Dear AIGA, where are the web designers?

Dear AIGA:

I am a member in good standing and was honored to be part of the AIGA site redesign.

I received your email about the AIGA Business and Design Conference and am impressed with the speakers at the main show, as well as the 20/20 presenters. You have chosen brilliant talents who have made major contributions; with such speakers, the conference will undoubtedly be an illuminating and brilliant success.

But in reading the mini-biographies of the presenters, I can’t help noticing that for all the brand directors, creative directors, Jungian analysts, and print designers, one rather significant specimen of the profession is missing. Where are the web (or if you insist, the interaction) designers?

I am probably missing someone, but I count two people with web experience, and neither gets more than 60 seconds of stage time.

In my years as a web designer, I’ve worked with dozens and met thousands of gifted, passionate design professionals who would surely love to spend three days soaking up graphic design brilliance at an event like Gain.

But if no one on the stage shares their experience—and if one of the two speakers with web experience thinks the web is a crude medium where second-rate designers create unmemorable and mediocre works—AIGA is unlikely to reach this audience.

I need hardly add that this audience makes up an ever increasing percentage of the design profession, and performs work that is global in impact.

If you exclude us from the conversation, the conversation may end up excluding you.

Comments are now closed, but you can read what other people had to say.

[tags]AIGA, webdesign, GAIN, conference[/tags]

56 thoughts on “Dear AIGA, where are the web designers?

  1. This is another reason why I haven’t attended AIGA events in a while. I actually had a friend of mine ask in the DC area for a web speaker. Granted we all tend to spend time in our respective circles but at this day and age why isn’t the AIGA progressing with the rest of the web. Have they not read “who moved my cheese”?

  2. Wow, well written. I hope you post their reply, should you receive one.

    This is exactly why I’ve yet to fully embrace AIGA. I feel like an outsider, being a web designer. Leaving our community out of the picture is a bad move, I doubt it was intentional – but still sends the wrong message. As you said Jeffrey:

    the conversation may end up excluding you.

    Until AIGA, IMO, embraces the web (interactive) community more I will continue my lack of interest in the Association. Since apparently they have a lack of interest in me.

  3. This is a very good question and point to bring up. As a web professional and AIGA member I’ve wondered why most AIGA events have excluded the web as a primary medium.

    Our local AIGA chapter in Jacksonville, FL is now working to bring more web and interactive content to the table. The more active AIGA is in educating the designers, the better the web will be overall.

    Beyond the web we’re also making efforts to discuss design in general as a discipline. What is it, how do you do it, how do you discuss it, etc. We want to include all forms of design from automotive and industrial to print and web.

    We’re hoping that in doing this we’ll be addressing the gap issue mentioned in this post.

  4. My thoughts exactly. Unfortunately, I decided not to renew my membership this year. Though I’d certainly consider rejoining if it became more relevant to what I do.

  5. As the President of the New Orleans chapter, and recent attendee of the AIGA National Leadership retreat, I can say that AIGA is itself going through a bit of a “re-branding” phase. No longer do we refer to ourselves as the “American Institute of Graphic Arts” – now we are “The professional association for design”. Which, as an interactive designer and developer by trade, I greatly appreciate.

    We are trying, within the context of our own chapter to push this as far as possible. To include photographers, visual artists, sound designers, street artists, architects, set-designers, etc.

    Interactive is very near and dear to my heart, and I certainly agree with this post. It would serve AIGA well to associate itself with an event like AEA (An Event Apart), if for no other reason than Zeldman’s involvement in the redesign of the national website.

  6. In Canada (Ontario specifically) web design is not a respected form of design either. The RGD lists web design as a true form of design, but to qualify for membership you need a formal education which is not necessarily the best course of study for a web designer. Not only that, but should you attend an RGD conference your chosen profession will be mocked and ridiculed by “real” designers presenting on stage.

    Perhaps it is time for Web Designers to unite and form their own professional organization.

