The Designers Institute runs many initiatives throughout the year to celebrate the achievements of the design community. 

The Best Design Awards

The Best Design Awards are Australasia’s largest annual showcase of excellence across graphic, digital, motion design, product and spatial along with the Value of Design Award, Public Good Award and the Toitanga award recognise the changing nature of our design industry. Year on year, the event grows in both its size and its impact.

View all of the 2023 winners on the Best Awards site.

The Best Design Awards 2024 campaign was created by the team at Extended Whānau.

Best Design Awards History up to 1998
As recorded by Peter Haythornthwaite, ONZM, LifeDINZ

In the beginning
The 1970s saw unprecedented growth in the New Zealand design profession, not only in numbers of practitioners but in the scope and standard of work. Designforces was the pre-eminent design consultancy of the time, together with Jasmax. Design was taught at Wellington Polytechnic, Elam (the University of Auckland), Ilam (Canterbury University) and ATI (now Auckland University of Technology). Many of the leading designers had recently returned from Europe and the United States.

Communication Arts and Graphics were the two benchmark magazines of the graphic design field, and the Swiss School of Design was still relevant but its influence was waning. It was in this climate that in 1976 Stan Mauger, along with Ann Shanks, Mark Cleverley and others, proposed the first National Graphic Design Awards, the precursor of the Best New Zealand Design Awards.

John Massey, the highly respected head of the CCAs Centre for Advanced Research in Design (The Container Corporation of America later merged with JC Penny) was invited to be the head judge along with Maurice Askew (Head of Graphic Design, University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts), Hamish Keith (Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Arts Advisory Council), and Martin Salmond (Art Director, J Ilott Ltd, Auckland).

The National Awards attracted 300 entries (of which 130 were exhibited as finalists) in the categories of advertising, typography, corporate identity, technical literature, publicity, packaging, illustration, architectural and exhibition graphics, and pattern. Four awards were available in each category, but the judges only awarded the full four in advertising, corporate identity and packaging. Each award winner received a tile designed by Mark Cleverley (which included a cartoon by Don Hatcher) and manufactured by Crown Lynn. Bret de Thier received the Letraset Travel Award for outstanding design work and incidentally, for the best use of Letraset. Amongst other award winners, Mark Cleverly was recognised for his handsome stamp designs and ceramic pattern design. An exhibition, together with a lecture series, was held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and the first time since the early design exhibitions of the 60s this award galvanised New Zealand designers, recognising the commercial and cultural benefits of design and the strength of individual designers. It was decided that another programme would be run after a 2-year rest – but this was not to be.

Five years later
For 5 years, David Bartlett (the founder of Artspec) and Peter Haythornthwaite discussed how a new award programme could be started, and then in 1988 David, along with his partners Mike McLaughlin and Richard Hook, committed Artspec to back and manage a programme covering all categories of graphic design. It was named the Best New Zealand Design Awards. The steering committee comprised Mark Adams (President NZSID), Peter de Beer, Fraser Gardyne, Peter Haythornthwaite (Convenor), Martin Hill, Stan Mauger, Alan Sanders and Andrea Thomas, with Jane Natoli as coordinator. The judges comprised Australian design Gary Emery, Stan Mauger, Hong Kong consultant Henry Steiner, and multi disciplinary American designer Michael Vanderbyl.

As with the previous awards, great care was taken to ensure that they met the demanding ICSID and Icograda rules of fairness and consistency. Artspec as principal sponsor was supported by BJ Ball Papers, McCollam Printers, Spicer Cowan, Western Litho and Wiggins Teape (The Paper House). There were also 21 other sponsors and contributors. The awards were put together in less than 7 months with three primary objectives: to demonstrate to business and industry the advantages gained through the effective use of graphic design; to applaud designers who were making outstanding contributions in their fields; and to enable New Zealand designers to benefit from the experience and insight of internationally recognised designers. The Awards collateral was created by 7 different consultancies, with surprising synergy.

563 entries were submitted for the 21 entry categories, four special awards and a most promising student award. Winners receiving more than one category Gold or Silver Award included de Beer Design, Designworks, PeterHaythornthwaite Design, No Straight Lines (Fain Flaws), and Sanders Design. The Mayor of Auckland, Dame Cath Tizard, launched the Awards at the Regent to media, industry leaders, sponsors and designers. A number of very well attended seminars were held with the international judges as speakers. In addition to the Awards gala presentation and the exhibition, which travelled to the three main centres, a 164-page annual was produced through sponsorship.

