused which has made us a lot better at what we do.”…

Black Pin


Kent Parker John Britten Black Pin

Kent Parker, 2013's John Britten Black Pin recipient, has a well-lived life in design. But cast your eye across his Black Pin alumni and you might notice his comparative youth – this is a career with legs left yet.

The young Kent Parker can be found in the Hawkes Bay. He was exposed to the process of ‘making’ early. His father was handy and Parker had “no choice” but to watch projects go on. Apparently they go on still: “He’s 80 and building houses. He can’t stop. It’s in the blood a little bit. I was exposed to it young.”

Hawkes Bay was soon swapped for Wellington. Victoria Uni’s School of Architecture called first but two-years later industrial design was discovered and a move to Wellington Polytech was completed. Parker had found his calling.

At design school, Parker’s tutors included (Black Pin recipient) Mark Pennington, “a big influence”, as were many other staff members. Design school was close-knit and, while studying, Parker found another close-knit team: Richard Taylor – a fellow John Britten recipient – and Tania Rodger. At Weta, Parker was exposed to a philosophy that would percolate throughout his career. “Richard is a passionate man. He had a huge influence on my belief that you can do whatever you want. He has that attitude of being able to take on anything and make it happen.”

After design school, Parker headed to Dunedin and a job with Fisher & Paykel. Employed from his graduation presentation, he wasn’t particularly enamoured with the big company environment but got a product range through the system in his year there. Europe was next, and employment with a Swiss-German designer, Luigi Colani.

Colani lived in a restored French chateau with the stables converted into a design studio. Parker lived on-site, working across everything from concept trucks to ironing boards. Colani, eccentric as well as eclectic, had few rules. “He asked me to go to Germany for a couple of days on a project and I ended up living there for two months. I only took clothing in a bag for the two days,” he laughs. But the Swiss designer reiterated the lesson of Weta. “Anything was possible. It made me realise that if you want to do something then get off your butt and do it.”

Parker returned to Wellington and worked on Lord of the Rings for a year, but it was a “young man’s game” and he wanted to do something that lasted longer.

Cue Formway, where he certainly found longer projects. Four years is the average period from concept to completion at the company. Parker started as a designer, before leading projects and, eventually, with long-term collaborator Paul Wilkinson, running the company.

“Anything was possible. It made me realise that if you want to do something then get off your butt and do it.”…

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Sven Baker Designers Institute Black Pin

Sven has worked with Designworks for more than quarter of a century. His significant contribution has helped to develop a design practice with prolific outputs across Designworks' New Zealand and Australian offices. Sven's leadership has seen his team work with New Zealand's best companies; helping to establish strong identities for Air New Zealand, Auckland International Airport, Silverfern Farms, Gallagher Group, Tait Electronics and Kiwibank. Sven’s design work has left a indelible mark on New Zealand's visual landscape and has been recognised internationally. Sven's skill is demonstrated through the brands he has had an impact on, helping them to communicate important stories, while enriching our lives with creative visual solutions.

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Ian Athfield John Britten Black Pin

Ian Athfield has won a string of awards, more than 100 at the last count. In 2004 he was the recipient of the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ highest honour, the Gold Medal and from 2006-2008 he was president of the NZIA. In 2006 he became the first New Zealand architect to be registered as an APEC architect. In 1976 Ath won an International Design competition for housing in Manila. He has been involved in a teaching fellowship with Victoria University and has been a keynote speaker at a number of international conferences.

Ian Athfield has designed some of New Zealand’s most distinctive buildings, including Telecom building and Civic Square in Wellington, the library with its sculpted nikau palms, Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University.

But undoubtedly, his lifetime’s project has been Athfield House, perched on and spilling down Khandallah Hill like some 21st century crusader fortress, where up to 25 people live, and up to 40 people work. Athfield House is one of the most defining sights as you fly into Wellington – it looks amazing from the air, and of course from the ground.

