A recent inquiry prompted us to look into when and how AIGA members can use the AIGA mark, as well as the rationale behind the guidelines. Conversation with AIGA Executive Director Ric Grefé shed light on the subject.

Short answer: other organizations and individuals cannot use the AIGA mark (except in a few cases where we give permission explicitly), but they can use text to describe (accurately!) their relationship to AIGA.

As a practical and principled issue, the mark is special and implies an official affiliation with AIGA. We encourage members to use AIGA, the letters, after their name if they commit to the professional standards (similar to the way architects use AIA after their name) and we encourage members to indicate, in text, that they are a member (for instance, some members place on their invoices the line “XXX studio adheres to the professional standards of AIGA, the professional association for design.”).

The only use of the logo itself that we permit others is the use of the mark (the black box) next to a member’s name in the AIGA Designer Directory on line if he or she commits to the professional standards in their profile (this meant to say that the professional adheres to certain ethical standards, even if we do not have a more administrative certification process); the use of the logo along with the descriptor “official sponsor of AIGA for…” for national sponsors; and use by chapters, with the descriptor that distinguishes the chapter.

“This last point is the legal issue. The mark belongs to AIGA (the national organization) and chapters’ use of it is authorized by the affiliation agreement each year and is governed by the identity guidelines and sponsorship guidelines that are in the workroom. This sounds controlling, but its intent is to make sure that use of the mark at the local level is associated with chapters performing up to a level that is expected for the brand, to provide brand consistency.

We regularly inform outsiders that they cannot use the mark without express opinion, which comes with official sponsorship stratus (only the highest category). We have had to ask national publications not to use it as well as non-members or members who have used it to validate their personal businesses.

AIGA does permit others to use the mark on promotional materials for activities that we are partnering on, for instance a promotion of an AIGA activity, initiative or cause; for a chapter, if you were holding an event that was initiated by another organization and you are a key partner or sponsor, it would be appropriate to allow them to use it. We may permit it on an ad or collateral for an event at the CooperHewitt or NEA which we believe benefits the brand.

Further questions can be posted here or addressed directly to [email protected] and we’ll follow up with a detailed response.


Contact Leadership

Emily McLaughlin
Emily McLaughlin
Director of Communications
Emily is a graphic designer and creative director based in Saint Paul, MN. She passionate about the potential for design to cultivate collaboration and cleave opportunities. As Communications Director of AIGA Minnesota, her emphasis is on supporting and engaging the design community while kindling new connections.