Later each of the international judges designed a limited edition Artspec/NZSID poster. Judges Gary Emery, Michael vanderByl and Henry Steiner commented on the high standard of New Zealand design and were impressed with international standard of much of the work.

The second Best Awards
One year later, again with Artspec as the principal sponsor and 46 other supporters and sponsors (of whom BJ Ball remains a major sponsor), the 1989 Best Design Awards were held. This time, Grant Alexander was the Convenor, with a steering committee of 17 fellow professional designers. Deliberately, a very different group of judges from those selected in 1988 were invited to New Zealand, comprising internationally recognised designer Thomas Geismar of Chermayeff and Geismar Associates, New York; David Hillman, magazine designer and partner in Pentagram; and Kaoru Kasai, celebrated Japanese typographer and designer. Barry Ellis, a well-respected Wellington designer, with a broad practice background, was the New Zealand judge. 435 entries were submitted of which 16 received silver awards (no golds were given) and four special recognition awards along with one student scholarship. This time David Bartlett’s new design consultancy, Graphikos, received very high prominence along with many small and established consultancies. Kasai commented he felt a great sense of freshness and youth in the work.

David Hillman encouraged New Zealand designers to create their own identity without direct reference to overseas trends. Geismar observed that much of New Zealand’s better work had not been entered, and Ellis surmised that New Zealand with its wonderful environment and diversity of peoples has a good deal to offer, and we should ensure that this is reflected in the work we produce. The award presentation was held in Wellington and the exhibition travelled from Wellington to Auckland and then on to smaller centres. Again through generous sponsorship, a 164-page annual was produced with numerous copies sold, as in 1988, through book and stationery shops.

1991 Designers Institute of New Zealand is formed
The enormous amount of time involved in staging the Best Awards took its toll and it was not until 1992, under the spirited leadership of DINZ President Hugh Mullane, that another awards programme was held. This was the first time that awards were run by the Designers Institute of New Zealand – the new organisation formed by the merger of NZSID and NZAID. There was a new briskness to the awards. The disciplines were expanded to include graphic, interior, product, fashion and craft. Terry Stringer was commissioned to design the discipline and category gold award that was aptly named the Stringer (Terry used Leonardo da Vinci’s hand measure of man to symbolise design and Nikau Palm to express the New Zealand spirit). The broad base of advisers was put together, many of who had consistently given their time on the previous Bests.

The presentation function was held at the Auckland Town Hall; it was an energetic celebration of design – boisterous, impassioned, very audio visual and unforgettable. Eleven Stringers were awarded: graphic – Black Stump, Designworks, PeterHaythornthwaiteDesign (2), deBeer/Adams and Cheah Chuni: product – PeterHaythornthwaiteDesign and Eric van Helmond; craft – Allan Preston and PeterHaythornthwaiteDesign; interior – Inscape, Gascoigne Assoc and Noel Lane (2). Again to ensure a balanced appraisal of work, the judges comprised New Zealand and overseas designers, with Niels Different as the main product design judge.

Four - year hiatus
There followed a four-year hiatus due to too few having to commit too much time and energy to stage such comprehensive programme. However, in 1995 Fraser Gardyne, Murray Pilcher and Michael Major (along with a small committee) took on the responsibility of running the next Best Awards. The disciplines were limited to craft, graphic, interior and product design. As in previous years, it was the passion of the committee combined with the support of the sponsors that made the awards a success. John Britten was posthumously given an award, which is now called, in his honour, the John Britten Award – the highest recognition given by DINZ to an outstanding individual for leadership, vision and achievement. The presentation and exhibition were held at the Maritime Museum, downtown Auckland, and were coupled with a conference on team-based design with the main speakers being Tom Schnackenberg (America’s Cup team leader) and Michael Bryce (Australian Olympic Games bid leader). The judges comprised Michael Smythe and John Hatrick-Smith for product; Peter de Beer, Mark Adams and Lindsay Marks for graphic; and Hugh Mullane, Mark Gascoigne and Ron McKenzie for interior. Stringers were awarded to Custance Design (interior), Origin Design (graphic) and Peter Tasker Design (product).