The Designers Institute honours Ian Athfield's visionary thinking on how urban spaces are used, how we live and how we should be designing our cities. As Ath says, often the space between a building is more important than the building itself. Ath believes that in a house you should get a surprise every time you turn a corner or look up. Certainly, people do when they visit Athfield House.

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Fraser Gardyne Designers Institute Black Pin

The Designers Institute Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement is granted to an individual, who, as a member of the Designers Institute of New Zealand, has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the design profession and to design in general. 

The recipient of the 2011 Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement is Fraser Gardyne, principal of gardyneHOLT and past president and current Fellow of the Designers Institute of New Zealand.

As a graphic designer for more than 30 years, Fraser Garydne has made a significant contribution to New Zealand design. His first job was as a book designer for Reeds and after that job he joined the design company that became Designworks. He became a Director at Designworks before leaving to set up his own boutique design firm, Gardyne Design in 1993. In 2006 he joined forces with Mike Holt and PDF Communications to form gardyneHOLT.

“He is fantastic to work with and he has always had a balanced point of view. He is a strong advocate and spokesperson for designers in general. He works quietly in the wings, and doesn’t seek the limelight.”

Before the Designers Institute was formed in 1991, Fraser was a founding committee member of the IDA – the Illustrators and Designers Association set up in 1984. The IDA merged with MZSID – the New Zealand Society of Industrial Designers in 1987 creating the Designers Secretariat and Fraser became Councillor of the secretariat.

In 1988 Fraser was on the steering committee for the inaugural Best Design Awards. He was vice president of the Designers Institute in 2003 and President from November 2004 until August 2005.

Fraser and then President and now CEO of Designers Institute, Cathy Veninga, worked hard to lift the prestige of the Best Design Awards and invited then Prime Minister, Helen Clark to present the John Britten Award in 2004 and 2005.

Fraser has acted as the graphics convenor of the Best Design Awards since 2003, a challenging category to judge as it is by far the largest of the four disciplines. He has been a member of the steering committee and a judge of the Pride in Print Awards since 1993 and was also selected as one of ten international design judges for the WOLDA09 worldwide logo design competition judged in 2010.

Cathy Veninga says Fraser Gardyne has consistently supported the Designers Institute in any way he is able to help.

“He has”, she says “been a stalwart supporter who has worked hard to develop the Best Design Awards into the prestigious event it has now become. He is fantastic to work with and he has always had a balanced point of view. He is a strong advocate and spokesperson for designers in general. He works quietly in the wings, and doesn’t seek the limelight.”…

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Mark Elmore John Britten Black Pin

Mark Elmore is Head of Industrial Design at Fisher & Paykel and under his design leadership in the 28 years he has been with the company, Fisher & Paykel has been transformed into a modern, technology savvy, design led company. The first design led product to make a global splash for Fisher & Paykel was the double dishdrawer while other innovative products designed under Mark’s watch include the Izona Cooksurface, and also the new OB90 oven.

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Tim Hooson Designers Institute Black Pin

Tim is an architect and director of interiors at Jasmax. He is a loyal supporter of the Designers Institute who has previously served on the Institute Council. Tim has been the lead interior architect on some of New Zealand’s most admired commercial buildings, such as the NZI Centre in Fanshawe Street, the Vodafone Building in the Viaduct, and the BNZ Centrecourt in Wellington and his own home Icestation won a Gold at the 2007 Best Awards.

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Dean Poole John Britten Black Pin

Over the last decade he has built up a successful design team of 17 and led them to numerous national and international awards. And he’s no stranger to the Best Awards stage, being the previous recipient of two Stringer awards. Dean has made a significant contribution to the New Zealand design industry over the last 10 years.

He has been a formative influence in the Design in Business Awards, run by the Institute, from helping to form the objectives through to the awards criteria and the Design in Business brand. Dean has also played a key role with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Better by Design programme since its inception in 2004.

