What do registration fees cover and how are they set?
The registration fee for participants includes attendance at all conference general session presentations and the opening reception. Continental breakfast and light refreshment breaks will be provided; lunch and dinner are on your own. The fees are set to make the experience both memorable and affordable. Typically the per-person cost of putting on the conference is about three times the registration fee.
Can we get a discount for group registrations?
At this time, there are no discounted group rates for the AIGA Design Conference.
How do you select speakers for the conference?
When the Design Conference originated 30 years ago, the gathering was an opportunity to bring together people who were passionate about design to share ideas. Over time we have drawn further afield in seeking speakers who are inspirational, informative, and provocative.
Each year, the AIGA community helps to curate the program for AIGA’s conference. AIGA invites members, nonmembers, chapter leaders, and other concerned parties to contribute suggestions to program through an open call for topics and speaker recommendations. The affinity session presentations are programmed by a group of curators and leaders from AIGA's communities of interest.
Except in highly unusual cases, we have not paid speaking fees. We also try to avoid any presentations that will be self-promotional or promote a specific product. Unlike some professional conferences, we do not offer opportunities for presentations that do not fit into the main theme of the conference as determined by the conference chair. This policy is followed in order to be able to manage the experience and value we offer all participants.
Can I buy a one-day pass to the conference?
AIGA offers only full-conference registration to its events. The experience and the pricing for the conference are based on participants attending the entire conference. Based on experience, we have determined that it is neither economically nor administratively feasible for our small staff to offer partial registrations and to oversee compliance. As such, it would be unfair to those paying full registration to allow those purchasing a partial registration to experience the full conference by violating the intent of a partial registration.
Do you offer any comp registrations?
We do not offer complimentary registrations to anyone, including board members and chapter leadership. This policy is based on a firm commitment to equity and fairness. We respect our customers who pay for the conference and will not violate their trust.
Is video of speakers from AIGA conferences available?
To share the content from the conference with a wider audience and allow attendees to relive the experience, AIGA will make every effort to post video of all the main stage presentations on the AIGA website. Additionally, be sure to follow along as AIGA live-tweets all mainstage presentations from our Twitter handle (@AIGAdesign), as well as covers the entire conference in real time on Facebook (/AIGAdesign) and Instagram (@AIGAdesign).
Am I eligible for the student rate?
The student rate is available to AIGA members who identify as students in the AIGA design community. The rate is determined by your current membership status.
What is AIGA's annual design competition this year?
AIGA's annual design competition is now "Cased: Case Studies for the AIGA Design Archives."
What happened to "Justified"?
"Justified" was AIGA's annual design competition from 2012-2014. "Cased" continues to demonstrate the collective success and impact of the design profession by celebrating case studies of the best in contemporary design.
When will the next call for entries be announced?
"Cased" is now currently closed for 2015 entries. The next call for entries will be announced by December 2015, for submission in January 2016.
Are there additional fees for Round 2?
No. There are no additional fees for Round 2.
When is the deadline for Round 2?
Round 2 must be completed by July 31 to be considered in the next round of judging. You are encouraged to submit your entries before 5:00 p.m. Eastern. The online system will be open until midnight your time. Office hours for support are 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Eastern (Monday-Friday).
When will the final selections be announced?
The "Cased" jury will make final selections in September 2015. Notification letters will be sent by late October. A public announcement will be made in early December.
Do entries need to be mailed?
Do not send physical entries to AIGA. The jury will review entries through the images and descriptions submitted online.
In order to receive the AIGA member rate for competitions, memberships must be active and in good standing before you enter. Rates cannot be adjusted after your work is entered.
If you are submitting entries on the behalf of someone else, be sure you collect his or her AIGA credentials before your begin.
If I submitted my work last year and was not selected, can I enter it again this year?
Yes. If you previously entered a project in last year's competition and it was not selected, you may enter again as long as it meets eligibility requirements.
What are the prizes?
Honorees will be featured prominently on AIGA.org, celebrated across AIGA's branded platforms, including social media, and affiliated with the prestigious AIGA Design Archives.
