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What AIGA is doing and why 2011

AIGA, the professional association for design .................................................. 1 AIGAs Mandate for 2014 ...............................................................................2 Findings, or what is driving change?....................................................................2 Elements of the mandate, or what will AIGA look like in 2014? ..............................3 Competitive attributes and challenges ............................................................3 The organizational characteristics of AIGA, its members and their chapters............5 The roles members see and value for AIGA.......................................................... 8 The value and importance of AIGAs traditional activities ..................................... 9 Strategic choices for AIGA ................................................................................10 Creating and communicating value for members ................................................ 11 AIGAs core attributes: stimulating, open and authoritative ................................. 13 How AIGA will adapt to younger designers..................................................... 14 Meet people where they are, not where they used to be. ....................................... 14 Social responsibility counts. ............................................................................. 14 Focus on reasonable, not big. ............................................................................ 14 Institutional authority is all but dead and gone. .................................................. 14 Celebrate diversity and sustainability. ............................................................... 14 Think globally. ................................................................................................ 15 Expect them to demand authenticity and truth.................................................... 15 Considerations in AIGAs positioning and activities....................................... 15 From craft to strategy: the evolution of the profession ......................................... 15 From communication design to experience design ............................................. 17 The central attributes of clarity, authenticity and simplicity................................. 18 Multi-dimensional, strategic and conceptual design involve design thinking ........ 18 Does AIGA represent a process, a discipline or a profession?............................... 19 Who is involved in the designing process? .........................................................20 Positioning implications for AIGA..................................................................... 21 Education ................................................................................................... 22 Wide and deep: meta-disciplinary study and practice..........................................22 Expanded scope: scale and complexity of design problems ..................................23 Targeted messages: a narrow definition of audiences ..........................................23 Break through: an attention economy ................................................................23 Sharing experiences: a co-creation model..........................................................23 Responsible outcomes: focusing on sustainability...............................................24 Essential competencies ....................................................................................24 Focus on membership ................................................................................. 25 The optimal size of AIGA membership...............................................................26 Number of new members, by type ..................................................................... 27 Number of members and growth in membership................................................28

AIGA | the professional association for design 164 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010 Tel 212 807 1990 Fax 212 807 1799

Demographics .................................................................................................29 Implications for membership development .......................................................30 International activities ................................................................................ 33 The role of AIGA staff in achieving member expectations ...............................34 Goals, strategies and activities......................................................................34

AIGA | the professional association for design

What AIGA is doing and why 2011

AIGA, the professional association for design

AIGA, the professional association for design, is the oldest and largest membership association for communication design professionals engaged in the discipline, practice and culture of designing. AIGAs mission is to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. By increasing the influence of design, we can improve the human experience. AIGA was founded as the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1914. Since then, it has become the pre-eminent professional association for communication designers, broadly defined. In the past decade, designers have increasingly been involved in creating value for clients (whether public or business) through applying design thinking to complex problems, even when the outcomes may be more strategic, multi-dimensional and conceptual than what most would consider traditional communication design. AIGA now represents more than 22,000 designers of all disciplines through national activities and local programs developed by 66 chapters and 200 student groups. AIGA supports the interests of professionals, educators and students who are engaged in the process of designing. The association is committed to stimulating thinking about design, demonstrating the value of design and empowering success for designers throughout the arc of their careers. Yet it also serves business, government, the independent sector and the public by developing opportunities for designers to be engaged in solving complex problems with creativity, imagination, thoughtfulness, sensitivity and impact. Through conferences, competitions, exhibitions, publications and websites, AIGA inspires, educates and informs designers, helping them to realize their talents and to advocate the value of design among the media, the business community, governments and the public. Today, as we settle into the 21st century, it is clear that AIGA also plays a critical role in stimulating conversations about the issues facing design, facilitating discourse and activities and encouraging designers to become more involved in projects that advance the profession. AIGA was once seen as the final word on design excellence; now it seeks to have the first word, starting the conversation and allowing its members to complete it. AIGAs role within the professions aspirations is to develop the ecosystem of a community and its networking and the ethosystems of principles and standards that define a profession. While AIGA was founded as a professional association for designers from the United States, the dynamics of the global economy no longer justify differentiating design professionals by nationality. AIGA seeks to support design professionals of all countries.

AIGA | the professional association for design 164 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010 Tel 212 807 1990 Fax 212 807 1799

AIGAs Mandate for 2014

As AIGA approaches its centennial in 2014, the organization has reviewed its core activities and positioning and its strategy for meeting its mission: to advance designing as a professional craft, a strategic tool and vital cultural force. The sources of input have been informal conversations with opinion leaders as well as current members; research into social and economic dynamics; a member survey (2009); surveys of students and lapsed members (2008); concepts developed by a task force of the national board; considerations by the national board at its April 2009 retreat; and roundtable discussions held by chapters and student groups. At the 2009 Leadership Retreat, June 46, in Portland, Oregon, the leaders of all of the chapters who were present (representing 60 chapters), enthusiastically and unanimously endorsed the new direction by roll call vote. The staff proposed the changes and the board adopted them. Findings, or what is driving change? Based on the wide-ranging input collected over six months, the following findings form the basis for articulating future directions:
AIGA should place a higher priority on contributing to long-term benefits for the

profession, such as building stronger demand for design in the future (and less emphasis on individual member benefits).
In advocating designs value to business, AIGA should focus on the results of design

strategy as a competitive advantage (developing case studies of business effectiveness and defining the value of design on business objectives.
In tone, the AIGA experience should focus on younger designers interests and needs, in

order to attract the next generation of designers to membership. In content, programs should reflect business practices, leadership, values, ethics and standards, in order to respect the interests of mid-career and seasoned designers.
AIGA should focus more on facilitating opportunities for member engagement, member

originated content, member involvement and the expression of personal opinion than on reinforcing its authority on design, professionalism and values.
Reflecting the interests and needs of a younger cohort, AIGA should develop programs and

activities that highlight opportunities for social responsibility, social engagement, sustainability, multiculturalism and diversity. These are critical to the long-term strength and relevance of the profession and AIGA.