  7. A couple of thoughts on this:

    1) AIGA, despite their unfortunate name change, is apparently still focusing on graphic design. Not industrial design, not exhibition design, not architecture, not fashion, not interiors. Graphic design. To extend their domain into interaction design (or any non-graphic web skills like information architecture, markup, coding) would be the equivalent of embracing those other non-graphic-design skill areas. They pay lip service to these other discplines, and often even make tentative forays into supporting those communities, but their heart and DNA aren’t in it. I’m not saying it’s right for them to be this way, I’m just pointing out that graphic design is without question still their focus.

    2) Many of the non-web-design speakers in this program head up broad-based corporate design disciplines under which web design very probably falls. When focusing on design leaders at the very top of their game, you are unlikely to find people whose primary focus is on web design, but rather are more likely to find leaders whose teams include many disciplines, including, if only as a small portion, web designers.

    That said, I agree completely that even one dedicated leader of a web design practice should be included in the main speaking track for even a graphic-design focused conference.

  8. Like you Zeldman, I have been a long-time and vert involved AIGA member. I’ve been on the board and advisory board of the LA chapter and have worked on national-level projects. Some of my best friends are people I’ve met through AIGA. This conversation has been going on for years and is increasingly frustrating. Some chapters are better than others in creating programming towards attracting web designers. However, AIGA National talks the talk about appealing and embracing non-print designers, but I have yet seen them (US) actually walk the walk. We have already seen “our conversation” exlude AIGA. I just hope AIGA wants to pipe up sometime soon with something more than a new tag line and meaningless rhetoric.

  9. I was an active member of AIGA in college, and have considered getting involved as a professional, but I wrestle with the same question: Where are all the web designers? For now, Refresh fills that gap for a lot of people, but it would be nice if AIGA opened their eyes and made an attempt to achieve a better balance between print/web. They’d certainly get my yearly membership dues.

  10. Dear Web Designers, where are you in AIGA?

    It’s easy to sit back and say that they don’t understand us, or they don’t get us, but they’re not the only ones to blame. At heart, AIGA is a volunteer, grassroots organization. Sure, there’s National, but the local chapters are where the action is, and it is what we make it. Let’s face it, we’re the new kids on the block. We can’t expect them to know us, we have to make ourselves known.

    I joined AIGA, and continue to be involved, because the organization supports design, and has an excellent track record of backing up their rhetoric with action. This particular problem, however, cannot be solved at the national level. It can only be solved by web designers being actively involved in their local chapters, and making their voice heard. It’s got to change from the ground up.

    Having served on the board for a couple of years now, I can tell you that booking programming is not easy. We’ve asked designers working non-print mediums, and have had very little luck in getting them.

    Funny thing is, there has been no shortage of well-known print designers actively going on speaking tours of AIGA chapters, or reaching out for individual events, etc.

    So, again, I ask…Dear web designers, where are you in AIGA? Because we would love to have you.

  11. Well said. This outlines why I’ve essentially not been involved with the AIGA or really cared about the AIGA since I graduated from school almost 10 years ago. Maybe I’ll become a member again in the future. In the mean time, there are so many other great groups/communities online that are more relevant.

  12. I’m a web designer. I don’t know much about print. (Those two statements are not related.)
    AIGA events are awesome.

  13. As a the president of a local chapter of AIGA, I wanted to add some perspective to your question as well as the argument, which is an important one.As a designer, who incidentally has made a career, for lack of a better way to put it, “a print designer” I wonder why, we as designers, instead of commiserating about the futility of a situation, don’t step up and make the changes that we so greatly desire, ourselves.I think Zeldman’s concerns are completely valid. AIGA should represent the entirety of the design profession, with ample representatives from the different mediums it represents. But instead of refusing to participate in AIGA events or canceling or not renewing your memberships, why not take a more active role? Volunteer to become a board member in your local chapter or form an event committee that concentrates on planning events and inviting speakers that you want to come to your town. I promise your local representatives would welcome the enthusiasm!It’s funny, as a historically “print” designer I don’t look at myself that way. I look at myself as design professional with a lot a variety of problems that need solutions. Let’s not lump ourselves into these confining categories. In a lot of ways, design is design, there is value in all.As for equal representation of the mediums, I would like to extend a sincere invitation to Jeffry Zeldman to come speak at the SC Chapter of AIGA, we are all dying for you to come down, I promise your visit would not be in vain!

