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Bright Lights Is Tonight: Drenttel & Helfand, Hoefler & Frere-Jones to Receive AIGA Medals


A taste of the digital typefaces designed by Hoefler & Frere-Jones.

Shield your eyes from the glare of design talent this evening in New York, as AIGA hosts “Bright Lights.” The annual awards gala will begin with cocktails and conversation, and proceed to celebration and presentation of the coveted AIGA medal, the graphic design world’s highest honor. This year’s crop of James Earle Fraser-designed medallions goes to John Bielenberg, William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand, Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, Stefan Sagmeister, Lucille Tenazas, and Wolfgang Weingart. Not bound for Bright Lights? Play along at home by reading aloud, in your best announcer voice, AIGA’s citations (below) of the design luminaries.

• Designer, entrepreneur, and imaginative advocate for a better world, John Bielenberg will be recognized for innovative investigations into the practice and understanding of design and leadership in the “design for good” movement.

• Designer, theorist, and publisher William Drenttel will be recognized for advancing critical thinking about design; for his long-standing commitment to integrating design strategy into organizations; for expanding design’s role in social innovation; and for his work as cofounder, editor and publisher of Design Observer.

• Designer, educator, and writer Jessica Helfand will be recognized as an incisive critic; a pioneer in design practice and education; an innovator of new forms of visual narrative; and for her work as cofounder of Design Observer.

• Type designers extraordinaire Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones will be recognized for their contributions to the typographic landscape through impeccable craftsmanship, skilled historical reference and insightful vernacular considerations.

• Inspirational and intriguing designer Stefan Sagmeister will be recognized for a career based on imaginative and often unorthodox design solutions to both commercial and social communication challenges, which often reveal design’s potential for addressing vexing social problems within popular culture.

• Design educator and practitioner Lucille Tenazas will be recognized for her prominent role in translating postmodern ideas into critical design practice; her exploration of the relationship between type, photography and language; and the development and leadership of highly-respected design education programs—always with exquisite execution.

• Designer and instructor Wolfgang Weingart will be recognized for his typographic explorations and teaching at the Schule für Gestaltung Basel, and who, through the work of his students, created a more experimental and expressive approach to typography that has been influential around the world.

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