Professional designers that have developed a strong project concept to ignite change in their community are eligible to apply for the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award for $10,000 toward the implementation of their project.
Sylvia Harris (1953–2011) is widely recognized as a pioneer, a generous mentor and a vital inspiration to the field of social impact design. In that spirit, the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award has been established to honor her legacy by supporting other vanguards dedicated to public design.
Professional designers may apply with a thoroughly developed project idea that meets the following broad parameters:
The 2015 application is now closed. Please stay tuned for updates and for the 2016 application when it becomes available in late spring 2016.
2015: The Gma Village
Led by Maggie Ollove, a graduate of Parsons’ MFA Transdisciplinary Design program, Catalina Garcia, formerly a partner and creative director for a New York City design consultancy, and Johnna Flood, who has worked in the social sector engaging with communities to create and redesign programs, the Gma Village team proposes a childcare service for low-income families that leverages the invaluable community resources of grandmothers to build a network of trained, trusted, and beloved local providers.
2014: Corbin Hill Food Project
Led by Francis Carter, a graduate of Parsons’ MFA Transdisciplinary Design masters program, the project aims to supply fresh vegetables and fruit where they are needed most, in urban areas, and expand the Food Project’s produce delivery capacity through the deployment of refrigerated cases, acting as pop-up farm stands in communities where the Project is already embedded.
The Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award is for practicing professionals from all design disciplines (graphic, product, architecture, interior, interactive,
service design, etc.). Applicants must have a minimum of one year of professional design experience. Applicants must be based in the United States and the
projects must be implemented in the United States in their own community or in a community in which they are deeply embedded.
All Award applications will be reviewed by an independent committee of creative professionals, business, civic and non-profit leaders. Projects will be evaluated on concept, viability, and potential for impact.
Part 1: Complete an online application
Who: All applicants
Part 2: Finalists selected
Who: All applicants notified
Part 3: Final jury and finalists pitch
If your project is selected as a finalist, you will video conference with the jury to make a brief pitch and answer questions the jury may have. You or a representative from your project must be available on that day with access to a computer that has video conferencing capability. You may be asked to prepare additional material prior to the video conference.
Part 4: Finalist selected
Who: Finalists are notified
Funding will be made available as a lump sum to the selected project by the end of October.
The following parameters and restrictions apply:
Over her twenty-five year career, Sylvia Harris championed “good design for the common good,” tirelessly promoting accessible communications for mass audiences. As founder and principal of Citizen Research & Design, she consulted for the nation’s largest hospitals, universities, and civic agencies on strategic design planning, public policy development and innovation management.
Her career highlights included serving as creative director of the 2000 National Census for the U.S. Census Bureau; an appointment to the U.S. Postal Service Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee; advisor for Design Trust for Public Space, the African Burial Ground and AIGA Design for Democracy; educator at Yale University, The School of Visual Arts and The Cooper Union; and co-founder of the firm Two Twelve Associates.
Sylvia was a founder of the nonprofit Public Policy Lab, which is dedicated to improving public services and empowering Americans through design and policy. She established the Citizen Designer movement shortly before her untimely death in 2011, and will be honored posthumously with a 2014 AIGA Medal.
We believe that creativity holds enormous power to spark positive social change. Design Ignites Change, a Worldstudio social initiative, supports creative professionals and students who use design thinking–the combination of unleashed creativity and executable actions–to improve the lives of individuals and communities.
Sylvia Harris was recognized with a 2014 AIGA Medal for an unerring commitment to using design to improve the civic experience and for influencing a generation of designers as a teacher and mentor.
Section: Inspiration -
AIGA Medal, branding, design research, editorial design, environmental design, government, graphic design, nonprofit, user research, culture, election design, social issues, social responsibility, sustainability, Womens Leadership
Sylvia Harris was recognized with the AIGA Medal
for an unerring commitment to using design to improve the civic
experience and for influencing a generation of designers as a teacher
Section: Inspiration -
AIGA Medal, interview, awards
A movement to ignite, accelerate and amplify design-driven social change
Design for Good is a platform to build and sustain the implementation
of design thinking for social change.
Section: Tools and Resources -
pro bono, social issues
AIGA’s chapters allow our members to form powerful social and
professional bonds through conferences, competitions, lectures and
Section: About AIGA -
Learn more about AIGA’s national conferences and events, and access videos from select conferences and awards events.
Section: Events and Competitions -
Conference , Event
Kenneth Carbone and Leslie Smolan
Remembering Mike Hicks | DJ Stout
July 29, 2016
BMORE Inspired at Station North Arts District
July 26, 2016
Two AIGA Innovate Awards Granted to AIGA Baltimore
July 22, 2016
Presenting the AIGA Arizona Board of Director Nominees for 2016-2017
July 13, 2016
Design DirectorTurner Duckworth
New York, New YorkJune 20 2016
Le Musée grandit (The Museum is growing)