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.
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
An online application must be submitted through Openwater application system by August 3. Stay tuned for the live application, coming soon!
Part 2: Finalists selected
Who: All applicants notified
On or around September 11, 2015, applicants will be notified if they are finalists or not.
Part 3: Final jury and finalists pitch
If your project is selected as a finalist, you will video conference with the jury when they meet on October 1, 2015 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
Finalists will be notified of the selected project the week of October 5, 2015.
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.
AIGA is the professional association for design, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA today serves more than 25,000 members through 69 chapters and 200 student groups throughout the United States. AIGA stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers.
If you still have questions after reviewing this page, please contact Ansley Whipple.
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, Womens Leadership, branding, design research, editorial design, environmental design, government, graphic design, nonprofit, user research, culture, election design, social issues, social responsibility, sustainability
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
A collaboration between a design firm, a real estate firm and an architectural firm yields a new model for designing and building
accessible homes on U.S. military installations.
Section: Why Design -
Competition, Design for Good, Justified, architecture, environmental design, experience design, social responsibility
As a mother of two and a full-time art director at Savage, I regularly battle the ups and downs of being a mom in a designer’s world. Although it can be overwhelming at times, it can also be highly rewarding. As everyone handles the balance in their own way, I’ve assembled some thoughts and advice for creative working mothers.
Section: Tools and Resources
Your online portfolio is a showcase of your current design ability, packaged and presented in best light possible. You’ve worked hard on it, shown it to friends and mentors for feedback, and polished it some more. Problem is, so has every one else.
Section: Inspiration -
Design Job Series, career, graphic design, web design, advice, pro bono, students
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