AIGA launches Design for Good to harness creative talent for social good

NEW YORK—October 27, 2011. Every day across the United States, designers are helping to create better communities by working with nonprofits and citizen groups to improve the human experience. Many designers already volunteer their design, branding and strategy expertise to worthy causes, yet these projects are often isolated by geography, and long-term efforts can run out of steam when they rely heavily on the donated time of just one or two designers.

AIGA, the professional association for design, is launching the Design for Good initiative to connect and amplify the pro bono efforts of designers, firms, students and chapters across the country—and in turn, inspire more involvement. Through Design for Good, AIGA will enable a network of more than 22,000 designers, hundreds of design educators, 66 chapters and 200 student groups to become engaged in projects where they can demonstrate the power of design to communities, their business leaders and the public.

By connecting socially engaged designers with resources—such as advice, inspiration, training and opportunities to do this type of work—AIGA hopes to expand the reach of these social engagement projects without increasing the burden on individual designers. A key component of the program is sharing case studies of success stories so that designers across the country can replicate effective programs from one community to others.

“Design for Good is a long-term commitment of AIGA to provide designers with opportunities to work together with other community leaders on solving complex problems that benefit from the power of creative solutions,” said AIGA executive director Richard Grefé, describing the many dimensions of this initiative. “By assuming leadership roles in these projects, designers will facilitate teams representing many different skills, demonstrating in the process that designers provide unusual value in ways that affect many citizens. It will increase their involvement with communities’ business leaders, and support the profession’s position that design creates value—whether in the broader competitive economy or in terms of social capital.”

Design for Good is not just about designers donating their time to a cause. By working together to solve complex social problems, AIGA is enabling designers, firms, chapters and groups to demonstrate the value of design to our local communities, elected officials and business leaders. “While Design for Good is a pro bono initiative, we must not lose sight of the fact that ‘pro bono’ means ‘for good,’ not ’for free,’” Grefé continued. “There is a promising future in solving our citizens’ problems between the roles of capital markets and the public sector.”

Attendees at “Pivot: AIGA Design Conference” in Phoenix this month got a sneak peek at the program through an inspirational video and in-depth discussions with the program’s leaders—including Doug Powell, principal of Schwartz Powell in Minneapolis and president of AIGA, and Manuel Toscano, principal of the corporate identity firm Zago. The project has already attracted funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, PepsiCo and Sappi Ideas that Matter—and AIGA plans to work locally with GOOD to develop creative solutions to urban problems.

Readers are encouraged to visit to learn more about this movement through videos, case studies and advice on leading pro bono projects, as well as ways to submit success stories, share best practices and connect with resources and social engagement networks. AIGA is working to build a national database of socially focused projects and encourages thoughtful participation from peer organizations and nonprofits.

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