AIGA’s management principles

Filed Under: About AIGA , governance

The following principles govern the management of AIGA and expectations for all employees. Together they offer a clear statement of expectations and reveal dimensions of the corporate culture that will support AIGA’s commitment to its stakeholders who, first and foremost, are AIGA members, present, past and future. Stakeholders also include designers who are not members, design students, educators and sponsors.

Universal values


In all that we do, we demonstrate respect for the profession and avoid imposing our personal values on decisions. We represent the profession with style, honor and grace. Every staff member is expected to learn about design, since knowledge will enhance the respect shown for the profession.


In our internal operations and in our relationships with members and the public, we adhere to the highest expectations for integrity. This means that we will relate to all with consistency, fairness, equity and honesty.


We realize we can only meet expectations by working together. Yet, we also know that working together effectively as a team places a responsibility on each of us to communicate effectively, trust each other and earn others’ trust. We must also honor the trust our members have placed in us to administer their organization and to commit their funds. This trust is based upon integrity, transparency and accountability.


We constantly strive to achieve excellence in all that we do. We try always to exceed expectations held of us by current, past and prospective members, AIGA board, staff and partners. We will reflect a commitment to design excellence in our work, our representation of the profession and in the character of our working environment.


In all of our activities, we will respect scarce resources, seek to minimize the negative impacts of our actions in economic, cultural and environmental terms and openly monitor the consequences of our actions.

Expectations of professional conduct within the AIGA culture


With limits on time, energy and financial resources, we must be selective in what we promise our members. We will focus on a few things, all of which we must be able to do well. We are honor bound to follow through on any promise we make.

Sharing information

We share information about what we are doing with each other so that everyone can answer questions concerning AIGA policies, practices and programs. This improves our ability to respond to our members. Just as important, we keep our members informed about programs and opportunities.

Building relationships

Our principal goal is to build a life long relationship with each designer and partner that results in his or her long-term loyalty to AIGA and its role. Every action we take should add value to that relationship and increase the likelihood that members and partners will continue to work with us when the opportunity arises. Our members and partners must know that we are listening carefully to what each says.

Striving for improvement

We develop processes that allow us to put our energy into improving rather than reinventing. We constantly listen and respond to our members’ and partners’ perceptions of how we are doing and we will demand continuous improvement from ourselves. And we will document our processes as a means of managing the knowledge and cumulative accomplishments of AIGA (creating the source of continuous improvement).

Encouraging ideas

We encourage the free discussion of ideas among the staff and will seek to nurture the formulation of change.Innovative thinking requires risk taking; all staff members must feel free to take reasonable risks; failures from actions reasonably arrived at and from which we learn will not be disparaged; and each employee should learn to tolerate others’ mistakes and to accept criticism of his or her own mistakes without defensiveness.


AIGA belongs to its members. They are entitled to outcomes from staff efforts that add value to their professional experience. We must always consider their issues, their values and their perception of our activities.

Problem solving

We don’t just highlight a problem; we suggest solutions. If we don’t know an answer, we will propose a means of involving others who can help us solve it to the best of our ability. We want to think fast, and respond fast, which may require the best possible answer available, but we will never provide what we know is an inadequate or uninformed solution or answer.


Every communication from AIGA should embody our commitment to clarity and effect—accurate, edited text and design excellence. Communication must be effective—we must focus on making sure our messages have been heard and understood, and not be satisfied simply with the knowledge that we have made messages available to the intended audience. This means it must be checked for spelling and accuracy; seen by a second reader, whenever appropriate; and consistent with AIGA style guidelines.


We will seize every opportunity to advocate the importance of design in improving communication within society and business and the concept of designing as a way of thinking that solves problems while adding value to business strategies.

Fostering learning

AIGA should be a learning environment in which ideas are freely discussed, skills are acquired, and access to new experiences is possible. We encourage each member of the staff to continue learning from his or her experiences at AIGA and to share learning and experience with colleagues. Every staff member should assume responsibility to mentor colleagues as a responsibility of his or her position.