  14. Please excuse my typos in my previous posts! And thanks to everyone who cares about this issue. All I can say is that on a local level, where the real work is done promoting AIGA and Design, people do care and would encourage variety in programming as well as representation!

  15. Jeffrey, per your last paragraph, all relevant conversations already exclude AIGA. And likely always will. AIGA has shown their cards. They are irrelevant to the Web professions.

  16. @Christopher Fahey

    AIGA, despite their unfortunate name change, is apparently still focusing on graphic design. Not industrial design, not exhibition design, not architecture, not fashion, not interiors. Graphic design.

    Designers of the web are graphics designers and are much closer to the traditional discipline of graphic design. In fact, many members of the AIGA are Print/Web Designers. I look at resumes all the time on the AIGA website, most claim to web web designers. Web design (excluding the code and interaction part) is graphic design at the core. I can see however that the AIGA pays lipservice to these other types of art.

  17. Let me suggest that while it is certainly the perception that AIGA does not need the Web design community, far more importantly the Web design community does not need AIGA. We should not be concerned with what AIGA does or does not do or does or does not recognize. AIGA has and should have no bearing on the Web design profession.

    The worldwide Web community (at least in the West) is far healthier, far more vibrant, and far more effective than AIGA is at doing anything that AIGA claims to want to accomplish. Furthermore, unlike AIGA, the worldwide Web designer community is not founded in the primary goal of being a bureaucratic organization that exists mainly to perpetuate itself.

    Let’s, AIGA and the Web professions, agree to ignore each other and we will all be far better for it.

  18. The OC AIGA chapter would love to have you come by and talk about this too. There are some changes going on at the National level. However, your post is something I agree with. Design is not confined to print or web or any of the many other fields out there. We influence it in everything we do.

    How can we solve this problem and change the perceptions of those involved?

  19. @Paul Redmond: I believe with all my heart that graphic design is an essential component of great web design. I really do. I think that graphic design as a core web design skill is sadly underrated.

    But your equivalency between the two ignores the fact that many diverse skills come into play in the broad category of “web design”, skills that go well beyond graphic design — for example flowcharting, workflow design, functional specifications, HTML coding, back-end programming, database design, even copywriting. I know (and work with) dozens of people who are “web designers” who couldn’t graphic design their way out of a paper bag. And I know lots of graphic designers who work primarily on the web who don’t know how to create functional specifications to be used by a programming team, much less write JavaScript and cross-browser compatible CSS. And all of that is okay.

    The AIGA changed its name because it half-heartedly thought that it could integrate all of these skills under one umbrella. IMHO, they only succeeded in alienating both graphics-focused designers and people in the broader category web designers.

  20. @Andy Rutledge: To the extent that the AIGA represents, defends, and champions excellent graphic design (on the web but especially off) better than any other organization in America, I respectfully disagree.

    Web designers should expose themselves to design theories and excellence in many non-web design disciplines — print design, industrial design, enviroment design, etc. — and I sincerely doubt your assertion that the worldwide Web community is more effective than AIGA is at encouraging excellence in print design. Whether or not web designers should bother transforming the AIGA into an organization that supports web design in all its facets is an open issue, but there is no question that there is value to web designers to pay heed to what the nation’s largest graphic design professionals is championing.

    As an analogy, let me point to http://www.core77.com: An excellent site and organization that champions industrial design that manages to be interesting and inspiring to web designers even though they do not deliberately focus on web design issues very much at all.

  21. In response to Andy Rutledge: “Let’s, AIGA and the Web professions, agree to ignore each other and we will all be far better for it.”

