Alabama Design Summit

At the end of July, Brian Ghiloni had the pleasure to attend the AIGA Alabama Design Summit in Birmingham. The workshop-style conference brought together more than 50 attendees from across the country and across multiple disciplines. Their challenge was to use design thinking to address social issues affecting rural Alabama and other parts of the country.

Over three days, four multi-disciplinary teams tackled a variety of regional issues from overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder to Eco-Tourism as a source of economic regeneration. Working together, each team needed to understand the problem, define an objective and develop solutions. The conference concluded with team presentations of actionable ideas, which could be implemented in 12–24 months.

As designers, our contribution has been traditionally limited to identities, collateral and websites. The AIGA Alabama Design Summit is an early preview of a new AIGA initiative called Design for Good. With this new initiative, designers have an opportunity to engage in these types of important social issues in a deeper way than ever before.

This last March, AIGA Baltimore organized Ideas for Action. The event brought together area creatives, community leaders and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to address social issues affecting Baltimore. AIGA Baltimore is committed to furthering discussions about the role of design and the potentially larger impact it can have on communities.

If you want to become more involved in the community or you have an idea for a Design for Good project, send us an email. We want to hear from you!


The Alabama Design Summit was produced in partnership with AIGA and Alabama Innovation Engine. Local participants included representatives from Freshwater Land Trust, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, US Fish and Wildlife, Cahaba River Society, Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, International Expeditions, Auburn University Urban Studio, and University of Alabama Center for Economic Development.

Alabama Design Summit, people working together

Marshall Anderson and Jessi Arrington explain solutions to combat Nature Deficit Disorder. These ideas could be implemented within 12-24 months. Implementing any one could have a measurable effect to offset healthcare costs related to obesity.Today 1 out of 3 adults in Alabama is considered obese.

Alabama Design Summit, lots of sticky notes!

Idea prototyping's best friend… the sticky note!

By AIGA Baltimore
Published August 14, 2011