What 100 years of design means to me.

2013 was the most successful year in the history of the Houston chapter. It seems fitting then to begin 2014 by marking an historic (and, to me, kind of mind-blowing) milestone. Today – January 21, 2014 – marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of AIGA. For those of you new to AIGA and our organization’s history, here’s a good read.

Many chapters across the country are celebrating today with events large and small to commemorate this, our “National Day of Design.” Our friends at AIGA Jacksonville, for example, are screening the film Design Is One, and several other chapters are throwing birthday parties, socials, and the like. (for more national Centennial events, click here)

Here in Houston, we didn’t plan an event to mark the occasion. We wanted to be a bit more reflective about it instead (this is only half-true, by the way – I also promised my outstanding but overworked board that they could take it easy in January).

For as long as I’ve served as a board member of AIGA, I’ve never had more fun than I had in 2013. We had an amazing year. Sure, we had a surge in our membership numbers, brought in a design legend or two, and pulled off our first-ever Design Week. All really cool things, but they’re not what made it great, at least to me.

So what did? Not to be all Time Magazine about it, but…YOU.

You, the members of the Houston design community…who came out to our events in record numbers. Who engage us in person and on social media. Who invite us to participate in your own art and design initiatives. Who have the passion to bring your own projects to Houston for the benefit of the design community, like the newly-established Creative Mornings Houston. Who challenge us to elevate the standard of design and design culture in our fair city. Thank YOU. YOU are what inspires US.

When I think of AIGA’s history, and what the organization has meant to countless creatives in the past century, I can’t help but think our best and most exciting days are ahead of us. Just think – it all could have fizzled out by now. I mean, 100 years is a pretty good run, right? Not here. Far from slowing down, here in Houston we’re just hitting our stride. Food, music, culture, economics, opportunity…this place gets cooler every day. It’s an honor for myself and the rest of the AIGA Houston board to help make Houston the best design city it can be. I hope you’ll continue to join us.

Here’s to a great 2014 for Houston, and another great 100 years for AIGA. Cheers.


By Andy Rich
Published January 21, 2014
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