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Elements of the mandate, or what will AIGA look like in 2014? By 2014, the organization that members have envisioned will have the following characteristics:
Members have ample opportunities to engage in social networking activities, to provide

content and make connections. Opportunities are online and in person; the AIGA experience is defined from the bottom up rather than top down.
The model for conferences involves more regional and local gatherings, with resources

invested primarily in the development and distribution of digital audio and video programming. More content is available on the website, with particular attention paid to where the line is drawn for access by nonmembers.
Non-dues revenue has increased considerably because the line between member and

nonmember access to web content has been clearly defined; tasteful advertising is accepted on the website; and an online store offers member products for sale to other designers and the public.
Members have access to a strong core of programs for professional development,

particularly for midcareer designers and in developing leadership skills.

Although members receive a limited number of signature print pieces each year, AIGA

distributes content primarily in digital form, for reasons of sustainability, economics and reach.
AIGA offers daily online examples of design excellence, with opportunities for member

input as well as expert jury opinion. Design excellence will be embodied in criteria of aesthetics, creation of value for clients and social responsibility.
Designers become involved with AIGA as a way of assuming a role in the broader

business, social and cultural environments, both in the United States and abroad. AIGA continues to develop collaborative relationships with organizations outside the design field, to expand appreciation of the value of design and to seek a leadership position for its members in international design forums and among social entrepreneurs.
Competitive attributes and challenges

This section reviews briefly the attributes that define AIGAs competitive strengths and weaknesses, within the context of the environment in which it must operate. This summary is a synthesis of input over recent years from listening carefully to members, through surveys and anecdotal sources.

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AIGAs current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats Strengths One hundred year legacy Brand equity, nationally and internationally A small, talented, smart and dedicated staff A board of 17 that comprises a core body of active volunteers and opinion leaders A large membership of professionals and students who provide scale to its activities and also offer a large volunteer base with incredible energy A chapter structure of 66 chapters and more than 200 student groups across the United States Membership scale, financial stability, a headquarters building in New York demonstrate its strength and potential longevity in its role representing the evolving design profession as a deep information resource Authoritative positioning as protector of designs history through the AIGA Design Archives Authoritative positioning as arbiter of the professions standards and ethics International standing as the largest and most effective communication design professional association in the world Documented practices for organizing a profession Weaknesses Preconception of many designers that AIGA is a print-based design organization that is run by an older elitist clique Resistance among younger designers toward joining organizations (particularly those that seem to project authority) Difficulty facing any organization seeking to gain membership among the newer disciplines of design, such as the screenbased disciplines Lack of understanding among members about the importance of an institution representing the profession and its value toward business and society (a membership based on non-tangible benefits) Churn in new members, often based on economic factors Reliance on volunteer commitment to new initiatives Need for discretionary, non-dues resources for new initiatives Difficulty in communicating that one organization can serve the interests of many disciplines of design

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Opportunities To become a clear voice for a profession that is critical to the competitive advantage of the nations economy in a global context To assist in developing an understanding of the importance of designing in creating value for our culture, society and economy To create the ethos of a profession for designers that will enhance the capacity of the profession to adapt to dynamic changes in the design economy and earn greater respect for designers professionalism To become a central place for community, influence and information for the everexpanding realm of communication design disciplines that use designing as a way of solving complex problems To become the advocacy voice for designing To increase the number of multidisciplinary designers participating as members and in programs To develop a comprehensive program of design research To help in developing and advocating curriculum reform to strengthen design education for the 21st century

Threats The ever-changing design economy and environment in which designers operate The rapid evolution of the design profession The need to keep design education developing at a velocity that keeps up with the marketplace The ease with which the community aspects of a professional association can be developed by ad hoc groups on the internet, seemingly competing with the current, community characteristics of AIGA as a membership organization The formation of single purpose membership organizations that meet immediate needs of certain communities of practice without the responsibility for addressing longer-term needs of the profession Other fields/organizations claim design and innovation as central to their mission

A major challenge is in finding ways to engage, rather than simply inform, every member, particularly among the millennial generation who will represent the core of the profession within ten years. Engagement is critical in generating loyalty among members. The organizational characteristics of AIGA, its members and their chapters The organizational characteristics of AIGA influence both its strengths and weaknesses. The most important stakeholder in AIGA is the member; the organization and its leaders are

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accountable to the members. All members are members of the national organization. In many parts of the country, members have organized into local chapters to encourage local events. AIGA is a national professional organization. In joining, a member makes a commitment to become part of a national community of professionals dedicated to the principles of excellence in design. Reasons for joining Most members cite four needs or interests they expect this relationship to address:
Community: opportunities for fellowship and networking within a community of designers Information: access to information about design and professional practices, which may also

involve networking with other professionals with similar problems

Understanding: finding ways to improve understanding of the profession among the public

and potential clients

Respect: finding ways to increase respect for the profession and its impact

The importance of volunteers AIGA will always depend on its members volunteer commitment. A responsive professional organization exists to help a profession organize and channel members efforts to address issues that are important to them. Professional organization reflects the concept of a profession coming together to discuss issues and concerns and proposing ways to address them. To facilitate the response, the community of professionals decides to hire staff, who are then employed:
For repetitive administrative tasks required to sustain the organization (maintaining a

membership database, invoicing, accounting)

To undertake some activities that are broadly supported by the membership (competitions,

To help in facilitating the volunteer members who want to develop discussion of an issue

Membership fees are set to meet the costs of these core activities. The fees are not set to fund a staff that is large enough to address all of the professions interests; nor would it be appropriate in any case for the staff to be deciding what is critical to members. Despite the existence of a national staff, no member should be surprised that substantive professional initiatives continue to require member involvement.

