Are you a citizen designer?

What can we as citizen designers do, nationally or in our own backyards, to create the optimism and energy that will help us make a difference?

Established in 1998, AIGA Design for Democracy applies design tools and thinking to increase civic participation. Independent, pragmatic, and committed to the public good, Design for Democracy collaborates with researchers, designers, and policy-makers in service of public sector clients and AIGA’s goal of “demonstrating the value of design by doing valuable things.”

We activated our communities for the past presidential election, now let’s keep the momentum going for the upcoming congressional election in November 2018.

Thanks to the NEA, we will be partnering with the League of Women Voters to create communications and engagement tools that will help citizens prepare and take action to vote. If you would like to be alerted about opportunities to participate in our Design for Democracy program and get updates please sign up for Design for Good email alerts here.

Under the Design for Good umbrella we’ll be re-launching a new case study template that continues the tradition of collecting success stories of projects that use design to drive civic engagement. A new, user-friendly editorial template will be downloadable for members—available February 2017.

Here’s your opportunity to leverage your skills and passions as designers to model engaged citizenship. Our chapters are leading the way: in late January, AIGA New York chapter introduced the Citizen Designer Now! initiative, while the Philadelphia chapter launched Design2Unite, a similar call for action that celebrates inclusion.

Here are additional resources to help you get started:

Books

Citizen Designer, Allworth Press, Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne*
Design for Democracy: Election and Ballot Design, The University of Chicago Press, Marcia Lausen*
Just Design: Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes, Christopher Simmons*
Leading Public Sector Innovation: Co-creating for a Better Society, Christian Bason
LEAP Dialogues, Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation, Designmattters, Art Center College of Art, Mariana Amatullo*

Tools/platforms

Cities of Service
Creative Reaction Lab*
Epic and Community Design Collaborative
GovLab
Center for Urban Pedagogy
Measure of America

Video/other inspiration

Social Innovation 101, AIGA Design for Good, Mark Randall*
Stars and Stripes video from Kit Hinrich's flag collection*
Marcia Lausen on Design for Democracy*

As President Obama said in his farewell address: “The Constitution is just a piece of parchment. We the people give the constitution power, with the choices that we make.” So please join AIGA and continue to be inspired and use your voices as both citizens and designers.

*Created by AIGA members

About the Author: I serve as the Executive Director for AIGA, the professional association for design. My career has been focused on creating remarkable results through imbedding design and innovation in large and small organizations as a hands-on executive, strategist, catalyst/audience builder, educator and facilitator of enterprise change. Remarkable is a high bar and it's the only one that interests me!