AIGA announces the results of its “Justified” competition

Jury selects 18 case studies to highlight design’s process and impact

NEW YORK—October 4, 2012. Today AIGA, the professional association for design, announced the results of “Justified”—a design competition for which entrants articulate the case for their work’s effectiveness. Eighteen case studies were selected from nearly 400 entries submitted by design firms, in-house design departments, design entrepreneurs and freelance designers.

Entries were judged based on their design attributes and whether their case for effectiveness was clear, compelling and accessible. A jury of renowned designers chaired by Terry Irwin, head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, identified submissions they felt served as an effective tool for explaining design’s value to clients, students, peers and the public in general.

“So many people tend to think of design as the final step—making a website to launch a product, producing a brochure to announce a new service,” said AIGA Executive Director Ric Grefé. “But these results show not only that design can make a positive impact on the bottom line, but that designers can play a strategic role in solving business challenges.”

“We are not decorators, we are problem solvers,” concurred “Justified” juror Steve Liska, owner of Chicago design firm Liska + Associates. “Case studies like those selected in ‘Justified’ show how we, in the design industry, justify our end product, what our value is and why we are a critical part of all communication efforts.”

That’s not to say that the decision-making process was easy. The jury debated for several days after reviewing the entries, preparing carefully considered comments and ultimately selecting 18 case studies.

“The competition is about the power and potential of storytelling—how our stories about design can make meaningful differences and an impact. It’s about learning from each other and understanding how the dots are connected,” said juror Clement Mok, a design and business strategy consultant.

“In a challenging economic climate, articulating what we do has become more important than ever,” said juror Petrula Vrontikis, creative director of Vrontikis Design Office. “It is possibly the most useful skill we can master, allowing us to keep good clients and make purposeful (and beautiful) work.”

“‘Justified’ will continue to evolve, and designers will become more adept at developing cases that support their work,” added juror Monica Little of Minneapolis design firm Little & Company. “Addressing change is messy, but it is necessary if we intend to remain relevant as the world continually transforms.”

See the full collection of “Justified” case study selections at

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 across 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, director of communications and marketing
AIGA | the professional association for design