Sixth annual AIGA Design Legends Gala honours 2009 award recipients and raises funds for the profession

05 October 2009
New York (United States) - On 17 September 2009 at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel, designers from around the world attended the sixth annual AIGA Design Legends Gala to recognise design excellence and give back to the profession.
New York (United States) - On 17 September 2009 at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel, designers from around the world attended the sixth annual AIGA Design Legends Gala to recognise design excellence and give back to the profession.

In her presentation, Debbie Millman, AIGA president and partner of Sterling Brands, stressed the importance of celebrating design excellence, despite the challenging economic climate. "In the midst of the greatest recession of our time: Do we really need to celebrate design and designers?" she asked the crowd. "My answer to this question is unequivocally, unmistakably loud and proud: yes. Now more than ever. More than any other discipline, designers are in the unique position of being able to impact our culture in significant and profound ways," she answered to roaring applause.

Robin Hayes, chief commercial officer at JetBlue, accepted the 2009 AIGA Corporate Leadership Award for his company's commitment to design and a corporate philosophy that puts people first. Rob BonDurant, vice president of marketing and communications at Patagonia, accepted the Corporate Leadership Award for considering both design and responsibility across materials, manufacturing and message.

More than $57,000 in Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships - raised primarily at the 2008 Gala - was awarded to 37 talented and deserving students of art, architecture and design who were selected not only for their ability and their need, but also for their demonstrated commitment to giving back to the larger community through their work.

The AIGA Fellow Award was presented to designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design communities, as well as in their local AIGA chapters. The 22 recognised as 2009 Fellows are: Doug Akagi, Richard Anwyl, Leslie Becker, Tyler Blik, David Burney, Margo Chase, Stanley Church, Laurie Churchman, Michael Cronan, Cherie Fister, David J. Franek, Peter Good, Tan Le, Candice López, John Muller, Clive Piercy, Louise Sandhaus, Sarah Mason Sears and P. Michael Zender; Morton Goldsholl, Critt Graham and Larry Shaw were each named posthumously.

The 2009 AIGA Medalists were the highlight of the evening, with film title designer Pablo Ferro accepting the first of the evening's Medals from Steven Heller of the School of Visual Arts. Ferro was recognised for introducing narrative and nonlinear dimensions to design for films, changing our visual expectations and demonstrating the power of design to enhance storytelling. Born in Cuba, Ferro alternately moved the audience with his incredible American dream story and entertained with anecdotes about working with Stanley Kubrick in the 1960s.

Doyald Young, educator and master of letters and logotypes, received his AIGA Medal from Deanna Kuhlmann-Leavitt of Kuhlmann Leavitt, Inc. His award is for demonstrating the power of a lifelong love of the craft of calligraphy, type and graphic design, and for his contributions as an author and teacher. Young, who just turned 83, inspired the crowd with stories from his own humble roots and the rewards of his many years of teaching at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Young concluded by telling the audience he hopes to see them next month in Memphis, where he'll be participating in the biennial AIGA Design Conference, from 8–11 October.

Carin Goldberg, educator and editorial designer, received the AIGA Medal from her longtime friend Paula Scher of Pentagram Design, who noted: "From the depths of confusion in our foggy-bloggy world comes the clear crisp voice of Carin Goldberg. Teaching us and showing us by example that there is right and truth and standards in graphic design, and by God they matter!" Goldberg, who will also speak at the upcoming AIGA Design Conference, was awarded for her exquisite ability to join intelligence, craft and an eye for the evocative image in designing iconic pop-cultural and literary artifacts, and for her commitment to design education.

The event raised $75,000 to support the AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum, Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships, initiatives to make the profession more inclusive and diverse, and the Legacy Campaign, an endowment to secure the future of AIGA.

"The gala is a wonderful affirmation of the community of designers, reinforcing old friendships, introducing new ones, recognising those designers who achieve what all aspire, and collectively expressing confidence in the value of the creative spirit," according to Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA.

Videos of the evening's presentations will be made available on in the fall of 2009.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Bender
Manager, communications and marketing
AIGA | the professional association for design
T: +1 212 807 1990
F: +1 212 807 1799

About AIGA

AIGA, the professional association for design, is the premier place for design - to discover it, discuss it, understand it, appreciate it, be inspired by it.

AIGA's mission is to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. AIGA stimulates thinking about design through journals, conferences, competitions and exhibitions; demonstrates the value of design to business, the public and government officials; and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers by providing invaluable educational and social resources.

Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design. AIGA now represents more than 22,000 design professionals, educators and students through national activities and local programs developed by 63 chapters and 240 student groups. AIGA is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational institution.