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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—February 20, 2014. AIGA is celebrating its
centennial by awarding a special class of 24 design leaders with the
prestigious AIGA Medal, the highest honor of the design profession.
NEW YORK—February 11, 2014. AIGA’s Design Leaders
Confidence Index ticked upward in the fourth quarter of 2013 to 101.26,
up from the previous quarter’s 95.94.
In 2014 AIGA turns 100. AIGA is celebrating this moment by looking forward toward inspiration, relevance, leadership and opportunity for every designer in the decades ahead.
Mr. Glenn Bowman
AIGA Tampa Bay
Member since 2007
RT @aiganeworleans: We've started a new series! Cool Stuff Roundup: First Edition – http://t.co/ayg6HESL9s
3 days ago
Stop talking about yourself so much: US+ uses linguistic analysis to improve conversation. @blprnt #DesignEnvy: http://t.co/2dOglvjdDS
Interested in learning how to facilitate design thinking in the workplace? AIGA is offering several two-day workshops http://t.co/QQTSBiZlYs
Behind the Scenes: February’s Open Board Meeting
March 09, 2014
New! AIGA Events app: designers designing for designers
March 08, 2014
Storytellers! We need you!
March 07, 2014