He has been an enthusiastic and articulate supporter of the Designers Institute and has toured the country speaking at Designers Institute events. Over the years he has been an enormously positive influence at Institute meetings and gatherings. He has always given generously of his own time to the Institute and has supported two members of his team to play an active role on the Board. Dean has also undertaken the new visual identity of the Designers Institute and the Best Awards. In August this year Dean was made a Fellow of the Institute because of his valuable contributions to the Institute.

Dean is a frequent keynote speaker at local and international conference, including Semi Permanent, AGIdeas and AGDA National Conferences.

He has been awarded some of the highest accolades in the international design world. Since 2005, under Dean’s creative direction, Alt Group has been recognized in over 200 national and international awards, including a Cannes Gold Lion, ADC Gold Cube, Webby Award, and the Red Dot Grand Prix in Germany last year.

Dean is a visionary design leader, a champion of creativity and design thinking and a passionate advocate of New Zealand’s future as a design-led economy.

Above all, Dean Poole strives for design excellence and strategic innovation.

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Dave Clark Designers Institute Black Pin

Dave has worked with many of New Zealand’s largest companies. Among the many high profile design projects Dave has worked on are the All Blacks Silver Fern logo, and a rebranding of Air New Zealand. He has worked across design boundaries in corporate identity, branding, print collateral, packaging and new media. Dave focused particularly on the financial services sector, helping to deliver many successful annual reports and prospectuses over the years.

As well as being a talented design principal, Dave is also an astute businessman who understands the role of design in business. He has also fostered young design by hiring graduate designers straight from tertiary institutions, many of whom went on to have successful careers, often with Dave Clark Design.

Dave is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London and an honorary associate from the Auckland University of Technology. Through his involvement with DINZ over many years and in numerous roles including council member and treasurer, Dave has worked tirelessly to foster and develop New Zealand design culture. He was president in 1998 and again in 2001, where his financial acumen helped greatly to knock the DINZ finances into a healthier shape. He gave his time and expertise to developing a strong financial model for DINZ and helping to establish it on a more professional footing.

He also worked tirelessly as the overall convener of the Best Design Awards from 1997 to 2002, and helped to build them into the fantastic awards programme they are today.


Joseph Churchward John Britten Black Pin

If you’ve been to an optician to have your eyes checked or have read the Dominion Post, you’ll have come across the work of this year’s John Britten Award winner.

He is a man who, through a combination of his innate creative talents and early technical training, has enriched the world of lettering and design, with his contribution extending not just across this country, but around the world. A pioneer and legend in the world of typography, he has dedicated his life to his craft – perfecting it, and in turn, gaining worldwide recognition as a true master. He is, of course, the one and only Mr Joseph Churchward, arguably one of not only this country’s but the world’s leading typesetters and graphic designers.

Born in Samoa in 1932 (1933 according to his birth certificate – an inaccuracy that Joseph says can be put down to his grandparents registering his birth in the wrong year), Joseph moved to New Zealand at aged 13, later attending Wellington Technical College where he gained an Art Distinction award for his lettering – a passion that can be traced back to his childhood in Samoa, when he would draw letters in the sand.

“His accomplishments are not only significant on a national scale, but place him highly on the global stage. He is a pioneer and I admire his continued dedication to the craft of design. He is a true inspiration.”

After graduating from college, Joseph went on to work as a commercial artist, founding his own company in 1969 - Churchward International Typefaces - which became New Zealand’s largest typesetting firm. Not long after establishing his company, leading German type company Berthold Fototypes accepted some of his fonts for international distribution, and they were soon in use throughout the world.

His Wikipedia entry says he has created more than 582 original typefaces – each taking between 150 to 300 hours to complete and each done by hand – however, in February this year, Joseph finished his 604th typeface, which is reputed to be more than any other individual in the world.

The quality of his work is reflected in his international reputation, with his work seen on billboards, newspapers, and other printed media around the globe. In 2008, a special exhibition was set up for his art at the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa and a biography on his life and work was published earlier this year.

One of the DINZ Council members had this to say of Joseph: “When I first became aware of Mr Churchward’s accomplishments, it absolutely blew me away as he has achieved so much without any ego and without his name flashing in neon lights.”