My work doesn’t fit neatly into any of the disciplines, what do I do?
We understand that an entry might cross over several disciplines. You may select more than one. Please select the one(s) that most accurately fit your design project. Judges have the right to reclassify entries from one discipline to another or to select only components of a submission for honors. (The discipline is for informational purposes only to give the judges an understanding of the project they are viewing on the screen and described in the narrative.)
Which category should I select?
The category you select will provide context for the jury as they view the entries on screen. However, the jury will not prioritize category but rather the role the designer(s) assumes and the impact of the work. This approach is meant to encourage and inspire designers to think beyond categories, make the competition more open and help broaden the definition of the profession.
What is "the primary role of the designer in the project"?
In response to last year's jury, projects will be viewed with the role the designer assumes in mind. There are several options to pick from: Designer as activist, Designer as brand steward, Designer as craftsman, Designer as change agent, Designer as entrepreneur, Designer as author. If the options available don't describe the role of the designer for your project, you may select other.
Why does the system say I have exceed the word limit when Word says I am within my limit?
The system is counting characters to determine the word limit. We take into account six characters per word, including spaces. Please check your word and character limit in Word before pasting your text into the awards system fields. We are unable to accommodate longer responses, so please edit your responses for length.
Should I include the credit and caption in the layout of the image file? Or will there be a separate field to enter it?
Do not include the caption and credit in the layout of the actual image file. For each image uploaded, there will be a separate field for caption and credits.
Is the budget required?
You are strongly encouraged to include budget and finance information. As a tool for learning, cases will be most useful if there is budget information. You may select the range that best matches the budget for your project.
My images won’t upload. What's wrong?
Make sure credits and captions are included for each image. Check to see all image specs are met: 640 pixels wide (height variable), 72 dpi. File size not to exceed 500 KB. Save JPG images at maximum quality (with least compression). JPG, GIF or PNG file formats are accepted in RGB.
What are the minimum and maximum number of images required to illustrate our story?
Although the minimum number of images required to illustrate your story is only one, we recommend uploading at least four. This is the only visual representation of your work for the judges to review. If your work is selected, these images will be used to create an image gallery to accompany your case study. The maximum number of images is 12.
What should be put in the Image Credit field?
For image credits, we are looking for photographer credits: “Image courtesy of _______.”
What is placemaking design?
The categories for the “Cased” competition include a range of design disciplines. “Placemaking design” is used to describe design for public spaces/urban and community development. An example might be “Pavement to Parks.”
How do I submit a website with my case study?
Websites are optional. They are not required for judging. To submit one, please include the direct URL for the website in the “Project images and video” section plus upload three or more screenshots from the website in the "Project images and video" section of the online form.
All supplemental support for your case study must launch within an offline browser. Keep in mind that if your entry is selected, we may link to the website from the published case study. If the website will not be available for future viewing, you may also want to include a link to a video showing the website in use.
How can I submit a PDF with my case study?
In the description field, you may include a link to the page where the PDF lives. Be sure to upload screenshots that best represent your work.
How do I submit a video with my case study?
Videos are optional. They are not required for judging. If you have produced a video or reels to support your case study, then by all means submit it! All supplemental support for your case study must launch within an offline browser. Judges will only be able to review work online, so please add the direct URL in the Video section under “Project images and video.” You may also want to include a screenshot as an image for the image gallery.
How long should a video be?
Videos are optional. They are not required for judging. If you would like to supplement your entry with video, it should be no longer than three minutes. Examples AIGA members and entrants have shared include: “Uniqlo 'Storms' Pinterest” (length 2:17) and “buildOn” (length 2:10).
How do I submit an app or a game with my case study?
Apps and games are optional. They are not required for judging. All digital media projects must launch within an offline browser. For mobile or tablet apps, we suggest providing a download link for the app (the jury will not be able to purchase it), as well as a direct URL to a video showing the app in use and explaining its features. Keep in mind that if your entry is selected, we may link to the website from the published case study.
