Design Educators Community

The AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC) was established in 2004 to support the unique activities and responsibilities of the design educator at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels in a wide variety of institutional settings. The goals of this community are to facilitate communication among design educators; create, foster and promote dialogue; produce design education events such as conferences and competitions; present current research and teaching methods; establish standards for design education; differentiate between design’s various subdisciplines; raise the level of design-driven thinking in schools across the country; and communicate the value of design education to the larger profession.

Subjects of interest to this community span teaching, research and service. They include curriculum and program development, design theory and history, methodology, typography, usability research, and the social roles of designers, as well as tenure, promotion, teaching standards and school accreditation.

To learn more about the DEC and how you can get involved, visit

Past DEC conferences

Connecting DotsConnecting Dots: Research, Education, Practice
On March 14-15, 2014, attendees participated in panels, roundtable discussions and other learning activities to explore the research ideas, ideals and practices of design educators and professionals. This conference was held at the University of Cincinnati School of Design in Cincinnati, OH.
New VenturesNew Ventures: Interactions in Design Education
The purpose of this conference, held in Portland, OR on September 11-13, 2014, was to propel design educators and students to rethink what types of experiences best serve a design education in the 21st century. From the creation of new types of graduate programs to the physical creation of design think tanks and venture accelerator programs on campuses, a new landscape of collaboration, intersection and adventure is quickly emerging.
Spaces of LearningSpaces of Learning: AIGA Design Educators Conference
The conference explored the idea that graphic design education is rapidly evolving: the social spaces we work in, and the practices of teaching and learning we engage with, are themselves mediated by larger contexts of social, cultural, political and technological change.
Blunt conference 75Blunt: Explicit and Graphic Design Criticism Now
In April 2013, the AIGA Design Educators Community met in Norfolk, Virginia for "Blunt: Explicit and Graphic Design Criticism Now" to address the discourse of criticism in design, critique aspects of graphic design practice, and present or propose methods of critical thought.
GeographicsGeographics: AIGA Design Educators Conference
In December 2012, the AIGA Design Educators Community met in Honolulu, Hawaii for "Geographics: design, education and the transnational terrain" to share examples of transnational design programs, research, and projects.
DEC conference 2010 thumbNew Contexts/New Practices
At the 2010 Design Educators Conference held at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, participants worked to generate and publish ideas about how design education will address the defining trends of contemporary practice and culture. Read the articles.
In 2010 at the AIGA Design Educators Conference in Toldedo, Ohio, attendees participated in ongoing dialogue and debate about design ethics, sustainability and design education. Speakers: Rick Poynor, Nathan Shedroff, Barbara Sudick, Robyn Waxman, Rick Valicenti.
Future History 3Future History 3
Design educators gathered in Chicago in 2009 to explore current and future curricular challenges and innovations. Speakers: Sol Sender, Scott Thomas, Carol Coletta, Meredith Davis, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Gerard Hadders and Ewan Lentjes, Kenya Hara. Keynote speaker: W.J.T. Mitchell.
Social StudiesSocial Studies: Educating Designers in a Connected World
From October 17–19, 2008, in Baltimore, this AIGA design educators conference addressed the social life of design.
Massaging Media 2Massaging Media 2: Graphic Design Education in the Age of Dynamic Media
On April 4–6, 2008, in Boston, diverse presenters and attendees explored how design education is being affected by dynamic media.
Held May 31–June 2, 2007, in Nashville, “Intent/Content” focused on discovery, integration, application and teaching.
Schools of Thought 3Schools of Thoughts 3
On March 9–11, 2007, at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, educators took on the dramatically changing terrain of graphic design.


To learn more about upcoming DEC conferences, visit