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AIGA IS its members AIGA is not a small staff in a building in New York. Nor is it a national board. AIGA is the collective identity of the membership. If a member says AIGA should do XYZ, it needs to be recognized that this is a call for the membership to take on an issue. The call will be satisfied when a member (or a group of members) steps forward to develop a response to the issue and build a consensus. The national staff can assist in the process of this work, particularly in seeing that there is an opportunity for national discussion and a coordinated response. The role and relationship of chapters Every chapter is a separately incorporated, nonprofit corporation with its own board of directors and bylaws. Its tax-exempt status is maintained through a group exemption. Each chapter is self-governing and self-financed, although the chapter executes an affiliation agreement with the national organization that defines respective roles and responsibilities. A portion of national dues is provided to the chapter to assist in providing programming and services at the local level. While chapters are independent legal entities, if they do not meet the terms of the affiliation agreement, they cannot continue to use the AIGA name, mark or services. Although a limited number of chapters have part-time administrative help, most depend entirely on the volunteer help of members. Over the past two decades, AIGA has encouraged the development of local chapters in areas where there are enough members to sustain a regular program of activities. Local chapters are essential to a national organization since they allow designers to initiate activities and work with their colleagues locally to address issues of importance to them. It is virtually impossible for a national organization to be responsive to its members without being local as well as national. As is true at the national level, chapters are volunteer organizations. Among the needs members want addressed, chapters play an essential role in offering a sense of community and the sharing of information; they also can develop programs in their community to enhance understanding of and respect for the profession. At the same time, chapters are assuming an increasingly important role in the ecosystem of the AIGA community. First, they launch conversations of issues important to designers and they offer the physical encounters among members that are so important to serendipitous learning. Second, they provide an opportunity to demonstrate how valuable designers can be to addressing community problems, through Design for Good and demonstrating design thinking in solving community problems. This second goal, in which a chapter might become the portal for integrative problem solving in communities, would demonstrate that designers skills are critical and valuable to other professions in a very visible way.

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Role of chapter leadership The AIGA national board is accountable to the membership as a whole. Each chapter president is accountable to the members in his or her geographic area. These are distinct views, although they are both intended to be reflective of the views of our members. As with all professional associations, the energy of the organization comes from the bottom up, from the members, not from the top down, from the boards or chapter presidents. And the overall institution belongs to the members, not the leaders. Presidents council The governance structure follows a federation model. Chapter presidents meet monthly by conference call and occasionally in person as a council. This council provides an opportunity for information sharing and communication among chapters. It is similar to the role the governors play in the national political arena. Governors are each elected by a portion of the constituency for the national government and represent an important source of information and counsel for the national leadership. Much like the National Governors Association, the presidents council is not, however, a legislative body to which the national staff and board are accountable. The chair of the presidents council is also the presidents representative on the AIGA national board. The presidents council representative is able to cast a vote on any action item on the AIGA board agenda and plays the role of informing the board of perceived impacts on chapters. What members say they value AIGA membership surveys tend to support the four general needs members find to join AIGA: community, information, understanding and respect. In January 2009, a survey of professional and associate members provided the following measure of what they value: The roles members see and value for AIGA AIGA is one of the best places to stay in touch with the most interesting new thinking in design AIGA keeps members aware of issues influencing them AIGA is a leader in building bridges between design and business AIGA is responsive to the needs and interests of its members AIGA is playing a leadership role in world design AIGA represents my point of view on most positions and activities AIGA membership is a good value for the price AIGA is a leader in building bridges among different design disciplines

73% 71% 69% 64% 61% 59% 54% 54%

This is a measure of our success in positioning and communicating the roles we are trying to play. Although these measures indicate general agreement on a number of roles, the mean ratings are closer to the agree score than the strongly agree score.

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Only six percent of our members disagree that AIGA is on the right track; 73 percent agree and 19 percent strongly agree. The value and importance of AIGAs traditional activities Members cite many of the traditional information and community activities on their list of the most valuable activities we undertake: Website 365: AIGA Year in Design annual Salary survey Local chapter activities Design Jobs Email news AIGA Design Archives Local chapter websites Design Business and Ethics series Design competitions 86% 82% 80% 78% 75% 71% 69% 69% 67% 60%

Note that the competitions are considerably less valuable than the annual, which suggests the relationship between the two is not seen as seamless and that the annual, which is something one receives, is more valuable than the experience of participating in a competitive environment. When the criterion shifts from value to importance, the traditional role as an arbiter of design excellence continues to gain support and suggests that AIGA retain this role. Rated as valuable Online discussion of excellent design History of design Competitions Percentage 77% 76% 65% Mean rating 3.2/4.0 3.2 2.9

AIGAs efforts to communicate the value of design rank as high as nearly any other activity. Efforts to promote the value of design 83%

In terms of importance, members place a high importance on AIGAs moving from its traditional role toward a role of leadership in guiding the development of designing in ways that will influence its relevance over time. Some of these activities are rated higher than the traditional roles in terms of importance.

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Rated as important Advancing designers as integrative thinkers Best practices in sustainable design Designing for global society Understanding other cultures Demonstrating design and social engagement Being active in U.S. and international design policy

Percentage 91% 84% 80% 76% 75% 74%

Mean rating 3.6/4.0 3.4 3.2 3.1 3.1 3.1

This would suggest that we continue both our core activities, such as competitions, archives, hearty discourse on excellent design and communities, yet continue to aggressively pursue our initiatives in enhancing the relevance of design through sustainability issues, multicultural sensitivities and social engagement. Strategic choices for AIGA On the key issues that ask for a choice among alternatives for AIGAs future, there is an interesting ambivalence within the membership. AIGA as a leader in developing relevance for design in a global economy Focus on long term benefits (58%) vs. individual benefits (30%) Focus on building stronger demand for design in the future (59%) Focus on developing both national and international design leadership (53%) In advocating designs value to business, focus on examples that make the case for design thinking (73%) vs. tangible benefits for individual members (26%) vs. just U.S. design leadership (28%)

vs. artifacts (12%)

