Mike Joosse Explains AIGA's Design Legends Gala
October 27, 2008 Filed Under: Guest Bloggers 0 Comments
AIGA's Design Legends Gala is held each fall in New York City. In its infancy, it served primarily to honor that year's recipients of the AIGA Medal, the most prestigious award AIGA gives. Over the years, its purpose has expanded to be a presentation of design awards from across AIGA. The Corporate Leadership Award recognizes companies who celebrate and exemplify good design. The Winterhouse Awards recognize designer-writers under age 30. WorldStudio AIGA Scholarships recognize a diverse cross-section of college-age designers committed to social and environmental change. And AIGA Fellows are named by chapters around the country as standard-bearers of AIGA's commitment to excellence in design in their communities. But right now, you may be asking, as I've asked before, “what does this Gala mean for me?”
Sean Adams, AIGA's President, has said that the Gala is akin to the “best high school reunion ever,” because so many prominent designers are gathered in the same room to celebrate the same causes. And this is true, on one very apparent level. Want to meet Massimo Vignelli? Have a drink with Chip Kidd? Shake Paula Scher's hand? They're there, sitting a few tables over. Want to find the President of the Seattle chapter, or the National Board member focusing on sustainability, or the moderator of the Denver conference? They're there too. Want to thank any of AIGA's national staff for their tireless efforts? You know where to find them. But, to me, the Gala serves a more important function: getting the chance to be a part of the perpetual motion machine of AIGA itself, understanding it more fully, and contributing to it yourself.
AIGA's front-door message is that it's the most important place designers and the public turn to for excellence in design. The less flashy but still invaluable message is that everything AIGA does is in the service of its members. Everything feeds everything. The recognition of Medalists is done so because these men and women have contributed incredibly to the field of design itself, which strengthens AIGA. Fellows are named for their illustrious histories of service to AIGA chapters. WorldStudio scholarship winners lay groundwork for the next generation of designers, which will strengthen…you guessed it…AIGA. Attendees fly to, get dressed up for, and come to the Gala because the proceeds directly benefit AIGA and its programs. The fundraising that occurs at the Gala itself, whether through a silent auction of design treasures or the simple act of passing a hat, produces donations that cycle back into AIGA programs at every level. And when the national organization is stronger and more solvent, every single chapter and every single member receive added benefits that continue to far outweigh the cost of individual membership.
Membership in AIGA is an important statement about your commitment to the design profession and its future. It's a great support of AIGA's growing role in the world. Attendance at the Gala and any of AIGA's many conferences is an additional, important commitment that the organization values so highly. Because, ultimately, it always comes back to you. In the same way that you can honor AIGA by attending the Gala, the Gala will honor you and your investment in AIGA.
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