A new view of AIGA


Over the past several years, AIGA has actively worked to transform itself into a more inclusive, member-empowered community, using local chapters, social media and the internet to engage designers of all disciplines in active conversations about the opportunities and challenges of design.

Our 22,000 members have articulated a mandate for AIGA to support relevance and leadership for both the profession and the organization in a rapidly changing, complex world.

Among other activities, we redesigned AIGA.org to encourage members to bring attention to new sources of inspiration and excellence; expanded our social media presence; reinforced the strength of our 66 chapters; provided a vital bridge between practicing designers and the educational community to adapt curricula for the demands of today’s designer; and demonstrated our commitment to being part of design worldwide, in many cultures.

AIGA is pursuing relevance and leadership for designers, while developing ever-increasing opportunities for design professionals. We firmly believe and advocate that design involves engaging head, heart and hand—strategy, social impact and the critical and unique contribution of craft.

As a global community of advocates for design, AIGA is committed to the personal and professional impact of members on design, business, culture and society.

All of these changes require a new view of AIGA, replacing an old perception of a century-old institution that prided itself on expressing an authoritative view of design excellence to a powerful community of many creative, inspired and aspiring designers, expressing strength through a diversity of individual voices. AIGA is not an institution, governed from the top; we are a community capturing energy, inspiration and engagement from every member.


The AIGA experience is not defined by what one member gets from AIGA, what one chapter is able to accomplish in its community, or any single action by a national office. The AIGA experience is the sum of all member, chapter and national efforts. There is One AIGA, building a more robust design community for the future.

Each member benefits from an organization that is more than 22,000 strong. Each is committed to a shared professional ethos and often similar aspirations. The AIGA experience is not limited to a local chapter either. Chapters work together collectively to offer a thousand activities nationwide each year, often more than 100 a month, in and beyond a member’s own community. Thoughtful conversations occur within chapters, particularly from designers in different disciplines. And as a national organization, AIGA creates a larger accessible community that collects these resources and advocates for designers’ interests and needs.

We encourage every member to introduce AIGA to others who can join us in expanding our collective presence to strengthen the future of design. AIGA has never been more accessible, more extensive, more influential… yet it depends on the breadth, diversity and participation of individuals to create a better future for all designers. AIGA is committed to giving every designer a voice, in terms of their own opinions and, collectively, in representing their interests. Now is the time to belong.

About the Author: Richard Grefé is the director emeritus of AIGA, the professional association for design, the oldest and largest professional association of designers in the United States representing the interests of 27,000 designers working in a variety of communication media and dimensions, ranging from type and book designers to new media and experience designers. AIGA, o ver twenty years under Ric’s aegis, has become a leading advocate for the value of designing, as a way of thinking and as a means of creating strategic value for business, the civic realm and social change. Currently he is teaching “Human-centered designn for social change” at Wesleyan University. Ric earned a BA from Dartmouth College in economics, worked in intelligence in Asia, reported from the Bronx County Courthouse for AP, wrote for Time magazine on business and the economy and then earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Following an early career in urban design and public policy consulting, Ric managed the association responsible for strategic planning and legislative advocacy for public television and led a think tank on the future of public television and radio in Washington.