This past Wednesday, April 13, 2011, the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) -- a professional membership organization founded in 1914 -- held an ambitious online event entitled One Day for Design. It was ositioned as "an open, global dialogue on the meaning and future of design, and on the
meaning and future of professional associations in our field." While it took place primarily on Twitter, participation was also available on the project website.
Earlier in April, AIGA President Ric Grefé contacted IxDA -- presumably as well as any number of design-related organizations -- and kindly requested our participation. Some of us watched, listened, and spoke up.
From my personal perspective, the event was kind of a mess to follow and participate in but was a laudably grand experiment by an historically very non-digital bastion of design. Disclosure: I am a longtime AIGA member and this post is NOT meant to stir the pot about what AIGA as a professional group is or isn't doing for its members or with its programming. I'd like instead to ask you to consider more broadly what we all have in common as professionals who practice different forms of design and how we might be less tribal in our associations.
What moved me to post here? I came across a thoughtful review by Frank Chimero (http://blog.frankchimero.com/post/4638456712/designers-poison) in which he distills One Day for Design community content into a list he calls Designer's Poison. I recognized most of these "poisons" as themes or issues we have in common. A number of them -- particularly the role of criticism, philosophy and ethics, our own cognitive bias -- emerged in the program at Interaction11. In my opinion, these are not things to be solved or nailed down. We won't reach a consensus. I do think they are worth being aware of, thinking about, and discussing individually (and publicly) with deliberation -- in the real sense of the word -- as opposed to debate. I'm interested in reaching across the aisle.