The view is expansive. Looking out the window, the sun sets and illuminates downtown Salt Lake City. At Hint Creative, 10 board members of the Salt Lake City chapter of AIGA gather. It seems fitting to have such a commanding vista as they plot and plan—creativity needs to be unfettered.
AIGA is the global community of design advocates and practitioners. There's 69 chapters with more than 25,000 members. Salt Lake City is lucky enough to have some of the brightest and most talented—but maybe we're biased over here.
The mission of AIGA:
AIGA advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, we bring together practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create the vision for a collective future. We define global standards and ethical practices, guide design education, inspire designers and the public, enhance professional development, and make powerful tools and resources accessible to all.
Locally, AIGA SLC has approximately 300 members. A dozen of them sit on the board, which helps facilitate a number of events, including the robust Salt Lake Design Week in the fall, along with socials, educational lectures, and outreach activities year round. Some of these events are geared towards networking professionals, while other activities aim to engage students or "create a high echelon of value around what creative people do," says Adam Wester, graphic designer and AIGA SLC Development Chair.
AIGA attracts a number of professionals and students beyond the graphics arts, Wester continues. Graphic designers, web designers, interface designers, photographers, and copywriters—a large umbrella encompassing "the creative spirit"—come to celebrate damn good design.
At this meeting, though, the SLC board discusses the final details of the AIGA SLC 100 Gala, which is the area's most prestigious juried competition for design.
The year's best design includes 100 pieces, of which 10 will be bestowed the Copper Ingot. The AIGA SLC 100 Gala on May 16 will honor these, as well as student entries. It's, as AIGA SLC says, "in honor of those whose work inspires designers of all ages, sets the bar for creativity, and advocates the value of design among media, the business community, and general public."
But before you go, get to know the local board—practitioners and educators who are doing right by the community.
Role in AIGA SLC: Co-Programming Director
Why I Create: To bring inspiration to others, the same way others' creations inspire me
Project I'm Most Proud Of: Planning and executing the AIGA SLC 100 show for the last three years
Current Personal Project: Embroidering my hand-lettering projects
Role in AIGA SLC: President
Why I Create: To make the world a more beautiful place (I know, super cheesy, but I actually believe that)
Project I'm Most Proud Of: Setting the brand direction for aerie by American Eagle
Current Personal Project: A series of French historic typefaces
Role in AIGA SLC: Development Director
Why I Create: Because it’s exploration and experimentation, and that’s the juice
Project I'm Most Proud Of: Ticketmaster identity, which is still going strong
Current Personal Project: Large abstract painting
Role in AIGA SLC: Co-Programming Director
Why I Create: Because it makes me feel like a God
Project I'm Most Proud Of: Any projects I do pro-bono for charities make me proud to be a designer
Current Personal Project: Designing a set of freaky tarot cards
Role in AIGA SLC: Co-Communications
Why I Create: To bring more color into the world
Project I'm Proud Of: My involvement with Modify Ink
Current Personal Project: Various gig posters
Role in AIGA SLC: Co-Communications Director
Why I Create: To rid the world of bad design
Project I'm Most Proud Of: My personal mark
Current Personal Project: Mother’s Day Icons
Role in AIGA SLC: Digital Communications Director
Why I Create: To make sure shit lines up
Project I'm Most Proud Of: Teaching at the University of Utah
Current Personal Project: Incomplete typefaces
Role in AIGA SLC: Chapter Administrator
Why I Create: To make people want to take notice of the otherwise chaotic things people need to say
Project I'm Most Proud Of: A small website that no one will ever see
Current Personal Project: Trying the impossible—finding my own professional Identity
Role in AIGA SLC: Board Development Director
Why I Create: I create to solve problems and, honestly, it’s just engrained; even when I’m not engaged in elaborate graphic design, I find myself looking around and thinking what could make everyday objects and design better.
Project I'm Most Proud Of: Cover redesigns of my favorite books. I was an English major, so it combines my passions
Current Personal Project: Helped with my brother-in-law’s charity, Spoons Across America
Holly K. Johnson
Role in AIGA SLC: Co-Education Director
Why I Create: It feeds my soul
Project I'm Most Proud Of: Leaving the corporate world to teach design
Current Personal Project: Teaching all year is about my students, so now that school’s out for summer, it's my time for my design!
Photographer and award-winning journalist Austen Diamond specializes in creative portraiture, commercial photography and editorial photojournalism. For booking inquiries and to view his portfolio, go to www.AustenDiamond.com.