One hundred years ago today, the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) was conceived during a time of cultural and social change. Print was still the most important medium, but old mercantile systems were being replaced by highly competitive commercial ones. The industrial revolution was producing new products at a pace never before seen. Mass production promised to improve the quality of life, but it would require persuasion to define what that might mean.
It was in this world that professional designers began to emerge from print shops in order to make sense of the visual clutter that characterized the era. In doing so, they turned to designer-photographer William Morris and other renaissance men such as Daniel Berkeley Updike, Frederic W. Goudy, and W.A. Wiggins to establish a graphic standard.
From 40 founding members in 1914, AIGA (as it is now today) would emerge as the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design in the world. Consisting of 67 chapters and 23,000 members, AIGA is a global community of design advocates and practitioners that aims to advance design as a professional craft.
“The AIGA Centennial is a chance to look back at our roots as designers and to look forward to our growing impact in society,” said Richard Grefe, executive director of AIGA. “But more than that, it’s an opportunity to capture the many reasons design matters.”
Simply put, much like the original members did in 1914, the AIGA Centennial is a chance to visualize the future of design as the world enters another historic time of cultural and social change. Today, graphic arts is all around us like never before.
It is becoming increasingly important to personal technology, environmental design, and virtual interfaces. It communicates, educates, and shapes the way we see the world. And, at the same time, it preserves the classic approach to a timeless craft.
On behalf of AIGA Las Vegas, happy birthday AIGA! And for all members and designers in the Las Vegas area, we look forward to sharing the history of the association as well as the Las Vegas chapter with a series of fun and inventive celebrations, socials and gatherings that look to the past as well as set a new pace for the future. Thank you!