Top 10: Ethical design gift guide

By Penny Craswell

Design isn’t just about aesthetics, and to prove it, this ethical gift guide lists a few of the many designers and brands now donating to charity or committed to ethical practices. So, read on, this is your chance to give back this holiday season – not just to families and friends, but also to those in need.

The Pretty Fly pin by Annie Hamilton. Photo: supplied

1. Increasingly, community-minded makers and sellers are donating a portion of their profits to charities. Sydney-based multi-disciplinary designer Annie Hamilton donates 10% of sales from her pins and art prints to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre to help support and empower people seeking asylum in Australia. With a focus on insects and patterns inspired by plants, including the Pretty Fly enamel pin set consisting of venus fly trap and matching fly, Hamilton’s work also includes clothing and scarves, made locally and ethically in Sydney by a small team of makers in Redfern. Read more

Top 5: Australia’s love affair with Nordic design

By Penny Craswell

In 1981, a radical new design collective Memphis, headed by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, released its first collection in the “new international style”. Since then, globalisation of brands and products has led to a consistent aesthetic across national boundaries in contemporary design, to the extent that discussion of national design styles has become increasingly irrelevant.


On the other hand, it is hard to argue with the fact that some countries do design really well (Denmark, Japan, Italy to name just a few) and some not so well (overbearing dark wood furniture and kitchens in some parts of the US or over-the-top glitz in Russia or China, for example). Read more