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AIGA recently surveyed all professional and associate-level
members on the critical issues and choices that face this
organization. As AIGA approaches its centennial, in 2014, we are at
a critical juncture, as we must adapt to serve the changing needs
of our members and the design profession.
This survey, more than any other over the past decade, was
conducted to help reimagine AIGA. More than 3,400 members
participated in the survey, which represents a statistically solid
profile of current attitudes. Let's examine the top-line
Generally, members are satisfied with AIGA's services and
activities (60 percent report being satisfied or very well
satisfied). Two thirds are relatively certain they will renew.
Roughly 60 percent also believe AIGA represents their point of view
on most activities and positions.
The following functions served by AIGA are rated highly by
members overall, but are even more valued by those who rate higher
in satisfaction and strongly believe that AIGA is on the right
track. Newer designers also value these attributes more highly than
the membership as a whole.
More than half believe AIGA membership is a good value for the
price, although we still must reinforce the value proposition among
members. For instance, it is probably not widely understood that,
for each dollar
collected in dues, AIGA raises at least two additional dollars
toward pursuing members' interests. For those who seek more
tangible benefits over the more philosophical ones of increasing
design awareness among the business communities and general public,
the return on investment may not seem as gratifying.
More than half also believe that AIGA is a leader in building
bridges among different design disciplines, although we would like
to have seen a higher percentage of approval. This indicates that
we either need to increase our efforts in this area or make sure
that members are more aware of our existing efforts to represent an
interdisciplinary approach to design.
As stated in the AIGA mission, there are three important roles
that we consider when planning activities and committing
When members were asked to rank AIGA activities in terms of
importance, the traditional role as an arbiter of design
excellence—stimulating thinking about design—continues to earn
support and suggests that AIGA should retain this role:
However, AIGA's decade-long effort to communicate the value of
design to business, media and the public ranks as high as nearly
any other activity:
Members reinforce the importance of AIGA's efforts to shift away
from its traditional role of supporting members with individual
benefits, toward improving public understanding of design thinking
in ways that will increase designers' relevance over time. Some of
these activities are rated higher than the traditional support role
in terms of importance:
These results would suggest that we continue our core
activities, such as competitions, archives, exhibitions and hearty
discourse on excellent design, yet continue to aggressively pursue
our initiatives in enhancing the relevance of design through
sustainability issues, multicultural awareness and social
This is an important shift in members' interests and suggests
that our members look to AIGA to increase their relevance and
leadership in the broader social realm.
All members, and particularly those who are most satisfied with
their AIGA experience, believe AIGA should focus on:
Members want AIGA to position itself for the future of design,
while continuing to provide inspiration and support for creativity
in the profession:
These survey results—which include attitudes about the value of
AIGA's traditional activities and services as well as an
understanding of the differing perspective of members by age and
experience—will inform some fundamental changes at AIGA over the
next 18 months to make sure we are building relevance, leadership
and opportunity for the profession.
The tactical implications of these results will be reported
after we review the findings of local chapters' focus-group
discussions, which will be at a gathering of chapter leaders in
June and consider—as a group—strategic options for AIGA's future.
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.
AIGA Insights is a collection of articles and webcasts that together reveal the thought processes behind key organizational decisions. We welcome discussion from members and the broader design community.
Section: About AIGA -
governance, AIGA news
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.
Each year, AIGA provides a report of
activities and accomplishments to members and stakeholders; the current
report is shown here in full.
Jon M. Christensen
Member since 2010
Sometimes the best "good" design is for people closest to us. @ericfheiman on @LaferriereDavid's project for his kids http://t.co/7nffcrLpL5
3 hours ago
RT @aigany: Graphic design exists by creating one on one interactions with people - @waelmorcos
17 hours ago
What do aspiring designers need to know about strategy? @frogdesign's David Sherwin (@changeorder) has ideas: http://t.co/fumdsgNK7t
20 hours ago
Rosenfeld Media UX Summit at BGSU
May 23, 2013
IIT Institute of Design Open House
Bordo Bello: A Success in the Big Apple
AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers of 2009 catalogue