    How can isolating yourselves from what is relevant in both mediums be a good thing? And why should this be an “us” or “them.” I can say without a doubt that as an organization, AIGA wants the web design community to be a part of AIGA, not to “perpetuate itself” but to continue to do what AIGA has always done, and that is to support and highlight what is relevant in the world of design, be it print, web, environmental, product, etc.

    It saddens me to hear a world view that believes web designers don’t need the “others” and further more that “print” designers are irrelevant to the future of design. I hope that I am just simply misunderstanding the perspective.

  22. I’m also confused why it would hurt to include Web designers in the AIGA. Why not included us? We are graphic designers, after all.

    What harm could it do? Why are we better off without them?

    What good does the AIGA do for the print design community? I don’t have the slightest idea, since I’m a Web designer. Seems intentional to me.

  23. @Christopher Fahey: I agree with you wholeheartedly that Web designers should expose themselves to design theories and excellence in many non-web design disciplines — print design, industrial design, enviroment design, etc. In fact we must. We don’t need AIGA in order to do that.

    I was, apparently, unclear in my remarks about the Web design community doing better what AIGA purports to do. I did not mean that the Web design community is best at encouraging excellence in print design. I meant for its own context–for Web design (and it’s many contextually relevant factors). Web designers do not need AIGA or any other sort of bloated, formal organization (and the ridiculous bureaucracy that comes with it). We already have an effective community that does for us much more effectively.

    I acknowledge that AIGA is great at championing excellence in print design, but certainly not in design professionalism. In fact, AIGA stalwarts and articles quoting members makes it clear that AIGA is mostly about self-indulgent artistry far more than about design (there’s a difference). In fact, it was only recently–a couple of years ago–that these people began to concede that maybe we should be doing what’s best for the client instead of just trying to make excellent art. Yet articles continue to reference the fact that the “old guard are reluctant” to move in that direction. This is an example of an organization being a beacon not to excellent professionalism, but to self-indulgent artists.

    No, AIGA and its priorities have no place in the Web design professionals’ community and we would all do well to keep their kind of “organization first” mentality out of our burgeoning profession.

  24. Point taken, Andy. What is the beacon of excellent design professionalism for Web designers? A List Apart?

    (Perhaps even the web sites or blogs of respected designers themselves?)

  25. And this is also the reason why I let my AIGA membership expire about 3 years ago. AIGA, if you’re reading, you’re missing an opportunity to bring the disenfranchised back into the fold.

  26. Everyone,
    It is not an US/THEM discussion with AIGA and Web designers. No on EXCLUDES web designers from the dialogue.

    I am the PRESIDENT of AIGA Upstate New York and I AM A WEB DESIGNER.
    There is not an:
    if (you are a web designer)
    { stay out of AIGA; }
    It is an inclusive community of professionals who share knowledge about the communication design industry.
    Please, Try participating in your local chapters by offering workshops, seminars or panel discussion about the web. Who knows maybe you will get new work/clients? AIGA and the industry needs more people who are “in the know about web / interactive media“. It is a major “part” of the future of the design industry. The only way to solve to problem is to participate.
    Well, that’s my 200 pixels.

  27. I am president of the Richmond chapter of AIGA and a web designer with the University of Richmond.

    I hear and feel your pain. Like many of you, I too felt left out as a web designer and as a member of an in-house design “firm.” But I made the decision to remain a member and get involved on both a local and national level to help change that. AIGA is driven by volunteers and if we feel our voices are not being hear, it’s up to us to make a stand and demand change.

    As a chapter, we try and develop a robust mix of content to appeal to all designers regardless of medium and focusing on design itself, process and concept development. We are researching interactive/web design speakers to bring in as guest speakers.

    I made our chapter web site redesign and major priority along with developing rich media content. In addition, I have joined the AIGA task force on In-House design and will be developing a series of web videos that will be featured on aiga.org. I intend to highlight both web and print designers.

