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For the past two years I have served on the board of Icograda,
the International Council of Graphic Design Associations. The
opportunity has been extremely valuable toward reinforcing our
members' interest in being part of a global community of designers,
particularly as the global economy becomes the design arena of the
Most recently, I traveled to Cuba to participate in the
Design Congress, held in Havana on October 19–26. This weeklong
experience included an education conference, an international
design conference, a general assembly of member associations and an
Icograda board meeting—the last one I would be attending.
Joining me at these conferences were a number of American
designers, educators and social scientists, as well as others from
around the world. The activities surrounding the conferences
included the “Shared Dreams” exhibition
of posters from U.S. and Cuban designers—which had also exhibited
at “Next: AIGA Design
Conference” in Denver—and other exhibitions that included AIGA
members' work alongside the work of designers from around the
The general assembly included AIGA delegates David Gibson and
Kenna Kay, former and current AIGA board members, respectively. At
the general assembly, SEGD, GAG and the University and College
Designers Association (UCDA) were admitted to the organization,
joining AIGA in representing U.S. designers. AIGA's involvement is
still a very strong presence, as the largest and oldest of the
member associations worldwide. The value of our membership is that
it allows us to build bridges to designers in other countries,
develop links to our designers rather than just their work and
share what we have learned with other associations so that they,
too, can advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool
and vital cultural force.
The entire experience helps to strengthen the leadership
perception of AIGA abroad, which, in turn, strengthens the
credibility of our voice and standards in the United States. The
benefits to our members are not easily measured; however, our
participation in Icograda offers AIGA a chance to advance issues
important to its members in other international venues, as well as
opens up the potential for collaborative projects between AIGA
designers and designers from other countries.
There are few certainties amongst the challenges to design's
relevance in the future, yet one is clear. Designers will be
working in a global design economy where clients, collaborators and
competition are all more likely to come from outside the United
States. It is important for AIGA and its members to be seen as a
progressive, supportive part of this future if we are to have open
access, respect for our unique capabilities and increased
opportunities. Although my term on the 10-member Icograda board has
ended, current AIGA members from Qatar, Italy and Denmark remain
involved and will continue to promote our principles.
The next world design congress will occur in Beijing in 2009; we
anticipate that AIGA
China will have a role in its program. Look for a forthcoming
Insight column that will expand on the activities of AIGA China and
why our involvement there matters to all of our members here.
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.
Miss Jennifer H. Kim
Member since 2013
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