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Your 2014 AIGA Medalists: Chip Kidd, Louise Fili, Bill Moggridge, and 21 More Design Stars

centennial medalists

Frederic Goudy had one, so did Philip Johnson and Robert Rauschenberg. The Eameses had two. Pentagram is awash in them. George Lois wears his to bed. We’re talking about AIGA Medals, the graphic design world’s highest honor. This year, the AIGA is celebrating its centennial by bestowing medals on 24 design visionaries that “together exemplify the legacy of visual communications and the impact of design”: Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka, Richard Danne, Alexander Isley, Charles S. Anderson, Michael Donovan and Nancye Green, Chip Kidd, Dana Arnett, Stephen Doyle, Michael Mabry, Kenneth Carbone and Leslie Smolan, Louise Fili, Abbott Miller, David Carson, Bob Greenberg, Bill Moggridge, Kyle Cooper, Sylvia Harris, Gael Towey, Michael Cronan, Cheryl Heller, and Ann Willoughby. They will be presented with their James Earle Fraser-designed medals on April 25 at the AIGA Centennial Gala in New York City.

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Intel Teams with Opening Ceremony, Barneys, CFDA on Wearable Technology

carol and humberto OCWatch out, Google Glass, there’s an Intel-powered bracelet on the horizon, and it will be designed in collaboration with Opening Ceremony (founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon are pictured at right) and make its retail debut at Barneys New York. The in-the-works “smart bracelet” is part of a broader wearable technology initiative announced by Intel at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which runs through Friday in Las Vegas.

In addition to the product partnership, the company outlined its plan to work with the Council of Fashion Designers of America “to create a community for technology developers and fashion designers to network, match-make, cultivate, and exchange ideas on wearable technology.” The alliance will connect the CFDA’s 400 members with hardware and software developers. “The collaborations we announced today will merge the expertise of two very distinct disciplines of technology and fashion, essential in realizing the vision of prolific adoption of wearable technology,” said Intel’s Ayse Ildeniz in a statement. “Intel’s aim is to initiate sustainable, long-term cooperation between the technology and fashion worlds beginning with today’s announcements.”

Art Directors Club Convinces Milton Glaser, James Victore to Feed Their Art to Laser Cat

The feline world takeover continues apace, one adorable kitten Vine at a time. Cats have even infiltrated the highest reaches of the creative community, as evidenced by the Laser Cat that has been gobbling up the work of designers such as Stefan Sagmeister, Milton Glaser and Sue Walsh, Kevin O’Callaghan, and James Victore, with plans to project the artworks onto Miami’s Bass Museum of Art. Then it’s onto the moon. Say what?

Laser Cat is an art installation dreamed up by Barcelona-based Hungry Castle, also known as Dave Glass and Kill Cooper. The poptastic duo has joined forces with O’Callaghan, the original Mr. Big Stuff, to create a giant cat armed with powerful “laser” projectors that will be part of the Art Directors Club’s 93rd Annual Awards + Festival of Art and Craft in Advertising and Design, which takes April 7–9 2014 in Miami Beach. Still confused? Just watch these videos—pew, pew!


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Elizabeth Chu Richter Elected 2015 AIA President

The American Institute of Architects wrapped up its national convention last weekend in Denver, and along with a keynote address by Architecture for Humanity co-founder Cameron Sinclair, delegates enjoyed an insider’s tour of the Daniel Libeskind- and Gio Ponti-designed buildings of the Denver Art Museum, got their copies of Combinatory Urbanism signed by Thom Mayne, and paused between sessions to enjoy scoops from Little Man Ice Cream, located inside a 28-foot steel replica of an old-fashioned milk can. There was also an election: Elizabeth Chu Richter, the CEO of Richter Architects in Corpus Christi, Texas, emerged victorious in her bid for the 2015 presidency of AIA. “I’m hoping that my leadership will help bring the AIA into a more member-focused future, building greater public engagement and understanding, while also refining the Institute’s leadership structure and operation focus,” said Richter, a member of the AIA National Board of Directors representing Texas. She’ll begin her term as first vice-president/president-elect in 2014.

