We are now participating in a global economy that is undergoing
a radical transformation. Our institutions, organizations and
communities are facing complex challenges, coping with daunting
speed, to market issues, fierce overseas manufacturing competition
and financial turbulence. Given the current economic landscape, we
can longer assume that if we follow the present path we will simply
evolve toward a better world. Our journey out of these difficulties
will need to be carefully considered by business leaders and
designer leaders alike.
Debbie Millman (photo: Maryanne Russell)
One of the most interesting common denominators between the
practices of design and business is this: the essence of both is
about problem solving. And behind every solution—whether it may be
a design dilemma or a business proposition—is a process. This
process transcends both design and business to create meaning and
If you are developing a marketing strategy, or streamlining a
manufacturing operation, or building a new system for innovation—if
you work almost anywhere in the world of business today—you are now
also engaged in the discipline of design. The result of this
bilingual ability can be seen in companies creating wonderfully
elegant and refined products that not only taste different and feel
different and look different. Even more importantly, these products
are making a difference in our lives.
Business and design skills are converging in ways previously
unimagined and the recognition of this new design literacy is
fueling growth and innovation in the most progressive and
successful companies. The use of effective, innovative design is
proving to the world's economy that scale alone is not enough to
thrive in a world where markets are rapidly globalizing. The most
valuable contribution now comes from using the designer's most
competitive weapon: imagination. Designers have imagination in
abundance. We are uniquely qualified to participate in the design
of our future—and we must.
Welcome to the reinvigoration of Gain: AIGA Journal of
Business and Design. The first issue of Gain was
launched in 2000, by founding editor David R. Brown and editorial
director Andrea Codrington; they were followed by Gong Szeto and
David Womack, and most recently Karen McGrane and Liz Danzico
(archives are all available).
Over time they developed the current mission statement, which we
will continue to foster:
“Gain is dedicated to stimulating thinking at the
intersection of design and business. Through rigorous case studies
and thoughtful interviews, the journal demonstrates how the process
of design can be used to solve business problems, foster
innovation, build meaningful customer relationships and
differentiate products from competitors.”
As we approach the biannual “Gain: AIGA Business and Design
Conference” in New York City this October 23–25, we will be
working to bring you articles and information from some of the
confirmed speakers, as well provide insightful content from some of
today's leading design and business thinkers. We look forward to
re-engaging this important discussion and welcome your comments,
suggestions and ideas.
Debbie Millman is a partner and president of the design division at Sterling Brands, one of the leading brand identity firms in the country. Millman was president of AIGA from 2009 to 2011. She is chair of the School of Visual Arts’ master’s program in Branding and is a contributing editor to Print magazine and host of the podcast “Design Matters.” She is the author of How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer (Allworth Press, 2007) and Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design (HOW Books, 2009).
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Section: Inspiration -
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Section: Tools and Resources -
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Section: Inspiration -
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