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I haven't been to an AIGA event in a few years, and I've only been to a handful between the VT AIGA and Philly AIGA. What I remember between the two were they seemed great for students, and maybe print designers who would be interested in local print companies providing samples and giving their pitch.

What I'd like to know is: Is AIGA worth it for professional web designers?

The events I've been to seemed to be composed of 85% current students, and maybe 15% faculty from some of the local schools, and I don't think I ever met anyone at one of their events who was a web designer, unless they were a vendor trying to sell PSD to code services.

So for those of you with experience in the organization, or who are actively involved, does it have much to offer for web designers, specifically those who've been out in the field for some time, not current students or very recent grads.

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4 Answers 4

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You have to ask yourself a fundamental question:

What is your reason for joining any organization?

For me, it's about building a business network. So then you have to ask who needs to be in that network? That depends on the service you want to provide.

Corporate Support model
Over the course of my career I've most often worked directly with the Creative Directors, Marketing Directors, or Founders of oganizations. Hanging out with a bunch of designers at an AIGA event (corporate CDs aren't usually there) was a waste of time (I did try it). It's the same whether you're doing print or web.

Agency support model
If you're looking to offer freelance service to agencies (web or print), the AIGA might be the right place for you. Go to a couple of event nights, shake lots of hands, see who shows up. If your target clients are there, you should be too.

As for learning from your peers, just go knock on some web agency doors and ask someone to coffee. If they're the open and sharing type, you'll know. Otherwise, stick with web communities where people come with the intention of sharing knowledge.

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This will be pure personal opinion, so may not be a great SE question. But...

I was active a bit over a decade ago and the web design community, at the time, was somewhat frustrated with the AIGA. At the time is was heavily print-and-ad-agency focused and pushing for interactive focus was a bit of a battle. Ultimately, many organizations started to be created that focused more directly on web and interactive and AIGA became less relevant for web design.

I think the 'aha' moment for me was when I was helping address and stamp a mailing for AIGA member when I spoke up and asked "uh, couldn't we just send an email?" and got ugly stares back. :)

That said, it was still a great organization and if you are graphic design focused and looking for networking opportunities, it's a good org. And (hopefully) they have accepted the web by now. ;)

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Thanks. As of two years ago, in the cities I went to at least, even being a web/interactive designer who studied graphic design, felt really out of place at AIGA events. I'm hoping to hear some accounts to the contrary in recent years. The question's not perfect for the SE format, but basically we can probably count on the answering being a no is no one here chimes in with a different experience. –  Eric Aug 21 '13 at 18:40
    
Yea, I guess it wouldn't surprise me if they never fully embraced the web. So many other organizations have that maybe the AIGA doesn't need to. –  DA01 Aug 21 '13 at 19:54

Many years ago the AIGA was a stout lobbyist and advocate for designer/creative rights. Today, I don't see them doing much of anything really.

Adobe is a "proud partner and sponsor" of the AIGA. Adobe's move to the Creative Cloud is the least beneficial move Adobe could have made for freelancers and small creative businesses. The AIGA support of the Adobe Creative Cloud has made the organization a joke to me. Clearly AIGA was thinking financially rather than the thinking of the rights of creatives.

And as DA01 points out, I find most AIGA content to be very heavily print based - almost to the point of elitism.

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As a whole I would say no. As a broad community web design isn't being addressed but I have noticed web design being addressed little by little in my local chapter. That said, I don't think it is worth it yet. There are other free solutions out there if you are looking for networking that I have used such as:

  • Web Design Meetup
  • WordCamp (Wordpress)
  • Dribbble does have a local meet of all levels of designers but you have to just check the site regularly.
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