His accomplishments are not only significant on a national scale, but place him highly on the global stage. He is a pioneer and I admire his continued dedication to the craft of design. He is a true inspiration.”

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Professor Leong Yap Designers Institute Black Pin

Professor Yap was the first Professor of Design appointed into New Zealand’s academic fraternity. His work in the development of design curriculum, firstly at Massey University and then at AUT University has been pivotal to the long term growth and development of design as an economic force in this country.

Born in Malaysia, Professor Yap was trained as an industrial designer at Wellington Polytechnic and studied for his Master of Science at Loughborough University of Technology in the United Kingdom. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Massey University and is a chartered designer and a certified ergonomist.

After a period of full time design practice in visual communication design, advertising, interior design and product design, Professor Yap joined the Accident Compensation Commission as a designer and ergonomist to undertake product safety research and accident prevention.

Before joining the School of Art & Design at AUT University, Yap was inaugural Professor of Design at the College of Design, Fine Art and Music at Massey University. He was Director of Research, Director of Postgraduate Studies and Head of the Industrial Design Programme for 20 years. His research interests include human centred design, delivering emotional experience and value through art and design, product design and equipment, health care and medical equipment design, ergonomics and accident prevention.

“He continues to work tirelessly to advance design thinking and innovation in design education. ”

He has won a number of design awards, including a Feltex Design Award, and in 1991 he was a Sir Winston Churchill Fellow. Professor Yap was a member of the NZ Growth and Innovation (GIF) Design Industry Taskforce to advise the New Zealand Government on design strategy and policy.

Professor Tony Parker, Professor of Industrial Design at Massey University and a member of the Designers Institute of New Zealand’s Council, said that Professor Yap had made an enormous contribution to design education in New Zealand, and to design in general.

“He continues to work tirelessly to advance design thinking and innovation in design education. Many of Leong’s students are now leading designers in design-led companies in New Zealand and internationally.”

Professor Parker said that Professor Yap’s involvement has seen him develop a (design in business) Masters programme at AUT University that is “developing the type of graduates that are capable of leading design businesses into the future.”

Desna Jury, Head of School of Art and Design at AUT University said that Professor Yap has been an award winning innovator and design leader and academic whose contribution to the design sector spanned 30 years of “exemplary activity”.

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Laurie Davidson John Britten Black Pin

As a boat designer, Laurie Davidson is best known for his International America’s Cup class sailboats which successfully challenged and defended the America’s Cup Trophy.

However, throughout a long and illustrious career, he became renowned locally and international for designing racing and cruising boats of many different styles and sizes suitable for serious races ranging from one ton day races through to the America’s Cup races. It was his Davidson 28° that brought his name into the households of many New Zealanders and among his best known designs is the VOR 60 Djuice Dragons. In the 1960s Laurie was the most prominent of a group of New Zealand boat designers who began designing keel yachts of an international standard which helped to establish New Zealand’s boat building industry and reputation.

Laurie Davidson is now regarded as one of the best America’s Cup designers since the introduction of the new American’s Cup class in 1990. He also played a role in the design of the New Zealand fibreglass 12-Metre boats (colloquially known as plastic fantastics) that were among the top performers during the 1987 World Cup competition in Fremantle, Australia.

In 1995, Laurie Davidson designed NZL 32 which won the America’s Cup in five straight races and in 2000, Laurie was Chief Designer for Team New Zealand, which again won in five straight races against challenger Luna Rosa. While working with One World Challenge he collaborated with the designers, Bruce Nelson and Phil Kaikoo to develop the team’s two IACC boats.

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Brian Richards Designers Institute Black Pin

Richards, principal brand strategist and director of Brian R. Richards, has spent over a decade developing highly effective brand strategies for many leading export brands, regional identities, and major corporate brands in Australasia, Asia and Europe including: The New Zealand Way, Orca, Icebreaker Clothing, Cervena (New Zealand farm-raised venison), Singapore Food Fair, Tower Insurance, Richmond, Holcim (International), Auckland Regional Council, the University of Waikato, Marlborough, Southland and Manawatu.