AIGA should continue to balance its commitment to stimulating thinking about design (inspiration) and demonstrating the value of design (business development) Focus on both issues that deal with designers issues within the practice of design (42%) and designers role in business and society (43%) Focus on both creativity and inspiration as a criterion of design excellence (41%) and business objectives (38%)

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Creating and communicating value for members All AIGA activities are designed to serve the expressed interests of members. In a sense the first two needs of memberscommunity and informationare services for which members once depended solely upon AIGA, although now they have a variety of internetbased sources for these needs. Yet these two services are also critical to achieving the other two needsunderstanding and respectsince they provide the opportunity to develop a consistent and persuasive voice about the value of design for external audiences. The challenge moving forward is to see that the increased opportunities for social networking do not reduce the potential to create a single voice on behalf of the value of design that is articulated through AIGA. AIGAs goals and strategies are implemented through a broad range of activities. Each activity serves the designer, either directly or through creating the means of demonstrating the value of design to others. The outcome of the latter effort is also a direct future benefit for designers, achieving the frequently unspoken interest of a majority of members: help us gain the opportunity for a successful creative and professional future. Only if AIGA is successful in creating meaningful and valuable experiences can it gain the support of its stakeholders in future ventures. It is this imperative that links the need to both implement the right services effectively and to communicate the value of those services. Stakeholder Designers, regardless of discipline Value provided Passive: Designers join AIGA, receive tangible and intangible benefits from a sense of being part of a community, sharing information, and knowing someone is trying to extend the public understanding of the role of the designer. Active: Designers add their voice to the vision for the profession and find ways to advocate the consistent messages the profession has developed to communicate to business, the media and the public. These messages include established ethical standards. Leadership: Designers give back to the profession, becoming active in leading efforts to extend the messages about design and the excitement of great design through mentoring projects, contributing time to chapter and national initiatives, participating in conferences, actively advocating the professions interests through the media and grassroots issue encouragement, becoming an

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Value provided articulate leader in the community and finding ways to invest in the future of the profession. Understanding of design thinking and the appropriate professional relationships with designers will help business leaders to use design effectively in differentiation, branding, positioning, innovation, and the creation of bottom line value. Designers involvement in AIGA will help to create a standard of professional responsibility toward clients that will assist business leaders.

Business leaders

International designers

In a global economy, it is important for all designers to understand the challenges of communicating across cultures. U.S. designers gain from understanding different perspectives to communication design and local capabilities and practices. International designers benefit from understanding the standards and practices of the U.S. economy. Closer affiliation also offers AIGA a chance to establish the professions standards and practices as the global standard, which raises the bar in many design economies, reinforces the value of AIGA designers in adding value at the highest levels, and, in the long term, creates a level playing field for design competition that is based on more than price alone.

Children and parents

Informing children and parents about design provides an educated future public and makes children and parents aware of the opportunities of a professional career in a creative field. When exposure to design occurs in elementary or secondary school, it also offers the opportunity to increase the diversity of the profession by making children and parents of all backgrounds aware of design as a respected career. AIGAs leadership in design education at the postsecondary level assures that the standards for education meet the needs of the marketplace.


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Stakeholder Students

Value provided AIGA provides an understanding of the ethos of the design community, the expectations of a professional designer, the practical considerations in making the transfer from school to studio, exposure to other designers and their work. The AIGA experience seeks to begin the process of introducing students to a broader community, to the challenges of real world problems and the opportunities to develop leadership skills. AIGA works to increase awareness of design in government so that government, in its own procurement practices, values the quality of design. Government is also both a visible leader in many areas of the economy and a means of validation of effective design. Government policies on competitiveness can be a powerful encouragement for the use of design in business. AIGAs activities to improve the quality of information design in critical program areas of government are aimed at directly influencing the quality of civic interaction by making the relationship between government and citizens clearer and easier. This, in turn, can demonstrate how powerful a tool design can be across many uses. Design for Democracy is undertaking projects like election design.



AIGA works with commercial and nonprofit partners in order to enhance their effectiveness in serving the design economy. Partners working with AIGA can contribute to strengthening the design economy to the benefit of both partners, while increasing awareness of their brand activities, being differentiated by affiliation with AIGAs objective and respected brand, and reaching a prequalified list of the nations strongest designers.

AIGAs core attributes: stimulating, open and authoritative AIGAs positioning strategy currently focuses on being defined by three attributes:
Stimulating Open

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AIGA activities should be seen as stimulating, in terms of their breadth, the contribution to the inspiration of designers, and in intellectual content. They should be open, in terms of being inclusive and welcoming many points of view; and they should be authoritative, in terms of defining the standards of professionalism for designers. This latter role was responsible for the broad initiative that has resulted in the AIGA Design Business and Ethics series of brochures and recent revisions to the standard contract and professional standards. These attributes represent a deliberate shift away from an old perception of AIGA as being exclusive or elitist, with an authoritative sense of acceptable exemplars of style, and little focus on the issues of the professional relationship with clients.
How AIGA will adapt to younger designers

To become more responsive to the social patterns and values of younger designers who will carry the profession into the 21st century, AIGA and its chapters must consider a number of preferences of the next generation of designers (from research on the 1829-year-old generation by John Zogby). Meet people where they are, not where they used to be. AIGA will reach out to organizations and places where younger designers participate and not rely on expecting them to come to our events. This pattern implies reduced significance of AIGAs conferences and publications; and implies a need to be visible at other conferences (like SXSW) and on others spaces on the Internet. Social responsibility counts. AIGA will continue to pursue at least one highly visible effort in social engagement and encourage designers, individually and as chapters, to pursue social engagement. AIGA should be the easiest and most appropriate connection for a young designer to make a difference (or at least to connect designers with those opportunities). Focus on reasonable, not big. AIGA must undertake visible activities, but must focus on a few achievable projects. The opportunities it offers designers must allow them to be involved. Institutional authority is all but dead and gone. Self-reliance and self-determination are on the rise. To stay ahead of the curve, AIGA must find ways to stress individual choice, independence and personalized service. Celebrate diversity and sustainability. Objectives of diversity and sustainability must become integral characteristics of all AIGA activities.

