AIGA Corporate Leadership Award

Established in 1980,  the AIGA Corporate Leadership Award recognizes the role of perceptive and forward-thinking organizations that have been instrumental in the advancement of design by applying the highest standards, as a matter of policy.

We are delighted to announce the 2019 AIGA Corporate Leadership Award goes to Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is recognized for leading the way around designing for inclusion, for its philanthropic and employee-focused practices, and for engaging AIGA and supporting its beliefs.

As partners in design, creativity, and equity, we’re honored to accept the 2019 AIGA Corporate Leadership Award. In today’s world, where technology continues to scale and impact the lives of billions, Microsoft’s mission is more crucial than ever: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We can’t hope for that global reach without the undeniable impact of design.

Design is more than a flourish. It is an integral part of responsible product creation. Designers have a unique power to affect the soul of technology, and at Microsoft, that means imbuing our experiences with an ever-more important sense of trust. We design for inclusion—to create solutions for those who may be excluded and extend access to the greatest number of people.

Good design is invisible. It’s frictionless and fair. It considers the person behind the screen before the screen itself. Beyond brand identity, look and feel, colors and components, motion and material, design carries the weight of unintended consequences. At Microsoft, it’s our imperative to take care, and to design as corporate stewards of a greater world.

A sincere thanks to AIGA for this recognition.

Albert Shum, Corporate Vice President of Design, Microsoft
Tim Allen, Partner, Director of Design, Microsoft


To nominate a company, client, or organization whose mission and use of design has made a significant impact in the U.S., simply complete the nomination form, including the name, a short paragraph about why the company/organization should be considered, and a link to their website. Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis and are considered year after year for the next awards cycle. Each Fall (October/November), nominations for the Corporate Leadership Award are reviewed by an awards subcommittee of the national board of directors to verify eligibility. Yearly recommendations for the prize are then presented to the entire board for majority approval. Recipients of the award will be asked to produce and finance their own video and editorial content to help share their story with our members.

The 2019 Awards Committee:

  • Ashleigh Axios, Design Exponent, Automattic (AIGA Washington, DC)
  • Jennifer Morla, President and Creative Director, Morla Design (AIGA San Francisco)
  • Christine Taylor (chair), Creative Account Manager, Licensing, Hallmark Cards, Inc. (AIGA Kansas City)
  • Richard Ting, EVP, Global Chief Experience Officer and Partner, R/GA Ventures (AIGA New York)
  • Forest Young, Global Principal, Wolff Olins (AIGA San Francisco)

The board asked AIGA president, Dana Arnett, vice chairman and founding partner, VSA Partners (AIGA Chicago), to participate in the committee deliberations as a non-voting member and observer to provide guidance on the criteria for multiple awards. Additional guidance provided by Connie Birdsall.

Selection Criteria

The recipients of this award demonstrate respect for the millions whose lives they touch, a rare commitment to consistency and quality, and a model for the successful interaction between aesthetics and pragmatics. Eligibility is open to global companies and organizations that have a strong presence and offices based out of the United States.

The AIGA board of directors has issued the following instructions:

  • Design excellence, the company/organization is perceived as attaining a level of holistic design excellence—across all facets of their experience, systems, products, and services.
  • Economic impact, the company/organization has demonstrated how use of design practices has made a significant and measurable economic impact on the products, brands, and areas important to the success of the entire enterprise.
  • Sustainability, the company/organization has shown how use of design practices has made significant and measurable sustainability and/or environmental improvements on the products, brands, and areas important to the success of the entire enterprise.
  • Social responsibility, the organization has made a significant contribution to support the development of design as a force for good in their organization as well as in the external community in the U.S. or globally.
  • Commitment, the organization can demonstrate it has met the above criteria for the last five years.


Support AIGA’s work to impact the future of the profession. Contact us to learn about partnership opportunities for the AIGA Awards program—including the AIGA Corporate Leadership Award, AIGA Medal, and the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary—contact us at To learn more about how you can support AIGA, visit Contribute to AIGA.

Questions? Email


AIGA Awards presentation was integrated into the closing ceremony of the AIGA Design Conference in Pasadena on April 6, 2019. After more than 15 years, the ceremony returned to the annual conference program, our largest event of the year for creatives across the country to gather, be inspired, and grow. Enjoy our favorite moments in an online photo gallery.

Watch this space and follow @AIGAdesign for updates on the 2020 Awards Ceremony.



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