About / History

Australian Graphic Design Association Limited is the peak national organization representing the Australian graphic design industry.

With more than 2,600 members distributed throughout the creative, visual communications, applied design and technology sectors, it is dedicated to advancing the profession through an interrelated program of state, national and international activities in education, advocacy and professional development.

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

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


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

"AGDA, look at it now, Australia wide, over 1,000 members, four biennial award nights, excellent support and social lubrication for designers of all ages. Who, ten years ago, envisaged that happening today! All AGDA members, please pat yourself on the back! There is still heaps to do, but shit, look how far we have come in ten years!'

- Mimmo Cozzolino

'Birth of AGDA. A dream fulfilled. Vision + Effect – Frustration = Reality! As we move towards the age of transition, design and innovation will be the key factors to business."

- Wayne Rankin

"Realising our individual and collective potential is the continued challenge. AGDA is a conduit for achieving excellence in professional practice."

- Richard Henderson

"What can be perceived can be realised. What can be conceived can be created. Success is often a function of how you see yourself. AGDA has not only improved our credibility and professionalism in the marketplace – it has raised our self esteem."

- Trevor Flett

A snapshot of AGDA’s milestones

1988
AGDA founded in June with Wayne Rankin installed as AGDA’s first National President

1989
First AGDA National Executive Meeting held on 27 August at the Mildura Design Conference. Those present include Robin Stewart (Chair), Wayne Rankin, Trevor Flett, Mimmo Cozzilino, John Nowland, Vincent de Gouw and Christopher Bell. AGDA Constitution officially endorsed and formal elections held.

1990
AGDA’s first National AGM held on 29 August. The Association incorporated on 31 August and the National newsletter Agenda printed.

1992
AGDA Inaugural National Biennial Awards held 10 April in Melbourne.
National Secretariat Office established.
John Nowland elected National President.

1993
First AGDA Queensland Design Conference held 20 August in Coolum.
Agenda revamped by Ian Kidd.

1994
Second AGDA Queensland Design Conference held on 26 August.
Russell Bevers elected National President.
Second AGDA National Biennial Awards held in Sydney

1995
Third AGDA Queensland Design Conference

1996
Andrew Lam Po-tang appointed AGDA General Manager in April.
Third AGDA National Biennial Awards held August in Canberra
AGDA website launched October.
AGSM-AGDA Graphic Design Industry Study undertaken.

1997
AGDA-DIA Summit in May planning Sydney Design 99 - International Design Conference and Trade Exhibition.
AGDA ISS Professional Fellowship awarded

1998
Fourth AGDA National Biennial Awards, Adelaide
John Frostell elected National President
AGDA ISS Student Fellowship awarded

1999
Rita Siow appointed AGDA General Manager in January.
Sydney Design 99 in September

2000
Fifth AGDA National Biennial Awards and Conference, Brisbane
AGDA ISS Student Fellowship awarded
AGDA supports Screenrights Bill and Digital Bill through Vizcopy
AGDA participates in BusinessNSW and BusinessQLD Top 25 Survey
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Carlo Pagoda, Primo Angeli Inc

2001
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Scott Santoro, Worksight NYC
AGDA participates in Fresh Conference as Organisation Partner

2002
Sixth AGDA National Biennial Awards, Melbourne
Sixth AGDA International Speaker Tour, Vince Frost, Frost Design UK
David Terrazas elected National President

2003
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Paul Sahre, The Office of Paul Sahre, NYC
AGDA-AQUENT Industry Benchmarking Survey and Report

2004
Seventh AGDA National Biennial Awards, Sydney
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Scott Stowell, Open NYC
AGDA participates in State of Design Festival
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Alvin Chan, Koeweidenpostma, Amsterdam
Inaugural AGDA-Gordon Andrews Scholarship awarded
Simon Pemberton elected National President

2005
AGDA National Conference, Noosa
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Stefan Sagmeister, Sagmeister Inc NYC
AGDA participates in Melbourne Design Festival as Organisation Partner

2006
AGDA International Speaker Tour, George Hardie, UK
Inaugural AGDA Student Awards launched
Eighth AGDA National Biennial Awards, Canberra
2nd AGDA-Gordon Andrews Scholarship awarded
Fiona Brine elected National President

