Why and How

We believe design makes life better. “Design makes life better” is easy to say and difficult to master. It’s the framework for the festival where trusting customers informs everything we do to make life better. In 2017 we enter into the second year of the festival and alongside events that dive deep into design we introduce a dedicated stream for social good.

The Principles

  • Trusting Customers
  • Granting control, not taking control
  • Direct Relationships and Connections
  • A policy of No Awards
  • A policy of No Alcohol
  • Beyond Budgetting and Adaptive Planning

We welcome innovative events where disciplines mix or unusual connections occur.


The Social Good 2017 (or a $15bn Problem)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Domestic violence is the primary cause of homelessness in one out of every two homeless person. Domestic violence results in a $15,000,000,000 impact to the Australian Economy every year. That’s a problem worth solving.


In early 2017 a small team (not those listed below) from Australian Design Festival set out to create digital designs to reduce the impact of domestic violence. We found existing tools to be judgemental, negative and wordy (a bit like this description). We found them to be inaccessible and alienating. In response we designed a bunch of tools to be supportive and action orientated.


The cause of all domestic violence is the removal of decision making and using power (and excuses) to exert control over someone else. It’s not always recognised as domestic violence so we concentrated on tools that provide steps and non-judgemental decision making. It’s a toolkit for those impacted by controlling behaviour. Results of this work are being tested (as you can imagine it’s a sensitive area) with the results due after the festival. This is the power of design.


Australian Design Festival is a social enterprise. We believe the best relationships are direct relationships.

We are a group of advisors, who (with the exception of the director, Michael Grau) bare no liability, no accountability and no responsibility for the festival.

We advise and sometimes we help out because we believe small teams make more of a difference than committees.

Our advice is taken because we are valued.

We’d like your help to grow this festival and the role of design in making life better. We are:

Michael Grau – Festival Director

Juan Ezquerra – Design, Design

Paul Symons – Design, Design

Patrick Miller – Design, Design

Marie Molloy – Design, Design

We look forward to joining you across Australia for an unmissable series of events


(Michael Grau – Festival Director)


What if we design a design festival?

What if we celebrate design by designing for good?

What if design is how it works?

What if we create space in the festival for designers to do what they do best?

What if we trust designers?

What if we make design accessible with most events free?

What if we connect design disciplines with deeper experiences?

What if we directly connect designers with customers?