How AIGA Helps Businesses & Designers

AIGA (The American Institute of Graphic Arts) has been an important part of my design career thus far. Not only is AIGA an important organization in the design world, but they also bring businesses and designers together. They educate businesses on the importance of design. Here are a few ways in which they help businesses and designers…

3 Ways AIGA Helps Businesses

1 | Networking When I took part in one of AIGA’s “So…”Emerging Designers Workshops, I realized that AIGA is an important part of the community, not just the design community. Our workshop took place at Open Book in Minneapolis, MN. During the workshop we learned about letterpress and book binding and utilized Open Book’s fantastic facility. Not only was this a great opportunity for those attending, but for their business as well. Open Book offers many classes, studio space rental, and a different environment to be inspired in. As far as networking, they were able to discuss one-on-one with us, potential customers, about what they have to offer simply by lending us their space and teaching small workshops.

2 | Business Promotion

Quantum Graphics

Quantum Graphics | Printing Sponsor | Photo by Mike Habermann

AIGA is not only an organization solely focused on design. They also promote related businesses in their creative endeavors. AIGA is always looking for sponsors to take part in a wide array of events. Quantum Graphics sponsored the Design Show 2009 and did a fabulous printing job. But not all sponsors have connections in the design market. Pabst Blue Ribbon was another sponsor for the show and yes, they were a hit in case you were wondering! Interested in being a sponsor for AIGA?

3 | Resources AIGA’s website is a great place for businesses to learn about design. Especially those of you that haven’t worked with a designer before.

I thought I would share a few bits of information from their business section:

What will my business gain with effective design? | What every business needs Case Studies & Articles on Business & Design

3 Ways AIGA Helps Designers

1 | Networking

Networking at AIGA Events

AIGA Design Show 2009 | Photo by Mike Habermann

Getting yourself out into the design and business community can be a challenge at times. With such a saturated field, we must make networking a top priority! AIGA is the organization to join if your looking to network. For starters, post your work on their website.

If your a recent grad or simply new to the design world, take part in their well known Portfolio One-on-One Event. I attended this in 2008 and it made all the difference in the level of design I was putting out. Being a part of the event also gave me many great contacts through the different activities AIGA had scheduled for us.

The first day opened my eyes to the type of studio I would like to work in, as they take you on a few studio tours. I toured Catalyst Studios, p and h (now Partners & Hunt), and Graphiculture in Minneapolis, MN. During the second day, I showed my book around to about 4 or 5 designers/art directors/creative directors/owners. It was very beneficial to practice my presenation skills, process and simply talking about my work and design concepts. One of the hardest aspects of the design business is explaining your design concepts to non-designers. Basically the vast majority of your clients won’t have a large knowledge base of design.

Overall this event is a great place to network with other designers as well! Check out other portfolios. Who knows what will inspire your book’s apperance and layout! The Design Show is also a great event for networking. Personally, working at the front table was a great opportunity. I met many amazing designers right as they came in the door. There is nothing better than being in a room filled with people who share the same passion as you do. It was also fun to put a face to some of the designers that entered work into the show and ask them about their processes.

2 | A Multitude of Resources Are you starving for new experiences and resources to keep up with the fast-paced learning curve of technology? Join AIGA in your new area to learn the ins and outs of that specific design community. It’s a great way to get to know a new town if you’ve just moved, or to be in-the-know on hot design studios, freelancers, and learning opportunities in your area.

Personally, I’ve made a lot of connections and have only been a part of one AIGA committee thus far. I’ve learned how to be part of a large diverse team of designers and work together effectively with them.

Here are a few of the great resources/studios/design related locations I picked up from being a part of AIGA Minnesota

BaseCamp | Project/Group Management
Open Book | Reading, Writing & Book Arts
Penco | Art Supplies
Ratchet | Web Design/Development
Periscope | Full Service Design Agency
Imagehaus | Design Studio (uber talented copywriters found here too!)

Don’t forget the local restaurants & pubs in Minneapolis, MN

Runyon’s | Great Wings
The Loop | Wide Array of Martinis
Solera | Interesting Atmosphere
The Old Spaghetti Factory | Interesting Atmosphere
Gluek’s Restaurant and Bar | Amazing Mac & Cheese!

3 | Friendships

AIGA Design Show 2009 Crew

AIGA Design Show 2009 Committee BBQ – June 2009

“Not only is AIGA great for making business connections and learning new things, but it also gives members the opportunity to make new friendships!”

Being a part of AIGA’s Design Committee 2009 was a amazing experience. I met some amazing folks and had a ton of fun while working hard towards our group goal. Experience is priceless. No matter what form it comes in. Interested in becoming a member? Join today!

Designers: Tell AIGA how they have benefited you. Because of AIGA… or post your experiences below! I’m always interested to hear which events have been hits in your books.

AIGA Upcoming Events

Minnesota Luncheon Series 2009

Wisconsin How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

San Fransisco Design Week Technorati Profile

Sarah Shuda
Sarah Shuda
Designer. Mom. Wife. Loves Gilmore Girls, healthy living, and long walks in the country.