The foundation for the Design-Led Business Award
Two years later, the 1997 Best Awards took place in Auckland, with the same entry disciplines as 1996. The committee comprised Jill Carroll, Bryn Chapple, Paola Dashwood, Peter Haythornthwaite (Chair), Bina Klose, Murray Pilcher and Kim Willis. James Coe, (former Director of Wellington Polytechnic, School of Design) was the recipient of the John Britten Award and Max Hailstone was, posthumously, given the Designers' Institute of New Zealand Outstanding Achievement Award. The foundation was established for the Design-led Business Award through the vision of Bina Klose and Bryn Chapple. The judging panel was made up of many well respected designers (NZ and Australian) and business leaders including Michael Barnett, Stuart Gardyne, Euan McKechnie, Hugh Mullane, for interior; Stephen Allan, Adam Laws, Chris Mitchell and Tony Parker for product; and David Bartlett, Dick Brunton, Annette Harcus and Alistair Lang for graphic.

The presentation evening was held in the pure architectural environment of the New Auckland Art Gallery, with the exhibition at the Auckland City Library. Only two Stringers were awarded, one to Fisher White Architecture (interior) and the other to Designworks (graphic). The evening created a surprising camaraderie amongst the attendants. Maxim designed the annual to a brief, which ensured that the sponsors’ advertisements, while individual, were in keeping with the structure of the publication.

The dedication of time and the financial knife-edge meant that a 1998 award programme was unlikely. However, Gesundheit, the project management arm of AGM Publishing proposed to DINZ that it run the Best programme on a yearly basis looking after sponsorship and all of the administrative functions related to the call for entries, judging, exhibition and presentation evening.
Dave Clark, DINZ President, was the convenor supported by a small group of designers respected for their work and professional integrity. So as to ensure bipartisanship in the judging, the panel was expanded to 6 judges in each discipline. Gifford Jackson was the recipient of the John Britten Award and ECC Lighting received the inaugural Design-led Business Award. The Awards evening was held at the Auckland Town Hall along with the exhibition. As in the preceding year only two Stringers were awarded, on to Fisher and Paykel (product), and the other to PeterHaythornthwaiteDesign (graphic).

Writing such an abbreviated history has sadly meant that many of the designers and sponsors who have been critical to the success and continuity of the Awards have gone unmentioned. This omission necessitates that in the near future the history of the New Zealand Best Design Awards is comprehensively recorded with a full list of committees, sponsors and winners. These people must be recognised!

The Best Design Awards demonstrates the economic sense of design to New Zealand business, recognises outstanding design and designers’ achievements, bears witness to the cultural influence of inspired creativity, and uniquely unifies the profession. It is the responsibility of the profession to ensure that the Best Design Awards continue to be run free of bias, and serve as an accurate measure of our development and, we trust, our progress. The new years of the 21st century will reveal the extraordinary talent of young designers and encourage business to use the “extraordinary power” of design to compete and profit internationally.

As recorded by Peter Haythornthwaite,  ONZM, LifeDINZ

Black Pin Recipients

Each year, the prestigious Black Pins are awarded to individuals for outstanding achievement within the design community. In 2019 DINZ introduced the Value of Design Black Pin.

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

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 reflects a multi-million dollar investment in design of all kinds, in all sorts of organisations.
The effects driven by that investment are truly good for New Zealand

Jeremy Moon

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

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.

Jeremy Moon, the 2023 John Britten Black Pin recognises the value of your leadership, and the legacy you have left for your country, and your planet. You are indeed not just good for NZ, but good for the world.

No reira
Tena Koutou
Tena Koutou
Tena Tatau Katoa

Speech as read by Pete Chrisp, CEO New Zealand Trade & Enterprise

Desna Jury LifeDINZ

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.

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.

