NEW YORK, July 22, 2009. Experts in design, branding,
communications and business joined forces in Aspen last month to meet
with seven teams of aspiring designers on a mission to solve the global
water crisis. These young designers—15 university students and recent
graduates chosen from more than 450 entrants—are finalists in this
year’s INDEX: | AIGA Aspen Design Challenge, “Designing Water’s Future.”
In a three-day workshop held in Aspen, Colorado, the finalists met with design and business experts to refine their projects, strengthen the focus of their presentations and develop business plans. The experts included Deborah Adler, principal of Deborah Adler, LLC; Brian Collins, founder of COLLINS:; Gary M. Cook, managing director of Cook & Company; Chris Luebkeman, director for Global Foresight and Innovation at Arup; Fred Murrell, chair of design and interactive media at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and board member of Cumulus; Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA; and Lise Vejse Klint, director of programming for INDEX:.
Participants and advisors at the workshop in June 2009.
AIGA, the professional association for design, and INDEX:, a global
nonprofit network for design, together issued an ambitious call to
action in August 2008, asking the next generation of creative thinkers
to develop solutions to the global water crisis in the first annual
INDEX: | AIGA Aspen Design Challenge. The international contest
challenges cross-disciplinary students to develop design solutions that
encourage responsible water use, provide fresh water access to those in
need and increase awareness about water conservation.
The June workshop in Aspen resulted in a rigorous, provocative
critique of each proposal, helping teams to understand how to
communicate their ideas and to develop them so that they would meet the
expectations of prospective social funders. “AIGA’s interest in the
Challenge, from its inception, was to work with student teams to bring
their ideas to life, helping students find partners to execute and
distribute their projects,” noted Richard Grefé.
“For INDEX:, the objective has also been to raise the bar of student
competitions,” added Lise Vejse Klint. “We wanted to take the students
through a process that would ensure they had a chance to actually make
their project ‘go live,’ thus making a true difference.”
The student teams are now hard at work refining a three-sentence
“elevator pitch,” a five-minute visual presentation of the design
concept and a three-minute business plan presentation, all to be
reviewed by the panel of advisors once more before moving on to the next
round of the Challenge.
AIGA and INDEX: have arranged for the teams to meet next with social
entrepreneurs, business leaders and foundations in Copenhagen from
August 25–28, 2009, for a collaborative workshop in connection with the
INDEX: Award 2009. During this workshop, the students will present their
projects to venture capitalists and foundations in search of
sustainable economic and logistical support.
On August 28, 2009, one team will be awarded the INDEX: | AIGA Aspen Design Challenge Prize,
a $10,000 grant to be put towards implementation of the winning
project. And in December 2009, a selection of projects will be presented
to participants of the World Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen.
“Working with this eclectic and brilliant team of peers and
professionals has given me renewed confidence not only in my own
project, Rethink Your Green, but in design that has the ability
to make a substantial difference in our world's deepest problems,” said
finalist Michelle Park, a student at CalArts.
“I am truly grateful for this opportunity,” said finalist Jo Szczepanska of Monash University, Australia, and the project VeggiePatch.
“The Aspen Design Challenge is not only a chance for my project to be
implemented but a chance for me to become a confident, young designer,
who can push for change locally and globally.”
Learn more about the finalist projects Every Drop Counts, FLUID, Rescue Bottle, Rethink Your Green, Save the River Jadro, VeggiePatch, and Vhembe Filter at www.aspendesignchallenge.org.
The Aspen Design Challenge is a joint project developed by AIGA and
INDEX: with the purpose of engaging the millennial generation in solving
an emerging set of global issues. The idea for “Designing Water’s
Future” grew out of discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, led by Brian Collins, chairman of Collins:, New York-based
communications and design firm, and journalist J. Carl Ganter,
co-founder of Circle of Blue, the international network of leading
journalists, scientists and communications designers that reports the
global fresh water crisis. www.aspendesignchallenge.org
INDEX: is a nonprofit organization based in Copenhagen that
focuses on design to improve life worldwide. INDEX: works through a
global network to ensure access to the best knowledge on design and the
cutting edge of contemporary thinking. The network consists of
designers, businesses, organizations and design institutions that
collaborate in disseminating and applying the latest knowledge in the
field of “Design to Improve Life.” www.indexaward.dk
Circle of Blue is the international network of leading
journalists, scientists and communications designers that reports and
presents the information necessary to respond to the global freshwater
crisis. Circle of Blue is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and
is a nonprofit affiliate of the internationally recognized water,
climate and policy think tank, the Pacific Institute. Circle of Blue
also publishes WaterNews, the daily go-to source for global water news
and data. www.circleofblue.org
COLLINS: is an innovation-led communication and design firm
dedicated to inventing branded experiences and digital interactions that
shape both companies and people for the better. www.COLLINS1.com
AIGA, the professional association for design, is the premier place
for design—to discover it, discuss it, understand it, appreciate it, be
inspired by it.
AIGA’s mission is to advance designing as a professional craft,
strategic tool and vital cultural force. AIGA stimulates thinking about
design through journals, conferences, competitions and exhibitions;
demonstrates the value of design to business, the public and government
officials; and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their
careers by providing invaluable educational and social resources.
Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional
membership organization for design. AIGA now represents more than 22,000
design professionals, educators and students through national
activities and local programs developed by 64 chapters and 240 student
groups. AIGA is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational institution.
For further information, please contact:Jennifer Bender
Manager, communications and marketing
AIGA | the professional association for design
Tel 212 807 1990 Fax 212 807 1799
Video interviews of Mr. Grefé, Mr. Collins, Mr. Ganter and advisors are available to media.
AIGA’s chapters allow our members to form powerful social and
professional bonds through conferences, competitions, lectures and
Section: About AIGA -
In this collaborative project, a series of visual prototypes was designed to communicate essential information about malaria treatment and prevention—as well as safe sanitation habits—to the residents of Kibera, Kenya.
Section: Why Design -
graphic design, nonprofit, posters, diversity, health, Design for Good
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