On June 24, We found the Future of YOUston at AIGA

The new board of the AIGA Houston Chapter held a highly innovative meeting at Community Bar on June 24, 2010. After the board was introduced, we all had a chance to use our wireless keypads to vote on the direction we want the 2010-2011 board to focus. Plenty of comment cards recorded our new ideas, and a couple of dozen people grabbed the microphone to discuss the challenges of being a designer in Houston.

After five years as President, Robin Tooms is handing over the reigns to April Guzik, but Robin is staying on as Membership Director. Miguel Gutierrez and Andy Rich are co-chairing Student Groups, and Denise Madera is handling Treasurer. Robin Parrish continues as Programming Director with the assistance of newbie Ashley Everett. Norma Riehle will man the web site with John Luu as Communications Director. Dianne Sawyer is getting ready to kick the Mentors Program into high gear, and Randy Nicholson seems to be in charge of making sure we have fun. You can read more about them at http://aigahouston.org/about/board_members. If you are interested in joining the board as Director of Sponsorships, contact April.

In a ‘state of the chapter’ overview, April and Andy shared

  • With 300 members, AIGA Houston is a mid-sized chapter.
  • Our event attendance ranges from 50 to 100 members.
  • The Houston design community is spread over a large geographic area.
  • Houston designers have not formed a tight-knit group.
  • For this meeting, AIGA made a special outreach to non-member art directors, studio directors, and others not in our local organization.
  • AIGA Houston board meetings are the second Monday of the month, and are open to interested members.

A Moleskin Moment was announced, allowing members to circulate a moleskin journal where each can contribute. Contact April for more information: president@houston.aiga.org.

Nathaly Suarez and Patrick Valdes working the sign in desk

Thanks to the sponsorship of Keystone Resources, AIGA Houston enjoyed live polling with our votes showing up graphically on the big screen.

  • 52% of the voters were already members, although 100% saw the value of membership.
  • 52% of the voters present were seasoned professionals.
  • Current programming: 43% of voters viewed it as targeted to new professionals.
  • Increased events: 29% requested more events focused on print design, 19% web and 19% other types.
  • In staying connected with AIGA, 43% are relying on Facebook and Twitter, 33% the newsletter.
  • Asked how well AIGA is reaching them, 40% said it was excellent, but 30% said only fair.
  • When asked why they attend AIGA events, 23% said to stay current and 18% said to learn.
  • 62% say they are likely to become more involved.


Suggestions from the crowd included…

  • We need more events specifically for illustrators and events for web designers.
  • A curated exhibit of member work showcasing all types.
  • “How I did it” presentations from members.
  • An online forum where members can record their achievements and propose a “how I did it” presentation.
  • Vendor reviews.
  • Give recognition to vendors who support sustainable design.
  • Open up a conversation with ‘rest of Houston.’
  • Help more non-profits.
  • Create assets that members can use to ‘sell design’ and explain the return on investment.
  • A unified mission statement for local designers.
  • More education and resources for members who are trying to manage design and designers over time.
  • Plan more programs that attract non-members to see our work.
  • Have a spotlighted design firm at every meeting, and make sure that firm invites all their associates.
  • Ask studios to host general member events, but preferably with each event having a theme.
  • A fine arts poster silent auction.
  • AIGA Houston should share more information about the state of the design market in Houston.
  • More segmented events so that members get more customized benefits.
  • Environmental design events and exhibits.

If you’re a member who’d like to add your suggestions, go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y56DB26 and be sure you have your membership ID so you can log in.

By aigahouston
Published July 9, 2010
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