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  • How Medalists are chosen

    Each year, the AIGA Medal is awarded to individuals in recognition of their distinguished achievements, services or other contributions to the field of design. The contribution may be in the practice of design, teaching, writing or leadership of the profession.

    Recommend a Medalist

    Do you have a colleague or mentor who has made a significant impact on the practice of design in the United States? Nominate him or her for the 2016 AIGA Medal by July 25, 2015.

    To recommend a medalist, simply with your nomination, along with a short paragraph about why he or she should be considered.

    Selection criteria and process

    Awards committee and process

    Each nomination for the AIGA Medal is reviewed by a committee comprised of designers who have been active at the chapter or national level and have demonstrated an interest both in AIGA and the communications design profession. The Awards Committee selects Medalists based on criteria listed below and submits their recommendations, with justification, for consideration and ratification by the national board of directors.

    The 2015 Awards Committee was chaired by Liz Danzico, NPR, AIGA New York, and also included:

    • Justin Ahrens, Rule 29™, AIGA Chicago
    • Stanley Hainsworth, Tether, AIGA Seattle
    • Eric Heiman, Volume, Inc., AIGA San Francisco
    • Karen Kurycki, CMYKaren, AIGA Jacksonville
    • Alissa Walker, Gizmodo, AIGA Los Angeles

    Selection criteria

    Medals will be awarded to individuals who have set standards of excellence over a lifetime of work or have made individual contributions to innovation within the practice of design. Individuals who are honored may work in any country, but the contribution for which they are honored should have had a significant impact on the practice of design in the United States. The awards may honor designers posthumously.

    The AIGA board of directors has issued the following standing instructions to the committee:

    • More than one medal may be given each year, particularly for honorees who are judged by the different criteria of lifetime achievement versus innovation. Recommendation by the committee for the awarding of several medals should not substitute for gaining the committee’s solid consensus around a single honoree. The awarding of several medals should not substitute for decisive selection of honorees based on immutable contributions. Exceptional circumstances, such as the recognition of a number of designers for lifetime achievement from an older generation, may warrant multiple awards. The board has asked the executive director to participate in the committee deliberations to provide guidance on the criteria for multiple awards.
    • The AIGA Medal is the most distinguished award given to designers. It is expected that it will be given to an individual who has made his or her contribution to design or visual communication as the profession is defined by the majority of AIGA members. Although product designers, photographers, architects and illustrators may make a contribution to design through work in their own fields, each of these professions have other prestigious awards available to them for their professional achievements.
    • The event used to award the medal will seek to increase public awareness and understanding of the role of the designer, the process of design, the value of design and the achievement of the honored professional.
    • The Medalists’ work will be published with a biographical essay and online gallery of images. If funding or sponsorship is available, a small show of the recipients’ work will be mounted in the gallery.
    • AIGA believes the true potential of this marvelous profession will be not be achieved until we can celebrate that excellence and diversity have been joined. Every effort should be made by the committee to identify designers who have achieved the highest standard of excellence and have emerged from diverse backgrounds.

    The board may augment the selections of the committee with additional honorees.

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