Reuben Woods, a Council member of the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) who worked alongside Richards last year on a project for one of his clients, Design Mobel, said Richards’ extensive knowledge and expertise of national and international branding made him an “inspiration to any designer developing a brand identity from his strategy.”

Mr Woods, who described Richards as an ‘authority’ on branding said Richards’ ability to articulate the essence of how to develop a brand to a congregation of people is “something that should be heard by every designer in New Zealand.”

Said Woods: “I recently went to a seminar called ‘Brand Building’ where Brian spoke about how New Zealand businesses are taking on the world and articulating their own unique New Zealand story through each of their brands. His speech was motivating and inspiring for any business owner. Brian’s knowledge and expertise in branding is a real asset to New Zealand.”

Fellow DINZ Council member and leading New Zealand industrial designer, Professor Tony Parker, described Richards as a “great ambassador for New Zealand design, who has done an outstanding job promoting the value of design to New Zealand businesses.”

“Brian continually demonstrates how New Zealand businesses can present themselves compellingly through design. I was fortunate to have heard Brian speak at this year’s Better by Design CEO Summit, and I have to say he was the best speaker in an international line-up. He is a true inspiration.”

Better by Design Director, Judith Thompson, said she was delighted to see Richards receive the recognition and that he was a truly deserving recipient of the award.

 “Through his unique vision and expertise in brand, Brian has made a significant contribution to many of New Zealand's most innovative companies. Beyond helping to create some of New Zealand's most iconic brands, Brian also plays a vital role in building greater understanding within the business sector of how a well executed brand and authentic story telling creates real value and makes companies more internationally competitive.

Brian is world class and a true champion of the design cause.”

 “Through his unique vision and expertise in brand, Brian has made a significant contribution to many of New Zealand's most innovative companies.”

Jeremy Moon, CEO of iconic New Zealand clothing company Icebreaker described Richards as a “brand visionary.”

“In the early nineties Brian forged a new link between the skills of design and storytelling and the business community.  He has a great skill in slicing through clutter to cut to the heart of a new opportunity.”…

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David Trubridge John Britten Black Pin

David Trubridge is a true advocate of the New Zealand design industry, who has dedicated much of his time to nurturing young design talent, while at the same time achieving international success and recognition for his own remarkable designs. He is someone who has played a significant role in putting NZ design on the map and who has long spread the gospel of sustainability.

David graduated as a Naval Architect from Newcastle University Britain, but since then he has worked as a furniture designer/maker and architect. He settled in New Zealand after a long yacht voyage with his family.

He is New Zealand's best known furniture designers and regularly exhibits overseas in Australia, North America, Europe and Japan.

In the last few years he has exhibited at 100% Design in London, six times at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, and three times at ICFF in New York. His ‘Body Raft’ design is currently being manufactured by Cappellini, and was voted ‘iconic’ by Urbis readers.

In New Zealand he has set up his own manufacturing workshop and the Cicada incubator for design graduates. He was one of the Antarctic Arts Fellows who were selected to go to Antarctica in the austral summer of 2004/5, which has led to a whole new emphasis on sustainable design in his work, and an awareness of both the moral responsibilities and the enormous opportunities for today’s designers.

Claire Mora, owner of Essenze and a friend of Trubridge’s said “David has enriched my life, as he has enriched many other peoples’ lives around the world. With his constant questions of: ‘But why?, Can’t we?, Must they?, he drives me crazy at times, but he makes me question things previously taken for granted or ignored.”

There is a never ending source of creativity and energy in David as seen through his designs. If he only touches a small number of people through this, he is achieving this goal and serves as an example to us all.

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Grant Alexander Designers Institute Black Pin

Grant returned to Wellington in the 70’s after working with David Hillman on Nova magazine, the iconic London lifestyle magazine, to take up the position of art director at the Listener. For his sins he was given the responsibility of keeping contributing cartoonists Tom Scott and Burton Silver in line (and tone). He pushed the conservative Listener hard to improve editorial design standards battling a mindset that only recognised the power of words. Grant gave many photographers, kiwi illustrators and designers their first national exposure.

