Designers gather in Phoenix to address shifts in the design profession

Biennial AIGA Design Conference will explore changes in society, economy and culture

When: Thursday, October 13–Sunday, October 16
Where: Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Media passes: Contact Jennifer Bender, 212 710 3136

NEW YORK—October 6, 2011. What is the role of design in a rapidly shifting world? Next week hundreds of professional designers, educators and design students will gather to address this very question at the AIGA Design Conference, taking place in Phoenix from October 13–16. The theme of this year’s conference is “Pivot,” focusing on how design and designers are shifting to address changes in society, the economy and culture.

In thought-provoking sessions, a broad range of speakers will explore design’s potential. Speakers include:

  • John Bielenberg, designer and founder of Project M, will describe why he believes design is the only viable option we have to help shape a positive future.
  • Dondeena Bradley, vice president of global design and development for nutrition ventures at PepsiCo, will show how PepsiCo has worked with innovation partners to design integrative solutions to global nutrition and health concerns.
  • Valerie Casey, founder and executive director of Designers Accord, will outline the opportunity for designers to create the new world order by adapting both mind-sets and methodologies.
  • Allan Chochinov, partner and editor-in-chief of Core77, will explain why designers need to see themselves as connective tissue—translating between stakeholders, reframing problems, revealing opportunities and championing change.
  • Elan Cole, global creative director of Johnson & Johnson, and Debbie Millman, managing partner and president of the design division at Sterling Brands, will lead a panel discussion about the ways brands and the designers behind them must change in order for companies to grow and thrive in increasingly competitive markets.
  • Karl Heiselman, CEO of branding strategy firm Wolff Olins, will share new research on how changes in culture and society are forcing both companies and consumers to think and act differently.

Many more sessions are planned with a wide range of experts addressing the “Pivot” theme. See the full schedule online.

The AIGA Design Conference, offered every two years by AIGA, connects designers with people and ideas on the leading edge of the design profession, addressing the challenges and issues that matter most.

“Pivot is certainly an ambitious agenda, but these conversations are absolutely critical to the future of the communication design profession,” noted Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA, the professional association for design. “Designers have the ability to change the world, but only if they fully understand the cultural, economic and societal shifts happening right now.”

For more information, to arrange interviews or to inquire about media passes, please contact Jennifer Bender by email or 212 710 3136.

About AIGA

AIGA is the professional association for design, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA today serves more than 22,000 members through 66 chapters and 200 student groups throughout the United States. AIGA stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers. Learn more at

For further information, please contact: Jennifer Bender
AIGA | the professional association for design
Tel 212 710 3136 Fax 212 807 1799