Double or Nothing: AIGA looks to spark change in the design industry

NEW YORK—March 13, 2018. AIGA, the largest professional association for design in the US, today launched “Double or Nothing,” a movement to ultimately double the number of women leaders in design. Double or Nothing kicks off during Women’s History Month with the launch of a website, building momentum within the design community to achieve this bold goal. The website will continually expand and evolve with resources such as a corporate pledge for gender equity, practical toolkits, career advice and insights, and inspiring stories about female designers who are breaking boundaries in their field. Double or Nothing is more than an awareness campaign; it is a movement to create tangible impact and forge partnerships between women who want to lead, and individuals and organizations committed to helping them do so.  

Spearheaded by AIGA’s Women Lead Initiative and a coalition of the best and brightest from Blue State Digital, Decker Design, IBM, Lippincott, Pentagram, and Quartz, Double or Nothing intends to catalyze massive change by confronting the ingrained biases that exist within the design industry. Female design leadership ranges from only four to 11 percent depending upon business sector and individual survey, despite being a primarily female profession (53.5 percent of designers are women, according to the latest Design Census by AIGA and Google). There is no pipeline problem here; there is a promotion, pay and retention problem.

“Once in the workplace, particularly after 5 to 10 years, there is a lack of mentorship, celebration of female work, support for mothers, and equal pay,” said Lynda Decker of Decker Design and Co-Chair Women Lead Committee, AIGA. “At this state of their career, women often do not feel empowered to negotiate pay and the position they deserve or are reluctant to ask for guidance. We want that to end.”

Pentagram, a lead partner, developed the Double or Nothing creative strategy including the name, brand identity, voice and website design. “We’re working to empower women to have a stronger path toward getting what they want and deserve,” said Emily Oberman, who led the team at Pentagram.  “To that end, we’re looking for companies to make a public pledge of commitment and to be held accountable for meeting goals. You can bet that savvy designers will be drawn to those companies working to ensure inclusivity and balance.” 

“This is not just a campaign—it’s a movement to promote continuous and much-needed progress,” said Heather Stern of Lippincott and Co-Chair Women Lead Committee, AIGA. “‘Double or Nothing’ alludes to the ‘duos’ required to achieve our goal: pay and promotion, men and women, design and business, aspiring leaders and those who want to support them.”

Blue State Digital, a lead partner, built the website and lent its proprietary BSD tools to serve as a foundation for communications and engagement. “The awareness and momentum are there—it's time for our community to design a solution to achieve parity,” said Laura Kunkel, Women Lead Committee Member and Creative Director at Blue State Digital. “It can be done and we're going to do it.”

As part of the Double or Nothing initiative, AIGA national partner IBM will help develop a series of tangible commitments and best practices for companies to adopt in order to accelerate progress for female designers. 

“IBM has a commitment to diversity and equality in all of our practices and we’re thrilled to be a launch partner with AIGA in this important initiative,” said Doug Powell, Distinguished Designer at IBM and former AIGA national president, tasked with scaling design and design thinking across the global tech company. IBM was recently recognized as 2018 Catalyst Award winner for its efforts in supporting women in the workplace.

To expand the reach and influence of all of these efforts, AIGA is proud to partner with Quartz’s How We’ll Win project, which is a year-long exploration of the fight for gender equality. How We’ll Win highlights strategies for supporting inclusivity, women in power, and the next generation of leaders, including insights from some of the world's most powerful and influential women across every industry.

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with AIGA’s Double or Nothing movement as female leadership in any industry is a critical component of business success”, said Joy Robins, Chief Revenue Officer for Quartz. “Quartz’s How We’ll Win project and the Double or Nothing initiative are focused on making the strong business case for promoting equality in the workplace.”

Concluded AIGA executive director Julie Anixter, “Our pledge is to continue to champion women's leadership, as well as women and men who support diversity and inclusion. Double of Nothing is a great example of not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.”

For more information, and to join the coalition, visit, and follow us with #AIGAwomenlead and #DoubleOrNothingAiga. To inquire about how your company can get involved, contact

About AIGA

AIGA, the professional association for design, advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. As the largest and most influential community of design advocates, AIGA brings together practitioners, enthusiasts, and patrons to amplify the voice of design and creates the vision for a collective future. AIGA defines global standards and ethical practices, guides design education, inspires designers and the public, enhances professional development, and makes powerful tools and resources accessible to all. Learn more at Follow @aigadesign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Women Lead

The AIGA Women Lead Initiative (WLI) is committed to empowering women in design and advancing the vital discourse on issues facing professional women today without generalizing or segregating women designers. Founded in 2014 by Su Mathews Hale and Deborah Adler, WLI aims to address persistent biases and inequities inclusively and constructively by celebrating the achievements of women in design, cultivating awareness of gender-related issues and resources for success, and connecting and facilitating relationships within and beyond the design industry. Last year, WLI introduced the Gender Equity Toolkit, an interactive game for surfacing implicit bias in the workplace conceived in collaboration with Disrupt Design, and The Su Mathews Hale Women Lead Award, a scholarship that helps support talented, high potential female designers starting out in their careers. For more information visit

For more information, contact