Design Communication is an association of highly skilled communications and design professionals.

We work with our clients to resolve communications issues and propose positive means of moving their business or organisation forward.

We first establish mutual understanding. Having identified the needs, we build on our understanding to deliver innovative, precisely targeted messaging and campaigns.

We excel in all sectors - private, corporate, institutional and governmental. We are conversant with internal and external audiences.

We are design thinkers. Our particular expertise is in the fields of design, architecture, infrastructure and the built environment.

We recognise that the design sector and design thinking hold much promise for the sustainable solutions that society is seeking.

We delight in crafting the communications that our clients deserve.

We are affiliated with the strategic and issues management consultancy, Gorman/Birrell.




PopovBass, founded in 1983 by Alex Popov, create buildings that are inscribed in the history of the built environment of Sydney and beyond. We were approached to assist the practice with a definition of its brand and to create an associated plan for communications to all audiences. In conjunction with the reveal of several high profile projects, we strategised an overall campaign of how this venerable practice could effectively embrace new and traditional media to reconnect with a broader audience and influencers. 

Photography: Michael Nicholson



Beginning in 2016, Gorman/Birrell as the founders of Design Communication conceived and created a comprehensive trend and forecasting report for the Australian design, architecture and built environment sectors. 2016 collaborators included Stephen Todd, Design Editor of the AFR Magazine and Dr. Paul McGillick, architectural consultant and distinguished editor. The Forecast was published by Niche Media.

Building on an exhaustive analysis of current research across social, socio-demographic and economic indicators, the Forecast looks at how we need to design, build and plan for the society we envision. Trends are organised according to the short, medium and long term.

In 2016, the Forecast examined five critical areas: Ageing, Multi Residential, Workplace, Public Space and Hospitality. The report and its associated events in Sydney and Melbourne provide thought leadership in the design industry.



2006 - 2015

The City of Sydney was facing months of unfriendly media coverage of its expensive upgrade to the urban amenity of Darlinghurst’s principal thoroughfare: Oxford Street. Retailers were out of sorts, the public had found other more interesting ways to walk to work and Westfield was promoting an uber-mall at the end of Oxford Street. The City recognised there was a need to draw positive attention back to one of Sydney’s most important urban areas.

Design Communication was asked to create a three-month campaign focussing on what consumers could expect in the area, organised along the themes of shop, play, eat and party. Great outcomes in terms of increased foot traffic and increased visibility for businesses were achieved. Fast forward to today and we are now developing our thinking around how the unprecedented concentration of creative industries in the Darlinghurst/Surry Hills/East Sydney precincts can be understood and developed to form a distinctive aspect of the City’s brand and communications in this precinct of the City of Sydney.



SYDNEY 2011 TO 2013

Barangaroo is a colossal redevelopment of Sydney’s Western CBD, covering 22 hectares with over $6B investment in the creation of new public, residential and commercial space, including the first new major park to be created in Sydney in decades. In 2011, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority needed to communicate the project to everyone in Sydney, building enthusiasm and anticipation in advance of the arrival of the built environment in 2015.

Design Communication worked with Sydney’s Brand Council and Melbourne’s Emery Studio to provide scope and direction to the brand positioning and brand development for the entire Barangaroo precinct, including the brand and place architectures. During the development of the brand fundamentals, we advised on communications and campaigns for the BDA, and managed the execution of the Authority’s marketing activities across diverse channels. This included the planning and strategy behind special audience development including on-line audiences and the management of the Authority’s public consultation and polling.




Synman, Justin, Bialek was a household word in the Melbourne architecture community. The directors had built successful practices in architecture, interiors and planning and within the practice there were several joint ventures with external entities. What was missing was a strategy for the brand. How did the directors address their upcoming retirement and give new life and enthusiasm to the practice for the new generation they had mentored? How could the depth of the offer be explained and communicated? What sort of approach was necessary when thinking about offices in Sydney and Melbourne and how would the brand be managed?

We worked with the directors for a period of six months to determine a strategic plan for the brand aligned to the business. A name change was proposed to SJB. The foundations for the amazing growth and success that the practice would see in the coming ten years were established.




Peddle Thorpe & Walker is one of the largest architectural practices in Australasia. In 2005, in an attempt to revitalise and differentiate the Sydney practice from its numerous affiliates, subsidiaries and partnerships, a new, design-led breed of directors was recruited.

Design Communication worked with the PTW Board to put the brand on the map. We prepared the strategic plan to rename the practice, distinguishing it from the other 25+ entities which shared one or more of the original partner’s names. We created the strategic foundation for the new PTW Interiors division. We assisted with communications and media promotion during this dynamic period in PTW’s history and specifically on the Watercube project for the Beijing Olympics.




The Queensland Premier initiated the Queensland Design Strategy 2020 which called for a concentration of effort and resources in design thinking and its application in key areas of innovation, education and services. A cornerstone of the strategy was the establishment of a Design Triennial in Brisbane, bringing the best design thinking from the entire Asia Pacific region to a major meeting.

