A raconteur, Simone LeAmon is interested in fostering conversation on what, why and how we design – and, make the things we do.

A raconteur, Simone LeAmon is interested in fostering conversation on what, why and how we design – and, make the things we do. But more importantly, Simone is interested in what it all means. Her writing activities extend to essays, articles, interviews and coverage of design, designers and issues affecting design practice in Australia.


Resident columnist for Indesign magazine between 2007 – 2013 Simone’s quarterly design column ‘Comment’ draws on her experiences in the creative and commercial sectors to lead conversations on design culture and enterprise in Australia and abroad.

Published in Australia by the Indesign Group, Indesign Magazine is regarded one of Australia’s leading design and architecture titles.


Farewell and Thanks for the Take-Aways

Indesign Issue 53

Signing off – Simone says thanks for the ‘take-aways’ and reflects on what she has learnt from writing for Indesign.

“The world has changed (again) and the stakes are higher than ever. Now we’re facing a full-fledged revolution – a hypercompetitive world involving art and gifts and fear and the ability for you (for anyone) to make an indispensible contribution to something you care about.” – Seth Godin, Linchpin (Penguin, 2010)

This is my fond farewell, for now, to you – the readers of Indesign. After five years and eighteen columns, I am stepping down from my position as resident opinionist to explore some projects I’ve had on the backburner. So, as a parting gesture, I want to share what I’ve learnt in researching and writing these columns.

Incidentally, I didn’t take on this position because I wanted to be a writer. Truth is, the writing part scared me to bits. Getting the words right can be arduous, and I feared embarrassing myself. But thankfully, I stopped worrying about comma placement and just got on with it. Besides, natural ability counts for little without intent (another Godin quote!)  Read more

Designing Female Role Models

Indesign Issue 51

Asking the question – where are our designing female role models? Simone suggests we need to expand our view on the contributions of women in Australian design.

I recently asked several female colleagues between the ages of 30 and 45 if they’d ever had a female role model or mentor. With the exception of one colleague, none of them had. But, surprisingly, most agreed that the diversity in a woman’s life meant that a full-time career required some artful navigation. They also agreed that learning from other women’s wisdom when it comes to combining a successful design career with a happy personal and family life sounds like a good idea.

What prompted my interest in this subject of women-mentors is the frequency with which younger female designers contact me for ‘coffee’ (which is code for ‘career help’). Meeting at my studio or in a nearby café, I will listen to them talk about their creative accomplishments and what their ideal designer-life looks like i.e. what they want to be doing and achieving. And, nine times out of ten, this will segue into requests for contacts or job opportunities. Read more


The Studio-Office Hybrid

Indesign Issue 50

Simone explores the creative workplace and un-packs the studio-office nexus.

Ah, work: with synonyms like toil, drudgery, grind and effort, its no wonder the word has negative connotations. As for the term “workplace”, it’s usually defined as a place where work is done – hardly an inspiring proposition.

But within the creative industries, surely a “workplace” must be much more than that? Read more

Rethinking ‘Australian Made’

Indesign Issue 48

Simone takes a look at the Australian manufacturing industry with a view to rethinking the ‘Australian Made’ brand.

By Simone LeAmon

Two recent work trips, one to Adelaide and one to Malaysia, have me rethinking manufacturing – the process of transforming material into a tangible product. As we know, Australia’s factories are falling ominously quiet. Analysts are nervously speculating about what this might mean – does local manufacturing have a future, or will its decline turn out to be terminal? Can we nurse our ailing industry back to health, or will job losses and flow-on effects harm Australia’s socioeconomic wellbeing? Read more


What Price Creativity? Valuing the Future of Design

Indesign Issue 44

Simone discusses why the report Do you Really Expect to Get Paid?, by economists David Throsby and Anita Zednik carries implications for the Australian design community.

Creativity seldom makes prime-time news, but a recent study of Australian artists’ incomes put it firmly in the spotlight. The report Do you Really Expect to Get Paid?, by economists David Throsby and Anita Zednik, revealed that our professional artists are doing it tough: half of them earn less than $10,000 a year from their creative work, and while incomes have risen across the broader economy, this is not the case for artists. Read more


Learning for Life

Indesign Issue 43

Simone reviews Philippe Starck’s performance in BBC reality TV series Design for Life.

The BBC reality TV series Design for Life, featuring French designer Phillipe Starck and 12 aspiring UK designers, screened here in June. In a Masterchef-style format, contestants were given weekly challenges and eliminated in a purpose-built ‘school of creativity’. The winner received a six-month placement at Starck’s Paris agency. Read more


Comment on Australian Design

Indesign Issue 41

Returning from a recent trip to Western Australia Simone ponders if there is such a thing as Australian design?

