Sept 20–24: AIGA Virtual Design Conference


September 09, 2021

Media Contact

Michelle Koenigsknecht

(212) 710-3138

A Brief History of Now and the Next Chapter in Design

New York, NY— From Monday, September 20–Friday, September 24, AIGA will host the virtual AIGA Design Conference. For more than 35 years, this annual event has served as the place for the diverse and ever-changing design community to convene. The conference will include the AIGA Awards Celebration to honor Archie Boston, Jr., Terry Irwin, Cheryl D. Miller, and Thomas Miller (posthumously) as the recipients of the 2021 AIGA Medal; and Johanna Drucker and Alissa Walker as the recipients of the 2021 Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary.

Through virtual events highlighting our global, connected world, AIGA will explore the influence of designers as unique collaborators whose novel research uncovers historical narratives to positively impact our future.

“Our annual conference remains a cornerstone event for the design industry, and designers have an exciting opportunity to shape society’s future at a time when we need it most,” said Bennie F. Johnson, Executive Director of AIGA. “We’re grateful for the global breadth of attendees, hosts, speakers, and 2021 awardees who will join us for a week of inspiration and knowledge sharing.”

Conference Highlights:

Fireside Chats (Streamed live on LinkedIn

Join AIGA Executive Director Bennie F. Johnson for conversations around the future of design with design leaders: 

  • Monday, September 20 at 11:00 a.m. ET; Frank Schulenburg, Executive Director of Wiki Education
  • Friday, September 24 at 11:00 a.m. ET; Ravi Hampole, SVP of Global Brand Creative at lululemon 

Speaker Highlights

The 2021 AIGA Design Conference features a diverse lineup of designers, artists, entrepreneurs and more:

  • Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Debbie Millman, School of Visual Arts, Chair, Masters in Branding
  • Lucienne Roberts, LucienneRoberts+Director
  • Mitchell Chan, Artist
  • Ramon Tejada, RISD
  • Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Three General Sessions

September 20, 22, 24, 2021 @ 12:00 p.m. ET

Hosted by Roman Mars, the creator of 99% Invisible, the general sessions are focused discussions on data, AI, and machine learning, and how it is intersecting with and impacting design and taking a deeper look at design education, branding, climate design, customer experience, and social narratives.

AIGA Awards Celebration

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 @ 5:30 p.m. ET

Presenters include: Jessica Helfand, Hugh Weber, and Forest Young. Funds raised through the AIGA Awards Celebration support AIGA Scholarships.

Since 1920, AIGA has awarded the AIGA Medal, the most distinguished honor in the profession of communication design. The recipients of the 2021 AIGA Medal are:

  • Archie Boston, Jr. for “Expanding Voice”
  • Terry Irwin for “Expanding Envelope”
  • Cheryl D. Miller for “Expanding Access”
  • Thomas Miller (posthumously) for “Expanding Recognition” 

Established in 2017, the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary spotlights individuals who best exemplify the tradition of prolific writing and boundless curiosity. The recipients of the 2021 Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary are:

  • Johanna Drucker for her scholarship on graphic design, print culture, and book history
  • Alissa Walker for her writing on design and urbanism 

For more information about the AIGA Design Conference, visit

For media registration, please send an email to Amy Gwiazdowski

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.