2014: Looking Back

AIGA Houston: 2014 Recap Video from AIGA Houston on Vimeo.

Dear AIGA Houston,

2014 – it was a very good year for our AIGA chapter. From celebrating AIGA’s centennial anniversary to breaking an all-time membership record for the chapter, we sure have a lot to celebrate as the year comes to a close. Here are a few of the highlights:

Impact Programming
In the Spring we were honored to host Ben Jenkins of One Fast Buffalo, whose philosophies on life as a designer inspired many members to post pictures of themselves working “off the grid” – from their own back patio or a nearby park. Next up was Trent Walton, designer and partner at Paravel, Inc. – one of the most influential web design studios operating today. Trent drove home the gospel of “device-agnostic design” for the web, and shared his experience running a business from the cloud. In the fall we welcomed designer couple Joe Marianek and Dinah Freed, partners in life as well as business, who spoke about their design inspiration and the founding of their new studio together, Small Stuff. There were even two films screenings this year – Design Is One, highlighting the lives and work of Lella and the late Massimo Vignelli, and Linotype: The Film, which included a live demonstration at The Printing Museum.

CWC The Honeymoon from AIGA Houston on Vimeo.

Community Programming
Our monthly Cocktails w/ Creatives events continued to be a big hit with our members, drawing in large crowds each month, many of whom are first-time AIGA event attendees and members. We also experimented with a new type of event series this year: Shoot the Sh*t (hey, it’s Texas, right?). This series of four events centered around “shooting” something – featuring vintage video games at Joystix, archery, and laser tag. Fun was had by all, and nobody shot their eye out. In December, our fifth-annual creative outdoor market, DesignCraft, kicked the holiday season off right at downtown’s historic Market Square Park. Thankfully, the attendees and vendors were spared last-year’s miserable cold front and enjoyed an unseasonably warm day. This year’s calendar was capped off by a Members Holiday Party (hosted by Burning Bones Press) that was so popular, it sold out in a matter of minutes.

AIGA Houston: 2014 Portfolio Review from AIGA Houston on Vimeo.

Education Programming
2014 saw more workshops than our chapter has ever produced, thanks to our partnership with The Printing Museum. Topics covered included logo concepting, digital letterpress, and designing for the modern web. Our annual Portfolio Review Night at the Heights’ historic Fire Station once again brought out the elite of Houston’s creative community to evaluate (eviscerate!?) the work of promising emerging designers, many of whom participated in the second year of Design Loop – AIGA Houston’s first-ever mentorship program. Design Loop has become an important initiative for our chapter, not only to give emerging designers a leg up, but to give our more seasoned designers a chance to impart their wisdom to the next generation. Finally, in November came AIGA Houston’s flagship event: Inside Job, a one-day conference for inhouse design. Our third-annual conference, Inside Job has sold out every year, with capacity nearly doubling since year one. This year’s conference featured consultant and author Shel Perkins, Kate Spade Saturday’s Theresa Canning Zast, and Pinterest’s Brian Singer as headliners. Just wait for 2015…

Our Chapter
As AIGA chapters go, ours ain’t too shabby. In July I started my second term as President of the Houston chapter. It’s been an honor not only to serve our great city, but to work alongside such an outstanding board of passionate design nerds. With many of our core board members still continuing to serve, we’re looking forward to an amazing 2015. On the membership front, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve achieved our long-time goal of reaching 600 AIGA members in our chapter! A purely psychological goal to hit, sure – but a significant one, as it marks more than a doubling in the size of our chapter since I began my term in 2012. It’s a great indicator to us that not only is the Houston design scene growing in size, it’s growing in sophistication, creativity, and awareness. Great stuff, yo!

On to 2015…
All I can say is…buckle up for next year, folks. We have no shortage of ambitious plans in store for our members (I won’t spoil too much, other than to say one of them rhymes with “Schmeltron,” and another rhymes with “Schmesign Week”), so keep a weather eye on houston.aiga.org for our upcoming events.

To close, enjoy another great video shot and produced by our good friends at Hakaya – The Storytellers – our 2014 Year in Review video.

Andy Rich,
AIGA Houston

By Andy Rich
Published January 2, 2015
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