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Designing for Social Impact

Addressing the world’s most complex challenges by designing specifically for social impact is a largely untapped market with a continuously increasing demand. However, designing for social impact isn’t simply about creating pretty objects for a good cause or selling rad merchandise and giving a percentage of the proceeds to charity. In its ideal form, designing for social impact is envisioning the impact you want to have for a community or individual, bringing stakeholders into the process, working toward sustainable solutions, measuring the difference you’re making, and sharing your results so that positive impact can spread across the world.

In creating any product is it important to acknowledge the fundamental principles of design; that a product be functional, solve a problem, benefit the user, and be aesthetically pleasing. Good design should meet these design principles regardless if a product is designed for mass consumer markets or strategic social needs.

With this in mind, our industry partner Good Design Australia is calling for entries to the 2019 Good Design Awards. Australia’s annual Good Design Awards program is one of the oldest and most prestigious international design awards in the world, promoting excellence in design and innovation since 1958. It is recognised by the World Design Organization (WDO) as Australia’s peak international design endorsement program.

The Good Design Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in cutting edge design and breakthrough innovation. With 10 specific Design Disciplines, spanning 28 Categories the Good Design Awards proudly showcase superior examples of good design to a national and international audience. View all Categories here.

2019 will mark 5 years since the Social Impact category was established. The Social Impact category is one that the entire Good Design Team are particularly passionate about. To get you inspired and give you some idea of the calibre of entries, here we’ve highlighted previous category winners.


Facett is the world’s first modular hearing aid. Co-designed with hearing aid users, it provides unparalleled ease of use, upgradability options and aesthetic appeal. Magnetic modules click easily into place, simplifying daily maintenance tasks and empowering people who have dexterity and visual impairments with independence.


The Seabin Group is addressing the ocean plastics crisis using a whole solution strategy. Combining Education, Science, Research, Technology, Community and Industry activities all aimed at changing consumer culture for cleaner oceans.


VoteLocal is a groundbreaking game-like questionnaire that guides people towards the mayoral candidate whose policies and ideals best match theirs. It provides information about candidates and what they stand for, informs users about what councils do, and debunks the assumption they aren’t relevant. VoteLocal fosters more genuinely representative politics.


Lucky Iron Fish is a certified B-Corporation founded to wipe out iron deficiency, which affects 3.5B people worldwide and can result in anemia, weakness, impaired cognition, and illness. Its carefully formulated/tested cast iron fish gives a family up to 90% of their required iron intake when used daily during food preparation.


IHearYou® is the world’s first hearing aid solution that enables patients to easily tune their acoustic preferences themselves, instead of an audiologist. The modern, attractive hearing system uses a Bluetooth enabled programmer to connect hearing aids to a smartphone application patients can use to adjust their settings. In Australia, more than 4 million people have hearing loss and many risk physical, cognitive and mental health issues by not addressing it. 

This year’s Social Impact Award Winners and other Good Design Award Winners will be awarded on stage at the Good Design Awards Ceremony in Sydney on the 11 July and will be featured in the Good Design Awards Yearbook and online through the Good Design Index – a home for best in class design and innovation in Australia and overseas. View all Winners Benefits and fees here.

The Good Design Awards Gala Night is the design industry’s night of nights. Walk the red carpet at this prestigious event where the Good Design Award winners will be announced against a backdrop of celebration and innovation.

If you’re passionate about social change and are harnessing design to solve our most pressing, complex challenges, get your entry in before 4 April 2019 to be recognised with the best of the best. If you have any questions, contact

Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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