New York (June 1, 2020) - AIGA, the professional association for design, stands in solidarity with Black designers, creative business owners, educators, students—as well as their families, cultures, and communities—in the condemnation of racism, intersectional discrimination, fear, and acts of violence, including murder.
It’s with great sadness and anger that we reflect and take a stand against the violent deaths of George Floyd and Black adults and children across the United States. It’s a pattern of loss that spans generations and directly impacts the safety, health, and liberty of Black Americans. Members of our community are weighed down by the knowledge that they or their loved ones may be killed in their homes, community parks, driving in their cars, or walking in their neighborhoods. Whether they live in Saint Louis, Minneapolis, New York City, Louisville, or countless communities across our Nation and around the world.
As designers, we understand the power of a well-designed and human-centered system to drive health, security, and justice in our communities—and to protect and ensure the rights of all people. We are attuned to identifying unethical systems. Systems that exclude certain individuals or groups, lead to dead ends, anger, and in the most monstrous cases, the consistent loss of life from historically abused and disenfranchised communities.
This is a problem that’s crossed generations and centuries, and enough is enough. These wrongs can no longer be permitted to stand.
No problem can be solved that is not first identified and soberly acknowledged. AIGA acknowledges the issues and pledges to do its part to confront this egregious reality by both empowering and supporting our members and community to do the same. Even though the full effects of our investments aren’t likely to be fully realized by our generations, it’s time for designers and the organizations that support them to do our part to shift the tide of change toward solutions, peace, and justice.
Specifically, AIGA commits to supporting the needs of Black people and communities across the Nation, listening, collaborating, and amplifying their perspectives. And our members are positioned to be a part of the solution. Designers are especially equipped to hone in on issues, and work to address them through research and adaptive changes or complete redesigns. It’s through the careful identification of stakeholders, those with and without power. It’s through the identification of those negatively affected by the systems created and in place, and the careful listening to their experiences. It’s through breaking down the seemingly intractable problems into manageable pieces to be solved. And it’s also through both intensive collaboration and iterating that designers are able to help create solutions to large, complex, and intersectional problems.
We also commit to helping protect Black people from brutality whenever we have the opportunity. For example, we’re here to help connect interested designers with partners, experts, and communities to redesign policing within specific communities.
In the true spirit of design, below are initial problem statements AIGA encourages you, our extended community of designers, design students and teachers, creative businesses, researchers, and design-driven corporations, organizations, and institutions to explore with us moving forward. As communities and individuals, we call on you to explore:
How might we collaborate, support, and better amplify the perspectives and needs of Black people and communities across our Nation?
How might we help protect Black people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and communities when they’re out in community?
And importantly, how might we help redesign policing in the United States to protect and serve all, including Black individuals and communities?
To the many organizations and individuals, in and outside of our communities, who have worked and continue to work tirelessly on matters of racial justice, racial equity within design, and amplifying Black voices: Thank you. You have helped lead the way to this point, educating and steering change.
If you or your organization or institution are already doing this work, and are interested in exploring how AIGA can support your cause, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin a conversation.
If you’d like to support or work with AIGA in this space, either as an individual, as an organization or institution, please email us at email@example.com.