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Think globally. The young think and buy globally; they are sensitized to global issues from human rights to AIDS and poverty, even though they might not always command the facts. This fits into the role of AIGA leading the consideration of global issues for the design profession and offering members the chance to participate. Expect them to demand authenticity and truth. AIGA will avoid hyperbole and will seek transparency and accessibility to its members. It will apologize when it screws up. It will avoid trumpeting successes prior to solid achievements. In return, AIGA will be meeting a number of needs of this younger generation:
They want to live in a world with other people, not in an isolated profession. They have a strong focus on social engagement and a leadership role in society, ideas and

values that most of us share.

They respond to appeals to the best in all of us, calls issued to the higher order.
Considerations in AIGAs positioning and activities

From craft to strategy: the evolution of the profession The design profession and practice have evolved dramatically over the past twenty years. If one were to map the profession in a two by two matrix, with the vertical axis defining the continuum from the maker of things at the bottom to the conceiver of things at the top; and the horizontal axis were to define the progression from artifacts at the left to more intangible outcomes like strategies on the right; then, we have watched AIGAs membership and the most successful practitioners in the profession move from the lower left square, the maker of things, toward the upper right, or the conceiver of strategies.

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Now assume that this matrix represented two-dimensional design and that there were actually yet another set of dimensions that extended this observation from two-dimensional design to three-dimensional design. The third dimension could stand for space (as in designing objects), time (as in interaction design) or motion (as in motion graphics). Each of these attributes reveals the complexity of the demands on the communication designer today, when the greatest value that is contributed from communication design is captured in the rear, upper right cube, where design outcomes are more conceptual, more strategic and more multi-dimensional.

Yet, to the benefit of the tradition of graphic design, many of the strongest practitioners are those who were trained within the dimensions of finite outcomes, the makers of twodimensional objects.

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The future relevance of the professions competitive advantagewhich takes the form of integrative thinking in solving problems with human-center solutionsmay reside where the conceptual, multi-dimensional and strategic dimensions converge.

AIGA believes its role is to be the central place for community, information and influence for a design profession that operates in either of these shaded cubes; its role is to establish and celebrate design that is executed anywhere along the transverse axis from the from the lower front to the upper rear of that cube of designing functions. AIGA does not believe every professional designer must evolve toward the more strategic practitioner; however, AIGA believes its role is to celebrate and respect designers who are practicing at any place along the axis and must assure that every designer has the opportunity to move up and down that axis, should they choose. From communication design to experience design We know that graphic design is an archaic description of the current practice of design. For some, communication design seems to encompass a broader range of disciplines. Yet if we define the profession by what clients either need or want in the current competitive global economy, we have seen the expectation shift toward the design of experiences. When design involved simply issues of form, it was graphic design. When the designer was expected to be responsible for both the form and content of messages, it became communication design. Today, the designer is responsible for communicating complex messages clearly considering the form and content of a message and also the context in which the message is received by audiences over time. We consider this experience design.

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The central attributes of clarity, authenticity and simplicity Although AIGA considers the discipline or practice that it represents to be experience design and its characteristics to include increasingly multi-dimensional, strategic and conceptual counsel to clients, information design is central to the perceived value of design. Design is the intermediary between information and understanding; its role is to make the complex clear and useful. Great design does this in a way that elevates the spirit. This holds true in both communication design and industrial design. Clarity, authenticity and simplicity are critical and central attributes in effective design. This observation holds true of industrial or product design as well, where the design role is the intermediary between function and understanding (accessibility, usability). Clarity, authenticity and simplicity remain critical and central attributes in effective industrial design.

Multi-dimensional, strategic and conceptual design involve design thinking As the highest and best use of designers for their business clients has assumed new dimensions, and moved away from simply designing artifacts to designing multidimensional, strategic and conceptual outcomes, the special skill that designers bring to problems is the way they conceive of solutions to problems. This is designing (as a verb), integrative thinking or design thinking. AIGA has placed a high priority on transforming the public understanding of designers and their contribution from one of creating appealing things to helping to solve complex problems with innovative solutions. This has been conceived as a designing framework or

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process. AIGA has crafted a formulation of this process that is meant to create a common vocabulary and to provide an example that is very similar to the approaches used by many designers. It is not meant to be the authoritative model; it is simply one way to provide a vocabulary for designers to use in describing their broader role. The idea behind it, however, is critical for designers to experience the understanding and respect for their role that the profession seeks. There are many ways to approach this process and each firm has its own articulation of the process, sometimes couched in proprietary terms. It consists of three stages in problem solving, with four steps in each stage. And it is imperative that designers be involved at each stage. This framework is described as:

Does AIGA represent a process, a discipline or a profession? As the communication design professional has been drawn into projects with dimensions beyond the traditional ones, so has AIGA evolved in what and whom it represents. AIGA membership consists largely of communication designers who work in many media and involve research and strategy in their work for clients. At its core, AIGA membership consists of communication designers (broadly defined, involving many media and disciplines), researchers and strategists. The most successful, in their strategic engagements, contribute a way of thinking that we call the designing framework. This way of approaching problem solving offers potential solutions that evade the traditional business mindset. For communication designers, this approach often deals with communication, branding or positioning strategy. Yet the

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approach can be applied to many other forms of design, including industrial or product design, architecture, interior or landscape design. It is strongly in AIGAs members interest for this approach to problem solving to be communicated to business to assure that they seek and make the highest and best use of the communication designer. Every designer will benefit from this communication effort, even if he or she is not an AIGA member or a communication designer. AIGA supports promotion of this broadly applicable designing framework and design thinking, regardless of the design discipline to which it is applied. Within this pursuit, AIGA also supports one genre of design and designer: the communication designer, and seeks to represent as well those involved in research and strategy. Other organizations support other disciplines of design who also benefit from AIGAs advocacy of design thinking.

