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Designers who have developed a strong concept to ignite change in their community, along with a well-conceived and researched plan for execution, are invited to apply for the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award for $10,000 toward implementation of their project.
AIGA Medalist 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 that meets the following broad parameters:
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 nonprofit leaders. Projects will be
evaluated on concept, viability and potential for impact.
The winner will be announced approximately one month after the deadline, at which time monies will be made available.
Applying for the award is a three-part process:
Part 1: Register as a Design Ignites Change participant
Register as a participant at DesignIgnitesChange.org to receive a participant login, which is required for Part 2. It is recommended that you register at least two weeks before the deadline.
Part 2: Post your project’s case study on DesignIgnitesChange.org You will post your project case study on the Design Ignites Change site, using the the login you receive once you become a registered participant.
Part 3: Complete an online applicationAn online application must also be submitted through PitchBurner (requires a separate login) by the deadline. The application system will be available in late spring 2014; in the meantime, we encourage applicants to download a PDF of the application.
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.
Design Ignites Change believes that creativity holds enormous power to spark positive social change. As a collaboration between the Adobe Foundation and Worldstudio, Design Ignites Change 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, the professional association for design, advances design as a
professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the
largest community of design advocates, we bring together practitioners,
enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create the
vision for a collective future. We define global standards and ethical
practices, guide design education, inspire designers and the public,
enhance professional development, and make powerful tools and resources
accessible to all. Learn more at aiga.org/about.
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
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
Creative professionals with a concept that has the potential to ignite positive change were invited to apply for a “Design Ignites Change | AIGA Fellowship,” which provides seed funding and professional guidance. Learn more about the 2013 finalists.
Section: Tools and Resources -
Design for Good, mentoring
AIGA has partnered with The Creative Group (TCG) to create “INitiative,” a national program to help in-house designers make a greater impact at their companies, evolve
professionally and connect with a broader network of peers.
Section: Tools and Resources -
INitiative, in-house design
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