Annual Report 2011

Filed Under: About AIGA , governance

AIGA’s mission

To advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force.

What is AIGA?

Founded in 1914 as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design and is now known simply as “AIGA, the professional association for design.”

AIGA’s goals

  • To demonstrate the value of design and designing to business and the public
  • To empower designers across the arc of their careers
  • To stimulate thinking about design


As of December 31, 2011, AIGA’s membership totaled 22,574: 8,385 professional members, 802 educators, 2,750 associate members and 10,637 student members.


The number of chapters, which serve as AIGA’s most direct connection with members, grew to 66 in 2011 with the addition of AIGA San Antonio. The passionate and dedicated volunteer leaders at chapters organized hundreds of events and activities in 2011—here’s a look at just a few.  

National programs and initiatives

National events and initiatives complement activities offered by chapters; in 2011, these included:

One Day for Design 75pxOne Day for Design (April 13) provided an open, global dialogue on the meaning and future of design, and on the meaning and future of professional associations in our field. With more than 30,000 tweets by nearly 3,900 people, at one point #onedayfordesign ranked as the #4 trending hashtag on Twitter in the United States. Led by eight moderators, it was an astonishing 24 hours of live input online that generated many thoughtful responses to how AIGA should be positioned for the future.

Have some inspiration to share? was redesigned to better represent the potential of design to inspire and to improve lives, while giving members a voice and showing the value design creates for business, government and society. The redesigned site is visually dynamic, offering storytelling experiences both long and short, as well as numerous opportunities for participation. It’s a place to be stimulated by the work designers are creating, while serving as a trusted resource for authoritative information relevant to the practice of design today and the legacy of its most influential and inspiring practitioners. The emphasis is on great work, community and communicating the value of design.

Design Envy 75pxDesign Envy is a curated blog of design excellence—selected by designers, for designers. The wide range of excellent work happening in the profession hasn’t always come through in AIGA’s traditional channels, nor has there been a consistent way to discuss and interact with the designs being recognized. Design Envy, presented by Adobe, opens up the conversation to the broader community and provides a limitless variety of inspiration from across all design disciplines.

Pivot 75pxPivot:AIGA Design Conference (October 13–16 in Phoenix) provided an opportunity for more than 1,600 attendees and presenters to explore the shifts that have created a critical inflection point for design as a practice, thought process and force for change. The theme supported explorations of how design can be more effective than ever as society, the economy and the context for design evolves. To help extend the experience and critical thinking beyond the conference, videos of many of the presentations were made available to all members.

Design for Good 75pxDesign for Good connects and amplifies the pro bono efforts of designers, firms, students and chapters across the country—and in turn, inspires more involvement. Through Design for Good, AIGA enables a network of more than 22,000 designers, hundreds of design educators, 66 chapters and 200 student groups to become engaged in projects where they can demonstrate the power of design to communities, their business leaders and the public. As mentioned in GOOD magazine, a key component of the program is sharing case studies of success stories so that designers across the country can replicate effective programs from one community to others.

Survey of Design Salaries 75pxThe AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries is the most comprehensive annual survey of compensation data for the communication design profession in the United States. For more than a decade, it has been commissioned annually by AIGA, with the support of Aquent, AIGA’s official sponsor for professional development, and in cooperation with Communication Arts magazine. The 2011 survey resulted in responses from more than 7,000 design professionals and featured an improved interactive format and an updated list of positions and descriptions based on data collected.

INitiative 75pxINitiative supports in-house designers and teams, who face their own unique challenges. AIGA partnered with The Creative Group (TCG) to form INitiative, aiming to “provide INsights to help INhouse design teams thrive.” Whether you belong to or manage an in-house team, are interested in pursuing this career path or are merely curious about the influential role of in-house creatives, INitiative is for you! Led by in-house expert Andy Epstein, INitiative is a nationwide program providing inspiration, advice and insights from in-house design leaders via online channels and in-person events.

