How is AIGA’s mission evolving?

AIGA is a century-old institution, yet it has remained vital and relevant throughout its history by adapting to the evolution of design as a profession. As we look toward our second century, which we will launch in 2014 with a year of centennial activities and celebrations, we are also transforming AIGA to serve a profession that has never been more visible, influential or effective.

Clearly, social media and the internet have had an impact on the role of a professional association, as community links are established in social networks and information is so readily available online. Despite these changes in society, AIGA’s members believe there is a very important role for the organization to play in the years ahead: in promoting ethical standards and professional practices, in advocating the interests of designers, in communicating the value of design, in encouraging thoughtful conversations that stimulate curiosity and discovery, and in offering programs that help designers to meet the challenges of ever-more complex engagements.

Following open conversations with designers, members, chapter leaders and influential voices in the profession over several years, AIGA’s national board of directors has refined its statement of the vision and mission for AIGA. While not dramatically different from the mission statement that has guided AIGA over the past decade, it recalibrates our focus as we invite our members to redesign their association during the centennial year.

For the past ten years, our mission statement has been: “AIGA advances designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force.” On March 12, 2013, AIGA published a reconsideration of what the organization can and should be doing, framed in a vision statement, a mission statement and a bulleted list that reiterates what we do. Perhaps the greatest change is in its effort to be as inclusive as possible in creating a global design movement.

The new vision, mission and positioning statements are available at and repeated here. As always, your thoughtful comments are welcome.

Who we are and what we do

A vision for AIGA

AIGA brings design to the world, and the world to designers. As the profession’s largest community, we advance design as a respected craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. From content that defines the global practice to events that connect and catalyze, we work to enhance the value and deepen the impact of design on business, society and our collective future.

The mission of AIGA

AIGA advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, we bring together practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create the vision for a collective future. We define global standards and ethical practices, guide design education, inspire designers and the public, enhance professional development, and make powerful tools and resources accessible to all.

Who are we?

AIGA is a global community of design advocates and practitioners.

What does AIGA do?

AIGA advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force by connecting practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons through regional, national and global events and by creating and curating content that:

  • advocates for a greater understanding of the value of designers and design in government, business, media and the public
  • enhances professional development
  • defines global standards and ethical practices
  • inspires designers and the public
  • establishes criteria for design education that meets the needs of the profession
  • makes powerful tools and resources available and accessible
  • celebrates and enhances the value of design
  • mobilizes a global design movement

About the Author: Richard Grefé is the director emeritus of AIGA, the professional association for design, the oldest and largest professional association of designers in the United States representing the interests of 27,000 designers working in a variety of communication media and dimensions, ranging from type and book designers to new media and experience designers. AIGA, o ver twenty years under Ric’s aegis, has become a leading advocate for the value of designing, as a way of thinking and as a means of creating strategic value for business, the civic realm and social change. Currently he is teaching “Human-centered designn for social change” at Wesleyan University. Ric earned a BA from Dartmouth College in economics, worked in intelligence in Asia, reported from the Bronx County Courthouse for AP, wrote for Time magazine on business and the economy and then earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Following an early career in urban design and public policy consulting, Ric managed the association responsible for strategic planning and legislative advocacy for public television and led a think tank on the future of public television and radio in Washington.