AIGA Through the Years

Founded in New York City in 1914, AIGA has evolved into a nationwide network of professional designers, educators, students and design enthusiasts.



AIGA publishes findings from the AIGA Design Point of View (POV), a survey of the design community and a comprehensive investigation into the state of the profession at the intersection of business and design

To meet the needs of members during the pandemic, AIGA hosted virtual events such as the Design + Business Conference, Portfolio Festival, and the Design Conference, along with webinars and virtual member meet ups, leaning into the knowledge that design is fueling growth, delivering brand loyalty, and creating cultural impact

Professional development and lifelong learning are critical for design professionals, and to advance the profession, AIGA launched a new Certificates for Creatives program as the first step in building the AIGA learning portfolio


In response to COVID-19, AIGA pivoted from an in-person conference chaired by Richard Ting in Pittsburgh to the first virtual AIGA Design Conference around the theme “Bridges”

AIGA partnered with League of Women Voters and Nonprofit VOTE to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment with a special edition of its “Get Out the Vote” poster campaign

Business strategist Bennie F. Johnson takes the helm as AIGA’s Executive Director and Chief Experience Officer and Partner at Coforma, Ashleigh Axios, is elected as President of AIGA’s National Board of Directors

AIGA Unidos is established as an interest group and launches with an online celebration of content for Hispanic Heritage Month

Bennie F Johnson
AIGA Unidos


AIGA launches two online exhibitions curated with Google Cultural Institute, “African American Culture and History: An AIGA Design Journey” and “Get the Vote 2016”  (2016)

AIGA launches Eye on Design (2015)

AIGA celebrates its centennial with events across the country: (2014)

The “100 Years of Design” history project is launched at (2014)

AIGA Middle East becomes AIGA’s second international affiliate (2013)

AIGA launches the “Design for Good” initiative, a movement for design-driven social change (2011)

Eye on Design magazine
Design Journeys Diane Leo Dillon


AIGA Design for Democracy develops the first national ballot and polling place design guidelines for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, distributed to 6,000 election officials nationwide (2007)

AIGA China is launched in Beijing as AIGA’s first international affiliate (2006)

AIGA changes its name to “AIGA, the professional association for design” (2005)

The AIGA Design Archives are created, making more than 20,000 works accessible online (2005)

AIGA Design Educators Community was established to support the unique activities and responsibilities of the design educator at the k-12, non-traditional, undergraduate, and post-graduate levels in a wide variety of institutional settings (2004)

AIGA establishes an executive education program for creative leaders, initially held at Harvard University and now at the Yale School of Management (2003)

AIGA publishes standards for professional practice in Design Business and Ethics (2001)

AIGA launches its first “Get Out the Vote” poster campaign, a coordinated voter mobilization initiative (2000)


The “Design for Democracy” initiative is launched to make interactions between the U.S. government and its citizens more understandable, efficient and trustworthy (1998)

The typeface Hightower is designed by Tobias Frere Jones for the AIGA Journal (1994)

AIGA holds the federally supported seminar “Why is Graphic Design 93% White?” (1991)


AIGA Minority Task Force created by Caroline Hightower, Steven Heller, and John Morning (chairman) to help end the marginalization of people of color. Members included Michael Bierut, Randall Hensley, Eli Kince, and Cheryl D. Miller (author of 1987 Print article “Black Designers Missing in Action”), later known as the AIGA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force (1989)

The first “AIGA Survey of Design Salaries” is published, later published online at (1987)

AIGA chapters begin to form, based on a model in Philadelphia organized by Robert O. Bach (1981)


AIGA organizes the design and distribution of 50 Symbol Signs for the U.S. Department of Transportation (1979)

AIGA logo by Paul Rand appears for the first time in the masthead of the AIGA Newsletter June/July issue (1963)

The bimonthly AIGA Journal is launched, reaching 1,000 members (1947)



AIGA succeeds in lobbying for the standardization of process colors, setting new standards for consistency between design and printing (1930)

AIGA incorporated. Membership includes 534 members nationwide (1928)

The “Fifty Books of 1923” design exhibition takes place, which later becomes the annual “50 Books/50 Covers” competition (1923)

AIGA member W. A. Dwiggins coins the term “graphic designer” in The Boston Globe (1922)

The first AIGA Medal, designed by James Earle Fraser, is first awarded to Norman T. A. Munder at the AIGA “Printing Exhibition” (1920)


The American Institute of Graphic Arts is established at the National Arts Club in New York City by 40 founding members. The Institute first comes into being on January 20, 1914 and its constitution and by-laws are adopted and officers elected on February 17, 1914

Keep in Touch with AIGA

Sign up for email communications to be the first for updates on webinars, events, programs, and announcements.