Designer of 2015 timeline

To aid in defining the Designer of 2015 project, recognized and diverse leaders in the design community were brought together to serve as an advisory board, called the Visionary Design Council (VDC). The first summit of the VDC took place on January 12, 2007, when the group gathered in New York City to be informed about the project, and most importantly, provide their insights and guidance on how to uncover the skills, needs and expectations of the various classes of designers in 2015. This meeting resulted in the identification of some key dimensions to explore, such as trends that may affect the profession. Lists of possible designers, agencies, companies and educational institutes to visit were discussed along with research methods needed to gather needed insight.

A second summit was held February 23, 2007, in San Francisco to gain insight from those VDC participants located closer towards the west coast as well as those unable to attend the first summit. From this meeting, next steps in the research plan were determined and “core competencies,” or those skills which all designer will need in 2015, were addressed.

During the months of April and May 2007, more than 30 interviews were conducted around the country with sources identified by AIGA, Adobe and the VDC. These influential leaders helped to further shape the direction of the initiative and define sample designer personas from which skills could be derived.

The third and final meeting of the VDC took place in New York City on May 14, 2007. Participants were given a brief on key findings from the field research as well as the progress of the AIGA/Adobe project team. During this meeting, council members began to shape the final language of the initiative and propose directions for the final deliverables.

AIGA's biennial design conference, “Next,” offered an invaluable opportunity to gather feedback and share the project with a large, diverse group of practicing designers, educators, students and business leaders. A session of the 2015 initiative was held during the conference, which featured a Q & A portion of the presentation with VDC and AIGA/Adobe project team members. Onsite interviews were also conducted and surveys were distributed and collected. The results from “Next” confirmed the project's direction, that designers need: core fundamentals; skills to work in increasingly interdisciplinary environments; to be familiar with user research; able to work across platform; focused on sustainability; and be able to communicate effectively.

Following the “Next” conference, the AIGA/Adobe research team consolidated research findings and finalized conclusions that could be taken to the community for discussion. More than 1,500 respondents participated in an online survey on during April 2008. The responses from this survey then helped to establish the presentation of trends and competencies as well as provide insight for further study.

AIGA thanks the Visionary Design Council (formed in 2007), a select group of key influencers:

  • Jake Barton, Local Projects, LLC
  • Rick Boyko, VCU School of Mass Communications
  • Brian Collins, Ogilvy & Mather
  • Meredith Davis, North Carolina State University
  • William Drenttel, Winterhouse
  • Hugh Dubberly, Dubberly Design Office
  • Carla Frank, O Magazine
  • Stanley Hainsworth, Starbucks
  • Sylvia Harris, consultant
  • Brad Johnson, Second Story
  • Marcia Lausen, Studio/lab
  • Michael Lebowitz, Big Spaceship
  • John Maeda, MIT Media Lab
  • Ken Martin, Blitz
  • Clement Mok, The Office of Clement Mok
  • Christopher Pullman, WGBH
  • Susana Rodriguez, Stone Yamashita Partners
  • Jacob Rosenberg, independent
  • Ivy Ross, Old Navy
  • Lisa Strausfeld, Pentagram
  • Lita Talarico, School of Visual Arts
  • Lucille Tenazas, Tenazas Design
  • Christopher Vice, Herron School of Art and Design