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AIGA logo

AIGA (formerly an acronym for the "American Institute of Graphic Arts"[1]) is an American professional organization for design. Organized in 1914, AIGA currently has more than 22,000 members throughout 63 chapters nationwide. Its activities include 365: AIGA Year in Design and 50 Books/50 Covers. The organization's tagline is "the professional association for design", which is used immediately after the AIGA name in its own publications.



In 1914, at the National Arts Club in New York City, a group of designers, led by Charles DeKay, met to create the American Institute of Graphic Arts. William H. Howland, publisher and editor of The Outlook, was elected president.[citation needed]

Symbol sign project

The AIGA, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation, produced 50 standard symbols to be used on signs "in airports and other transportation hubs and at large international events". The first 34 symbols were published in 1974, receiving a Presidential Design Award. The remaining 16 designs were added in 1979.[2]

Name change

In 2006, The American Institute of Graphic Arts changed its name, retaining the acronym AIGA as its name, and adopting the descriptor line "the professional association for design." The new descriptor has been criticized for potential confusion with the similarly named Association of Professional Design Firms (APDF). The name change has caused confusion within the organizations's membership and the design community. Véronique Vienne, in the March/April 2007 edition of the American design periodical Print, criticized the name change as reducing rather than extending understanding of the profession. The article quotes Marc Gobé, author of Emotional Branding, "The AIGA missed an opportunity to make a strong statement...replacing the authoritative 'American Institute' with the banal 'Professional Association.'[3]

50 books of the year contest

Since 1941, AIGA has sponsored a juried contest for the 50 best designed books published in the previous year, currently entitled "50 Books/50 Covers". Jurors have included booksellers, book publishers, and designers such as George Salter.[4]

AIGA Design Conference

The first AIGA Design Conference took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1985. It is hosted every two years[5] in a different city, and lasts 4 days[6].


Past AIGA Design Conferences

  • 1985 - Boston
  • 1987 - San Francisco
  • 1989 - San Antonio
  • 1991 - Chicago
  • 1993 - Miami
  • 1995 - Seattle
  • 1997 - New Orleans
  • 1999 - Las Vegas
  • 2001 - Washington
  • 2003 - Vancouver
  • 2005 - Boston
  • 2007 - Denver
  • 2009 - Memphis

2009 Conference

Speakers at the 2009 Conference included Stefan G. Bucher, Marissa Mayer and Stefan Sagmeister.

National Board Members

  • Julie Beeler
  • Shelley Evenson
  • Stanley Hainsworth
  • Kenny Kay
  • Zia Khan (current secretary/treasurer)
  • Richard Grefé (current executive director)
  • Jamie Koval
  • Vernon Lockhart
  • Debbie Millman (current president)
  • Elva Rubio
  • Louis Sandhaus
  • Angela Shen-Hsieh
  • Laura Shore
  • Brad Weed
  • Lynda Weinman
  • Pamela Williams
  • Sean Adams, of the design firm AdamsMorioka, is ex officio member of the board and president emeritus

See also


  1. ^ "AIGA name". 
  2. ^ "Symbol Signs". AIGA. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  3. ^ Vienne, Véronique (March/April 2007). "Strong words". Print. 
  4. ^ Fifty Books of the year 1963, The American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York, 1964
  5. ^ Make/Think: AIGA Design Conference 2009. AIGA. Web. 1 Oct 2009.
  6. ^ Make/Think: AIGA Design Conference 2009. CMS Wire. Web. 1 Oct 2009.
  7. ^ A Tradition Over Time. AIGA. Web. 1 October 2009.

External links


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