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The empathy that provides designers with their intuitive and
creative advantage can also ignite a compelling need to help
others, such as when we witness the kind of devastation and
suffering that nature has unleashed on the people of Haiti. Members
have been asking how they can contribute toward saving lives and
providing hope for the future, and whether there is a means for
AIGA to organize help.
A tent city in Haiti after the January 12 quake. (Flickr:
In cases where AIGA has a local network of designers, as we did
following Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area, we can mount
a direct effort
to help. In a case like the earthquake in Haiti, the best
course right now is to invest in the organizations that can provide
professional help locally.
AIGA encourages designers to support the following three
organizations because they are productive, effective and minimize
their administrative expenses. They are listed here with links to
their donation pages.
Many designers are driven by the contribution their special
gifts can make to improving the human condition. AIGA has taken the
lead in recent years in creating opportunities for members to give
time, creativity and resources to aid those suffering from natural
disasters. As members have expressed their increasing concern over
finding ways to contribute to society, AIGA has sought to find
channels that are focused, productive and accountable.
Some members may want to work with others in their chapters to develop local
campaigns to raise funds to send to these or other organizations
directly. These three organizations are not the only appropriate
channels, and we encourage all members to demonstrate the
engagement of designers in addressing challenges to the human
condition. We believe the most important need now is not to have a
separate charitable or action-related activity for designers, but
to help those with experience seeking to work miracles on the
The week before he passed away, Tibor Kalman asked me to
make sure that AIGA would remind every designer not to forget the
good that he or she can do for humanity through his or her unique
talents. Sometimes we can contribute through our creative
gifts—though at times such as now, it may be through our common
sense of humanity and generosity that we can do the most good.
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—September 18, 2014. AIGA, Design Observer and Designers & Books today published results of the 2013 “50 Books/50 Covers” competition. A panel of jurors including Michael Bierut, partner at the New York design firm Pentagram; Jessica Helfand, founding editor of Design Observer; and Peter Mendelsund, associate art director of Alfred A. Knopf Books chose 50 outstanding books and 50 exceptional covers.
NEW YORK—September 9, 2014. Today AIGA, the professional
association for design, announced the 2014 results of the “Justified:
AIGA Design Competition.” Design firms, in-house design departments,
design entrepreneurs and freelance designers submitted nearly 750 design
projects, making this the most competitive year for AIGA’s annual
design competition. After careful and considered review, the jury
recognized 19 submissions that successfully demonstrate the value of
design based on craft, methodology, execution and impact.
NEW YORK—August 5, 2014. Yathrib Ragsdale mentors minority, first generation, college bound students. Myles Thompson educates his college campus about African American art and culture. And
Kawing Ng manages a Meetup group called VolunteerNY to bring together people who share a common goal of giving back to the community. These talented and dedicated students are among 14 recipients of the 2014–2015 Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships, awarded each year to art and design college students who demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility.
NEW YORK—July 1, 2014. Today five board members and a new presidents council representative join the national board of directors
for AIGA, the professional association for design, following a national
search. Ken Carbone, John Luu, Christopher Simmons, Jill Spaeth, Paul Wharton and Elysia Syriac join the national board, and Su Mathews Hale has been elected to the president-elect position.
After much discussion throughout the entire design community, the national board
approved the sale of AIGA’s building in New York City. At this pivotal point in our history, the board
adopted a revised strategic framework which articulates four strategic focuses for the organization and outlines the process and timeline for funding decisions.
Section: About AIGA -
AIGA Insight, governance, AIGA news
Rebecca A. Firlik
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