Time Is Running Out to Take Your Shot at Young Guns

kitten_assassin.jpgThe competition that spotted Stefan Sagmeister, James Victore, and Mike Mills when they were but wee design/art powerhouses-to-be is back. Behold Young Guns 11, the Art Directors Club’s international, cross-disciplinary, portfolio-based competition to identify the young creative vanguard. By “young,” they mean 30 or under, and by “creatives,” they mean those doing great things in graphic design, photography, illustration, advertising and art direction, environmental design, film, animation, video, interactive design, object design, and/or typography.
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Art Directors Club Initiative to Address Gender Imbalance in Design, Advertising

The Art Directors Club was founded in 1920–with a vision of “elevating and celebrating advertising and design with the same care and craftsmanship bestowed upon fine art”–but all of that elevating and celebrating was for men only until 1942, when the organization admitted its first female member. Seven decades later, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. The ADC is addressing the gender imbalance in the fields of creative communication with its new 50/50 initiative, which calls for an equal level of participation for both genders across award show juries, boards of directors, and events/speaker lineups.

“By increasing the number of qualified women in senior positions in all facets of the creative communications industry, we believe our industries will both flourish and lay a foundation for generations of female talent,” according to ADC leadership. “We call upon our community to help shed light on these amazing women, because they are out there.” In New York? Head to Thursday’s lunchtime photo shoot (think: massive class portrait of women in the advertising, design, and digital disciplines) with photographer Monte Isom that will kick off the initiative. Here’s ADC executive director Ignacio Oreamuno with more details on why now is the time to make the industry 50/50.

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.
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New Websites for Calder Foundation, ASID

Nothing says “fresh start” quite like a new online home. On the sculptural heels of its 25th anniversary year, the Calder Foundation has debuted a new website at calder.org with the goal of creating a “more visceral, firsthand experience of Alexander Calder‘s work.” A splash page features videos of mobiles in motion, and amidst the foundation’s trove of images, cataloguing info, and historical texts are new features including a blog, a timeline of the artist’s life in pictures, and a selection of rarely seen historic Calder films (check out Hans Richter‘s 1962 experimental short From the Circus to the Moon).

Also ringing in 2013 with a new website is the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Part membership hub, part design showcase, the upgraded asid.org, launched today, begins with a homepage that highlights rotating designer portfolios based on a user’s location as well as the option to view portfolios and search for designers by specialty and expertise. Head to the “Knowledge Center” to bone up on topics such as sustainable design and to browse case studies that illustrate how interior design can address specific physical, psychological, social, and economic needs.

Making a Case for Design: AIGA Names Winners of ‘Justified’ Competition

Earlier this year, AIGA put out the call for “stories that reveal the value design creates for clients, the public and, most especially, customers” for Justified, a new kind of competition. Hundreds of entries poured in—from design firms, in-house design departments, design entrepreneurs, and freelance designers—and a jury of top designers chaired by Terry Irwin, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design, has selected 18 exemplary case studies that serve as an effective tool to explain design’s value to clients, students, peers, and the general public. Five entries made the shortlists of all of the jurors: the Feed the Future Website, Make Congress Work!, Earth Lab: Degrees of Change, HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites, and CODA Experience Center. “In a challenging economic climate, articulating what we do has become more important than ever,” said juror Petrula Vrontikis, creative director of Vrontikis Design Office, in a statement issued by AIGA. “It is possibly the most useful skill we can master, allowing us to keep good clients and make purposeful (and beautiful) work.”

Demand for Designers Climbs Yet Salaries Remain Stagnant, AIGA Survey Finds

You may need to look no further than your paycheck and your inbox to corroborate some of the findings of the 2012 AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries, released this week: design salaries have remained relatively flat for several years, even as many design firms report that they are busier than ever. “There are indications that firms are busy because they have not replaced workers who had been released during the start of the recession,” according to AIGA executive director Richard Grefé, who has observed a move toward outsourcing by in-house design departments. “The result has been an increase in the use of freelance and contract employees, whose availability has held compensation increases in check. In addition, approximately 12,000 students of communication design graduate from four-year programs each year—more than can be absorbed into the current workforce.”

The good news? Design is increasingly in demand, and compensation is on the rise for some positions, particularly those involved with integrating design into business strategy—strategists and operations management—as well as roles which deal with usability, web, and interactive design. Below are some more thought-provoking highlights from the survey results. Dig into the data yourself at AIGA’s newly launched design salaries site.

• Those with 10 to 19 years of experience earn the greatest compensation, though younger designers’ (0–10 years of experience) technology skills may put them on par with older designers (20–30 years of experience) in terms of earnings
• There does not seem to be a noticeable premium paid for the highest levels of education: a 4 percent median salary difference was reported between MFA and BFA graduates
• Sixty-six percent of freelance respondents work with a staffing agency, and one in four of those working with an agency receive benefits
• Women are still not earning as much as their male counterparts, despite the fact that 54 percent of design professionals are female and more than half of AIGA’s members are female

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