Meet AIGA’s 2019 Medalists, representing the vibrant spectrum of design excellence


March 25, 2019

Media Contact

Michelle Koenigsknecht

(212) 710-3138

New York (March 25, 2019) - From 1920 to the present day, AIGA has recognized influential leaders and their legacy of impact on visual communications and design. On the evening of April 6 at the AIGA Design Conference in Pasadena, California, the recipients of the AIGA Medal, AIGA Corporate Leadership Award, and Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary will be honored at the annual AIGA Awards Ceremony. Those receiving awards represent the innovative future of inclusive, cross-disciplinary design.

The medal of AIGA—the most distinguished in the field—is awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements and contributions to the field of visual communication.

AIGA’s 2019 Medalists are:

Alexander Girard (posthumous) recognized for his effortless ability to move across surfaces and scales, his innovative cross-disciplinary design practice, and his impact on mid-century modernism in America. Girard made a name for himself over his long career in the fields of furniture, exhibition, interior, and graphic design. He served as director of the textiles division at Herman Miller, as a curator of the Good Design exhibition program for the Museum of Modern Art, and as a collaborator on the Midwestern residential masterpiece entitled the Miller House.

Geoff McFetridge, who is known for relating design to time-based considerations and vibrant sculptural forms, while welcoming graphically-charged street subculture into the mainstream conversation. His work in painting, film, and fabrics has been mounted at institutions and galleries all over the world. He has also worked with clients including Google, Nike, and Apple, and served as art director for Grand Royal, the Beastie Boys’ magazine.

Debbie Millman, who is recognized for skillfully designing both the form and expression as principal of Sterling Brands, amplifying designers’ voices through her award-winning podcast Design Matters, and for her years of service and commitment to AIGA. She is the author of six books, has artwork displayed in museums all over the world, and has conducted visual storytelling workshops throughout her travels. She also co-founded the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

2019 AIGA Corporate Leadership Award

Established in 1980, the AIGA Corporate Leadership Award recognizes the role of 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.

The Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary

Established in 2017, the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary recognizes writers and editors who amplify the tradition of Heller’s prolific voice and engaging writing about design and culture. This year’s recipients include the following:

Alexandra Lange is the architecture critic for Curbed, but her essays, reviews, and profiles have appeared in numerous design publications including ArchitectHarvard Design Magazine, and more. Her latest book, The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids was published by Bloomsbury USA in 2018. She is also the author of Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012) and the e-book The Dot-Com City: Silicon Valley Urbanism (Strelka, 2012).

Ellen McGirt is a senior editor at Fortune. In addition to long-form magazine features, she writes RaceAhead, an award-winning daily column on race and inclusion in corporate life and beyond. Her reporting has taken her inside the C-Suites of Facebook, Nike, Twitter, Intel, Xerox, and Cisco; on the campaign trail with Barack Obama and across Africa with Bono to study breakthrough philanthropy.

Media Contact

Michelle Koenigsknecht

(212) 710-3138


About AIGA
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, we bring together practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create 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. Learn more at