AIGA archives and special collections

Filed Under: About AIGA , history

The AIGA archives are digital and on-site resources that identify records of enduring value, preserve their legacy, and support research. Explore our collections below and discover the rich history of American communication design. Or help support our archives by donating today.

AIGA Institutional Archives and Special Collections

The institutional archive serves as a memory of the organization’s extensive history and association with the century’s most influential designers. Housed in The Archives Room (formerly the AdamsMorioka Archives Vault), the bulk of the collection consists of printed records created by and for AIGA, including exhibition catalogues and design annuals documenting the selections from AIGA competitions since 1915; newsletters and journals published since 1922; AIGA conference materials produced since 1985; and a flat file of works by AIGA Medalists and AIGA Chapters. The growing collection contains more than 1,500 unique items. 

Visit today! Make an appointment by emailing our archivist Heather Strelecki or calling 212 710 3145.

Hours

  • Monday, Thursday, Friday, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
  • Summer hours (July 4–Labor Day): Monday, Thursday, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Friday, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. on Fridays.
  • Closed for weekends, holidays, and national AIGA events 

Appointments and tours

  • Nonmember: $25 per person
  • AIGA member: Free for active memberships
  • Appointments must be made at least a week in advance. No walk-ins accepted.

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AIGA Design Archives

AIGA Design Archives represents the quality of work being created, as well as shifting aesthetics and sensibilities of the designers of the day. This rich online resource features more than 20,000 selections from AIGA’s design competitions dating back to 1924, as well as special collections of historic works from major American design firms and practitioners. 

View the work and learn more about the collections, including selections that are housed at the Denver Art Museum, at designarchives.aiga.org

AIGA Archives at the Denver Art Museum

Gifted to the Denver Art Museum in 2006, the AIGA Archives at the Denver Art Museum recognizes award-winning entries made to AIGA’s annual competitions. The collection represents the largest and most comprehensive holding of contemporary American communication design in the world with approximately 12,000 physical artifacts. The archive reflects the major design trends as well as many of the leading design firms and individual designers that defined the 32-year period from 1980 to 2012.

The physical objects are used within Denver Art Museum’s exhibiting collection and serve to educate future generations on the antecedents and evolution of art and commerce.

Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University’s Butler Library

The winning selections from AIGA’s longest-running annual book design competition, 50 Books | 50 Covers (formerly Fifty Books of the Year), held at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) at Columbia University’s Butler Library in New York City, demonstrate the principles of good design and craftsmanship in the manufacture of contemporary American books. The collection of more than 5,000 books span nearly nine decades of AIGA competitions.

The library is available for on-site use by AIGA members and researchers.

Other AIGA resources

FAQs

I want to learn more about AIGA. Where can I find more information?
AIGA is the design profession’s oldest and largest professional membership organization. Read more about who we are and what do, or get a tour of AIGA’s major milestones through the years:

Watch this webcast for a visual history of AIGA from Sean Adams.

Can I use an image from AIGA or AIGA Design Archives?
Because we support copyright and privacy, AIGA is limited to distributing images in the AIGA archives and on its websites. All works are the copyright of their respective owners. Commercial use of any AIGA material will not be permitted unless express written permission is granted. It is your responsibility to obtain the permission from the rights holder. If the requested images are in the archives of AIGA and there are no restrictions to access, they may be shared.

Once shared, all images must be displayed with an appropriate credit line (work title, artist, year, link to where it lives on our website, and AIGA, the professional association for design cited as a source).

Please direct permissions and requests-to-publish to AIGA’s archivist. Requests should be made at least a week in advance of the date needed. A fee may be charged for time and materials. By initiating the request-to-publish, you agrees to these terms and to indemnify and hold AIGA harmless from any and all claims, suits and expenses arising from the use of an image. 

What are the best resources to learn about AIGA Medalists?
In addition to the AIGA Medalist essays, research guides are being compiled to surface related content from articles, books, exhibitions and events, websites and online collections, audio, and video. These research guides are located beneath each essay and are currently available for Saul Bass, Ivan Chermayeff and Tom GeismarMilton Glaser, Leo Lionni, Herb LubalinHerbert Matter, Massimo and Lella Vignelli, and Henry Wolf.

For more information about our collections, email our archivist Heather Strelecki or call 212 710 3145.

The AIGA archives and special collections are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.