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Aiga logo.svg
AIGA logo
Founded 1914 (1914)
Type Professional Association
  • 70 chapters across the country[2]
Area served
United States
over 25,000[1]
Official languages
Key people
Board President Sean Adams, Executive director: Richard Grefé[3]

AIGA, a professional organization for design was founded in 1914[1] as the American Institute of Graphic Arts.[4] Its members practice all forms of communication design, including graphic design, typography, interaction design, branding and identity. AIGA's aim is to be the standard bearer for professional ethics and practices for the design profession.[1]


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.[5] Represented by Washington, D.C. arts advocate and attorney, James Lorin Silverberg, Esq., The Washington, D.C. Chapter of AIGA, was organized as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Incorporated, Washington, D.C. on September 6, 1984.[6]

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.[7]

Annual competitions


In 2012, AIGA replaced all its competitions with a single competition called “Cased”[8] (formerly called "Justified"[9]). The stated aim of the competition is to demonstrate “the collective success and impact of the design profession by celebrating the best in contemporary design through case studies”.[8]

50 Books/50 Covers

Between 1941 and 2011 AIGA sponsored a juried contest for the 50 best designed books published in the previous year, entitled "50 Books/50 Covers". Jurors had included booksellers, book publishers, and designers such as George Salter.[10]

On 17 February 2012, AIGA announced that it would cease organizing the contest and that future contests would be organized by Design Observer.[11] This move has been criticized.[12]


The 365 was an annual design competition for all graphic design other than book design.[12] The last “365” competition was organized in 2011,[13] after which it was replaced by the “Cased” competition.


AIGA organizes two conferences, the AIGA Design Conference and GAIN: AIGA Design and Business Conference. Both conferences are held biennially and the two are held in alternating years.

AIGA Design Conference

The first AIGA Design Conference took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1985. It is hosted every two years[14] in a different city, and lasts 4 days.[15]

Past AIGA Design Conferences include:[16]

  • 2015 - New Orleans
  • 2013 - Minneapolis
  • 2011 - Phoenix
  • 2009 - Memphis
  • 2007 - Denver
  • 2005 - Boston
  • 2003 - Vancouver
  • 2001 - Washington
  • 1999 - Las Vegas
  • 1997 - New Orleans
  • 1995 - Seattle
  • 1993 - Miami
  • 1991 - Chicago
  • 1989 - San Antonio
  • 1987 - San Francisco
  • 1985 - Boston

The 2015 Conference was hosted by Roman Mars.[17]

National Board Members

As of 2015, the national board consists of[3]

  • Sean Adams (current president)
  • Deborah Adler
  • Kim Baer
  • Robert Calvano
  • Ken Carbone
  • Allan Chochinov
  • Richard Grefé (current executive director)
  • Su Mathews Hale (president-elect)
  • Jenny Lam
  • John Luu
  • Kevin Perry
  • Ruki Ravikumar
  • Darralyn Rieth (current secretary/treasurer)
  • Christopher Simmons
  • Brian Singer
  • Jill Spaeth
  • Paul Wharton


Between 2005 and 2009, AIGA was briefly a member of Icograda (now called Ico-D). In 2010, it withdrew from the international organization, citing financial reasons.[18]

International Membership

AIGA opened up membership beyond local chapters in 2014, benefiting creative professionals living and working outside of the USA. [19]



In 1947 AIGA started publishing the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design (ISSN 0736-5322),[20] which in 2000 was renamed Trace: AIGA Journal of Design (ISSN 1471-3497).[21] The journal ceased publication in 2003.[22]

Between 2000 and 2003 AIGA published Loop: AIGA Journal of Interaction Design Education, an “interactive, web-based” research journal on interaction and visual interface design co-sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Design Studies.[23]

Between 2004 and 2011 AIGA published Voice: AIGA Journal of Design, an “an online publication for the discussion of design matters” listing Steven Heller as its editor.[24][25] Although the journal was stated in “What AIGA is doing and why”[26] and had been cited in scholarly research,[27][28] after AIGA revamped its website in May 2011[29] it was subsumed under AIGA’s main site and ceased to exist as a distinct entity.


