AIGA, the professional association for GRAPHIC design

I’m trying to understand who the AIGA thinks they’re fooling with their recent-ish label, “AIGA, the professional association for design.” They claim AIGA no longer stands for “American Institute of Graphic Arts,” and that instead the organization’s purview is big-D-Design.

And then they announced the lineup for their big 2007 Annual event, NEXT, and while it looks like a good event, it’s a *graphic design* event. Of the speakers listed on the promotional email I received:

Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday, host of “Studio 360″–Moderator
David C. Baker, ReCourses, Inc.
Marian Bantjes, illustrator, designer
Janine Benyus, Biomimicry Guild–Just added!
Shoshana Berger, ReadyMade
Paul Budnitz, Kidrobot
Moira Cullen, Coca-Cola North America
Nick Currie, a.k.a. Momus
Robin Edman, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation
Ed Fella, illustrator, designer, photographer
Tobias Frere-Jones, Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Inc.
Stanley Hainsworth, Starbucks
Allan Haley, Monotype Imaging
Grace Hawthorne, ReadyMade
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper
Jonathan Hoefler, Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Inc.
Maira Kalman, illustrator, designer
Julie Lasky, I.D. Magazine
Daniel Libeskind, Studio Daniel Libeskind–Just added!
Ellen Lupton, Maryland Institute College of Art and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Katherine McCoy, High Ground Studios
Michael McCoy, High Ground Studios
Christoph Niemann, illustrator, animator, graphic designer
Adrian Shaughnessy, author of How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
Garth Walker, Orange Juice Design
Michelle Washington on 2007 AIGA medalist Georg Olden

is overwhelmingly oriented toward graphic design. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that… but is *anyone* buying the idea that AIGA is truly “the professional association for design”?

4 thoughts on “AIGA, the professional association for GRAPHIC design

  1. Well, the list seems to me less overwhelmingly graphic than the first paragraph of your post implied it would be. The Topics list suggests a pretty broad spectrum of interests, though obviously interaction design (or really design for technology at all) is completely absent.

    Is this really the first event since they acronymed themselves (call it “AARPing” since AARP apparently no longer wants to be associated with “retired people”)? If so, It’s not surprising that they’re trying to keep their traditional constituents interested.

  2. Peter, “overwhelmingly oriented toward graphic design”? I don’t see that. I see a pretty balanced list of speakers. David Baker is a business consultant for design companies of all kinds (and one who can speak to experience design); the folks at ReadyMade deal with interaction design issues as well as graphic design and publishing; who better to speak about experience design than folks from Starbucks?; Robin Edman is a fantastic industrial designer and consummate business person who had long been associated with Electrolux and Frigidaire; Moira Cullen and her entourage deal with so many aspects of experience design it’s mind-boggling; Mayor Hickenlooper learned first hand the value of experience design via our friends at Milkshake Media during his run for office. I could go on, but to me the list of speakers is quite diverse and exciting, and yes, there are representatives of illustration and graphic design, too. As there should be.

  3. […] Elsewhere: 25 Apr 2007 “…is *anyone* buying the idea that AIGA is truly ‘the professional association for design’?” – Peter Merholz […]

  4. it’s aspirational. sometimes you just have to throw shit in the air, see where it lands.

    organizations can morph, evolve – we should all hope they do.