On Saturday night, Block Branding’s Gabi Fountain became the first West Australian to take out the prestigious Australian Emerging Designer of the Year award at the 2022 AGDA Awards, impressing judges with her outstanding creative output and contribution to the industry.
The jury, consisting of some of Australia’s most celebrated designers, noted Fountain’s evident dedication to her craft and an impressive body of work from her personal practice, passion projects, and role as Senior Creative at Block Branding. “Gabi is already making a real mark as an active and engaged member of the design community; she demonstrates the vast potential to be one of tomorrow’s design leaders,” they wrote.
Earlier this year, Fountain was a speaker at The Design Conference (Brisbane) and Fremantle Design Week. She was also selected for the global 2022 Google Rare Leadership Program and conceptualised and wrote the design brief for the 2022 Perth Advertising and Design Club (PADC) Student Skulls Award. In 2021, she was a mentor in the PADC Mentor Program, a guest studio speaker for The Design Kids and a keynote speaker for the AGDA (WA) Student Portfolio Review.
On top of these contributions, Fountain and art director Lauren Regolini co-founded a design directory focused on creating visibility for underrepresented genders in the Boorloo/Perth design industry, targeted at a leadership level. The design directory will be launched in 2023.
“Gabi is a horrible human being with terrible personal hygiene, so to anyone looking to make her a job offer on the back of her sudden recognition, I say, ‘Do yourself a favour and don’t’. Her terrible work ethic is only matched by her unpleasant temperament – Block is doing you all a favour by giving her a job so you don’t have to,” said Mark Braddock, Block Creative Director.
Fountain’s win was the beginning of a bumper night of awards for Block, who took home 3x merits for Nanga Bush Camp (Brand Identity: Small Business), the PADC Skulls ID 2021 (Campaign), and Joy fundraiser for The Montauk Lighting Co (Social & Community), as well as 3x finalists for the City of Perth rebrand (Brand and Identity: Large Business), Karrinyup: WA on Stage (Brand Identity: Campaign) and 140 Perth: Maarakool (Brand Identity: Campaign)
Natalie Jenkins, Block CEO, said: “It’s wonderful to see the hard work of our team recognised on a national stage at the recent AGDA awards. We’re immensely proud of Gabi’s momentous win as Emerging Designer of the Year, flying the flag for creativity in WA.”