Life & Style

Design Anthology

The Newcastle-based product design firm innovating Australian businesses

Hidden away in the backstreets of industrial Gateshead, sits a buzzing group of creative individuals with a drive to design, develop, innovate and execute products for start-ups through to large corporations. Who are they? The team at Design Anthology.

Established in 2009 by husband and wife team, Josh and Aimee Jeffress, Design Anthology has developed into a well-known product design studio and made its name strong within the industry by taking out TWO awards in this year's renowned Good Design Awards (previously known as the Australian Good Design Awards).

Design Anthology Founders - Aimee & Josh Jeffress
Design Anthology Founders - Aimee & Josh Jeffress

“The Good Design Award is something we have always wanted to achieve but hadn’t entered before now.  We wanted to be at a point where we had a truly extensive portfolio of work to exhibit. The Good Design Awards are a worldwide arena, so you want people to know that you’re not just a one-hit-wonder,  that you’ve got pedigree and are an established firm with experience in a diverse range of industries.” Josh said.

Josh originally from Dubbo and Aimee from Bendigo, the pair made their way to Newcastle in 2002, where Josh studied a Bachelor of Industrial Design at the University of Newcastle.

design anthology product development industrial design newcastle

With over ten years in the fitting and machining trade and over 15 years’ experience as an industrial designer, Josh has spent most of his professional life helping others execute their ideas.

“That’s why Josh is so good at what he does because he comes from a manufacturing background. He is rather unique in his field. Not only can he & the team design products that are conceptually outstanding, but they can rationalise the manufacture and consider how to scale it, market it, fund it. We don’t just consider the role of the individual product, but the entire lifecycle & ongoing wellbeing of the business, our client.

“We’ve now launched a manufacturing arm of DA, as we see opportunities to further rationalise the manufacture through new technologies and processes not otherwise available (or affordable) to our clients.

“We are so invested in our client's success. That kind of holistic service, knowledge & commitment is unique among product design firms,” Aimee shared.

Launching a local, multi-disciplinary design firm had been a long-held pipe dream, but a redundancy at the height of the GFC was just the catalyst they needed. Calling on old friend and colleague, Mat Dowman, it wasn’t long before the trio were picking up the pace and the basis of Design Anthology was created.

design anthology product development industrial design newcastle

So, what exactly is Design Anthology?

At its core, Design Anthology has a unique offering of idea and product development services that translate concepts into practical solutions.

“We essentially help someone get an idea or concept through to market. Any of the activities that are required from creating a concept through to manufacturing, while also considering branding and marketing; all of those complex activities that all work together to develop a product we’re involved in.

“That whole process can be a really interesting journey sometimes. The core of our business is making someone’s idea so much better than what they could have ever imagined. Really creating that wow factor, that’s what we really get a kick out of! All the engineering and the efficiency of it is obviously part of the process, but it’s all about getting our clients to that wow moment.” says Josh.

Since its inception in 2009, Design Anthology has grown rapidly and has delivered over 100 projects across the years.

“Whether it’s a mum and pop realising a dream that they’ve sat on for the past 30 years, or a larger corporation that is overhauling one of their products that just aren’t thriving or performing as it should. It’s all about making their concept come to life and making them and their product the hero,” Aimee said.

“We’re very much focussed on our customer’s best interest. We want them to succeed. There’s enjoyment in making our customers really happy,” Josh said.

Clients they’ve worked alongside recently include the City of Newcastle, Orica and Applied Virtual Simulators (AVS). Click here to learn more about past Design Anthology projects.

The City of Newcastle engaged Design Anthology to help develop adaptable sensor-housings that could be fitted to street lighting poles and form the base infrastructure of a smart city network. The project saw the team score a Gold Good Design Award in this year’s awards.

Also, during the 2020 Good Design Awards, the team’s design scored a Good Design Award for Orica’s FRAGTrack™; a tool for accurately and reliably measuring rock fragmentation after blasting.

The Design Anthology team is now made up of seven staff and numerous casuals. With Josh and Aimee at the helm, the team is complete with Creative Director, Mat Dowman; Projects Manager, Elisha Smallcombe; Jen Cole, Studio and Workshop Coordinator;  Janice Moreland, Marketing Coordinator, and Service Designer, Douglas Helman.

design anthology product development industrial design newcastle

“We couldn’t have achieved this amount of work or these awards without this team. We all have that commitment that no matter what it takes we’re going to do the very best we can,” Josh said.

“Our team each bring different strengths, we complement each other so well, and have a lot of fun while working hard and producing great outcomes. It’s such a great dynamic,” Aimee said.

The future looks bright for Design Anthology, with plenty of fun projects in the works (and completely confidential), we’re excited to see what’s coming out of the design studio next and where they might be in just a few years’ time.