Introducing a new membership model

The expectations of designers have broadened in recent decades, as have the range of design disciplines and practices. AIGA is committed to representing and supporting the interests of designers as they explore new roles. At the same time, social media and the internet have increased expectations for access to communities and information.

AIGA has always adapted to the interests of the profession, and is now shifting to a model that makes membership more accessible, increasing participation while providing opportunities for those who value AIGA’s role in the advancement of design to make a stronger financial contribution. A larger and more diverse membership makes AIGA’s collective voice stronger and more compelling.

A new member participation model

In order to achieve a more open and inclusive community with a shared interest in design, AIGA is launching a new approach to member participation. Beginning this month, AIGA is shifting from a membership model based on the stage of an individual’s career to one that reflects the member’s interest in and commitment to AIGA and all that it entails: adhering to the profession’s principles, advocacy of the value of design, support for designers’ interests and stimulating conversations critical to design’s future.

We believe that the new model will allow many who have left AIGA membership to return, draw in new supporters who may not be practicing designers and make it possible for every designer to afford to join. We expect practicing designers to join at the Sustaining Member level, equivalent to the historic “professional” member, although we have lowered the cost of every membership level in recognition of the challenging economic environment we are traversing. We hope those who understand the value of having a unified voice to advance the interests of design will join us at even higher contributing levels that are now available.

Our goal is to double membership—to 40,000 members—by 2014.

We are eager to have you join this new AIGA for the next century, as AIGA approaches its centennial. We also hope you will take advantage of this moment to encourage a colleague, client or design enthusiast (or two) to join AIGA and share in shaping design’s future.

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.