    This is an issue close to my heart and I don’t want web designers to feel like they are less important to our print counterparts. Make you voices heard. Contact your local chapter and let them know you want to see more emphasis placed on web design and volunteer. Get involved. Offer guidance, suggestions and most importantly , your time. You’ll be helping yourself and your profession.

    As Ghandi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

  28. I’m sorry to be long winded but after reading all of the post I have a little left to add.

    I consider myself a graphic designer. I work collaboratively with me print conterparts. I design, architect, code, etc. I feel that I apply my education in visual communications to the web medium just as others apply it to paper.

    It pains me to hear such harsh and angry words.

    If I can help, I will throw my name in the hat to speak on whatever web design topic you see fit. If I can help bridge that gap, then please allow me to do so.

  29. @Kim Spencer: Re:

    “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

    I agree! The beauty of this sentiment, and the thing to keep in mind, is that we don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars to join some large, myopic, distracted organization in order to do that.

    The world needs fewer self-important organizations, not more.

  30. First, I agree, AIGA could do a better job of developing programming that specifically addresses the medium of interactive design.

    But I would say that AIGA is not about print design any more than it is about Interactive design. It’s about Design.

    I’ve never designed a book or a cover. Yet I find 50 books/50 covers to be very relevant to my work. I’ve never done the full identity system for a city theatre organization, yet Paula Scher’s presentation about The Public in NY was inspiring and relevant. I’ve never touched motion graphics, but Kyle Cooper’s AIGA presentation here in Seattle was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

    If it’s about Design, it’s relevant. And AIGA does a FANTASTIC job of bringing me events and programming, and people that are about design. (not logo design, not print design, not interactive design, just Design).

    Wherever there are smart people, who solve problems brilliantly, using graphic media — That’s where I want to be. And AIGA is packed with those people. I would challenge anyone who uses design to look to AIGA.

    I’ll echo what others have said that if you want events that specifically address the medium you work in, get involved and make it happen. I’m an AIGA president and I can speak for my whole board and say that if someone comes to us with something that enhances design — in any medium — in our community we will jump onboard and help them make it happen. All designers are welcome at AIGA.

    Jeff Barlow — President – AIGA Seattle

  31. AIGA’s inability to embrace web (and interaction) design is frustrating. I worked with a great group of people to develop the LA chapter’s website. But the chapter really had a hard time understanding how to use it, and how to make potential web designer members feel welcome (ie. lack of events or other content of interest to them). In the end, most of that original team left the chapter. We tried, as we often heard, to get involved and make it happen. But it takes a lot of effort to push a dinosaur into the future.

  32. Wow – this is definitely a passionate topic for many of us. Just to note, I don’t believe that it was the intention of AIGA to overlook the web design profession. From my understanding, the GAIN Committee put together the line-up for this year’s speakers. WIth that said, it might just be that they aren’t familiar with the web industry and they only reached out to the folks they do know. Its not a terrible thing, its just the way committees tend to work. So perhaps the larger question is, why are there no web designers on the GAIN Committee?

  33. If memory serves me correctly, I believe the organizers of GAIN invited members to submit suggestions for potential speakers some time ago, in preparation for this year’s events. So maybe web designers need to speak more loudly. Use your terrain to your advantage. Form a group on AIGA.org, submit comments, or hey, write an email. Or view this instead as an opportunity to form your own professional organization.

    Anyway, Jeff Barlow is right. Design is design is design.

  34. The sad part is that what they’re doing isn’t nothing new. At least, in any company I’ve worked with, there wasn’t a single web designer that actually knew the inner workings of a simple html page. 99% of the designers doing web design are recycled from print/advertising design and they just don’t give a damn about learning anything that relates to coding (even if “minor” coding like html/css).

    Last company I’ve worked for, they didn’t even let me code the projects I designed. They had this “HTML team” that was an embarrassment (90% of the time they would come up to me and say “you can’t design it like this! it can’t be done in html!” or “standards? what’s that?”. Good grief.

