Design for Democracy

Design for Democracy is based on the premise that good design makes your choices clear.

Started in 1998, the oldest initiative has the mission to apply design tools and thinking to increase civic participation. By making interactions between the U.S. government and its citizens more understandable, efficient, and trustworthy, designers become more vocal citizens.

“AIGA is committed to working for public good and design excellence. Democracy is designed,” says AIGA executive director Julie Anixter. With seminal programs such as Ballot design and the Get out the vote presidential campaigns, AIGA has established designers as key players in the making of a sound democracy based on clear communications.

In 2017-2018, we continue to advocate for civic engagement through voter education, registration, access, but with an additional emphasis placed on civic engagement. We turn design skills and aspirations into tangible actions that can make a difference.

Building Community Power graphic Building Community Power
In partnership with Nonprofit VOTE, the project will encourage designers to yield the vote by building deeper civic engagement. Not just encouraging registration by saying VOTE! our campaign aims to provide a greater understanding of the political issues at stake, and how the democratic system works, in anticipation of the midterm elections. The project will have two components: a chapter-based curated component and a community-based open-source component, both aim to always provide clear communications on the why you need to vote, how, where, and when.

1. Chapter-based curated component: AIGA has matched a handful of AIGA chapters with Nonprofit VOTE’s civic anchors, to enable designers to devise meaningful citizen engagement strategies locally. We want to demonstrate design’s integration in community organizing and civic literacy, while nurturing communities’ sense of belonging.

2. Community-based open-source component: By inviting designers to submit visually impactful, intelligent, accessible digital communications that target first-time voters, youth, and new immigrants, AIGA supports its partner Nonprofit VOTE to distribute such content to its 3,000+ partners. The open source database of digital assets will also support National Voter Registration Day. Submit your entry today!

Get Out the Vote
Every four years AIGA and the League of Women Voters invite members to create nonpartisan posters and videos inspire the American public to vote. In 2016, this civic engagement initiative produced 727 original posters, a video with Edwards James Olmos to connect the Latino community and countless chapter-led events activated local communities for the general and local elections to come. See all the posters and videos from AIGA’s Get Out the Vote campaigns available online to download, print and share.

Ballot and election Design
Since 2000, Design for Democracy’s ballot and election design project has worked to make voting easier and more accurate for all U.S. citizens. Recent accomplishments include the "Field Guides Ensuring Voter Intent" to help country election officials design ballots, write instructions for voters, ballots for usability and create effective poll worker materials.



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Design for Democracy is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.