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is AIGA’s initiative to encourage members and chapters to become involved with
local schools and school districts to improve understanding of design practices
among young people, and to encourage the use of these practices as problem-solving
As with all AIGA activities, DesignEd is driven and
sustained by passionate volunteers. The initiative will take many forms, from
mentoring programs that engage with students after school to formal curriculum
development efforts. DesignEd will complement the work being done in this area
by many others, including IDEO; Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; INDEX:
Design to Improve Life; and the Creative Education Academies Trust. AIGA is not
endorsing any particular program; instead, it is encouraging the community of
designers to find ways to offer meaningful design experiences to elementary and
secondary students, and to share relevant knowledge, resources and ideas with
With that in mind, DesignEd K12 programs seek to:
Many of AIGA’s 60-plus chapters are involved in projects to
introduce creative studies in schools and after-school programs. A number of
chapters currently offer mentoring programs for secondary school students who
have already discovered a passion for design. These projects represent points
on a wide spectrum of activities focused on education, professional development
and public awareness.
AIGA supports learning for “kids” of all ages! For college
students, AIGA offers membership in student groups, which provide
access to information about the design profession, informal networking
opportunities and resources to help young professional designers with the
issues they face.
At the same time, AIGA works with college-level design
educators through the Design Educators
Community to address curriculum challenges and offer design education
conferences and workshops.
For emerging designers, AIGA offers training in design tools
and practices through its partnerships with companies like Adobe, Aquent and
lynda.com. A full list of AIGA benefits and training opportunities is available online.
AIGA also offers professional development
opportunities for designers across the arc of their careers, including programs
that help designers develop their leadership skills, business strategy and business
Through all of these efforts, AIGA aims to strengthen
designers’ relevance in a rapidly changing world and bring design to the
forefront of public awareness.
Richard Grefé is the executive director of AIGA, the professional association for design. While guiding all of AIGA’s activities, his most significant contributions are in strategy, formulating new initiatives to enhance the competitive success of designers
and advocating the value of design to business, government and the public.
Through AIGA, the professional
association for design, educators have opportunities to learn new
skills, develop design curriculum, get advice on
pressing questions and hear insights from peers.
Section: Tools and Resources -
education, design educators
Earlier this year, several board committees were formed to ensure that AIGA is launching its second century as a “sound, accountable, focused and relevant organization.” Read the update from two committees that examined the way AIGA is governed and organized, and whether financial practices are adequate for oversight and accountability.
In 2014 AIGA turns 100. AIGA is celebrating this moment by looking forward toward inspiration, relevance, leadership and opportunity for every designer in the decades ahead.
Ross Van Balen
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