My broad research work explores communication design and design education in remote Australia. As a non-Indigenous researcher, my work is concerned with how communication design and designers can work more ethically and respectfully in Australia. The first step was to look back at design history in Australia and to retell this story – to recognise the rich Indigenous history within Australia’s design industry and to reposition these contributions as vital for our national design culture.
In this paper, I highlight Indigenous contributions to communication design history in Australia. There is currently no existing literature on Indigenous contributions to this area of design, despite an incredible array of visual communication existing within Australian history. These examples have remained hidden from the history books, but it is time we acknowledged different voices within design and the incredible diversity of visual communication within Australia. This retelling is significant to discussions on how we can start to decolonise the Euro-centric practices and histories of design. Additionally, how we can expand our understanding of communication design to be more culturally equal and respectful of diverse voices.
The full article ‘Australian Communication Design History: An Indigenous Retelling’ appears in the Journal of Design History.