Who is involved in the designing process? AIGA has adapted itself as an institution to represent and lead the professionals who are engaged in the contemporary practice of design, even as the practice changes over time. AIGA was created by a gathering of printers and publishers in 1914. It has grown to include editorial designers, corporate identity, branding, interaction designers and many more mutations over the years, as the profession itself has changed. Now that design, as a profession, may be more multi-dimensional, strategic and conceptual; represents a way of thinking and solving; and includes form, content and context, it must also include many different disciplines. The following map of the disciplines involved in the designing process also becomes a map of the potential professions that are working with designers on collaborative teams. It is not clear on this map where the boundary for AIGA membership may lie. AIGA may not actively seek to represent all of these practices, although practitioners in each of these disciplines are likely be interested in and served by AIGAs activities and they are welcome to join.

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The implications of this expansion of the profession is evident in the challenge of AIGAs current efforts to assist the U.S. government in defining the profession accurately for its data collection and information efforts. Positioning implications for AIGA Given the nature of AIGAs current role, there is an alternative approach to the challenges faced by AIGA membership. AIGA has long felt there is a need among the many design professional associations to collaborate more closely in order to enhance the volume, resonance and relevance of the voice used to communicate the value of design to business, the media and the public. And that there is also far too much duplication in the provision of back-office services for under-capitalized organizations. The result is that there is inadequate focus in the messages reaching business and there is rarely adequate discretionary resources among existing associations for what is needed most by the professions: research, advocacy and public awareness campaigns.

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As a result, AIGA has encouraged collaboration among associations so that the Stonehenge illustrated above becomes more like a civic Greek model, with the pediment representing a focused cooperative effort to communicate a message that is broadly about the value of design and its ethical underpinnings to audiences outside the design community. While collaboration has been difficult for other organizations that guard their identities and prerogatives, AIGAs mission of demonstrating the value of design can occur without direct reference to AIGA or its constituents. In the context of coopetition, AIGA believes its members will benefit of the entire design economy grows, rather than worrying solely about its share of the economy. In this regard, AIGA may have reached a liminal point in its role in pursuing certain activities, since it can afford to be seen as a facilitator (rather than the owner) of outcomes that are consistent with its goals. AIGA will work hard during FY 2011 to achieve collaborative efforts with other professional design associations.

The dynamics of a rapidly evolving discipline and profession has profound implications for design education. AIGA is committed to working closely with design educators to encourage the development of curricula that will meet the needs of the future. AIGA engages with design educators through the Design Educators Community. Together, AIGA professionals and educators developed a scenario for the expectations of designers in the near future, Defining the Designer of 2015. Six major trends, and the challenges they pose for the profession (which AIGA will take on as its challenges), emerged from the research. These trends define designs role in a much broader, strategic context than its roots: the making of things and beautiful things. Although that remains an important contribution, they will be a manifestation of a solution that may involve many different forms, including intangibles such as strategy and experiences. Among designers and educators, there has been an enthusiastic response to taking on these trends, although there is also anxiety about whether designers are adequately prepared to take on the broader context of the roles these trends imply for them. They were, in the order of importance as identified by designers: Wide and deep: meta-disciplinary study and practice Designers must be able to draw on experience and knowledge from a broad range of disciplines, including the social sciences and humanities, in order to solve problems in a global, competitive market of products and ideas.

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As the contexts in which communication occurs become more diverse, designers need to experience meta-disciplinary study as well as training deeply in specific disciplines. They must understand the social sciences and humanities in order to understand the content they are asked to communicate and they must understand how to work collaboratively with other knowledge and practice specialists. Expanded scope: scale and complexity of design problems Designers must address scale and complexity at the systems level, even when designing individual components, and meet the growing need for anticipation of problem and solution rather than solving known problems. Design problems are nested within increasingly complex social, technological and economic systems and address people who vary in their cognitive, physical and cultural behaviors and experiences. The role of the designer is to manage this complexity, to construct clear messages that reveal to people the diverse relationships that make up information contexts and to deliver sustainable communication products and practices to clients. Targeted messages: a narrow definition of audiences Messaging will shift from mass communication to more narrow definitions of audiences (special interest design), requiring designers to understand both differences and likenesses in audiences and the growing need for reconciliation of tension between globalization and cultural identity. The most effective means of communicating has shifted from broad messages for large audiences to narrowly targeted messages for specific audiences. This is the result of both media capabilities (in terms of narrow-casting and mass customization of messages) and also global dynamics. This trend demands a better understanding of a variety of cultures, the value of ethnographic research, a sensitivity toward cultural perspectives, and empathy. Break through: an attention economy Attention is the scarce resource in the information age, and the attention economy involves communication design, information design, experience design and service design. The trend toward an attention economy encourages discussion of what is currently driving clients conception of form, the attraction of business to design and the problems of designing for a market that values the short term grab. Sharing experiences: a co-creation model Designers must change their idea of customers/users to co-creators (mass customization) to coincide with the rise in transparency of personal and professional lives (social networking, blogging, etc.).