    Designers don’t have to know the medium with which they work. That’s an industry standard, at least here in Portugal (where I’m working).

    AIGA could make a difference here, stepping up. But because web designers mess with code (which is the equivalent to a print designer knowing how to do colour separation or the differences between a digital/offset printer, etc.), they prefer to leave those “minor” designers out, yet again.

    It truly is sad.

  35. I don’t agree that AIGA and web designers are better off ignoring each other. That’s like saying pediatricians and the American Medical Association should pay no attention to each other.

    AIGA does tremendous good for the profession of design, for business, and for society. Web designers benefit from what AIGA has done for design generally. I’m not struggling with AIGA’s relevance; I’m at a loss to understand the breach between my branch of design and the organization for design—and how to move beyond it.

    The people I’ve met at AIGA’s national level are passionately engaged in advancing design and concerned with all branches of the profession. Yet somehow, in publications and conferences, it’s all Sagmeister and no Krug. What causes the disconnect, and can it be fixed?

    It’s obviously a bit of a circle: web designers who don’t see their work reflected in AIGA don’t get involved in AIGA, so they don’t see their work reflected in AIGA, etc. We could do more. Invitations like James Leslie Miller’s might be a place to start. Web designers crafting wallpapers for the national AIGA party is another place to start. There have been lots of good, small starts.

    But Rob Bynder’s experience is not unique, and the frustration he expresses is not his alone. For all the small starts, the big disconnect remains real. Can we move beyond it?

    Do we, perhaps, need to form our own association first? And interface with AIGA after building that base?

  36. Jeffrey, thanks for placing the discussion in context. AIGA is a community of its members, who have come together to advance their aspirations. It is not a monolith or institution that is independent of its members, their energy, resources or interests. Our mission has evolved to advancing designing, as a way of thinking and problem solving, because our members want to consider design broadly, in a media agnostic way, since that is the way they work everyday. All of this means you are right. Unless web designers choose to become active, they cannot expect AIGA to be serving their specific interests. Holds true of every other discipline too.
    Over time we have been able to build an infrastructure that can support designers of any discipline in creating a community, sharing information, developing understanding and respect. We have tried to make it open to designers of all disciplines, including, very specifically, web designers, yet the program content will be determined not by an institution, but by the members themselves.
    We are eager to involve more web designers, although those who are likely to find the programming most interesting will be those who see web design in the context of broader design, business, communication and strategy contexts, rather than deep focus on the practice of web design. Although you may not guess it top of mind, even print designers complain that we do not do enough for them. This will be true for every member—everything we do will satisfy no one, but something should deeply satisfy everyone.
    When we have urged web designers to become more active in the past, we have encountered a number of speed bumps: a belief all activities should be possible in virtual space not through institutions; a reaction against established institutions; a reluctance to invest in membership; an expectation that AIGA must do something for them, instead of understanding that AIGA is a means for them to do something for themselves. We initiated the Advance for Design, with thought leaders in early experience design; we initiated the DUX conferences; and we have held a number of highly regarded conferences on interaction design. We are eager to continue to play a role as a convener, if it advances web design; and we regularly advocate the interests of web, interaction and experience design with business leaders and in government agencies.
    Interestingly, a number of those who felt AIGA was not relevant to their interests in earlier years now realize that their solutions since have not been able to develop the attributes that they could benefit from most within AIGA.
    Should web designers create their own organization? I have seen designers create new organizations with zeal only to discover that is actually very hard to create a sustainable organization that has the scale and gravitas to become a respected external voice and internal resource. I would urge web designers to take advantage of what AIGA can do for the profession, adapt it to their needs, and depend on its own momentum to meet some of their needs, even while they help to morph AIGA into the organization that serves more of their needs.
    We think the true challenges for all design disciplines are gaining relevance, leadership and opportunity. We are ready to redouble our efforts to offer our support to the web design community.

  37. The AIGA is to design what the AIA is to architecture, a bore and similarly influential. Both are antiquated organizations with the sole purpose of self-perpetuation and not much else.

