a religion or a faith

reflecting on a progressive movement - Activate - the 2011 AIGA Leadership Retreat closing reception at the Walker Art Center, Minnepolis, Minnesota
© 2011 Dave Weinberg

As noted by Ric Grefé, Executive Director of AIGA, in his closing remarks at the 2011 Leadership Retreat, AIGA was established almost 100 years ago by a group of (40) industry professionals to represent the needs of designers of the day. We are now at the dawn of a new day – representing, advocating and fostering interdisciplinary dialog and action across an ever changing playing field of needs and roles. The role of the Creative, the Right Brainer, the Designer – could not be more important or relevant. The very nature of design – what it means to be a designer and the role that the designer plays in business and culture is also changing; as observed during the last several retreats, there are many unknowns and uncertainties to navigate.

I joined AIGA, the professional association for design in 2005 and became a founding member of the Maine chapter in January of 2006. I served for 4 years as its Programs Director and the last two years as President. I’m proud to be part of an organization that actively fosters, recognizes and promotes the contributions and leadership at all levels of the organization. The structure of many companies and organizations exercise their hierarchy through monolithic top down management – ‘we have all the answers and we will tell you what to do’. Leaders at all levels of AIGA recognize, exercise and evangelize something very different.

The mission of AIGA is to advance design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. It seeks to stimulate thinking about design, to Inform, Communicate, Inspire, Represent, Stimulate and Demonstrate the value that design brings to business and society – reflecting the needs of designers throughout the arcs of their careers. AIGA continues its mission during a time of enormous change – advances in technology, fledgling economy, threats to environment, social inequality, shifts across Boomer, GenX and Millennial generations contribute to daily uncertainties and with that, opportunities – for redesign and an expanded role for the designer.

The above image, cellphoneSketched at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, represents a tribal diaspora. A group willing to set out from the familiar, from the perceived safety of the monolithic voice telling them what to do – into the uncertainty of the unknown (with its share of brick walls) to exercise its own voice.

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