Billy Blue design students stand out at the 2023 AGDA Awards

2023 AGDA Awards

Billy Blue students recognised in the 2023 AGDA Awards receiving 1 Distinction, 5 Merits and 24 Finalist spots.

With over 1730 entries, 65 jurors and countless hours of deliberation, Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University Australia landed 40 finalist places for 24 students across 8 categories at the Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) Awards. We are thrilled to announce that 4 of our students were awarded at the annual national awards early December.

Maria Kelly was awarded an impressive three awards, a Distinction for My Brother Noah Doesn't Talk in the Student Design Crafts / Illustration category, and Merit for Student Publications / Book (Full). As well as a Merit for TK Story Sans in the Student Design Crafts / Typography.

Merits were also awarded to Noelle Miller for Never Left Behind, Never Forgotten in Student Brand and Identity / Logo, Trademark, Symbol, Christal Zamanos for Callan Park in Student Print / Catalogues & Brochures, and Sameer Alyab for Pete's Za in Student Packaging / Food Packaging.



AGDA Awards champion graphic design industry success

The annual AGDA Design Awards aims to recognise the best graphic design work in Australia across a wide range of disciplines from print, packaging and digital. The awards highlight every generation of talent, from students to the long-established leaders of our profession.

AGDA’s core purpose is to constantly develop and champion the professional standing and creative excellence of the Australian graphic design industry. In short, they want to make a difference. Our students are in good company as they strive to make their mark in industry.

“In a world where design is a highly coveted skill, our students have demonstrated their immense expertise and capabilities, as they step into industry,” said Cheri Flewell-Smith, Lecturer at Torrens University Australia. “For employers looking for fresh and innovative perspectives, these students shine as promising talents ready to push the boundaries of creativity.”

Industry awards hold immense significance for their future careers

With 65 talented creatives forming the specialist judging panel in 2023 the contest was tightly fought across all design disciplines. After much discussion and respectful debate and deliberation, AGDA released its 2023 finalist gallery in October.

“For our students to be recognised, in these phenomenal numbers, year on year, by the peak national organisation representing the Australian design industry, it’s truly remarkable,” said Professor Scott Thompson-Whiteside, “Their level of output is supreme, they’re under the spotlight where it matters, in front of industry, and that’s going to put them in the driving seat when it comes to curating their careers.”

“This recognition affirms the credibility of our university and underscores the alignment of our programs with the current needs and trends of the design industry,” said Professor Scott Thompson-Whiteside, Executive Dean, Design and Creative Technology.

“Our students are not only meeting these standards but also distinguishing themselves. The reputation of our graduates, and our university, provides our current students with a clear benchmark to aspire to,” said Professor Thompson-Whiteside.

A special kind of satisfaction for academics witnessing their students’ achievements

“Certainly, the achievement of our students is undeniably closely tied to our exceptional lecturers who diligently guide them, facilitate their engagement with the industry, and inspire them to boldly demonstrate and showcase their skills at various industry accolades,” said Professor Thompson-Whiteside.

“There’s a special kind of satisfaction in witnessing our students gain national recognition for their work. It underscores our university’s commitment to nurturing their raw talent,” said Cheri. “Every win reinforces our commitment as mentors dedicated to leading budding designers as they enter the dynamic world of design.”

Billy Blue finalists in several award categories

In the Student Brand and Identity category alone, our students nabbed 25 of the 54 allotted finalist spots. Bachelor of Communication Design students Noelle Miller and Rachel Armstrong racked up several finalist places. Noelle Miller scored an incredible 6 finalist places for her work in student brand and identity, spatial and design crafts, Rachel Armstrong, received 4 finalist spots for 2023, to follow up her 3 finalist spots in 2022.

“I’m really appreciative of the Billy Blue team for encouraging me to engage with the Australian design industry by entering the AGDA awards,” said Rachel Armstrong, AGDA finalist. “To have my work recognised two years in a row is incredibly exciting and I’m grateful for the guidance that my lecturers gave me throughout the awards process.

