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been active in Icograda, the International Council of Graphic
Design Associations, as a means of developing channels of
communication among designers in the United States and other
countries. AIGA, as the largest professional design association in
the world, shares its practices and experiences with other
associations and encourages worldwide collaboration on issues
important to all designers, such as professional standards and
means of communicating the value of design.
Since my term on the Icograda board ended in late 2007, I have
continued to represent AIGA by working on several governance task
forces, with two AIGA members currently serving on the
international board: Omar Vulpinari of Italy and Greg Serikoff of
In October, Icograda's General Assembly held its biennial
meeting in Beijing. Among the issues raised in this gathering of
delegates from worldwide member associations were three that are
important to AIGA:
The general assembly adopted a resolution acknowledging the
responsibility of designers in meeting criteria for sustainability.
At AIGA's recommendation, this resolution included the addition of
cultural criteria to the frequently cited environmental, economic
and social criteria. At the same time, the board and assembly
Living Principles for Design, a framework for designers'
responsibility toward sustainability developed by the AIGA Center
for Sustainable Design, as a means for all association to begin
meeting their responsibilities.
Icograda supported a study of how to merge the international
associations of the industrial, communication and interior design
professions as a step toward a unified voice in support of design
and its value. AIGA has long supported the integration of the
different voices of design professions so that a stronger message
can be conveyed to business, the public and society. This is
consistent with AIGA's own interest in the pan-disciplinary
practice of design.
AIGA nominated Leimei
Julia Chiu of Japan as the president-elect for Icograda, since
she represents so well the converging issues of globalism,
multiculturalism and cross-disciplinary practice.
World Design Congress, which occurred concurrently in Beijing,
is an international design conference organized by Icograda and the
Central Academy of Fine Arts. AIGA China played a significant
role at the conference, presenting two exhibitions at the museum at
the Central Academy: “365: AIGA Annual Design Exhibition and ”50
Books/50 Covers of 2007.“ In addition, AIGA China organized a
festive event to launch the Chinese editions of 365: AIGA Year in
Business and Ethics and David Berman's Do Good
Design under the AIGA imprint, and hosted a reception for
the leading design educators in China to meet with the attendees
from around the world.
The final event in Icograda's Beijing series was an education
conference. Educators from around the world presented peer-reviewed
papers. AIGA encouraged educators to participate in the INDEX:|AIGA
Aspen Design Challenge for students.
In each of these activities, AIGA seeks to establish
opportunities for its members to participate, reinforce the
leadership of our members in the design profession, and engage
actively with our colleagues from abroad—so that U.S. designers
will become accepted, appreciated and respected participants in the
global design community. AIGA's policies and practices become
models for others they will become globally accepted, thus
validating the standards already upheld by designers and clients in
the United States.
This involvement in the global community is critical to the
relevance, leadership and opportunities for the profession over the
long term and can be obtained through a minimal investment—just two
percent of AIGA's annual budget. While these activities will not
always translate into an immediate benefit for each of AIGA's
members, over time they will contribute toward making the global
design economy more accessible to all members.
When the current economic turmoil settles, there is little doubt
that the global economy will consist of a number of highly
competitive local economies. At the same time, local markets
worldwide are more likely to seek solutions that are responsive to
local cultural perspectives. These dynamics require that all
designers become more familiar with their global colleagues and
other cultures. There are several opportunities for member
involvement in the aforementioned initiatives:
Thumbnail photo of compass byTobias
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 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
AIGA Santa Barbara
Member since 2013
An Overlooked "Paperweight" Holds it Down in NYC
September 4, 2014
AIGA New York
AIGA Los Angeles
AIGA San Francisco
AIGA Las Vegas
AIGA New York, Upstate
AIGA 100: A Century of Design
September 15, 2014
How to Relax in the Digital Age: 11 Ways to Get Some Balance
BREAK INTO UX with General Assembly
September 11, 2014
IBM Smarter Planet Illustrations and Posters
Writing for Visual Thinkers