As part of its strategy to “publish critical thinking about design and designing”, AIGA also “copublishes selected works by thought leaders in design”[30] under the imprint of “AIGA Design Press”.[26] Published titles include

  • The Open Brand: When Push Comes to Pull in a Web-Made World (Kelly Mooney and Nita Rollins, 2008)
  • Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite (Xtine Burrough and Michael Mandiberg, 2008), which was released under a Creative Commons license[31]
  • Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices (Dan Saffer, 2006)
  • Designing With Web Standards (Jeffrey Zeldman, 2006)
  • Inside/Outside: From the Basics to the Practice of Design (Malcolm Grear, 2006)
  • ZAG: The Number-One Strategy of High-Performance Brands (Marty Neumeier, 2006)
  • Do Good: How Design Can Change the World (David B. Berman, 2008)
  • Writing for Visual Thinkers: A Guide for Artists and Designers (Andrea Marks, 2011)

AIGA has also published the periodically updated AIGA professional practices in graphic design[32] including a translation to simplified Chinese.[33]

Other publication activities

AIGA also maintains the AIGA Design Archives, which was identified as a publishing activity.[26]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 About page About AIGA
  2. AIGA Find a local chapter, List of AIGA chapters in the U.S.
  3. 3.0 3.1 AIGA Board of Directors List of members of the 2014 AIGA Board of Directors
  4. "AIGA name". 
  5. Steven Heller; Nathan Gluck. "Seventy-five years of AIGA". Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  6. "District of Columbia Corporate Records". The District of Columbia. 
  7. "Symbol Signs". AIGA. 2009. Archived from the original on 10 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Cased competition, Cased: Case Studies for the AIGA Design Archives
  9. AIGA. "Justified: AIGA Annual Design Competition". Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  10. Fifty Books of the year 1963, The American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York, 1964
  11. AIGA (17 February 2012). "AIGA and Design Observer Partner on "50 Books/50 Covers"". Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Scher, Paula (6 April 2012). "AIGA: Unjustified". Print Magazine. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  13. AIGA. "365 | Design Effectiveness Competition". Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  14. Pivot: AIGA Design Conference 2011. AIGA. Web. 21 Aug 2011.
  15. Make/Think: AIGA Design Conference 2009. CMS Wire. Web. 1 Oct 2009.
  16. A Tradition Over Time. AIGA. Web. 1 October 2009.
  17. Design Conference, AIGA Design Conference 2015 at New Orleans
  18. Grefe, Richard (January 25, 2010). "Why has AIGA withdrawn from Icograda?". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  19. "AIGA Membership in Australia.". 23 December 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015. 
  20. AIGA. "AIGA History Timeline". Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  21. "AIGA journal of graphic design / [Periodical]". OCAD U Library Catalogue. Retrieved July 18, 2014. Name changed to Trace: AIGA Journal of Design after v.18 no.2 (2000) 
  22. "Trace / [Periodical]". OCAD U Library Catalogue. Retrieved July 18, 2014. Subtitled: AIGA Journal of Design. Publication ceased as of April 2003. 
  23. "About Loop". Loop. AIGA. June 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  24. "Voice: AIGA Journal of Design". Archived from the original on March 28, 2004. Retrieved July 18, 2014. Consulting Editor Steven Heller 
  25. "Voice: AIGA Journal of Design". Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2014. Editor Steven Heller 
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 AIGA. "What AIGA is doing and why: 2011" (PDF). p. 35. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  27. Muir, Clive (June 2008). "Smiling With Customers". Business Communication Quarterly. Sage Publications. 71 (2): 241–246. doi:10.1177/1080569908317320. 
  28. Julier, Guy (May 2005). "Urban Designscapes and the Production of Aesthetic Consent". Urban Studies. Routledge. 42 (5/6): 869–887. doi:10.1080/00420980500107474.  line feed character in |title= at position 38 (help)
  29. AIGA. "FAQs: About". Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  30. Zeldman, Jeffrey (July 6, 2006). Designing with Web Standards (2nd ed.). New Riders. p. xx. ISBN 0-321-38555-1. 
  31. Parkins, Cameron (December 22, 2008). "AIGA Design Press: Digital Foundations, CC-Licensed Media Design Instruction". Creative Commons. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  32. "American Institute of Graphic Arts". OCLC WorldCat Identities. OCLC. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  33. AIGA China. "Design Business & Ethics, Chinese Edition". Retrieved July 19, 2014. 

External links