• AIGA archives and special collections

    AIGA Archives Room 640
    AIGA Archives Room. Copyright James Ewing. Courtesy Perkins Eastman, 2015.

    The archives of AIGA serve to identify, preserve, and make available records of enduring value. AIGA's aim is to make conditions suitable for access and to support research that will add to the literature of design and to safeguard its legacy. Help preserve the great work by your design heroes and gifted colleagues; contribute to the AIGA Legacy Fund.

    To pre-schedule an appointment to access the institutional archives at the AIGA HQ in New York City or for more information about the collections at partner repositories, email AIGA's archivist Heather Strelecki or call 212 710 3145.

    The collections

    AIGA Institutional Archives

    The Archives Room (formerly the AdamsMorioka Archives Vault at the AIGA National Design Center on Fifth Avenue), is an invaluable resource to AIGA staff, members, and design scholars. Artifacts from the institutional archives Include works from 1914 to the present, the materials serve as the memory of the organization's extensive history and association with the century's most influential designers.

    More than 1,500 unique items are housed in this archive. The bulk of the collection consists of printed records created by and for AIGA, including: exhibition catalogues and design annuals documenting the selections from AIGA competitions since 1915; newsletters and journals published since 1922; AIGA conference materials produced since 1985; and a flat file for the works of AIGA medalists. The vault complements the online AIGA Design Archives, as well as the physical archives of AIGA design competition entries dating back to 1980, which are housed at the Denver Art Museum.

    For AIGA Medalists, research guides are being compiled to surface related content from articles, books, exhibitions and events, websites and online collections, audio and video. Located beneath each Medalist essay as Additional Resources, they and are available for Milton Glaser, Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar, Herb Lubalin, and Henry Wolf.

    Monday, Thursday, Friday
    11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., by appointment
    Closed on weekends, national holidays, and during the national AIGA Design Conference in October.

    Use of the vault is a benefit of AIGA membership. Nonmembers whose focused research into the history of AIGA, the profession, or design are encouraged to join AIGA so they may also be assisted by this resource.

    AIGA Design Archives

    AIGA Design Archives is one of the richest online resources available to those who practice, study and appreciate great design. It represents the quality of work being created, as well as shifting aesthetics and sensibilities of the designers of the day. Included in this resource are more than 20,000 selections from AIGA's national juried design competitions, held annually and dating from 1924 through the present. In addition, it features special collections of major American design firms and practitioners whose design accomplishments might otherwise not be preserved online or made available to the public. These now include the work of Chermayeff & Geismar (1960–2006), Vignelli Associates (1962–2008), Push Pin Graphic (1960–2005), and Richard Danne (1958–2010).

    The online experience, initially developed and recently redesigned by Second Story Interactive Studios, features easier and deeper searches, faster results, live filtering, improved navigation, new presentation modes and the ability to share inspiration on social networking sites. View all available work, including selections that are housed at the Denver Art Museum, at designarchives.aiga.org.

    AIGA Archives at the Denver Art Museum

    Since 1980, AIGA has produced an annual publication documenting AIGA's activities and competitions. Approximately 12,000 of the physical artifacts selected in its competitions are now a permanent part of the AIGA Archives at the Denver Art Museum, with a dedicated AIGA curator.

    The collection is a celebration across all disciplines of communication design—packaging, corporate communications, brand and identity systems, typography, editorial design and illustration, and experience design, among others. It also includes a broad range of materials including: bound and unbound paper-based objects, metal, textiles, glass, plastic, multimedia, electronic media, and food- and toiletry-based packaging. The materials reflect major design trends as well as many of the most renowned designers within the United States from 1980–2012. The physical objects are utilized by the Denver Art Museum as an exhibiting collection and serve to educate future generations on the antecedents and evolution of this confluence of art and commerce.

    AIGA National Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum from Charles R. Carpenter (Vimeo).

    Butler Library's Rare Book and Manuscript Library

    A collection of more than 4,000 books dating back to 1923 is housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library within Columbia University's Butler Library, in New York. These books were selected from AIGA's longest running competition, “Fifty Books of the Year,” now known as “AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers” and are available for research. Access restrictions may apply.

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