Ethos & Criteria


The AGDA Hall of Fame was established in 1992. Initiated by Gary Wilson and Spicers/Paperpoint, it gives the Australian design community an opportunity to honour designers and related professionals who have made a unique and lasting contribution during their working lives.

AGDA Hall of Fame Committee members conduct independent research on potential recipients. A minimum of one and maximum of four nominees are then provided to the AGDA Board and CEO for endorsement.


The criteria used to assess suitability of nominees includes:

  • Longevity of career
  • Extensive and consistent body and quality of work
  • Uniquely high standards of work, of research, investigation and innovation
  • Professional integrity
  • Industry / Government Awards
  • Peer recognition
  • Published works
  • Exhibitions
  • Social, cultural, economic, environmental, political impact
  • Public recognition
  • Educative contribution
  • National and international participation

Inductees may work in any country, but they are recognised for their impact on Australian graphic design.


The measure of these giants of the industry is grounded in research for clear evidence embedded in their standards of excellence, exceptional achievements, leadership, historical significance, advancement of culture, business, education, significant impact, lifetime of work, service to the industry, unique and outstanding contribution, setting of benchmarks, etc

For example:

Ken Cato.
In addition to his own studio success, Cato’s 25 years of AGideas—internationalising Australian design; forging design value and dialogue between design, business, government, culture and education; improving design practice through an annual showcase of national and international experts—has achieved significant and exceptional generational impact.

Alison Forbes.
True to the mission of the AGDA Hall of Fame “to rescue from the obscurity of time people who have made a powerful contribution to their profession”, Forbes’ outstanding lifetime commitment and unrelenting dedication to book design was unrecognised for decades. She has also been duly inducted into the ADB Australian Book Design Hall of Fame.

Process of review

The Hall of Fame Committee conducts an annual review of the program, its induction criteria and guiding principles, as well as the processes and procedures to be undertaken. This process has signalled the importance of a more contemporary definition of the 'graphic design' profession. What does the practice of graphic design mean and entail? What and who does the AGDA represent?

The International Council of Design (ico-D), previously the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda), updated its definition of the profession in 2013:

Design is a constantly evolving and dynamic discipline. The professionally trained designer applies intent to create the visual, material, spatial and digital environment, cognizant of the experiential, employing interdisciplinary and hybrid approaches to the theory and practice of design. They understand the cultural, ethical, social, economic and ecological impact of their endeavours and their ultimate responsibility towards people and the planet across both commercial and non-commercial spheres. A designer respects the ethics of the design profession.