2007
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Chip Kidd, Random House, NYC
AGDA National Conference held in Gold Coast
3rd AGDA-Gordon Andrews Scholarship awarded
AGDA Constitution revision completed

2008
Ninth AGDA National Biennial Awards, Adelaide
AGDA National Conference, Adelaide
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Patrick Thomas, Studio laVista, Barcelona
AGDA Awards Exhibition debuts in AIGA New York
AGDA Awards Exhibition showcases at Pratt Institute NYC 

2009
AGDA Awards Exhibition extends to Pratt institute, New York
AGDA Sponsors AGIdeas, Semi-Permanent, Desktop
AGDA International Speaker, Jonathon Frere Jones, New York
AGDA Poster Annual launch
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Kris Sowersby, Klim Type Foundry, New Zealand
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Barbara Glauber, Meta Design, New York
AGDA International Speaker, Rick Poyner, Eye Magazine
AGDA joins Designers Accord
Autodesk joins as AGDA Premium Partner
AGDA participates In Icograda General Assembly Beijing
Brenton Murray elected National President
AGDA Strategy Planning and Implementation for 2010
AGDA forms Australian Design Council (ADC) with Association Stakeholders

2010
AGDA International Speaker, Arnold Shwartzman, London
AGDA Gordon Andrews Scholarship awarded
AGDA International Speaker, Javier Mariscal, Spain
AGDA Sponsors AGIdeas, Semi-Permanent, Desktop
AGDA recommends ADC renaming to Australian Design Alliance
AGDA Student Brief Competition
AGDA International Speaker, Jonathon Barnbrook, London
AGDA Poster Annual
AGDA Industry Benchmarking Survey
AGDA contributes to RMT Design Archives
Typeface Film USA tours AGDA cities
Artisan Recruitment joins as AGDA Premium Partner
AGDA hosts Icograda Design Week Brisbane
Tenth AGDA National Biennial Awards, Brisbane
Harry Williamson, Max Robinson inducted into AGDA Spicers Paperpoint Hall of Fame
AGDA Awards Exhibition 2010 showcases at AIGA and Pratt Institute, New York 

2011
AGDA Awards Exhibition 2010 showcases at Austrade, Taipei
AGDA conducts Business Review via Enterprise Connect
AGDA International Speaker Tour, Blair Enns, Win Without Pitching, Canada
Signs CIIC Enterprise Connect MOU
AGDA Poster Annual 2011 Exhibition Launch - Sydney
Submission to National Cultural Policy through ADA
Signs Agreement with DES for Pantone in AGDA Store
AGDA Promotes Member Directory in BRW
Sir George Cox (DBA UK) speaks to NSW Parliament
AGDA Poster Annual Catalogue - Christmas gift to members
Paul van Barneveld elected National President
AGDA supports KW Doggett 2012 Calendar
Conversations with Designers - Dom Bartolo

2012
AGDA receives WIIN Grant for Business Workshops
AGDA supports Copyright Council 2012 Seminar Program
AGDA signs Hyundai Fleet Discount for members
Conversations with Designers - Fiona Sweet
AGDA supports Semi-Permanent
National Design Policy - Pozible launch
Design Narratives - Bill Reid
Icograda World Communication Day
AGDA sponsors Agideas Workshops
Blair Enns Workshops ‘Building the Expert Firm'
Australian Design Biennale launches AGDA Awards Call for Entries
AGDA Poster Annual Exhibiton at Gallery of Australian Design
New AGDA Membership Cards and Notebook launched
AGDA interviews Herman Miller's Steve Frykholm
Vale Ross Renwick
AGDA Terms & Conditions Template completed
AGDA-CIIC Business Model Canvas Workshops
Design & Thinking Screen Release
ADB 'Twenty Years of Glass Mountains' AGDA Awards Restrospective
ADB AGDA Awards Event Celebrations in Melbourne
AGDA supports Cultivator Conference in Mildura
AGDA-GDC sign MOU on Professional Certification

15139
passionate members AND COUNTING