• Transform magazine
  • August 18, 2022


Billson’s project with Cowan wins big at DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2022

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The Australian drinks brand, competing alongside the likes of Mars Wrigley and the Ministry of Justice, was crowned Grand Prix winner in an online event. The awards have recognised and celebrated the compelling influence of design on the success of a project or business for over 30 years.

The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards place great emphasis on the success of projects being verified by data-driven evidence. This year’s Grand Prix and Gold award winners offered judges strong statistics to prove the project’s worth.

Cowan London’s success with Billson’s, one of Australia’s oldest drinks manufacturers, was over two years in the making. The brewery, based in north-east Victoria, had been out of commission for 70 years before making a triumphant return in 2017 with its launch of craft beers, heritage beers, ciders, and an alcoholic ginger beer.

The agency’s rebrand grew Billson’s business exponentially from a base of $160,000 to nearly $8 million in the two and a half years since the project commenced. As well as being a remarkable success for the company, the local community was bolstered as staff numbers rose from two to 28 over time.


Judges this year hailed from a wide variety of organisations including Coca-Cola, Costa Coffee, Financial Times, and Lloyds Banking Group. Following the three rounds of judging, the winner of the prestigious Grand Prix award was selected by a special judging panel which included Buro Happold’s CEO James Bruce, and London & Partners’ CEO Laura Citron.

Chairman of the judges, Clive Grinyer, said, It has been inspirational to see the continuing stories of design effectiveness in this year’s submissions. Companies from the largest to the smallest have used design as a strategic tool to strengthen their relationships with customers, engage them in the values of their brand and communicated their purpose to customers. In an increasingly competitive market in such challenging times, they have invested and reaped the measurable rewards of design.”


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Other Gold winners include Little Bellies’ baby food rebrand, which can now be found in 6,000 stores in the North American market, while WPA Pinfold and Oxford Brewery also made the cut following on from its gold-standard exploits at this year’s Transform Awards Europe. Elsewhere, the Ministry of Justice’s sexual violence campaign with Design102 was awarded silver following promising website traffic numbers.

“The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards bring to life design’s ability to deliver competitive advantage for businesses, setting them apart in increasingly complex and crowded markets,” said DBA CEO, Deborah Dawton. “And often, when designers are allowed to bring to the table their expertise and knowledge of the changes they see coming in society, such as the drive for a more sustainable world, their solutions for businesses stand to deliver an even better outcome, a better tomorrow for us all.”