Breakthroughs 75pxBreakthroughs: Where Inspiration and Technology Meet was created with Adobe, AIGA’s official AIGA sponsor for design solutions, as a free educational webinar series for AIGA members pairing inspiring designers with technology experts. Each of the six webinars was designed to help members achieve their own professional breakthroughs. Live sessions were reserved exclusively for members; archives are available to the public.

Bright Lights 75pxBright Lights: The AIGA Awards was held on April 7 in New York City. A sparkling evening honoring AIGA Medalists Steve Frykholm, John Maeda and Jennifer Morla, as well as Corporate Leadership Awardees Method and Tiffany, the event raised more than $50,000 to support AIGA activities. To extend the honorees’ inspiration to all members, designers and enthusiasts, short documentaries, produced for and premiered at the event, were made available to watch online.

AIGA Leadership Retreat 75pxAIGA Leadership Retreat was held June 2–4 in Minneapolis for chapter board members. A two-and-a-half day event, the retreat is devoted to sharing successes and planning to meet the objectives of the Mandate for 2014. All 66 AIGA chapters sent board representatives to learn more about the organization, share best practices and take home new information to strengthen chapters.

Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders 75pxAIGA Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders was held July 24–29 at the Yale School of Management. AIGA offers this graduate business education program for creative professionals with world-renowned professors from Yale School of Management to provide a deep understanding of how C-level executive see problems and approach decisions. Strategy, marketing, negotiation, operations, financial accounting and more are taught through lectures, case studies and group exercises.

AIGA design competitions 75pxAIGA’s design competitions received a total of 1,899 entries: “365: Design Effectiveness Competition” received 1,162 entries; “50 Books/50 Covers” received 679 entries; “Making the Case” received 58 entries. Selections from “365” and “50 Books/50 Covers” were published in Design Archives and featured in The Wall Street Journal and Paper Magazine; new case studies from “Making the Case” were published online.

Exhibitions in AIGA’s National Design Center gallery in New York included:

  • “10th Australian Graphic Design Association National Biennial Awards,” December 9, 2010–February 25, 2011
  • “50 Books/50 Covers of 2009,” December 9, 2010–April 8, 2011
  • “Books from St. Gallen,” June 16–July 22, 2011
  • “365: Design Effectiveness,” September 14–November 23, 2011
  • "50 Books/50 Covers of 2010," December 8, 2011 and continuing

Benefits. AIGA’s relationships with its sponsors and partners offer members valuable benefits on a range of design-centered products and services. New and ongoing benefits includes discounts to Apple, Adobe, Blurb,, Shutterstock and other leading brands. View the full listing of benefits available to members.

Advocacy. AIGA plays an active role in positioning the design profession, defining its standards, and demonstrating its value, often weighing in on issues concerning proper respect for professional standards. In 2011, this involved Design for Democracy and election design; working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in developing information design standards for consumer financial reporting; challenging spec work provisions in public, nonprofit, political and commercial cases; and mobilizing broad national support against LogoGarden when it became clear it was appropriating and reselling designers’ work without the creators’ permission.


AIGA’s 2011 audited financial statement is available online.

Sources of funds


Membership dues
Conference/event fees
Competition fees
Foundation support
Individual donations
Interest and investments
Other revenue, including Design Jobs
Contribution from reserves


Uses of funds

Chapter support
Competitions and exhibitions


There was a planned deficit in the operating budget in order to invest reserves in maintaining services during the economic slowdown and investing in long-term capabilities to serve growth when the economy improves.

The uses of funds reflect the allocation of staff and overhead to each function, as well as direct expenses.

How member dues are spent

In FY 2011, revenue from membership dues totaled $3.3 million. In order to provide services to members, AIGA raised the balance of the $6.2 million budget from program fees, sponsorships, grants or working capital. In other words, for every dollar in membership dues received, AIGA was able to raise an additional $0.88 from other sources.

Membership revenues cover:

  • Expenses for supporting chapters, including reimbursements of membership revenues directly to chapters and staff support for chapter development;
  • Web and publishing that support members directly;
  • The membership development function, which includes processing of all membership records; and
  • Governance, which represents board support and legal requirements.

