Member-Based Organizations for Graphic Designers

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Joining a graphic design organization can open up a new outlet for networking to increase your client-base, contact list, and lists of potential collaborators. Being a member of a design organization can also give you access to events, research options, and competitions. This list covers some professional organizations in the design industry.

American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), representing 22,000 members, is the largest membership-based graphic design organization. Since 1914, the AIGA has been a place for creative professionals to network and work towards improving graphic design as a profession.

Graphic Artists Guild

The Graphic Artists Guild is a professional graphic design organization dedicated to educating and protecting its members, with a focus on the economic and legal sides of being a creative professional. The Graphics Artists Guild members include illustrators, graphic designers, web designers and other creative professionals. The Guild works to protect the rights of these creatives, through both education and with their “Legal Defense Fund.” As stated in the Guild’s mission statement, they support creators at all skill levels.

The Freelancers Union

The Freelancers Union offers health insurance, job postings, events, and networking opportunities to graphic designers and other creative professionals. They also work to protect the rights of freelancers regarding taxes, unpaid wages, and other areas related to the business of design.

International Council of Graphic Design Associations (ICOGRADA)

The International Association of Graphic Design Associations (ICOGRADA) is a non-profit, member-based design organization that was founded in 1963. Icograda establishes best practices for the design community including regulations for design award competitions and its judges, soliciting work and professional code of conduct. They also have an awards competition and offer ways to promote your business and network at design retreats and regional meetings.

World Design Organization (WDO)

The World Design Organization (WDO) is a non-profit design organization founded in 1957 that "protects and promotes the interests of the profession of industrial design." WDO provides members with benefits including business exposure, networking events, access to a full list of members and an organizational congress and general assembly. They offer five membership types: associate, corporate, educational, professional and promotional.

The Society of Illustrators

The Society of Illustrators was founded in 1901 with this credo: "The object of the Society shall be to promote generally the art of illustration and to hold exhibitions from time to time." Early members included Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parish, and Frederic Remington. This design organization offers eight membership options including illustrator, educator, corporate, student and "friend of the museum." Member benefits include options such as dining room privileges, discounted event fees, library access and opportunities to exhibit work in the Members Gallery.

Society for News Design (SND)

The Society for News Design (SND) members' include art directors, designers, and developers who create print, web and mobile work for the news industry. Founded in 1979, the SND is a nonprofit design organization with approximately 1500 members. Membership benefits include a discount on their annual workshop and exhibition, class discounts, an invitation to enter their award competition, access to their members-only digital publication and a copy of their magazine.

The Society of Publication Designers (SPD)

The Society of Publication Designers (SPD) was founded in 1964 and exists to promote editorial design. Members include art directors, designers, and other graphic design professionals. SPD holds an annual design competition, an awards gala, an annual publication, a speakers series and networking events. They also have a job board and several blogs.

Type Directors Club (TDC)

Type Directors Club (TDC) was founded in 1946 and exists to support the best of type design. Some of the earliest members included Aaron Burns, Will Burtin, and Gene Federico. Membership benefits include a copy of their annual publication, a listing of your name in a printed publication and on their website, access to the archive and library, free admission to select events and discounted classes. The TDC gives out yearly awards and scholarships and holds multiple events and competitions.

Art Directors Club (ADC)

The Art Directors Club (ADC) was founded in 1920 to help clarify the relationship between advertising art and fine art and exits today to inspire creativity in the design industry. The ADC has yearly programs on advertising, design and interactive media for both professionals and students. The ADC has yearly competitions, scholarship awards, and events. Members gain access to a digital archive that consists of 90 years of award-winning design.