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.
To say thank you for a great year, we’re offering 15% OFF any boot camp, in-person course, or online course when you use code MBTHANKU. Choose from any of our exciting upcoming courses, from a novel writing class taught by an accomplished author, to an intro course for Excel. Hurry – offer expires 12/24! Browse our upcoming courses.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #119 (1983)
The cultural triple threat that is the National Academy (the New York-based museum, art school, and honorary association of artists and architects founded in 1825) today announced its newest members, who will gain the fancy title of “Academician” and join a group that ranges from Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church to Robert Rauschenberg and Rafael Viñoly. This year marks the first time that artists working in video, photography, and installation were elgible for nomination—Academicians voted last year to revise the traditional categories of membership that included “Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, and Architecture” to “Visual Arts and Architecture”—a change reflected in this mixed-media-loving group of newly elected visual artists: Siah Armajani, Richard Artschwager, David Diao, Robert Gober, Robert Irwin, Shirley Jaffe, Joan Jonas, Bruce Nauman, Peter Saul, Joel Shapiro, Cindy Sherman, Richard Tuttle, Bill Viola, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. From the world of architecture, the Academy will welcome Stan Allen, Wendy Evans Joseph, M. Paul Friedberg, Jeanne Gang, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, Gregg Pasquarelli, Annabelle Selldorf, and Bernard Tschumi. “This new group includes great artists and architects who should long ago have been Academicians, plus a whole new generation,” said architect Tod Williams, a member since 2010, in a statement issued today by the organization. The 23 new members will be inducted this fall in a ceremony led by Robert Hobbs of Virginia Commonwealth University.
AIGA/NY 30th Anniversary posters designed by SpotCo, Bobby C. Martin Jr., and Paula Scher.
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of AIGA/NY, tireless uniter of the New York City design community and booster of the design profession nationwide. The organization is marking the milestone with a series of jumbo birthday cards: commemorative posters created by design stars. Michael Bierut, Ivan Chermayeff, and Matteo Bologna are among the 30 designers who were up to the task. Debbie Millman contributed one of her signature text paintings that features the names of AIGA/NY board members—all 30 years worth of them. Meanwhile, Paula Scher was thinking pink in an Empire State of mind, Ken Carbone serves up a New York pizza slice with AIGA in pepperoni, and for dessert, there’s delicious cookies from SpotCo (mind the cookie rat). Check out of all of the 30th Anniversary Series posters on Etsy, where they are for sale in limited editions of 100. We suggest ponying up some birthday money to own of ten signed pieces per artist.
The annual AIGA Awards are a little like the Oscars, but with better kerning, bolder eyeglasses, and much less Botox. At this year’s gala celebration, co-chaired by Pentagram’s DJ Stout and Su Mathews of Lippincott, guests were encouraged to wear hats shaped like buildings (make your own with this handy template). We dispatched graphic designer Prescott Perez-Fox to lash a cardboard Eiffel Tower to his head and scope out the scene.
From left, AIGA medalists Ralph Caplan, Robert Vogele, and Elaine Lustig Cohen with AIGA executive director Richard Grefé; reveling designers strike a pose in the urbane photo booth. (Photos: Angela Jimenez for AIGA; Denise Ginley and Steven Robinson)
Much like the return of migrating birds and an elevated pollen count, spring brings with it the design industry’s very own prom, the annual AIGA Awards. Last week’s event, entitled Bright Lights Big City and held in Manhattan at the Altman Building, didn’t make use of the pastel ubiquity of April, but instead opted for a deco-inspired architectural theme, where the entire event was set in black-and-white, referencing the Beaux Arts Ball of 1931 in which architects dressed in costumes of buildings they had designed. This year’s guests were invited to design and create hats in the shape of their favorite buildings, bringing some unexpected wit and levity set against the relative severity of black cocktail attire.
However, the focus of the evening isn’t fashion, it is to honor the newest recipients of the prestigious AIGA medal. This year’s honorees were not simply accomplished design professionals in their own right, but together represent four of the essential archetypes of design. Ralph Caplan represents The Observer, following his career as a design author and having gained the unique ability to find perspective and turn that into something informative and enticing. Elaine Lustig Cohen comes to us as The Artist, creating groundbreaking work in typography and illustration, and raising the status of the designer and of design as a whole. Armin Hoffmann is The Mentor, demonstrated by the generations of design students he taught directly, and the enduring popularity of the Swiss style so closely linked to him. Finally, Robert Vogele embodies The Entrepreneur, demonstrating that classic American story of a regular Joe who created a scrappy upstart that became a thriving business and influential design practice. To the younger designers in the audience, it was inspirational—our challenge is how to embrace these qualities in our careers and become the next archetypes of design.
NEXT PAGE >>