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This trend focuses on user-centered issues through a filter that identifies appropriate methods for understanding people (for example, the current movement toward ethnographic research, rather than focus groups). It brings communication design closer to the work of product designers (who really have the attention of business) and the emerging area of service design. Social advocacy issues both emerge from this phenomenon and are empowered by it. Responsible outcomes: focusing on sustainability Designers must recognize that the pursuit of excellence involves focusing clearly on humancentered design in an era of increasingly limited resources, in which appropriateness is defined by careful and necessary use of resources, simplicity, avoidance of the extraneous and sensitivity to human conditions. Popular, political and business forces are all coming to grips with the challenges of working in a world of limited resources. Designers, as those who use creativity to defeat habit in the solutions they propose, must assume a leadership role in proposing responsible uses of resources. This involves both the traditional concept of sustainability and also an understanding of appropriate technology and resources for the uses proposed. Responsible outcomes embody ethical issues, social need, global imperatives and the unique contribution of design thinking. Essential competencies In order for designers to respond effectively to the demands of the trends that have been identified, they will need to gain a set of essential competencies that are considerably broader than the traditional form giving foundation.
Broad understanding of issues related to the cognitive, social, cultural, technological,

economic contexts for design

Understanding of how systems behave Understanding of sustainable products, strategies and practices Ability to solve communication problems including identifying the problem, researching,

analysis, solution generating, prototyping, user testing and outcome evaluation

Ability to create and develop visual response to communication problems, including

understanding of hierarchy, typography, aesthetics, composition and construction of meaningful images

Ability to construct verbal arguments for solutions that address diverse users/audiences;

lifespan issues; and business/organizational operations

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Understanding of and ability to utilize tools and technology Ability to utilize basic management to organize projects Ability to collaborate productively in large interdisciplinary teams Understanding of nested items including cause and effect Ability to be flexible, nimble and dynamic in practice Ability to work in a global environment with understanding of cultural preservation Understanding of ethics in practice
Focus on membership

At the national level, AIGA is committed to a broad definition of the design profession. Among many who are not AIGA members, there is a preconception that AIGA is predominantly an organization of traditional designers dedicated to two-dimensional design. The most difficult aspect of developing a membership institution that respects each discrete area of practice and yet encompasses many is that so many designers feel that if everything AIGA does is not important specifically to them, then AIGA is either not relevant to them at all or not serving their needs properly. AIGA will build on the disciplines it has represented traditionally and who have built AIGA, even as it expands into new areas. This is both a legacy issue and a pragmatic one, for this group continues to represent the core membership base that provides the financial support needed to pursue new areas. AIGA has different goals for professionals in various design disciplines:

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To be the pre-eminent voice and membership based professional association by 2014 Graphic design Communication design Editorial design Information design Brand and corporate identity Design education Experience design Package design Environmental graphic design

To be a professional association that represents the interests of Interaction design Interface design Information architecture Motion design Sound design Game design Design research (quantitative, qualitative and ethnographic) Design strategy Type design AIGA may not be either the only membership-based professional association for these groups nor the preeminent one.

To be an important advocate Illustration Photography Animation Printing

To welcome and develop programs of interest Interiors Architecture Landscape Industrial Product

AIGA has not been as effective in recent years due to fragmentation of these disciplines or a divergence of interests. For now, no additional resources will be devoted to these areas.

While there is strong crossover, these disciplines have their own professional associations. AIGA does not intend nor expect to become the pre-eminent professional association for these disciplines.

The optimal size of AIGA membership The size of membership is key to two critical issues: the strength and relevance of AIGAs voice on behalf of design and the necessary size to gain financial strength from membership and sponsorship. The quest for twice as many professional members is not simply the pursuit of more members or more membership fees. It reflects the only way to increase the opportunity to advance the agenda members have set. Membership revenue is one third to one half of total revenues. However, the opportunity to increase program fees or sponsorship support, the other two sources, depends upon the number of members represented. And the number of members also influences the strength of the voice AIGA can project on behalf of the profession. So professional membership increases are critical to achieving our stated goals.

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The following charts reflect some salient observations about membership in recent years. The rate of net growth depends upon the rate at which current members allow their membership to lapse and the rate at which new members are recruited. The first graph shows that the number of new members dropped substantially in 2009 as a result of the economic crisis, with the sharpest decrease in the professional category; 2010 saw a modest increase in professional members, and large increases in students due to a student drive in the fall. Number of new members, by type 2005 2006 Professionals 2,425 2,393 Educator 131 124 Associate 580 597 Student 4,236 4,868 Total 7,372 7,982

2007 2008 2,816 2,644 144 154 608 590 5,811 6,163 9,379 9,551

2009 1,565 139 529 5,511 7,744

2010 1,868 125 582 8,442 11,017

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Number of members and growth in membership AIGA was largely a New York organization for its first 70 years. Chapters formed in the 1980s and growth exploded, from about 1,700 in 1980 to more than 22,000 at the end of 2010.

The composition of the membership has changed over time, with the number of student members showing the strongest growth. Traditionally, members have first heard about AIGA as students; the challenge ahead of us is to create strong loyalty with this group so that they continue their involvement and engagement with the organization over the arc of their careers.

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Demographics These demographics are derived from surveys of professional and associate members.

In 2009, 6 percent of professional and associate members indicated that they were of Hispanic, Spanish or Latino origin or descent, down from 8 percent in 2007. A comparable question has not been asked in previous years. In 2009, 84 percent of professional and associate members selected White as the category most closely matching their ethnic identity. The distribution of ethnicity for the remaining members was:

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Respondents to the annual AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries have identified themselves as follows:

Implications for membership development The previous data suggest a number of characteristics for a membership campaign:
The membership experience must change so that the percentage of current members who

allow their membership to lapse declines. This can occur through changing the expectations of members, changing the value they place on various aspects of membership and increasing the benefits of membership.
The number of students who convert to professional members must increase.

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A campaign to increase the number of currently underrepresented groups in the profession

can also have an impact on membership.

AIGA must seek ways to increase its services and membership in corporate design

departments and government agencies.