How will the judges understand my grand vision?
For large scale projects (i.e., themed environments, trade shows and exhibitions), case studies can be illustrated with still images. If the project involves moving or electronic components you may elect to add a video to your submission that will launch within an offline browser.
What will the jury consider when reviewing entries?
The criteria for judging include:
- Strength of concept or idea
- Success of formal execution, aesthetics
- Description of outcomes: project effectiveness and measures
- Impact (based upon The Living Principles criteria of Culture, Economy, Environment and People)
- Process or methodology used
Reference the Living Principles scorecard to self-evaluate your work.
How will the work be judged?
There will be multiple rounds of judging for "Cased." During Rounds 1 and 2, the work will be reviewed online by jurors independently. Entries that are promoted through Rounds 1 and 2 make the final round, in which all jurors review the semi-finalists as a group in-person in New York City to make the final selections.
Will selections be published?
Yes, AIGA will publish selected case studies on AIGA.org. By entering “Cased: Case Studies for the AIGA Design Archive” you also grant permission for AIGA to reproduce images and descriptions of selected case studies in competitions-related publications; on its website(s); in any ensuing exhibition of the competitions’ selections; and for educational and AIGA-related promotional purposes. Notifications will be sent in late October. Honorees will be announced in early December. View selections from past competitions on AIGA.org: 2012 selections, 2013 selections, 2014 selections.
The project I want to submit was done in very limited quantities/was very expensive. What are my options?
No physical entries need to be submitted for “Cased" so you are encouraged to enter your work online. The jury will review the images and descriptions you submit online. Please upload images that best represent your project.
Will there be a “365 | Design Effectiveness” competition this year?
No. You may enter your project in “Cased,” which represents the next generation of AIGA’s competitions.
Will there be a “50 Books/50 Covers” competition this year?
“Cased” represents the next generation of AIGA’s competitions. A partnership with Design Observer gives you the opportunity to nominate a book for consideration in this year’s "50 Books/50 Covers" competition.
Can I submit the same projects in both “Cased” and “50 Books/50 Covers” for this year?
Yes! You are encouraged to enter your work in both competitions.
Still have questions?
For further information or questions, please contact the competitions team.
Does AIGA publish a salary survey?
AIGA no longer publishes a print version of the salary survey. To view the most recent survey results, please visit designsalaries.org. Results from past AIGA Salary Surveys are available on the AIGA website.
Did you publish a printed version of the AIGA Member Directory this year?
The online directory of designers is searchable by name, company and geographic location, and is always up-to-date.
Can I reprint an article from the aiga.org website on another website?
AIGA encourages the distribution of AIGA-produced web content on other sites, as long as the purposes are in line with our education and advocacy mission. If your intent is non-commercial and educational, you do not need to submit a request. However, make sure to credit the author (if applicable) and include the following information:
First published by AIGA, the professional association for design. www.aiga.org
Otherwise, please submit a request in writing explaining what you would like to republish and for what purpose.
Still have questions about publications? Contact our managing editor.
AIGA relies on member volunteers to accomplish many activities throughout the year. There are two ways to volunteer with the national organization:
Volunteer your time
Each AIGA chapter, as an independently chartered organization, sets its own policies regarding volunteering for local events. AIGA provides guidelines to help shape these chapter policies.
For larger events run by the national staff of AIGA, such as the biennial design conference, the following guidelines apply:
- All volunteers must be current AIGA members at the time of the event.
- First right of refusal is given to volunteers who have successfully served at a national event in the past.
- The next order preference is given to members of the local AIGA chapter where the event is being held.
- All other members interested in volunteering for an upcoming event should contact the volunteer coordinator.
Volunteer your design services
AIGA's policy is to always provide an honorarium for design projects as compensation. While we realize it is not set at market rates, it recognizes that no design should be expected without compensation. Volunteer designers are usually not required to do work up front for free before a contract or project begins. Each designer knows explicitly beforehand the terms we are able to offer, which is meant as our demonstration that every designer's work has significant value, knowing that there are both monetary and non-monetary considerations in any project.
