• AIGA strategy webcast: Focus on designers

    Part of the AIGA Insight series, which aims to meet members' expectations for openness and transparency

    AIGA plays a variety of roles as the professional association for design. It must:

    • Promote the value of design
    • Serve all designers as a profession
    • Serve its members, who support it
    • Look to being an effective organization

    Yet as the professional association for design, it is the single source of support for communication designers and many other designers in advancing their professional success.

    In AIGA's proposed strategic framework, the second of four focuses is on supporting designers in their work and education: Focus on Designers.

    We know that designers have very different needs over the course of their careers and AIGA must find offerings that focus on each of those stages. For the sake of a higher-level discussion on what AIGA should be doing to serve the interests of members, we provide examples of current and proposed activities. In AIGA's budgeting process, the activities would be developed completely, with purpose, expected outcomes, metrics for success and resource requirements. 


    1. Offer opportunities for professional development at each stage of a designer's career
    Professional development is a key role for AIGA in the future; designers must understand the context for which they are designing and can usually only gain this knowledge through experience. This is an initiative that is only beginning to be developed and will be accomplished through webcasts, web series, workshops and conferences. It is aimed at students, practitioners and masters, each with different intentions. 

    2. Celebrate diverse design approaches and new emerging practices
    AIGA is the professional association for design, broadly defined. It realizes that design is being practiced across traditional disciplinary boundaries and in its advocacy represents the designing process regardless of discipline. It is appropriate for AIGA to reach out to the many disciplines of design, including the emerging ones, for membership, programs and support.

    3. Increase ethnic and cultural diversity of the profession
    AIGA is firmly committed to increasing the ethnic and cultural diversity of the profession, since the profession itself is weaker if it does not reflect the groups it is serving. AIGA has undertaken a number of programs in recent years and is still determined to support programs that will draw more minority youth into design.

    4. Define and advocate global standards, ethical practices and criteria for responsible design
    AIGA's professional standards and guide to ethical practice have become nearly a global standard. AIGA will continue to update the standards to assure relevance to social, business and technological change and will advocate the standards worldwide, since if they become a global standard they have greater gravitas when designers use them in the United States to define the designer-client relationship.

    5. Establish criteria for design education that meet the needs of the profession
    The rapid evolution of the practice of design and the velocity of change in the professional practice of design-where clients are asking for new types of solutions with very short turn-around times-makes the relationship between educators and professionals more critical than ever. Only a close relationship will assure that students are learning what is necessary to be competitive in jobs, where studios and design departments are improvising new types of design daily. AIGA's Design Education Community is the largest community of communication design educators in the world and AIGA seeks to enable them to work closely with the professional members as well as carry on the activities critical to academic development.

    6. Offer powerful tools and accessible resources for professional development
    As a professional association, AIGA seeks to support designers in their business and practice of design. AIGA strives to become the best source of information and tools on the designing process, practice management. It links designers with jobs, publishes an annual survey of design salaries and develops mentorship programs.

    This session took place on August 20, 2013. Click here for the recording of this webcast.


    Richard GreféRichard Grefé, AIGA executive director
     Ric is the executive director of AIGA, the professional association for design. He is generally involved in all of AIGA's activities, although his major contributions are in strategy, formulating new initiatives to enhance the competitive success of designers and advocating the value of design.

    About this series

    AIGA is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2014, and the AIGA board of directors is developing a strategic plan to take the organization into its second century. We want to hear your input!

    To facilitate the conversation, we've published a series of Insight articles about AIGA's strategy. We invite all members to comment on the articles and participate in an "AIGA Strategy" series of webcasts with Ric Grefé and the board to learn more about AIGA's strategic framework and share your feedback.

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