History of ABDA
At the end of 2013, the Australian Publishers Association (APA) announced it would no longer host the annual Book Design Awards after doing so for 61 consecutive years. The annual awards have long been the singular gathering for designers and our associates – publishers, editors, typesetters, printers and other collaborators – to discuss, critique and revel in exceptional book design. At a time when much of our collaboration happens via email, coming together in person is an important part of maintaining this productive and collegial community. For the longest running design award in Australia to end so unceremoniously would have been a profound loss for the publishing community.
So it was that eight designers and a business person formed a committee on a volunteer basis to build a new non-profit host organisation. On 21 March 2014 the group was officially incorporated as Australian Book Designers Association Inc.
With generous support from our founding sponsors, the inaugural ABDA-run awards were held on 22 August 2014 alongside the Melbourne Writers Festival, followed by 2015 awards in May alongside the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
The egg of the awards soon became the chicken of the Association. A design-led association taking over the awards provided an opportunity to reimagine how the awards were structured and run, but also what else the design community might need. Discussions around ABDA’s purpose led to ambitious ideas about involving the publishing design community. The resulting mission statement extends beyond a once-a-year award hosting role.
The Founding Committee – 2014/15
The Second Committee – 2015/16
The Third Committee – 2016/17
The Fourth Committee – 2017/18
The Fifth Committee – 2018/19
The Sixth Committee – 2019/20
The Seventh Committee – 2020/21