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In 1914, AIGA was founded by a small group of printers, illustrators and publishers as the American Institute of Graphic Arts. The term “graphic design” did not even appear for the next two decades, until coined by an AIGA member.
Over the years, AIGA has remained vital to the design profession by constantly adapting to changes in focus within the communication design field, from book and type design (Fred Goudy signed the articles of incorporation) to editorial design in the 1930s and 1940s; corporate identity design in the 1950s and 1960s (as multinational corporations grew); brand design in the 1980s and 1990s; and interaction design, motion design, design strategy and service design as the millennium dawned. After deliberations with its board and chapter leadership, AIGA changed its official name in 2005 to “AIGA, the professional association for design,” to reflect an evolving profession and welcome all design disciplines. This consistent growth and development, serving design’s legacy and its new forms and dimensions, is central to AIGA’s role in the design community.
As AIGA approaches its centennial, there exists a moment to redouble our recognition of the critical attributes of modern design practice. This practice is not a reflection of any single skill, such as craft or a way of thinking. What makes designers most valuable are the interrelated dimensions of their contribution: head, heart and hand.
wear many hats during a single project, serving not only in a “designer” capacity but also consulting on branding, marketing and communication strategy. The designer’s role in solving complex problems and forging strategy resides in the head.
of the designer's unusual attributes is the ability to join creativity, inspiration and empathy; it gives him or her an advantage in crafting human-centered solutions to
problems. The designer’s heart is
fundamental to his or her interest in improving the human experience and is
manifested in work that has positive social impact—as well as an aesthetic and business
Ultimately, what makes designers unique is their talent for
crafting beautiful, engaging solutions that make
experiences meaningful, clear and
even emotional. While “head” and “heart” speak to AIGA members’ activities relating to
business and social impact, design’s power and special gift is found in the hand, or craft.
Designers may emphasize different competencies as they approach different engagements. Yet the characteristic that makes all designers unique is their capacity to balance head, heart and hand, which are driven by inspiration, creativity and thoughtfulness. AIGA is committed to representing design that achieves excellence through this fusion; AIGA’s activities will inevitably vary in their emphasis on each attribute but they will always be grounded in a respect for the talent of the designer.
We welcome your comments. How do strategy (head), empathy (heart) and craft (hand) fit into your daily design practice?
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.
AIGA is proposing transformative change to assure a robust and relevant resource for the next generation of designers. AIGA’s board of directors invites your perspective and encourages members to comment and vote on two options for the future.
The federal government specifies that unpaid internships at profit-making
companies must demonstrate an educational experience
geared toward the interests of the intern, not the firm. AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé describes the criteria, recent developments and new movements to raise awareness of intern rights.
As AIGA approaches its centennial in 2014, now is the perfect time to outline where the organization is headed in its second century. We're looking for input from all members on a new strategic framework for the future.
Executive Director Richard Grefé outlines a vision of what AIGA will look like by 2020, as the organization pursues the
recommendations and aspirations of its members.
Following open conversations with designers, members and chapter leaders, AIGA’s national board of directors has refined its statement of the vision and mission for the organization. Here Executive Director Richard Grefé describes how AIGA is recalibrating focus to better serve the design profession as the organization looks toward its second century.
Executive Director Richard Grefé explains why the AIGA experience must be defined as a powerful community of many
creative, inspired and aspiring designers, replacing the perception of a century-old institution that prided itself on expressing an
authoritative view of design excellence.
Section: About AIGA -
AIGA Insight, advocacy, AIGA news
Beginning this month, AIGA is shifting from a membership model based on the stage of an individual’s career to one that reflects the member’s interest in, and commitment to, AIGA and the design profession. Executive Director Richard Grefé discusses the change and describes AIGA’s aim to achieve a more open and inclusive community.
To augment the hundreds of local events and activities developed and hosted each year by AIGA members through local chapters, AIGA produces these national programs to support all members.
Section: About AIGA -
For an in-house designer, what is the secret to securing great relationships with clients? Business coach Rena DeLevie proposes a four-point contract for establishing and maintaining a productive alliance, outlining simple yet surprisingly effective strategies that designers can adopt and implement on a daily basis.
Section: Inspiration -
in-house design, in-house issues, INitiative, advice
Real Good Experiment
Calligraffiti: 1984-2013. Beautiful show opening in NYC today
Shared in Inspiration by
Independent Contractor Graphic Design Support ServicesMetro
Los Angeles, CaliforniaNovember 20 2013
2009 Membership Party Invitation