AIGA Medal

The medal of AIGA—the most distinguished honor in the profession of communication design—has been awarded since 1920 to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements to the advancement of the field of design as respected craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. Medals have been awarded to individuals who have set standards of excellence over a lifetime of work or have made individual contributions to innovation within the practice of design.

News

2021 AIGA Medalists announced!

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Awards Selection Committee

  • Chris Dingwall, Design Historian and Curator, Oakland University
  • Karin Fong, Director + Designer, Imaginary Forces
  • Gaby Hernández, Social Design Researcher and Educator, University of Florida
  • Hugh Weber (Co-Chair), Managing Director, We Must Be Bold and The Great Discontent
  • Forest Young (Co-Chair), Chief Creative Officer, Wolff Olins

Advisors to the Committee (non-voting):

  • Dana Arnett, Chief Executive Officer, VSA Partners
  • Ashleigh Axios, Chief Experience Officer and Partner, Coforma

Returning committee members have been invited to participate in the committee deliberations as non-voting members to provide guidance on the criteria.

Nominations and Selection Criteria

    • To celebrate designers who represent the highest aspirations of our members by honoring inspirational individuals who have successfully enhanced the value and deepened the impact of design on business, society, and culture, through their unique and outstanding contributions in the practice of design, teaching, writing, or leadership of the profession.
    • To increase public awareness and understanding of the critical and influential role of design and designers in business, culture, and our communities at large.

    AIGA members are invited to submit nominations to be considered by next year’s committee. To nominate an inspirational colleague, mentor, or individual who has made a significant impact in the U.S., simply complete the nomination form. Include the name of the nominee, a short paragraph about why the individual should be considered, and a link to their website or portfolio. Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis and are considered year after year for the next awards cycle. Each year, nominations for the AIGA Medal are reviewed by an awards committee to verify eligibility. Yearly recommendations for Medal awards are then presented to the AIGA National Board of Directors for majority approval. The Board approves a slate of Medalists, and does not propose or reject individual names recommended by the committee.

    Individuals who are honored may work in any country, but the contribution for which they are honored should have had a significant impact on the practice of communication design in the United States.

    • Achievement: With a focus on craft, eligible nominees will have made a historically significant contribution to the profession
    • Enrichment: With a focus on community, eligible nominees will have set a new benchmark for service as community catalysts
    • Expansion: With a focus on possibility, nominees will have pushed the envelope to broaden the scope of what we consider great design

    The AIGA board of directors has issued the following instructions:

    • Minimum of one and maximum of three medals will be awarded each year
    • As a whole, the select group of Medalists should represent the design community’s diversity of design practice, gender, ethnicity, and geography
    • While AIGA’s roots are founded in traditional forms of graphic design, the selected group of awardees should reflect the broad scope of where the profession of design is today
    • Honor designers as exemplary, living role models of inspiration and aspiration to our members

    One Honorary Medal per year may be awarded at the discretion of the committee to recognize a designer posthumously. Recognition opportunities for posthumous awards may vary.

    Additional attributes for consideration:

    • Exemplary service to AIGA and the broader design community
    • Strong leader and role model for AIGA’s members and its mission of design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force
    • Public advocacy for the profession
    • Consistent commitment to social change

    Nominations

    Nominations open
    Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis and are considered year after year for the next awards cycle.

    Nominations close
    The deadline for nominations to be considered by the AIGA Awards Nominating Committee during the 2022 cycle will be announced in the spring.

    Nominate

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    AIGA Awards

    Past Recipients

    2019–2010

    2019

    Alexander Girard
    Geoff McFetridge
    Debbie Millman

    2018

    Aaron Douglas
    Arem Duplessis
    Karin Fong
    Susan Kare
    Victor Moscoso

    2017

    Art Chantry
    Emmett McBain
    Rebeca Méndez
    Mark Randall
    Nancy Skolos and Thomas Wedell
    Lance Wyman

    2016

    Ruth Ansel
    Richard Grefé
    Maira Kalman
    Gere Kavanaugh
    Corita Kent

    2015

    Paola Antonelli
    Hillman Curtis
    Emory Douglas
    Dan Friedman
    Marcia Lausen

    2014

    Charles S. Anderson
    Dana Arnett
    David Carson
    Kyle Cooper
    Michael Cronan
    Richard Danne
    Stephen Doyle
    Louise Fili
    Michael Donovan and Nancye Green
    Bob Greenberg
    Sylvia Harris
    Cheryl Heller
    Alexander Isley
    Chip Kidd
    Michael Mabry
    Abbott Miller
    Bill Moggridge
    Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka
    Kenneth Carbone and Leslie Smolan
    Gael Towey
    Ann Willoughby

