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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—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.
Trisha L. Swindell
AIGA San Diego
Member since 2011
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