Unveiling a New Identity

The national AIGA headquarters recently launched an expanded AIGA identity, a direction that will allow each chapter to express their own personality while being able to unify under one distinct voice. Developed by Kiss Me I’m Polish, the new visual system strengthens the current AIGA brand while unifying chapter branding across the country.

In introducing brighter, bolder use of color, a new typographic sensibility, and encouraging the logo to play a more active and dynamic role in all of its applications, the AIGA brand remains consistently strong and recognizable as it moves forward, while reflecting all of the vibrancy and diversity of our chapters, members, programs and initiatives.

To give each chapter a unique identity, a pool of ten colors options and two typefaces were presented to all 70 AIGA chapters throughout the country. Each was tasked with choosing just one color and typeface to best represent their chapter.

FUN FACT: The last brand refresh was in 2008, and chapters had a whopping 24 colors to choose from.


Presented with a design problem, we did what any other group of designers would do: use design thinking to solve it. First, we polled members to uncover initial reactions to the typeface and color choices. Then, we formed a smaller branding committee and worked to identify Charm City’s strongest characteristics: robust, passionate, quirky, gritty.

With a foundation laid, we discussed typography. We had two typefaces to work with: GT Haptik and Serifa. The board had unanimously chosen GT Haptik Bold for it’s bold, bright personality and its quirky letterforms in our initial poll, and the members of the branding committee felt it was the right choice. GT Haptik provides just the right amount of visual balance when both the AIGA logo and chapter logotype would be used in tandem.

Finally, we looked at the given set of colors to represent our chapter: teal, aqua, pink, purple, lime, orange, red, blue, green, and cyan. One by one, we went through each option and discussed how each color connected to Baltimore’s characteristics. The blues and greens resonated with our connection to the harbor, and red has been used historically by our chapter. Orange and purple were in the running, of course, because they, too, reflect a certain quirkiness (but ultimately we felt Baltimore’s design style and spirit couldn’t be fully reflected by a color that was so heavily identified as a sports team color).

After rounds of debate, we eventually narrowed our options down to one final solution: Pink.

AIGA Baltimore logo The new AIGA Baltimore logo

Pink, the color of the flamingo hanging above Cafe Hon in Hampden. Pink, one of two colors found on the ubiquitous pens that proliferate our town whilst promoting a certain bail bonds company. Pink, a color that speaks to not only the quirky nature of our city, but also to the boldness of its residents.

We chose pink because it stands out. It isn’t apologetic for being different and it owns up to its convictions. And yet, as much as it’s bold, it’s also welcoming, bringing forth a positive brightness to our home.

We chose this brand direction because these characteristics embody both Baltimore and its creatives. We hope you feel the same warmth, passion and energy through all your interactions with AIGA Baltimore.

AIGA Baltimore's Brand (New) Identity GuideAIGA Baltimore’s Brand (New) Identity Guide

Rob Schilke is the Outreach Chair at AIGA Baltimore and graphic designer at T. Rowe Price. When he isn’t dreaming about his next snowboarding session, he can be found in his hammock plotting his next adventure. Tweet him @robschilke.


Image Credit: The featured image above, “410 Banner”, is a derivative of “Baltimore City” by Yianni Mathioudakis, used under CC BY-NC 2.0. “410 Banner” is licensed under CC BY by AIGA Baltimore.

By Rob Schilke
Published January 5, 2016