AIGA should encourage designers of other disciplines to join AIGA, even as a second

professional association.
Planning future activities

As AIGA plans its activities for the future, it considers a range of criteria. First, AIGA believes its institutional imperative is to consider every activity within the context of its responsibility to members past, present and future. This provides a different set of criteria than one would consider in attempting to maximize the current members experience. The means of ascertaining member interests and concerns include continuous involvement, yearlong, with opinion leaders, chapter leaders and individual members and maintaining a culture within the staff to listen carefully and to report what they are hearing. This is complemented by a periodic survey of the members on continuous concerns and current concerns. Surveys of students and lapsed members were conducted in 2008; professional and associate members were surveyed in January 2009. Most of the new initiatives that AIGA takes on at the national level emerge from the discussions that occur with chapter leaders at the annual leadership retreat. These discussions, in turn, are informed by chapter roundtables. which are a form of local focus group AIGA encourages each chapter to conduct to focus local input into the issues that will be discussed at the leadership retreat. Understanding the diverse nature of AIGA members, AIGA attempts to provide at least a few meaningful experiences each year for each member. This is challenging because some members choose to judge the relevance of AIGAs activities based on how high a percentage of all activities are not of specific interest to them rather than on the number of ones that actually do meet their interests and needs. Associations, like a cable service, will have many offerings and should be judged based on whether a few of the offerings are particularly important experiences, not whether every offered service is important to a member/subscriber. To evaluate the range of offerings AIGA provides and to determine if there are failings in the full set of offerings, AIGA reviews its activities in a matrix based on the nature of the activity and the experience or perspective of the audience member.

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Activities throughout the early 2000s fell into the following pattern:

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At the beginning of the new decade, AIGA has focused its activities further, and they look more like this:

We also try to keep an eye on each members experience, by recording the interaction between a member and at least the national activities. Depending upon location and motivation, this is complemented by local chapter experiences.
International activities

AIGA is pursuing a deliberate strategy toward increasing its presence among design professionals around the world. While the dimensions of this strategy will evolve with experience, there are several critical elements to it. First, there is an underlying assumption that the global economy is becoming irreversibly more decentralized, with an increasing number of strong centers of design, production and markets. The result is that U.S. designers will have competition from a wide variety of sources, not simply because design will be more competitive, but because U.S. manufacturers will not be driving the same proportion of global design decisions and other cultures will require goods and services that respond to their unique needs and interests. AIGA will seek a role as a partner among the community of design associations around the world in order to strengthen the voice with which it can communicate the interests of its members. At the same time, AIGAs leadership responsibility is to share with other design communities what has been learned in the course of serving the U.S. design profession, particularly since AIGA is the largest (and possibly the oldest) professional association of designers in the world.

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Opportunities for increased dialogue among designers from different countries benefit U.S. designers who must learn to design for cultures other than their own in order to make a major contribution to the global economy. To the extent that AIGAs articulation of professional ethics and standards are shared and adopted by others, this experience will also level the playing field for AIGA designers and reduce some competition solely on price alone. These professional standards have already been translated into Chinese and broadly circulated in China; we are currently discussing their translation into Arabic. This involvement will also reinforce where AIGA designers do have a competitive advantage, clarifying the unique advantages of some established AIGA designers in emerging economies, until these economies can develop their own robust design economies.
The role of AIGA staff in achieving member expectations

The AIGA staff is not intended to fulfill all of the expectations that its members have. AIGA conceives of itself principally as a community of committed designers, with leadership in a national board and through chapter boards. AIGA as a concept and a force does not consist of a staff and building; it is embodied in the membership. The institution is maintained by management and staff, yet the staffs role is to enable membersthrough organizing, facilitating, enabling, empowering, catalyzing volunteersto accomplish what is in their interest. There are two reasons for this. First, the size of the staff should not be the limit on the impact of a profession. Second, the staff should not define the profession, for the power, creativity, spirit and brilliance of a profession comes from within it. Increasingly, it is expected that AIGAs role in support of the professions future will be leadership, research, strategy and resources, rather than providing tangible personal benefits of members.
Goals, strategies and activities

The goals and strategies define the relevance of AIGAs activities and new initiatives. The AIGA table of activities relates individual programs or initiatives to the strategies and goals.

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the professional association for design

The mission of AIGA is to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force.

Goal: Stimulate thinking about design

Goal: Demonstrate the value of design

Goal: Empower the success of designers across the arc of their careers
Work with educators to develop new thinking about designing Become the best source of information and tools on the designing process Create new opportunities for designers

Publish critical thinking about design and designing

Produce events and experiences that educate and inspire

Promote design excellence

Create a single voice for design and designing

Advocate the power of designing and the value of design

Establish value by doing valuable things

Publish Voice: AIGA Journal of Design

Produce biennial AIGA Design Conference celebrating inspiration and creativity Partner to provide opportunities for inspiration

Mount exhibitions to celebrate design excellence

Develop as a respected, accessible, comprehensive source Implement comprehensive communications plan

Publish case studies and research on the value of design

Produce annual Aspen Design Summit to provide design contribution to social issues Demonstrate social relevance of design

Develop educators database

Publish newsletter on practice management

Expand membership to additional disciplines

Publish AIGA Design Press titles

Hold annual design competitions and publish results

Produce a biennial Gain: AIGA Conference on business and design

Develop model curricula and standards

Publish Business and Design Ethics series

Increase the diversity of the profession

Develop an archive of illustrated essays on leading designers

Earn leadership role in design alliances

Strengthen designs public advocacy voice

Develop and promote Design for Democracy

Encourage teenagers to explore design

Publish survey of design salaries

Expand member benefits

Publish AIGA Design Archives

Represent interests of U.S. designers globally

Explain the designing process to business, media, and public

Develop leadership position on sustainability

Offer professional development opportunities to students and professionals

Link designers with jobs

Publish design history and develop archives

Lead in setting a national design agenda

Codify working methods and best practices

Develop designers understanding of global initiatives

Offer social network of designers

Inform designers about the designing process

Core foundation activities:

Develop membership

Increase sponsorship revenue

Develop charitable giving to the profession

Key: = Communications = Information and research = Active = Development = Competitions and exhibitions = Initiatives = Planning = Conferences = Internet/web

= Editorial

= Membership and member services


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