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Saving civilization is not a spectator sport. Each
of us has a leading role to play."
—Lester R. Brown, author, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save
AIGA members want to be supported by their professional
association in at least three areas: offering inspiration,
demonstrating the value of design to business and creating
opportunities for design to make a difference in culture and
society. AIGA activities are forged to these interests, as is
AIGA's mission, which asserts
the belief that "by increasing the influence of design, we can
improve the human experience."
On Earth Day, it is worth reviewing how AIGA and its members
have approached design's role and responsibility in environmental,
climate and energy terms. AIGA is committed to leading the
profession and to the profession's leading in the design of the
future. This requires that we understand the importance of
AIGA supports designers in their search for resources, ideas and
examples, as well as offering principles to guide a designer's
Sustainability, as an outcome rather than a politically correct
label, must deal with both human and natural dimensions. If our
civilization is to be sustained, people must be helped out of
poverty, disease and hunger. If the environment is to be sustained,
we must deal with the challenges of limited resources and climate
change. These latter two concerns encompass energy sources and
As principles defining the role of designers, AIGA has adopted
and endorsed the UN
Declaration of Human Rights, the Designers Accord and the
Declaration. To guide designers more specifically, AIGA
includes environmental and social responsibility in its Standards of
Professional Practice and downloadable brochure on print design
and environmental responsibility.
As a model for members and the broader community, AIGA seeks to
minimize its carbon
footprint and adverse impacts at its headquarters in New York
and through its national activities. Assessments of environmental
engineering and responsible printing have resulted in: a reduction
in our use of hazardous materials, increased waste recycling, the
conservation of water and energy, improvements to mechanical
systems, the installation of a green roof, purchasing green
electricity, planning greener conferences, a reduction in paper
consumption and a switch to recycled toner cartridges.
We have purchased carbon
offsets for all AIGA activities at the national and chapter
levels, including the travel of participants to events and for each
of our employee's personal lifestyles, and have launched the
CarbonCool offset program to allow designers to offset their
Center for Sustainable Design offers information, resources and
a community of designers dedicated to environmentally responsible
action. We have held conferences on sustainable practices,
'08," presented by AIGA SF and the Center for Sustainable
Design, and always include speakers committed to socially
responsible design in our programs. In lieu of gifts to our
speakers, we opt to fund projects that serve impoverished
communities, such as the Project M water meter project in Hale County,
Adopting principles and adapting our own practices hardly begin
to ignite the potential of the profession in launching responsible
change. The Aspen Design
Summit encompasses a process for using design thinking and
creativity to address major global problems. Beginning in 2008, an
Aspen Design Challenge will be presented to design students
worldwide each fall to seek their solutions to a specific global
problem. This year's addresses the challenge of protecting and
providing safe water.
The challenge to students recognizes that designers can help
solve these difficult problems and that the next generation is the
one that must own the solution. Selected students' work will then
be promoted worldwide in forums that involve the world's business
and government leaders, such as the Aspen Institute and the World
Economic Forum in Davos. AIGA is determined to see that the
designer's voice is among those heard on the significant issues
facing the world today.
To paraphrase George Lois, designers have the power to defeat
habit with creativity. There is no greater opportunity than
sustaining the environment, humanity and civilization.
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.
NEW YORK—March 5, 2013. A new professional fellowship program developed by Design Ignites Change and AIGA aims to support social impact projects by providing seed funding and mentoring to creative professionals.
NEW YORK—February 12, 2013. AIGA’s Design Leaders Confidence Index inched upward in the fourth quarter of 2012, climbing from 100.51 to 101.72. Given the economic anxiety surrounding the Congressional ultimatum on the “fiscal cliff,” this sustained level of confidence seems to bode well for designers.
NEW YORK—February 5, 2013. A lifetime of achievement in design can take many forms. The 2013
recipients of the AIGA Medal, the highest honor of the design profession,
represent the range of contributions designers make to clients, future
generations and society at large—through inspiration, thoughtful critique,
social impact and the education of future design leaders.
AIGA San Francisco
Member since 2009
Transforming raw materials into living forms... @NYTmag's @_calebbennett on Li Hongbo. Watch the video: http://t.co/QQzfuxEqGe #DesignEnvy
16 hours ago
Read what grads like @michaelbierut said about “Business Perspectives,” AIGA's executive education program for design http://t.co/1zaGDawWql
"Hot." Ambitious type exploration by Sean Freeman is today's #DesignEnvy pick from @NYTmag's @_calebbennett: http://t.co/sxG106v1ec
Cocktails & Creatives – Thursday, May 23
May 17, 2013
Giving Voice 7: Call For Designers
May 16, 2013
Print by the Numbers: Inkubator Workshop
May 15, 2013
Design for Democracy