Conferences and events
AIGA works with designers and firms to create promotional materials including posters, event programs, event web sites, etc. Designers typically send us a portfolio of their past work, then have the opportunity to review a design brief and accept or decline the project. At that time, a contract is executed with a commitment to an honorarium, after which work on the project begins. Implementation, such as printing costs, postage and paper, are covered by AIGA and/or an interested sponsor.
The guidelines are as follows:
- Preference is given to current AIGA members and AIGA student groups.
- Groups of volunteers may work together on a project if the majority are current AIGA members.
- To be considered, you must submit a proposal with a link to your online portfolio.
- A design brief, including honorarium amount, will be provided for consideration before any work commences.
If you're interested in volunteering your design services for an event, submit a proposal to AIGA’s volunteer coordinator.
Can you send me a course listing for AIGA?
AIGA is a professional association, serving its members and promoting the value of design to the business community and the general public. It neither offers courses in design nor makes recommendations of selected programs. Nationally, each chapter's lecture series may address programs and creative practices, but they are not offered as courses.
AIGA does offer a comprehensive resource for those interested in a career in design. AIGA Career and Education Guide is intended to help the individual make decisions about preparing for a career in design. It defines the purpose and practice of the field and identifies the strong links between effective educational programs and effective professional practice. Suggestions are made to help the individual evaluate schools and potential employers.
What are the top 20 graphic design schools in the U.S.?
AIGA is a professional association, serving its members and promoting the value of graphic design to the business community and the general public. We do not rank graphic design programs or schools.
Can AIGA help find a design graduate a job?
AIGA's website offers Design Jobs, a national career and recruitment center. AIGA members may post a job seeker profile, and anyone may post a job listing.
Do you sponsor a student competition? Do you know of any national student competitions coming up soon?
The AIGA national competitions do not include a category for student work. The main reason for this is that the selected entries from these competitions become traveling exhibitions, and we need multiple copies of each selection, which are not available if the work hasn't been produced, as is generally the case with student work.
Some AIGA chapters have competitions at a local level, and many of them include a category for student work. Please contact your local AIGA chapter for more information.
Publications like How and Print have sections in their annual reviews for student work as well. You can contact them for deadlines and additional information. Also, there's a catalog of both national and international competitions called “Awards, Honors and Prizes,” by Gale Publishing. You can find it in the reference section of libraries. They have a dedicated section on design competitions.
Does AIGA offer any scholarships?
AIGA and Worldstudio offer Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships to allow young people from minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to not only to realize their artistic dreams, but also to give back to their communities.
I'm looking for a summer internship. Any hints on how to start my search?
We encourage students to list themselves in the job seekers section Design Jobs with a “seeking status” of Internship. Likewise, we are encouraging firms to list their internship opportunities.
You should also contact local colleges and universities to determine if they have internship placements. Another good way of proceeding is to review past AIGA annuals to identify designers whose work you admire and write to them. You can also contact the National Network for Artist Placement and ask for a copy of The National Directory of Artist Internships. This publication identifies art internships for emerging artists in various fields, including graphic design. The directory is distributed to over 2,000 colleges, university career centers, and libraries and is useful for graduating arts students. Contact: NNAP, National Network for Artist Placement, 935 West Avenue 37, Los Angeles, CA 90065. 213 222-4035
What is the AIGA student medallion?
The AIGA Medallion for Design Excellence was awarded in recent years in recognition of distinguished achievement by a student in graphic design. The individual receiving the award has exhibited outstanding creativity, innovation, achievement or leadership, and dedication to the profession of design.
AIGA awarded this medallion to encourage national awareness and recognition of the contributions of design students to the future of graphic design. AIGA worked with a small number of schools in the late 1990s. The program is currently in hiatus.
AIGA welcomes the sharing of comments that further the discussion of content on AIGA.org, but we urge you to be mindful of these policies.