  38. Jeffrey,

    Per your last response here, why this preoccupation with organization–inside or distinct from AIGA? Aside from the fact that the Web professions have no need for AIGA, our professions don’t require any sort of formal organization. Why you believe otherwise?

    Print designers, having long been technophobes, have done well, in theory, to have a large, analog organization to help facilitate many things that our Web professions community can do handily without organization. Given the naked contempt and wholesale misunderstanding our professions receive from the print design industry and its organizations, it is no crime to not seek entry into their troubled world. Why do you believe otherwise?

    Our highly-visible professional members and professional community at large all do just fine without bureaucracy. Myriad resources are freely and widely available, conversation and fellowship are ongoing and vibrant, job leads and discourse on professional progression are all easy to find. Web professional interaction with educational institutions is not uncommon. What is lacking, in your opinion?

    As for this thread’s particular issue, in so many tangible examples AIGA seems to be vastly more concerned with contemplating its own navel at the expense of championing design professionalism.

    By way of just one example, at one AIGA awards ceremony I witnessed who I think I remember being Richard Grefé (though I could be mistaken) talking about the Medal of AIGA as being “the highest achievement any designer can aspire to.” If that is not the actual quote, it is almost verbatim. I remember thinking, “Hmm, that’s about the most unprofessional sentiment I’ve ever heard. I can think of many higher achievements, including 1) delivering on my project promise to produce a highly successful product, project, communication, or campaign for my client, or 2) vastly improving the user experience for my client’s customers, or 3) greatly and positively impacting my client’s fortunes.” Yes, there are many higher achievements any designer can aspire to than some medal.

    Why invite this sort of unprofessional ideal and myopia into our profession?

  39. You present a VERY good point. Especially since companies are spending more of their money on marketing endeavors online. More and more companies are realizing how important a strong website is to their company.

  40. I am not very familiar with AIGA’s membership process; can anyone join, or are there some “credentials” involved? (higher education, years of experience, etc.) I only ask because my wife is an interior designer, and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Unlike our profession, she has to have so many years of experience before she can even take the exam to become an accredited and recognized interior designer AFTER so many years of college.(whichm IMO, blows) Does the same hold true if you are a graphic designer? ASID and AIGA are large, well known organizations that, if you agree with them or not, are professionally recognized world wide. They show the world that the members involved in their specific industries take it seriously.

    As a web designer, we don’t have any of this. I think this entire topic, and especially one of creating our own Society, is a big deal to show the world that our professions need to be taken seriously. This goes back to the ALA surveys Jeffrey and Eric have put together the past few years. Sometimes we are still being compared to the 12 year old kid next door who knows computers and can build websites. Why not have our own organization. Even if its just to show the world that we are serious, and damn well passionate about what we do. Define our profession, then organize it. Nothing against the ideals of AIGA, but we don’t need to be a “division” of an already existing organization.

  41. I am intending to learn all facets of web design, so I thank you for your wisdom regarding the real world of web design. I have to agree with you, web designers do their fair share of hard work, it is a time consuming labour of love for some designers.

  42. @Brian: One need not be credentialed to join AIGA. If you call yourself a designer, you are one. (Interior design is of course different.)

    @Andy: I agree that we web designers have our own vibrant, informal networks and support systems. We have had them since there were two web designers and a modem. And of course we have our own publications and conferences. On that level, we can get along without participating in AIGA. But AIGA is not merely about networking. See, for instance, the Center for Sustainable Design, Design for Democracy, Inequality Matters, and other significant social and environmental campaigns and valuable professional resources. These help everyone. And I’m not sure I agree that award shows or initiatives with polysyllabic names constitute mere navel-gazing.

    If you have decided that the AIGA is irrelevant to you, then you will be satisfied with a minimal or nonexistent web design presence at AIGA events and in AIGA publications. But I believe otherwise. I believe the AIGA has something to teach us, and we just might have something to teach as well.

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