Designs relate to the visual appearance of an article, not how the article works. The article itself need not be new, only the design. To be validly registered a design must be new and distinctive. Thus, for example, a new telephone design is registrable. The maximum life of a design registration is 10 years from the filing date.

A single design application may be made for multiple designs. However the fee structure of the Designs Act does not encourage the filing of multiple designs in a single application and in most circumstances separate applications are appropriate. Conceptually a design is distinct form the article to which it is applied. A single design may be applied to multiple articles and a design may be protected in a single registration in respect of multiple articles.