Design Communication wrote the government’s business case for the conference, based on a massive research project that examined all government and private sponsored design thinking support across the entire Asia Pacific region. The business case became the blueprint for the inaugural Unlimited: Designing for the Asia Pacific Conference in 2010 and our mandate was expanded to include assisting Arts Queensland with the selection of the conference organisers and program.



MELBOURNE 2008-2010

In 2008, with a move to the University’s new Design Hub still some years away, RMIT created a new intra-disciplinary research centre: The Design Research Institute. This new institute was conceived as a bridge between the University’s numerous design disciplines and the public, industry and the design community. Notably, an annual Design Challenge provided a new, substantial and highly visible design prize.

We advised the DRI on the development of its brand and provided strategic planning for the Institute’s activities and promotion over a three-year period. During this time we also assisted with the promotion of the Institute to national and international design press.




From the research base and predictive analysis of the impact of ageing populations on the built environment we developed for the 2016 Design & Architecture Forecast, we have developed several programs and consultancies in the aged care sector. We have presented design thinking events for the aged care sector in partnership with Interface, Shiavello and Woods Bagot Melbourne. We were asked to provide design thinking leadership to the Victorian Government’s Department of Human Services in their redesign of public facilities in that State. We are developing a vast program and model for innovation in the aged care and learning sectors in collaboration with Woods Bagot & Norman Disney Young.

Bradford Gorman


Bradford Gorman has been a gallerist in Toronto, the Director of Creative Services for Apple Computer Europe in Paris, and 20 years ago founded Design Communication Associates, Sydney. He has three passports, two dogs, and one gym membership. He likes his crossword cryptic, but his business dealings clear. An aficionado and benefactor of contemporary dance, his strategic choreography is en pointe. He knows his Montalcino from his Barbaresco. He once won Best Dressed at Derby Day. He’s a worldly bookworm, a trusted colleague and an incommensurable ally. His favourite colour is blue, Pantone 292.

Marcus Piper


Marcus Piper was born analog a touch over four decades ago, born again digital by the time he’d hit 13 at the keys of an Apple IIe. Inherently curious, he looks at modern media through the prism of old methodologies, applying elegance of thought and process to the technologies of all eras. He’s worked for Neville Brody’s Research Studios in London, was founding art director of POL Oxygen, and headed the creative direction for Habitus and Inside – with a relentless passion for the new he was the editor and creative director of Mezzanine. Former front-man for a surf-grunge band - he calls the escapist enclave of Thirroul, an hour south of Sydney, home. His Italian Greyhound is appropriately named Poco.

Damon Birrell


Damon Birrell is a writer with a creative bent, a reluctant journalist, a reader with a critical eye and a thinker who can’t even draw a box, let alone get inside one. He’s a communications strategist and a digital savant with a healthy regard for both the possibilities – and the limitations – of online. He cut his communications teeth working alongside Sue Cato at her Counsel. There he met Bradford Gorman, became an Associate of Design Communication and realised he liked building things for the long haul. A driver of vintage cars and a rider of American motorcycles, he likes his outcomes long-term and his pictures - big.

Paul Costantoura


Paul Costantoura fulfilled the hopes of his immigrant parents, completing degrees in genetics and International Law before the days of Facebook and Trump, in a world when facts were facts, and publications could be trusted. Drawn to Canberra by CSIRO to write about the work of Australia’s leading scientists, he transitioned through senior ranks of the bureaucracy to work in the inner sanctum of a Cabinet Minister’s staff. Switching to commercial research and communication, he found his way to London with Saatchi and Saatchi and the iconic Guinness brand, along the way writing a book Australians and the Arts launched by the Prime Minister, creating major work on reconciliation, climate change and election campaigns as well as countless studies supporting the development of major brands, products and services. He’s just at home analysing digital metrics, looking for the answers in a confused look or in a pile of numbers, and believes the truth always enhances the creative process.

Stephen Todd


Melbourne’s own Stephen Todd recently returned home after 20 years residence in Paris. His publishing legacy in the fields of fashion, art, architecture and design is remarkable. His by-line has appeared in every journal and magazine of note. Stephen founded the Lumière, Numéro and Spoon titles. He edited Dutch and Jalouse and has written for the New York Times, Le Monde and The Guardian. Beyond the page, he’s left his mark on the visual brands of LVMH, Swarovski and Woolmark. Back in Terra Nullis, he lives amidst several thousand beasts, one dog and an elusive cat on the banks of the Lachlan River. Here, he deftly manages to edit the design and architecture columns of the Australian Financial Review and curate the very best features of the Habitus quarterly. Frequently found in seat 1A of Rex Regional, he cuts a remarkable figure in an Akubra and vintage Helmut Lang. Recently, he received a flock of accomplished laying hens as a birthday present. They were bred in France, naturellement.

To enquire about how we can collaborate, please contact:

Level 1 | 32 May Lane | Neutral Bay NSW 2089
P +61 2 9361 6845 | M +61 438 77 00 37

Or email us here

Photography: Anthony Geernaert