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Communication designers have always played a role in advancing
socially relevant issues. Since one of the special attributes that
a designer brings to problem solving is empathy, it is not
surprising that there is a strong affinity with causes that affect
the human condition. As society looks with ever-increasing
consciousness at significant social issues afflicting people
everywhere, we see in our membership an intense interest in finding
ways to use their talents to play a positive, socially significant
Members look to AIGA to trumpet the value of designing to
business leaders, the media and the public. Over the past decade,
we have taken a course of demonstrating value by doing valuable
things, which led to such initiatives as Design for Democracy. Now
more than ever AIGA's efforts in enabling members' social
engagement are just as important as its traditional role in
inspiring design excellence and in communicating the value of
design to business.
The AIGA Center for Sustainable Design recently unveiled the
Living Principles for
Design, distilling the collective wisdom found in decades of
sustainability theories and bringing them to life in the first
quadruple-bottom-line framework. The Living Principles weave
together environmental protection, social equity, economic health
and cultural vitality to generate a comprehensive roadmap for
responsible, sustainable design. AIGA will submit the framework for
global adoption at “Xin:
Icograda World Design Conference” in Beijing and has enlisted
designers worldwide to share best practices, guidelines, tools,
case studies and general support for a broad range of design
Although the 2008 general election is fading into memory, the
efforts of AIGA Design for Democracy continue to influence election
and polling place design based on nonpartisan, information design
principles. AIGA members nationwide have provided counsel to a
variety of states and local jurisdictions; there are AIGA employees
working as Election Design
Fellows in secretary of state offices in Washington and Oregon;
and we are helping to advise on specific government forms for
various states. Design for Democracy has developed a design policy advocacy
kit for anyone with a desire to make an impact through
effective information design. In addition, we will be initiating an
RFQ process before the end of 2009 to keep a database of interested
firms who want to be involved in public projects in the future. At
the same time we are creating legislative and administrative
opportunities for designers in explaining mortgage terms, credit
cards, Medicare and veterans' experiences. Each one of these
efforts offers the chance to build recognition of the design
profession by demonstrating that designers can make a difference in
the civic experience.
AIGA has also launched initiatives to engage designers with
global problems. AIGA is the only design association in the world
with consulting NGO status at the United Nations, giving us the
right to comment on agenda items in the economic and social realm
before they reach the General Assembly. We have worked with the
UNDP, the UN's global development network, to design banners on the
human condition to be hung outside the Security Council, and have
arranged for designers to develop subsequent annual efforts to
promote the findings of the Human Development Report.
AIGA's Aspen Design
Summits have focused on how design can influence positive
change in global conditions. The 2009 Summit in November—a joint
venture with the Winterhouse
Institute and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation—will explore
at least five case studies on designers working on health, food,
education and community needs. These summits will continue, and
AIGA will work with the Aspen Institute and other international
forums to place design on the agenda of meetings of global leaders
and corporate CEOs.
The Aspen Design
Challenge was launched by AIGA and INDEX: to generate
exceptionally creative and original design thinking by design
students to raise awareness of global environmental issues. On the
inaugural subject of the global water crisis, more than 200 entries
from 26 countries were judged by an expert jury; six were selected
to work with design leaders and business consultants to improve
their pitch to venture capitalists, social entrepreneurs and
foundations, which occurred in Copenhagen as part of INDEX:'s week
long celebration of design that improves life. Joanna Szczepanska,
a student from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, was
awarded the INDEX: | AIGA Aspen Design Challenge Prize, a $10,000
grant to be put towards implementation of the
winning project, based on a proposal for encouraging urban
gardens, saving water and increasing urban food production. In
December 2009, a selection of projects will be exhibited for
participants of the World Summit on Climate Change.
UNICEF became so interested in the Challenge's approach toward
encouraging innovation that AIGA has now partnered with UNICEF in
helping them address the problems they encounter in serving
children around the world and responding to crises. Every other
year, beginning again later this year, AIGA will issue another
challenge as a joint effort with UNICEF and INDEX:. The next
challenge is likely to revolve around education issues in the third
world; schools will be encouraged to create teams of students from
design, business, engineering and sciences to tackle the problems,
with the intent that the solutions will be sustainable in business
terms as well as humanitarian dimensions.
AIGA's intention is to introduce the role of designers in these
situations in order to broaden the public's understanding of the
potential design can play in solving complex, universal problems.
AIGA can help facilitate the involvement of members in social
causes. However, the real strength of AIGA begins at the individual
level—it begins with you. Share with us what you're already doing.
And if you're not engaged in a social issue but would like to be,
consider the question: What can you do?
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.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, a local design studio sought to make sense of the chaotic sequence of events. Using iconography to tell the story, here is the book they created: 102 Hours.
Section: Inspiration -
book design, communication design, Design for Good, social issues
Five nominees for AIGA’s national board of directors were selected by a nominating committee, based on recommendations from AIGA members, chapter leadership and design opinion leaders. Members at the Trustee, Design Leader and Sustaining Member levels approved the slate in April 2014.
The AIGA national board of directors will meet on April 24 in New York to receive recommendations from the strategic planning, finance, governance and communication committees; to review a new membership campaign in progress; and to review the charge for the Nominating and Awards committees.
Each year, AIGA provides a report of
activities and accomplishments to members and stakeholders; the current
report is shown here in full.
Since AIGA was founded in 1914, AIGA presidents have served as leaders of the organization and the national board of directors.
Section: About AIGA -
NEW YORK—May 14, 2013. AIGA’s Design
Leaders Confidence Index was unchanged for the first quarter of 2013,
at 101.62 compared to the previous quarter’s 101.72. While the aggregate number
is not statistically different, there is optimism in the details.
Section: About AIGA -
Michael J. Hackney
AIGA New York
Member since 2010
A Sense of Presence: Tangible Media Group
April 15, 2014
AIGA New York
Ms. Rachel Cao
AIGA Los Angeles
Nicole R. Roberts
Amanda J. Murrin
Brandy M. Reed
Wilton McNair, II
The @AIGAphilly #nightcaps live podcast series begins tonight - and episodes will be available online soon! Tickets: http://t.co/IUgsAW9ikK
8 hours ago
RT @ultrasparky: Getting closer and closer to the #Century opening next week @AIGAdesign @byMonotype http://t.co/bsv0N5fsuT
10 hours ago
#AIGA100 RT @irinatlee: Explore @AIGAdesign's 100 years of American graphic design history and add your perspective. http://t.co/8HVIE6YDOI
11 hours ago
What’s Next: AIGA Chicago 2014 Individual Student Grant
April 24, 2014
Nationwide poster competition project bringing awareness to human trafficking in the US
Looking for talent? Visit these upcoming senior design shows.
Writing for Visual Thinkers