IBM and AIGA to develop programs that promote how design improves the human experience

Julie Anixter.
Julie Anixter.

AIGA, the professional association for design, with 26,000 practicing designers in 70 chapters across the U.S., has announced a partnership with IBM. IBM will serve as the first official AIGA Sponsor for Design Leadership. Over the next year, IBM will strengthen its relationship with AIGA’s creative communities by engaging IBM leaders to deploy their expertise across AIGA’s network. The partnership will integrate leadership development skills and experience design across AIGA’s activities, including the organization’s 26,000 members and the 260,000 professional graphic designers working in the U.S. who look to AIGA as an authority and resource.

“We’re thrilled to be entering into this multi-faceted partnership with IBM,” said Julie Anixter, AIGA Executive Director. “Today designers are being called upon for their design and problem-solving skills to help organizations of all kinds imagine their futures. IBM has the ability to help us advance our professional development offering through thought leadership, strategy and training for our chapter leaders.”

Doug Powell.
Doug Powell.

“Our goal is to help AIGA scale its leadership capabilities so that design can make a bigger impact in the world, and help address the complex problems we face today” said Doug Powell, IBM Distinguished Designer. “Together, AIGA and IBM have the power to advance the design profession, and amplify the intrinsic value of design across sectors.” IBM will offer quarterly design leader training summits to AIGA at key locations throughout the country. They will be attended in-person and virtually and are designed to help the broader AIGA community scale their design leadership across sectors. The partnership will be activated across AIGA’s programs including:

  • AIGA Design Leadership
  • AIGA’s Design for Good platform, including the Women Lead initiative and Social Impact projects
  • AIGA’s Medal
  • AIGA’s Leadership Retreat
  • AIGA’s Ambassadors Program

Design for Good supports and sustains designers who play a catalytic role in communities through projects that create positive social impact. By connecting and empowering designers through online networking tools, inspirational stories, toolkits, chapter events, training, national advocacy campaigns and promotion, Design for Good serves as a powerful framework for designers who wish to work in this area – and a beacon for designers leading the charge.

ibmaiga-inDesign for Good and other programs that will leverage IBM’s support will be prodided through AIGA’s new Ambassadors Program – an ongoing communication and leadership strategy designed to build a scalable, sustainable, national ecosystem of influential AIGA designers. This program will prepare AIGA influencers (AIGA board members, chapter leaders, members, awardees, educators, and others) to become effective and persuasive advocates of the value of design at the local, national and global level. It will also provide an evergreen communications channel to share strategic design news, critical content in the context of AIGA programs, and partner involvement. The goal of this program is to strengthen the creative community’s dialogue on how design improves the human condition, reinforcing that design is integral to the civic and business agenda.

Select IBM leaders will be represented on various taskforces, including the AIGA Women Lead initiative. Through these hands-on collaborations, IBM will help steer the conversation forward and explore new ways to think of how design excellence meets leadership and equity. IBM will also present a Design Leadership content series, Brought to you by IBM, featuring online editorial, short videos and IBM’s new DesignLine talk series. The content will focus on issues of design leadership, IBM’s work with clients, design thinking and future trends. Content will be published on AIGA-owned/branded platforms and promoted with targeted campaigns.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.