AIGA’s Awards Recipients Showcase Dedication to Design and Bridge Community, Practices, and Space


June 15, 2022

Media Contact

Michelle Koenigsknecht

(212) 710-3138
AIGA honors this year’s awardees for expansion, enrichment, and achievement in the field of design

New York, NY—AIGA, the professional association for design, is pleased to announce the recipients of the AIGA Medal, Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary, and the AIGA Corporate Leadership Award. The three recipients of the AIGA Medal and one recipient of the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary will be recognized during the AIGA Design Conference, which will take place in Seattle, Washington, October 20–22, 2022. There will be an evening reception on Friday, October 21 to celebrate this year’s awardees and raise funds for AIGA scholarships that increase diversity in the creative professions by removing financial barriers and providing equitable opportunities for underrepresented students.

Since 1920, AIGA has awarded the AIGA Medal, the most distinguished honor in the profession of communication design, to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements to the advancement of the field of design as a respected craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force.

Established in 2017, the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary celebrates critical thinking about design and the profession, and encourages development in the next generation of design voices through a variety of media.

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.

For the first time since 2019, we will gather in-person for the AIGA Awards. We look forward to celebrating this year’s recipients—uplifting their stories of unique and outstanding contributions to the profession, and also their impact on visual culture. Individually and as a group, their dedication and commitment to design has helped build bridges between the profession and other communities, practices, and spaces

“The individuals we are awarding the AIGA Medal and the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary to have dedicated their careers to education, research, and writing and have made historically significant contributions to the design profession,” said Sheharazad Fleming, co-chair of this year’s Awards Nomination Committee, and Director of Digital Design and Marketing, Office of L.A. City Mayor

“The influence, career paths, and bodies of work of our awardees showcase the social and cultural impact of design, and allow all of us to see beyond the traditional canon of graphic design,” said Maribeth Kradel-Weitzel, co-chair of this year’s Awards Nomination Committee, Assistant Provost, Associate Professor and Program Director of MS Health Communication Design, Thomas Jefferson University.

AIGA Awards recipients:

Andrew Satake Blauvelt 
AIGA Medalist (expansion)

Recognized for his vast work in the field of art and design in service of the public—a steward of design history, he has redefined the traditional role of the museum in the community and made innovative cultural and educational programming accessible to all.

Emily Oberman 
AIGA Medalist (achievement)

Recognized for imprinting our visual culture with her wit and great fluency of style—highly influential, she is a north star for designers in business and ubiquitous as a graphic artist in entertainment.

Louise Sandhaus 
AIGA Medalist (enrichment)

Recognized for her presence and voice in the community as an educator and author—brilliant yet accessible, her work elevates under-recognized designers through stunning publications, insightful storytelling, and an eye toward design in everyday life.

Audrey Grace Bennett
Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary

Recognized for her extensive career as an educator and international speaker, she is prolific in her writing and in her thinking, using her position and the power of her ideas—embedded in social justice and the future of education—to advance design theories and practices.

Heath Ceramics
AIGA Corporate Leadership Award

Recognized for their progressive policies, corporate philosophies, and provocative notion of what beautiful and functional design is, as a women-founded, employee-owned, and community-focused business with a true vision for sustainable goods that last.

Bennie F. Johnson, AIGA’s executive director, said, “This year’s awardees advance design through education for the public, recognition of visual culture, and expanding the craft of design. I am honored to celebrate this year’s AIGA awardees and their contributions which enable expanded conversations in the community at-large.”

Nominations from the community are accepted year-round and are considered for the next awards cycle. Nominations carry over year-after-year and are reviewed by a committee that represents the design profession. Recommendations are then presented to the AIGA National Board of Directors.

This year’s committee members comprised diverse backgrounds and thinking in design. They put careful thought and time into shaping and recommending a new slate of nominees and we thank them for their time and commitment to honoring design and designers.

  • Chris Dingwall, Design Historian and Curator, Oakland University
  • Karin Fong, 2018 AIGA Medalist and Director + Designer, Imaginary Forces
  • Sheharazad Fleming (Co-Chair), Director of Digital Design and Marketing, Office of L.A. City Mayor
  • Maribeth Kradel-Weitzel (Co-Chair), Assistant Provost, Associate Professor and Program Director of MS Health Communication Design, Thomas Jefferson University

Advisors to the committee included: Ashleigh Axios, Chief Experience Officer and Partner, Coforma and Steven Heller, 1999 AIGA Medalist and Co-Chair School of Visual Arts MFA Design, The Designer As Entrepreneur Program.

To learn more about AIGA’s awards, click here

Tickets to the AIGA Awards Reception will be available for purchase in June. Registration is now open for the AIGA 2022 Design Conference.

Media Contact

Michelle Koenigsknecht

(212) 710-3138


AIGA, the professional association for design, advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, AIGA brings together practitioners, enthusiasts, and patrons to amplify the voice of design and creates the vision for a collective future. AIGA defines global standards and ethical practices, guides design education, inspires designers and the public, enhances professional development, and makes powerful tools and resources accessible to all.