Why You Should Attend the AIGA Eye on Design Conference

This year, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, or AIGA, is holding their annual Eye on Design conference on October 11th in Minneapolis.

The event, which costs $175 for AIGA students, $350 for members and $400 for regular attendees, includes workshops from some of the top graphic artists working today, incredible networking opportunities, free food and beverages and a fun after party.

Started in 1985 in Boston, Eye on Design is held in a different U.S. city every year. Artists doing graphic design, typography, branding, identity and interaction design gather to discuss their trades, learn additional skills, listen to revered speakers and look at exhibits.

The host, AIGA, has over 25,000 members in 70 chapters around America. It is the oldest and largest professional membership organization for the design industry.


This year’s lineup features events like:

  • A talk with Steven Heller, the former art director of the New York Times and co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He’s going to discuss how he keeps himself real and learns from smart people.
  • Adobe Creative Resident Jessica Bellamy is leading a workshop called, “Good work deserves good design: Working with not-for-profit communities.” Participants will “learn how to tell visual data stories to inspire policy change and mobilize information at the grassroots level.” She is going to cover subjects like infographic composition, data framing and grassroots design strategies, for people who want to combine activism and art.
  • Katie Lane, an attorney and negotiation coach, will talk about how to advance your career by giving insight into building strong client relationships, protecting your work and getting paid.
  • The founders of Tan & Loose Press, Clay Hickson and Liana Jegers, will teach Risograph printing. Participants can learn how to use a Risograph printer for making prints, posters and zines. They will be able to create and take home their own postcards at the end of the session.
  • Alex Daly and Crowdsourceress founder Vann Alexandra are giving a presentation on how to crowdfund your next creative project.
  • A presentation from NYC artist Jon Burgerman about how his childhood habit of drawing on dirty windows transformed into a career in the arts.
  • A talk from Gary Hustwit, filmmaker and co-founder of Scenic, a Brooklyn-based virtual content studio.
  • A panel consisting of Eric Hu, director of design at Ssense, Hassan Rahim, a designer, artist and art director, and Erik Brandt, a graphic designer and educator/department chair at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. They will discuss what design education is good for.
  • A panel made up of Illustrators Wendy McNaughton, Ping Zhu and Julia Rothman that focuses on women and illustration.

The exhibits at AIGA Eye on Design include “In the Beginning: Early works by graphic designers,” which was co-curated by Steven Heller and Eye on Design staff writer Madeleine Morley, a virtual reality viewing station from Scenic and more.

The event promises to feature “one big secret announcement you’ll have to be there to experience” as well.

Along with connecting with other professionals in your industry, seeing great exhibits, hearing about how to push your career forward and learning from those at the top of their game, while you’re there, you can tour the excellent arts scene in Minneapolis as well.

You can stop by MCAD to see some student art, check out the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which is currently displaying art from the 1700s by artists like Bellotto and Guardi or swing over to the Goldstein Museum of Design at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design. There, you can view graphic design pieces, costumes, textiles and handcrafted furniture.

For more contemporary art, go to Walker Art Center and see the work of Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Kiki Smith and Edward Hopper. The Weisman Art Museum, also located at the University of Minnesota, is currently showing a Prince exhibit and art from Jizi.

If you’re going to attend AIGA Eye on Design, make sure you watch the trailer of the event beforehand for a sneak peek and pick up your tickets before they sell out.

Want to brush up on your design skills and knowledge before Eye on Design? Check out some of CreativeLive’s art and design classes.




Kylie Ora Lobell FOLLOW >

Kylie Ora Lobell writes for brands, blogs, and print publications. She covers content marketing, digital marketing, and runs Kylie's Tips for Writers, a blog about writing.