AIGA Corporate Leadership Award
AIGA Corporate Leadership Award
About Nominations Selection Criteria Support AIGA Awardees

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 practice and policy.


Although nominations for 2020 are closed, AIGA members are invited to submit nominations to be considered by next year’s committee. 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. Include the name of the nominee, 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 year, nominations for the Corporate Leadership Award are reviewed by an awards committee to verify eligibility. Yearly recommendations for the award are then presented to the AIGA National Board of Directors 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.

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 or headquartered in the United States. The company/organization is striving and should be perceived as attaining a level of holistic design excellence—the best-in-class—across all facets of their experience, systems, products, and services.

The AIGA National Board of Directors has issued the following instructions:

The company/organization must demonstrate it has met the below criteria for at least the last five years.

  • Design Leadership: strives to position design and their designers as strategic partners across all facets of their business—experience, systems, products, and services (i.e. Designers in C-suite/upper management/key decision-making roles; demonstrates design in business, creative problem solving, design-thinking, consumer-focused solutions beyond just the visual communication roles).
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: employs and embraces a diverse workforce in all positions of the company (i.e. diversity in gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, capabilities, disabilities, education, environment, design practices, heritages, backgrounds, etc.). Should share the same practices in consumer-facing approaches, 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.
  • Innovation: invests in R&D and Innovative practices that strive to advance their industry forward. This can be in consumer products and services or internal development processes and procedures that apply efficiencies at scale for their industry as a whole
  • Social impact: 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.
  • 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.

While these are not mandatory, they are thoughtful considerations for making final selections.

  • Relationship with AIGA: Does the company support AIGA’s mission, have a corporate membership, participate in local and national events, have employees that are engaged in the organization?
  • Relevancy to Membership: Do our members know who they are, do they engage with our members or do our members engage with their products or services, is their reach broad enough to be relevant to a larger community?
  • Design Diversity: Does the company reflect more than just traditional products and services? Do they employ a variety of design skills from print to digital to UX/UI, etc.

The Awards Committee:

  • Chris Dingwall, Design Historian and Curator, Oakland University (AIGA Detroit)
  • Karin Fong, Director + Designer, Imaginary Forces (AIGA Los Angeles)
  • Gaby Hernández, Social Design Researcher and Educator, University of Florida (AIGA Gainesville)
  • Hugh Weber (Co-Chair), CEO and Curator, Institute of Possibility (AIGA South Dakota)
  • Forest Young (Co-Chair), Global Principal, Wolff Olins (AIGA San Francisco)

Advisors to the Committee (non-voting):

  • Dana Arnett (AIGA President), Vice Chairman and Founding Partner, VSA Partners (AIGA Chicago)
  • Ashleigh Axios (AIGA President Elect), Chief Experience Officer, &Partners (AIGA Washington, DC)
  • Christine Taylor (AIGA Corporate Relationships Committee Chair), Licensing Creative Manager, Hallmark Cards, Inc. (AIGA Kansas City)

Returning committee members have been invited to participate in the committee deliberations as non-voting members to provide guidance on the criteria.

Support AIGA

Support AIGA’s work to impact the future of the profession. Help us lead the change for designers at each phase of their careers by making a donation today!

Contact us to learn about to learn about corporate partnerships or foundation support opportunities for the AIGA Awards program—including the AIGA Corporate Leadership Award, AIGA Medal, and the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary.

Thank you in advance for helping to recognize individuals doing excellent work now.

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