AIGA executive director on coin design competition

The U.S. Mint Is inviting designers to participate in a competition to design a commemorative silver dollar.

We share this information with reservation. On the one hand, members have frequently encouraged AIGA to advocate opening up the opportunities for professionals to design currency and coinage. On the other hand, this is a spec competition. Typically, AIGA makes a strong case against spec work competitions and actually prevails in many cases, including once one that was a partnership between the White House and NEA.

Usually we are successful when we get the regulations or procedures changed with staff in a government agency. In this case, the process is documented in law and while interest in a commemorative coin can launch legislation, a profession’s concern over the design selection process quite certainly is not going to drive Congress to change the law.

So, while AIGA’s position on spec work does not change, we are sharing this announcement as information.

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.