He met up with Ray Labone while at the Listener and later joined him in a graphic design collective where Grant secured publication design contracts for the New Zealand Wool Board’s ‘Natural Choice’ magazine and Hand knitting yarn company Crucci. Grant travelled the country and abroad on fashion shoots, in the company of attractive models and the photographers Sal Criscillo and Des Williams, who epitomised the image of the 70’s fashion photographers. Between them they managed the unlikely achievement of making women in cardies look sexy.

He joined Ray Labone in the Publication Graphics partnership which was successful in securing major corporate communications clients such as Fletcher Challenge and Brierley Investments. Publication Graphics changed its name to Designworks and during the 80’s corporate boom built a reputation for corporate communications design. In dealing with the CEO Grant would always exercise strong belief in his opinion based on his experience and skill. Grant could never be accused of rolling over to please the customer. He would stand his ground in the face of powerful men and as such earned their respect.

The rapid acquisition and growth period of the 80’s led to many changes of ownership and name in the New Zealand corporate world and the corporate identity design business flourished. With Grant’s input Designworks extended its reputation from corporate communications design to corporate identity, later moving on from corporate Identity to brand identity. While it was doing so Designworks was adding offices in Auckland and Sydney. Grant was manager and creative director of the Designworks Auckland office for a number of years.

Throughout his time with Designworks Grant was the driving force for design standards and professional development. He encouraged all Designworks design staff to become members of DINZ and to support their profession. He made it his business to ensure young designers received effective professional development and was responsible for hiring and developing some of the best designers in the business. Indeed throughout his career Grant has campaigned tirelessly to ensure design achieves high professional standards and that it gains recognition as a strategic business discipline.

Grant left Designworks in 1999 to establish the family design practice Studio Alexander. He has been a DINZ Council member and was twice convenor of the Best Awards. In 1992 he was made a Fellow member. He has won numerous design awards and continues to work at the cutting edge of the profession in both a creative and strategic role.


Gary Paykel John Britten Black Pin

Gary commenced employment with Fisher & Paykel in 1960, initially in whiteware manufacturing at Mt Wellington. He then transferred to Sales and, from thereon, worked his way up the ladder into new roles and served in many other Divisions of the company.

Gary was appointed Managing Director of Fisher & Paykel in 1987. In 1989 he was appointed Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, a position he held until 2001, when he retired from executive duties. In November 2001 Fisher & Paykel Limited split into two separately listed companies, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd and Fisher & Paykel Appliances Ltd, and Gary continues as Chairman of both companies, still maintaining a very active interest in both.

People working with Gary at Fisher & Paykel report that he is a great motivator, who has the ability to build a design culture around sustainable points of difference.

During Gary Paykel’s executive leadership period at Fisher & Paykel, the company was transferred from a local domestic appliances manufacturer and importer, into a truly global company - which today has a turnover of more than $NZ 1 billion, exports to more than 80 countries and employs in excess of 4,000 people worldwide.

Under Gary’s leadership, as well, the company developed a number of innovations that included in 1985, the ECS, or electronic control systems washing machine, which was launched after five years of intensive development. This washing machine no longer had the traditional gearbox of alternative models.

Other product innovations include the Respiratory Humidifier, from the Healthcare Company. Also, the DishDrawer, from the Appliances Company - which is not a dishwasher, but is a drawer that washes dishes. The DishDrawer has been a platform for entering the UK, European and Middle East markets.

What’s more, Gary is no idler as a sportsman. He completed the trans Atlantic leg of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World race on the boat ‘Fisher & Paykel New Zealand’, and is now a director of Emirates Team New Zealand.

DINZ applauds the F&P design values of style, integrity, care and innovation and we would also like to pay tribute to the fact that the company has certainly been an incubator for young designers, who have gone on to excel in the industry in NZ and overseas.

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