Recently I flew from Melbourne to Perth to attend a wedding celebration in the picturesque coastal town of Dunsborough, Western Australia. The bride and groom are published authors so the guest list included a spread of people from the creative industries. When variously trained creatives get together in Australia one of the most common topics of conversation is how each person’s body of work reflects on place. Or maybe it was the idyllic surrounds – the extent to which the WA coast reflected all that Australia likes to promote about itself: wide open, crystal clear, completely unpopulated beaches unfettered by overdevelopment – that caused a discussion of the integration of ‘home’ into our creative output. Read more


The future, it’s not what it used to be!

Indesign Issue 40

In the special Indesign Future Issue Simone discusses how to embed artefacts and the environment with a sense of tomorrow

In a recent tutorial within the industrial design program at RMIT University my students asked: what will the future look like? Each week we investigate the philosophy of visual experience, during these discussions the issue of how to embed artefacts and an environment with a sense of tomorrow is foremost on our minds. Why? The students, none born prior to the mid eighties, belong to the most technologically adept generation the world has seen. Consequently, that generation grew up digital and what my generation saw as a revolution to them is a process of logical and incremental development. Read more



Indesign Issue 36

Simone reflects on her meeting with the legendary automotive designer Tom Matano.

Few objects stimulate a visceral reaction in me like a sportscar can. At their best sportscars seamlessly integrate thousands of components with a poetic chase line and interior fit-out that causes a kind of Pavlov’s dog effect, I can’t help but look as it passes! The development of the sports car as a fetish object is one of the great marketing successes of the 20th C, and I’m a sucker for it. Read more


How We Create

Simone LeAmon held the position of editor-at-large at How We Create filing near to sixty articles on Australian designers and manufactures between 2010 – 2011. Simone’s voice came to personify the spirit of the How We Create initiative. An inspiration and content website presenting case studies and stories on designers, architects and manufacturers from around Australia between 2010-12.


Apple Industries / How We Create / 2011

Simone LeAmon

Apple Fabrication Industries is an institution. For designers and furniture brands across Australia Apple is special – in fact, so special that many would prefer that I didn’t write this article for fear of having to share them. Why? Put simply, few other fabricators can do what Apple can. An old school factory they machine, bend, press and weld tubular steel by hand. This is fine work and Apple’s experience and expertise is best applied to specialty projects like prototypes and production runs of dozens to hundreds. Read more

News of Brodie Neill / How We Create / 2011

Writing for How We Create puts me in contact with numerous Australian designers. Preparing stories often requires telephone conversations, email correspondence and the odd coffee date. Listening to Australian designers talk is an interesting exercise in itself, most will speak of process and inspiration and segue to topics such as clients, business and marketing only when encouraged and, I find this curious. Why? Design is not an isolated practice. It necessitates collaboration and partnering, the stronger the ties and relations with those who commission, manufacture, market, sell and buy a designers time the more sustainable a design practice can become. Regardless of a designer’s interest in how their ideas and innovations arrive there is no escaping the broader issues of making ‘it’ happen. One Australian designer who understands this perfectly is Brodie Neill. Meeting up in Melbourne just days before Christmas I spoke to Brodie about his flourishing practice and how working in London has shaped the way he conducts business – but first, let me reveal something of Brodie’s background. Read more

Q&A with designer Adam Goodrum / How We Create / 2010

Australian designers are immensely talented and able and those who pursue a freelance practice and sell design ideas to local and global manufacturers also demonstrate the facility to create and chase business opportunities. Australian designer Adam Goodrum is driven by his passion for conceptualising, designing and making. In a competitive sector Adam’s design ethos, entrepreneurial spirit, acumen and notoriety as an extremely likeable guy has manufacturers knocking at his door. But as Adam explains this didn’t happen over night. In a recent interview conducted by Simone LeAmon Adam speaks about his projects with design manufacturers Cappellini, TAIT and teaching the next generation of designers. Read more


Exhibiting Design: The local condition of limited edition and one-off design / How We Create / 2010

There is no doubt that the exploitation of manufacturing defined design in the industrial age. Understanding tools, machinery, manufacturing processes and the performance capabilities of different materials became the designer’s job. Creativity was re-conceived in the company of producing something original and useful for the marketplace. Problem solving within economic and manufacturing constraints is for the large part what designing has come to mean. Read more

Fiona Abicare / COVERS / 2008 / Photography John Brash

Brodie Niell / Remix / 2008

Marc Newson / Lockheed lounge / 1985




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A raconteur, Simone LeAmon is interested in fostering conversation on what, why and how we design – and, make the things we do.

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