- Comments on the AIGA website are moderated. If you are an AIGA member or registered site user under a verified name, your comments will be published without delay. Otherwise, you must wait until the site administrator has reviewed and approved your comments before they will be published.
- Please try to keep your comments concise, informative, respectful and relevant to the topic at hand. Try to refrain from generic comments (e.g., “Nice article,” “Thanks for posting,” “This sucks,” etc.). You've got the floor, so to speak, so we hope you'll use it to say something useful.
- While we will not enforce it, we hope you will also use your full name when posting, as it fosters more open and thoughtful communication with others.
- If you submit comments under an anonymous or false identity, the AIGA site administrator may refuse to publish it for any reason.
- While we seek to create an open forum that is inclusive and diverse in its ideas and expressions, we will not tolerate malicious, obscene, racist, sexist, abusive or otherwise offensive language on AIGA's pages. AIGA may delete any post deemed inappropriate without warning. In the case of repeated offenses, AIGA may terminate your posting privileges.
- While it isn't something we would regularly opt to do, in certain cases your post may be edited. If you are a registered user and have provided a contact email, you will be notified first of any changes to your comments.
- The AIGA forum is for non-commercial purposes only. Therefore, comments intended to solicit funds, advertising or services may be refused, altered and/or deleted from the site. (Knock-off handbag sellers, be warned.)
- You may not post, upload or transmit any software or other material that contains a virus or other harmful code or device. You may not use the AIGA website to distribute chain letters, mass mailings or SPAM or to gather email addresses for the purpose of sending SPAM to other users of the AIGA site.
- By posting, uploading or transmitting any material on or through AIGA's website, you hereby grant AIGA a non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide license to use that material in all media, whether or not now known.
- AIGA is not responsible for verifying the accuracy of statements submitted by users in the comment sections.
What is an RSS or XML feed?
“RSS” stands for Really Simple Syndication, which has become a standard for publishing updates to web content-as the name implies, it's simpler than visiting a website to find out what's new. With RSS (also called XML feeds), you can subscribe to a feed that notifies you when articles, videos and other types of content are updated.
How do I read my RSS feeds?
You could download a news reader application (or aggregator), use one built into your web browser or use a web-based service. Subscribing to a feed is usually as simple as copying and pasting the URL.
AIGA provides an RSS feed for all published content.
The AIGA website has taken many forms since its first iteration in 1995. At every step along the way, AIGA has worked with design firms to ensure that members-and all those interested in design-have a place to turn for information, resources and inspiration.
Site design timeline
- May 2011: Redesign of aiga.org
Design: Method; technology partner: NimbleUser and Thirdwave
More visually dynamic, offering storytelling experiences both long and short, and numerous opportunities for participation.
- May 2009: Launch of my.aiga.org
Design: C&G Partners; technology partner: NimbleUser
Centralized AIGA transactions, including account management, membership initiation and renewal and event registration.
- 2007: Redesign of www.aiga.org
Design: Happy Cog; technology partner: Thirdwave
The redesign, visualized by interactive design studio Happy Cog and made functional by AIGA's longstanding technology partner Thirdwave, improved the site's usability and search ratings. The site degrades gracefully onto varied media platforms, such as handheld devices and has been flexible enough to permit significant ongoing functionality expansion.
- 2004: Redesign
Design: Flat; technology partner: Thirdwave
A warm color palette enticed visitors to explore the many aspects of the site.
- 2003: Redesign
Design:Tanagram; technology partner: Thirdwave
This redesign was intended to begin to make the extensive content on the site more accessible to visitors. Various constituencies could easily navigate to content targeted especially to their interests.
- 2000: Redesign
Design: Tanagram; technology partner: Thirdwave
The objective of this site redesign was to engage the visitor from the start. A somewhat neutral home page changed to reveal four current content areas as the visitor clicked on the page. The site also integrated for the first time with AIGA's back-end membership system.
- 1995: Launch
After providing an initial design to give AIGA an online presence, Graffito/Active8 designed an ambitious site that allowed for the same content to be viewed through three different skins.