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    How does AIGA advocate for the collective interests of designers?

    One of the critical roles that AIGA plays is to express the collective interests of the profession through its advocacy efforts or to lead the profession in demonstrating the impact of designers’ many voices on a single issue.

    Our efforts can take on many forms. In the past two weeks alone, AIGA has played an active role in:

    While the ultimate outcome of the Huffington Post competition has not been announced, and Architecture for Humanity was more than willing to make things right, the Logo Garden affair—the most egregious of them all—continues. AIGA alerted members last week, and members are still discovering their own work on the site, illegally obtained—based on what we have heard from members, there may be more than 300 of their logos on the site.

    We are in contact with John Williams, Logo Garden’s founder, and have made clear that his efforts to date are inadequate and that we will continue to bring attention to the company’s reprehensible business practices. He has said that he will remove logos that have been identified by their creators as unauthorized, but he is placing the burden—inappropriately—on the designer. Meanwhile, legal actions are being contemplated by several designers.

    In response to this violation of designers’ work, attorney Linda Joy Kattwinkel has written an article with further advice on how designers can deal with copyright and trademark infringement, including how to submit a take-down notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). As a legal expert specializing in the rights of artist and designers, she frequently contributes a column to the website of AIGA San Francisco, her local chapter. We’re grateful for her insights as a member, lawyer, artist and longtime AIGA resource on professional practices. Her contribution is an example of the professional resources available through AIGA and the breadth of resources accessible from AIGA, its 66 chapters and 22,000 members.

    In order to represent and benefit the interests of all members, AIGA regularly and consistently advocates the value of design, seeks new audiences within leadership in the business and public sectors for the story about design’s value, and garners legislative, legal and regulatory support for designer’s principles and interests. The performance measures for these activities can be elusive, since they often depend upon building relationships long before those relationships are called upon for concrete actions; however, they become clearer when the need to argue designers’ interests becomes urgent.

    About the Author: 

    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.

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