    2013

    John Bielenberg
    Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones
    William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand
    Stefan Sagmeister
    Lucille Tenazas
    Wolfgang Weingart

    2011

    Ralph Caplan
    Elaine Lustig Cohen
    Armin Hofmann
    Robert Vogele

    2010

    Steve Frykholm
    John Maeda
    Jennifer Morla

    2009–1990

    2009

    Pablo Ferro
    Carin Goldberg
    Doyald Young

    2008

    Gail Anderson
    Clement Mok
    LeRoy Winbush

    2007

    Ed Fella
    Ellen Lupton
    Bruce Mau
    Georg Olden

    2006

    Michael Bierut
    Rick Valicenti
    Lorraine Wild

    2005

    Bart Crosby
    Meredith Davis
    Steff Geissbuhler

    2004

    Joseph Binder
    Sheila Levrant de Bretteville
    Charles Coiner
    The Coynes
    James Cross
    Jay Doblin
    Joe Duffy
    Martin Fox
    Caroline Warner Hightower
    Kit Hinrichs
    Walter Landor
    Philip B. Meggs
    James Miho
    Silas H. Rhodes
    Jack Stauffacher
    Alex Steinweiss
    Deborah Sussman
    Edward Tufte
    Fred Woodward
    Richard Saul Wurman

    2003

    B. Martin Pedersen
    Woody Pirtle

    2002

    Robert Brownjohn
    Chris Pullman

    2001

    Samuel Antupit
    Paula Scher

    2000

    Laurie Haycock and Scott Makela
    Fred Seibert
    Michael Vanderbyl

    1999

    Steven Heller
    Tibor Kalman
    Katherine McCoy

    1998

    Louis Danziger
    April Greiman

    1997

    Lucian Bernhard
    Zuzana Licko and Rudy VanderLans

    1996

    George Lois
    Cipe Pineles

    1995

    Matthew Carter
    Stan Richards
    Ladislav Sutnar

    1994

    Muriel Cooper
    John Massey

    1993

    Alvin Lustig
    Tomoko Miho

    1992

    Lester Beall
    Rudolph de Harak
    George Nelson

    1991

    Colin Forbes
    E. McKnight Kauffer

    1990

    Alvin Eisenman
    Frank Zachary

    1989–1960

    1989

    Paul Davis
    Bea Feitler

    1988

    William Golden
    George Tscherny

    1987

    Alexey Brodovitch
    Gene Federico

    1986

    Walter Herdeg

    1985

    Seymour Chwast

    1984

    Leo Lionni

    1983

    Herbert Matter

    1982

    Massimo and Lella Vignelli

    1981

    Saul Bass

    1980

    Herb Lubalin

    1979

    Ivan Chermayeff and Thomas Geismar

    1978

    Lou Dorfsman

    1977

    Charles and Ray Eames

    1976

    Jerome Snyder
    Henry Wolf

    1975

    Bradbury Thompson

    1974

    Robert Rauschenberg

    1973

    Richard Avedon
    Allen Hurlburt
    Philip Johnson

    1972

    Milton Glaser

    1971

    Will Burtin

    1970

    Herbert Bayer

    1969

    Robert L. Leslie

    1968

    Dr. Giovanni Mardersteig

    1967

    Romana Javitz

    1966

    Paul Rand

    1965

    Leonard Baskin

    1963

    Saul Steinberg

    1962

    Willem Sandberg

    1961

    Paul A. Bennett

    1960

    Walter Paepcke

    1959–1920

    1959

    May Massee

    1958

    Ben Shahn

    1957

    Dr. M. F. Agha

    1956

    Ray Nash

    1955

    P. J. Conkwright

    1954

    Will Bradley
    Jan Tschichold

    1953

    George Macy

    1952

    Joseph Blumenthal

    1951

    Harry L. Gage

    1950

    Earnest Elmo Calkins
    Alfred A. Knopf

    1948

    Lawrence C. Wroth

    1947

    Elmer Adler
    Stanley Morison

    1945

    Frederic G. Melcher

    1944

    Edward Epstean

    1942

    Edwin and Robert Grabhorn

    1941

    Carl Purington Rollins

    1940

    Thomas M. Cleland

    1939

    William A. Kittredge

    1935

    Rudolph Ruzicka
    J. Thompson Willing

    1934

    Henry Lewis Bullen

    1932

    Porter Garnett

    1931

    Dard Hunter

    1930

    Henry Watson Kent

    1929

    William A. Dwiggins

    1927

    Timothy Cole
    Frederic W. Goudy

    1926

    Burton Emmett

    1925

    Bruce Rogers

    1924

    Stephen H. Horgan

    1922

    Daniel Berkeley Updike

    1920

    Norman T. A. Munder

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