All Recipients

Designers Institute Black Pin John Britten Black Pin Value of Design Black Pin

Desna Jury LifeDINZ

Jeremy Moon


Jef Wong FDINZ

Jamie McLellan PDINZ

Emirates Team New Zealand


Jonathan Custance

Liz and Neville Findlay


Annie Dow

Clive Fugill

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare


Rik Campbell and Steve Le Marquand


Kent Sneddon

Dan Bernasconi


Ben Corban

Danny Coster


Professor Tony Parker

Kris Sowersby


Mark Cleverley

Matt Holmes


Cathy Veninga

Grenville Main

Kent Parker


Sven Baker

Ian Athfield


Fraser Gardyne

Mark Elmore


Tim Hooson

Dean Poole


Dave Clark

Joseph Churchward


Professor Leong Yap

Laurie Davidson


Brian Richards

David Trubridge


Grant Alexander

Gary Paykel


Hugh Mullane & Craig Horrocks

Mark Pennington


Michael Smythe

Richard Taylor


Ray Labone

Peter Haythornthwaite FDINZ


Doug Heath

Ann Robinson


Robin Beckett

Humphrey Ikin


David Bartlett

Bruce Farr


John Hughes

Karen Walker


Not awarded

Gifford Jackson


Max Hailstone

James Coe


John Britten

Purple Pin Case Studies

The Best Design Awards is the annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product and interactive design. The entries judged Best in each category are awarded the Gold Pin. The very best project in each discipline is awarded the supreme, Purple Pin for work that truly raises the bar for New Zealand design.

Best Design Awards Annual Book 2021

The Best Design Awards Annual 2021 is here and now open for orders!

At long last we're excited to announce sales are open for the Best Awards Annual 2021, proudly presented by the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ).

Don't miss out on securing your bit of design history. The Annual 2021 proudly gives every winning project it's own page. The Best Annual 2021 proudly gives every winning project it's own page!

The Annual is specially edge-printed, and features a section-sewn lay flat binding so it opens flat and stays flat. Beautifully offset printed, and spanning 735 pages, this chunky purple book gives every medal-winning project it's own page.

This year, DINZ are selling the Annual for $75.00 NZD in order to help cover cost of the production. With a limited edition print-run, don't miss out on securing your block of design history.

Thanks Seachange 💜

Click HERE to order

Back Order Best Book 2020

If you missed out on the Best Annual 2020 edition we have a few copies available to order and add to your library. 

Click HERE to order

DINZ Interviews

When the opportunity arises, DINZ interviews leading designers from here and overseas. These interviews seek to dig beneath the surface to address the common and uncommon challenges, problems and opportunities the design community faces.

DINZ Podcast Series

Through the D.Cast series we bring you insights, stories and reflections from our community.

D.Cast Episodes

DINZ Video Series

The more we talk about design, the more robust the conversation becomes.

DINZ events give access to designers at the top of their game as they share their knowledge and insights. 

The audiovisual recordings from some of these gatherings can be found under this Video category and are archived there as a reference resource to Aotearoa’s rich design history.

DINZ Check-in

Check In is a page where we showcase things of interest in our community.

DINZ Student Council

Today’s design students are tomorrow’s industry professionals. That’s why the DINZ Student Council exists. Its twelve national representatives work to forge stronger links between the bright minds currently studying design and the industry peers, design leaders and potential mentors who will work with them in the future.

The Student Council run several initiatives including Interviews, Folio Nights and Best of the Best Students Speak. 

Learn more about the Council

DINZ Student Council Interviews

Every designer’s career journey contains valuable lessons for students looking to their own futures. Our Student Council interview leading New Zealand designers and gain valuable insights into how they got to where they are.

DINZ Student Council Podcast

Designer Jobs & Studio Spaces

Designer Jobs is a page to advertise or search for current designer job vacancies. 

Dorrington Atcheson Architects-Intermediate/Senior Architect

Dorrington Atcheson Architects are looking for an experienced project lead/project architect. This role offers a lot of autonomy and includes running a project from start to finish and self programming.

The successful applicant will need to be design focused with a passion for architectural detailing and design. They will be in control of projects and will work alongside directors as required.

Able to organise and deliver to a program and manage several balls in the air at once. We use Archicad, so needs to have experience in both design and documenting in Archicad.

This is a great opportunity to involve yourself in all facets of the architectural profession from design, to detailing, to documentation, to site, in a fun and vibrant environment.

Applicant will work a 9-day 80-hour fortnight meaning every second Monday is a day off.


- An architectural degree
- Minimum of 5 years experience working as an architect in NZ
- Experience in architectural design and documentation
- Ability to prioritise tasks
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Ability to work in a team and encourage performance
- Good working knowledge of NZBC and NZ3604
- Residential experience
- Working knowledge of Archicad, Masterspec and general construction processes in NZ.

If this oppurtunity jumps out at you, please contact the team at DAA for further information at

Shared Studio Space available with Crosson Architects  

We are looking for a small creative crew to share our new space on Ponsonby Rd

On offer is a spacious, light and contemporary fully furnished space ideally suited to a small team of up to 4 people who enjoy collaborating and working alongside creatives and designers.

Click here to find out more