AIGA Innovate

What does it mean to be truly innovative? We believe designers have a unique capacity to be agents of change. Together we, as the collective voice of design have an extraordinary pool of talent to draw from as we look to the future and aim to continually optimize our membership engagement while offering leadership opportunities. As designers, our members solve the world’s problems all day, and so it stands to reason that these talented creatives are the perfect people to help shape AIGA’s future and relevance in the world. 

AIGA Innovate is a four-year long fund with up to $250,000 to be awarded each year. Established in 2015, it aims to support and empower members and chapters in a whole new way. We recognize that this program is an exchange platform through which we can learn about our membership improve the sustainability and leadership challenges of our chapters, and the relationship of designers to their respective communities.

Application period 

The AIGA Innovate application period is now closed.


Download and read the information packet

Read this updated informational PDF for AIGA Innovate 2017: in it, you'll find additional details like application information, funding criteria, selection processes, deadlines, and more.


High standards for approval

Proposed projects must:

  • Align with the mission and direction of AIGA
  • Illustrate one or more of AIGA's core values (design excellence, leadership, equity, and impact, with an emphasis on categories: leadership and social impact)
  • Be developed in collaboration with a chapter's board of directors–a project ccannot be submitted by an individual member without the endorsement of the board
  • Meet a concrete, specific need in the community and identify a partner with whom you can develop this project, such as a nonprofit community association, a civic entity, a school, or expert resource.
  • Offer effective tools, resources, platforms, and strategies to facilitate active memebr participationand civic engagement at large
  • Be innovative: provoke new thinking about the practice, education, or understanding of design, demonstrate inspiraiton, and model new ways to engage designers in their communities
  • Your project must be executable and sustainable within proposed resources.
  • Consider the need for the impact of your project to serve both the variety of constituencies of AIGA members and to encourage participation among underrepresented groups.

Who can apply?

  • All applications must be submitted with the approval and participation of your local AIGA chapter board and the signature of your chapter president. AIGA Innovate grants are awarded to chapters, not to individual members.
  • Any individual leading a project and submitting on behalf of their chapter must 1) be a current AIGA member and 2) develop the application in collaboration with their AIGA chapter

Note: AIGA Innovate grants are not a stipend for individual chapter activity or one-time special events. Instead, this fund should be considered an opportunity for additional means to prototype an exciting new project for the wider organization.

Selection committee 2017

An eight-person selection committee, made up of past and incoming presidents council chairs and members-at-large, evaluate applications in both rounds. Once the committee selects proposals for funding, it is reviewed by the AIGA executive director, who grants final approval. Learn more about the selection committee.

Congratulations to projects funded in 2016!

  • YouLaunchIt: Design Business Toolkit, AIGA Baltimore: is a business resource knowledge base with the creative entrepreneur in mind. Here you will find articles, tutorial videos, general resources, and other business content to help designers start their own business.
  • Policy Designed: Design Legislation Map, AIGA Baltimore:We believe that design has the power to shape communities. Whether you’re in a classroom, a courtroom, or a basement; design can have an impact on the accessibility, creativity, and effectiveness of the world around you.
  • PARALLEL: Empowering the Underserved DesignKit, AIGA Arizona:This will expose underserved high school students, starting with an initial target audience of Navajo and Hopi cultures in Arizona, to the field of design with an engaging multi-player game, called “Parallel—Game of Design.” 

    It will allow for the students to be introduced to concepts of design and design thinking through basic principles, encourage students to actively work in a group setting to solve design-related issues within their own communities, and provide access to design materials, where they are typically limited. 

    As an end result, the game, “Parallel—Game of Design,” can be exchanged between AIGA Chapters, or potentially sent out to all Chapters all at once.

Keep an eye on this page for updates on these projects as they progress this year.

Projects funded in 2015

Learn more about the exciting projects funded in 2015 to get a better sense of what types of projects AIGA Innovate supports. And check back for regular updates as those projects roll out throughout the year.


Make sure to read the updated informational packet in full, and review the AIGA Innovate FAQ's page. If you still have questions, email innovate [at]—we're here to help.