"Special acknowledgment to Noelle Miller’s efforts, scoring 6 finalists nods, it’s very impressive," said Professor Thompson-Whiteside.

2023 AGDA Awards finalists

Congratulations to our massive list of finalists.

Student Brand and Identity

Noelle Miller

‘Never left behind Never Forgotten’ by Noelle Miller

Student finalists:

  • Alicia Devereaux
  • Amina Secic
  • Andrei Cabaero
  • Antonia Sasvary
  • Ashlin Carlisle
  • Beverley Green
  • Daniel Loughton
  • Eden Manzur
  • Jessica Bezzina
  • Katarina Jones
  • Kylie Ngai
  • Loren Keir
  • Madeleine Wiblin
  • Matt Callan
  • Mia Rhodes
  • Noelle Miller - Merit
  • Rachel Armstrong
  • Sameer Alyab

Student Print

Christal Zamanos

‘Callan Park’ by Christal Zamanos


Student finalist:

  • Christal Zamanos - Merit

Student Publications

Maria Kelly

‘My brother Noah doesn't talk’ by Maria Kelly

Student finalist:

  • Maria Kelly - Merit

Student Packaging

Daniel Loughton

‘Summer Fling’ by Daniel Loughton

Student finalists:

  • Daniel Loughton
  • Rachel Armstrong
  • Sameer Alyab - Merit

Student Digital

Yarene Song

‘MEtime’ by Yarene Song

Student finalist:

  • Yarene Song

Student Spatial

Noelle Miller

‘Colony’ by Noelle Miller

Student finalists:

  • Alicia Devereaux
  • Laura Wagner
  • Noelle Miller

Student Design Craft - Illustration & Writing For Design

Rachel Armstrong

‘Uno Pasta’ by Rachel Armstrong

Student finalists:

  • Maria Kelly - Distinction
  • Rachel Armstrong
  • Sascha Aiello

Student Design Craft - Typography

Maura Elizabeth Sullivan

‘Earth Hour’ by Maura Elizabeth Sullivan

Student finalists:

  • Andrei Cabaero
  • Maura Elizabeth Sullivan
  • Maria Kelly - Merit
  • Noelle Miller

Design for Good

Danielle Leedie Gray

Be A Voice For Generations by Carbon Creative - Illustration by Danielle Leedie Gray

Congratulations to our Diploma of Graphic Design alumna, First Nations Graphic Artist, Illustrator and Designer Danielle Leedie Gray, who has been nominated in the Design for Good category, with Carbon Creative, for her powerful illustration and artwork on 2023’s National Reconciliation Week – ‘Be A Voice For Generations.’ This work was Danielle’s first national campaign with an important message that reflects an ongoing and unwavering commitment to work together for a more reconciled country. 

Billy Blue College of Design students continued success at the AGDAs

In 2022, Billy Blue College of Design student designers won 23 AGDA awards with 7 Distinctions and 16 Merits from a whopping 63 nods in the initial shortlist.

Jennie Bentley, who received 9 finalist spots in 2022 including 3 Merit awards, is now a Junior Designer at Frost* Collective. Marcus Cheong, who won 3 Distinctions and 1 Merit in 2022, is Junior Designer at DesignStudio. Rosie Conway, who received 12 finalist spots, including 4 Distinctions, and 1 Merit, is a graphic designer at Buffet.

At the 2023 Indigo International Design Awards, Marcus Cheong won a Gold Winner in Branding for Beverages – Tea, Jennie Bentley won Gold Winner in Poster and Brochure Design for Social Change, and Rosie Conway won a Silver for Branding for Food.

Michelle Mondel, Billy Blue Bachelor of Communication Design graduate was awarded the Pinnacle – Emerging Designer of the Year at the 2021 AGDA Design Awards. Billy Blue students and alumni racked up close to 20 spots as finalists, distinction, and merit at the 2021 AGDA Design Awards.

Hero image credit: ‘Pete’s Za’ – by Sameer Alyab

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