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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—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.
AIGA Los Angeles
Member since 2013
Transforming raw materials into living forms... @NYTmag's @_calebbennett on Li Hongbo. Watch the video: http://t.co/QQzfuxEqGe #DesignEnvy
Read what grads like @michaelbierut said about “Business Perspectives,” AIGA's executive education program for design http://t.co/1zaGDawWql
2 days ago
"Hot." Ambitious type exploration by Sean Freeman is today's #DesignEnvy pick from @NYTmag's @_calebbennett: http://t.co/sxG106v1ec
Cocktails & Creatives – Thursday, May 23
May 17, 2013
Giving Voice 7: Call For Designers
May 16, 2013
Print by the Numbers: Inkubator Workshop
May 15, 2013
AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers of 2009 catalogue