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To say 2021 was a big year was an understatement. Beyond COVID, we endured the world’s longest lockdown, an earthquake, and a lightning strike. Despite all these our 25th year still ended up being our biggest year to date.

After the massive challenges of 2020, Cobalt hit the ground running with workloads soon exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Over the year our staff worked on a total of 93 projects, effectively doubling 2020’s project hours. This amount of work required a significant team expansion; onboarding twelve new staff over the year. And with an additional three people starting in January 2022, Cobalt’s 35+ crew is the biggest we’ve been in our history!

On the other hand, several extended lockdowns in Melbourne meant 25th Anniversary initiatives we planned had to be cancelled. However, our year was still filled with numerous events, some of which we were lucky enough to attend in-person. A major highlight was going to the NGV Great Hall in March 2021 to see the Cylite HP-OCT receive the top Premier’s Design Award.

Also during 2021 we were honoured to be recognised with; three of our products receiving Good Design Awards, with one of them being ‘Best in Class’; The Designers Australia Awards also held an additional in-person event at the end of the year, where we received an Award of Merit for our work on KeepCup; and finally, winning our category in Governor of Victoria Export Award and representing Victoria as a finalist in the Australian Export Awards.

Other 2021 developments included a minor office renovation adding more standing desks to support healthy and flexible work arrangements. And thanks to qualifying for a couple of targeted grants programs, we were also able to upgrade our digital prototyping and creative equipment, (via two high-performance 3D printers and VR headsets) and a major upgrade to our export marketing website along with a sharp brand refresh.

Several of our products also made an appearance in some exhibitions (virtual and in-person!) over the year. With two of these exhibitions still open, feel free to check out Everyday Australian Design in Shepparton, or the Hong Kong Medtech Design & Development Virtual Pavilion.

While the start of 2022 is a bit different to what we had in mind, we are extremely proud of how our people have supported each other and worked hard for our clients. And we’re excited to launch into another project-packed year helping more clients develop world class products. Even with all the challenges that will come our way knowing how well our team has handled the past two years gives us confidence that 2022 will be even brighter.

Steve, Jack and Warwick

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