Fundraising, development, communications, advocacy, competitions and exhibitions and education are funded from revenues raised by AIGA from program fees and development activities.


2011 board of directors

AIGA’s board of directors is elected by the entire professional membership and plays a crucial role in determining the mission of AIGA, ensuring that the organization continues to operate in the best interest of past, present and future members.

Doug Powell 75   President
Doug Powell
Schwartz Powell
Zia Khan   Secretary/Treasurer
Zia Khan

Lucid Partners
Ric Grefe 75   Executive director
Richard Grefé
New York  
Julie Beeler   Julie Beeler
Second Story Interactive Studios
Andrew Blauvelt   Andrew Blauvelt
Walker Art Center
  Gaby Brink
San Francisco  
Drew Davies   Drew Davies
Oxide Design Co.
Phil Hamlett   Phil Hamlett
Academy of Art University
San Francisco  
James Koval   James Koval
VSA Partners, Inc.
Deanna Kuhlmann-Leavitt   Deanna Kuhlmann-Leavitt
Kuhlmann Leavitt Inc.
St. Louis  
Santiago Piedrafita   Santiago Piedrafita
NCSU, College of Design
Darralyn Rieth   Darralyn Rieth
Susana Rodríguez de Tembleque   Susana Rodríguez de Tembleque
San Franciso  
Nathan Shedroff   Nathan Shedroff
California Institute of the Arts
San Francisco  
Angela Shen-Hsieh   Angela Shen-Hsieh
Visual i|o
Robin Tooms   Robin Tooms
Kevin Perry   Presidents council chair
Kevin Perry
Salt Lake City  
Debbie Millman   Ex officio
Debbie Millman
Sterling Brands
New York  


2011 sponsors

AIGA is grateful to the following sponsors who actively support AIGA and its activities. In addition, we are thankful for the enabling support provided by our alliance partners.

Official AIGA sponsors

Adobe 65px  


As AIGA’s Official AIGA Sponsor for Design Solutions, Adobe creates innovative programs that give members a voice and engage the creative community in dialogues about design and technology.

Aquent 75  


Aquent is the Official AIGA Sponsor for Professional Development, serving as a source for creative and design talent as well as providing access to great career opportunities for AIGA members nationwide.

Shutterstock 75  


AIGA’s Official Sponsor for Creative Inspiration, Shutterstock, offers members a comprehensive library of more than 15 million stock photographs and vector illustrations.


Presenting sponsors



Blurb, the easy-to-use, on-demand publishing platform, is the Presenting Sponsor of 50 Books/50 Covers—and offers AIGA members a discount to make their own books.

Mohawk Fine Papers

As the Presenting Sponsor of The Living Principles for Design—the online community for sustainability—Mohawk underscores their commitment to responsibility in all aspects of design and business.

The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG)—a leader in matching creative talent with the best companies—is the Presenting Sponsor of INitiative, a new AIGA national program that provides knowledge and tools to help in-house designers make a greater impact at their companies, evolve professionally and connect with a broader network of peers.


Program and event sponsors

Program and event sponsors contribute to the resources necessary for AIGA to provide specific individual programs and events to its members, to the broader design community or to the public. 

AVA Publishing
Canon USA
Clients & Profits
Corporate Image
Creativity International Awards


Finch Paper
Herman Miller
Hoefler Frere-Jones
International Paper
Johnson & Johnson
Microsoft Expressions
Mohawk Fine Papers
Monotype Imaging
Neenah Paper


Sappi Fine Paper
The Creative Group
Tiffany & Co.
Yupo Corporation America


In-kind sponsors

Herman Miller
Sierra Signs
Visual Graphic Systems (VGS)

Paper sponsors

Finch Paper
International Paper
Mohawk Fine Papers
Neenah Paper
Reich Paper
Sappi Fine Paper

Print sponsors

American Printing Co.
The Artcraft Company
O’Neil Printing



Rockefeller Foundation
Worldstudio Foundation


National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs  

In addition, AIGA is grateful for the enabling support provided by our alliance partners.