What comes after One Day for Design?

AIGA is evolving as a professional membership organization, building on our advantages as a well-established, nearly century-old institution and transforming to meet the needs and interests of designers today.

For the past year, AIGA has systematically sought input from members, nonmembers, students, our national board of directors and our chapter leaders, as well as a number of thought leaders who were specifically assigned the task of re-imagining AIGA. This effort has involved national surveys, small group discussions and a great deal of research into the changing nature of communities and the purposes they serve.

We are eager to be inclusive and hear as many voices as possible, including those who might not yet be active in AIGA, or who are seeking means for support that AIGA does not yet provide.

“One Day for Design” was the most recent and most visible wave of this listening campaign. On April 13, we reached out through the existing networks of several prolific tweeters who led exchanges on the future of design, the concerns of today’s designers and the opportunities for design communities.

More than 3,900 people participated in that dialogue, with upwards of 30,000 tweets that day and more than 300 long-form entries posted on OneDayforDesign.org. The “One Day” moderators—Alex Bogusky, Doug Bowman, Liz Danzico, Debbie Millman, Erik Spiekermann, Armin Vit, Alissa Walker and Katherine Walker—were superb, starting and recalibrating threads all day with the hashtag #1D4D. We know there are limitations to what can be expressed in 140 characters, yet this event did offer us an invaluable opportunity to capture a breadth of perspectives before we begin to develop our recommendations for change.

Together with our partners in this project, the independent branding collective VSA Partners, we are now synthesizing the comments and discussions generated through this event. We will share the results here as we summarize them and develop ways for AIGA to respond.

In June, our national board and chapter leaders will review all of this research from the past year—including the results from “One Day”—and work with us to outline the next steps. This is the year that AIGA will pivot toward new forms of serving the profession and its members. Global trends, demographic shifts, fresh perspectives from younger generations, social networks, the deep knowledge available on the web and, most of all, the changing opportunities for designers as those who can solve strategic problems as well as tangible ones all contribute to the chance to create an entirely new kind of community for designers.

Stay tuned. Next week we’ll show you a fully redesigned AIGA.org, with more online initiatives on the way. Also, we hope you’ll join us in Phoenix for “Pivot: AIGA Design Conference” this October, where we’ll explore many of the shifts others have made and predict in the world of design and well beyond—in business, education, science, the humanities and everyday life.

About the Author: Richard Grefé is the director emeritus of AIGA, the professional association for design, the oldest and largest professional association of designers in the United States representing the interests of 27,000 designers working in a variety of communication media and dimensions, ranging from type and book designers to new media and experience designers. AIGA, o ver twenty years under Ric’s aegis, has become a leading advocate for the value of designing, as a way of thinking and as a means of creating strategic value for business, the civic realm and social change. Currently he is teaching “Human-centered designn for social change” at Wesleyan University. Ric earned a BA from Dartmouth College in economics, worked in intelligence in Asia, reported from the Bronx County Courthouse for AP, wrote for Time magazine on business and the economy and then earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Following an early career in urban design and public policy consulting, Ric managed the association responsible for strategic planning and legislative advocacy for public television and led a think tank on the future of public television and radio in Washington.