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Among the Stars: Vector at the 2015 AIGA Gala

Allyssa Price
05.20.15
Among the Stars: Vector at the 2015 AIGA Gala
Allyssa Price
05.20.15

The AIGA is the largest professional association for design, which I became a member of while studying Graphic Communication Design at the University of Cincinnati. As a student, this organization allowed me to connect with my peers and other working professionals in the Cincinnati area. It currently has 69 chapters in cities across the United States and over 25,000 members.

This past Thursday I was privileged enough to attend the 2015 AIGA Gala with three of the Vector Partners. The ceremony honored five outstanding individuals with an AIGA Medal for their contributions to the field, which is the highest honor one can receive as a visual communicator. Past recipients include Paul Rand, who was presented with the award in 1966 and is most well-known for his identities for UPS, IBM, and ABC and Saul Bass, who was recognized in 1981 for accomplishments like designing the AT&T identity and numerous title sequences. Additionally, Massimo and Lella Vignelli, known for their signage and wayfinding system for the New York City Transit Authority, received the AIGA Medal in 1982.

This year the celebration was held at Pier Sixty and chaired by past AIGA Medal recipient (and fellow University of Cincinnati alumni) Michael Bierut of Pentagram. As the sun was going down over the Hudson, I could feel the energy rise in the room. The five honorees’ faces and names were seen amongst the stars as we entered the main ballroom. It truly was exhilarating to be in the presence of such talent and listen to some of my idols, whom I’ve learned about in school and have admired for years, speak of their experiences.

After sipping on “Lost in Space” martinis and other fabulous cocktails, all gathered to watch the reason for the evening: the awards ceremony. Before the honorees received their medals, a short film (created by Vector’s friends at Dress Code) was shown highlighting each of their careers and numerous accomplishments. Paola Antonelli was the first medal recipient. A senior curator, Antonelli has demonstrated through her work at the MoMA how design permeates everyday life. She explained how she was not at all humbled by her award, but rather excited and proud. The late Hillman Curtis’ medal was accepted by his wife Christina Curtis and their two children. Honored for his motion design and filmmaking, the video was a true testament to his life and brilliance. Emory Douglas, known for his impactful illustrations for the Black Panther Party, accepted his award on behalf “of all the unknown young artists out there who continue to challenge injustice all across the world.” Most known for his idea of “Radical Modernism,” Dan Friedman’s award was accepted by his brother Ken Friedman. Channeling Dan’s offbeat personality, he wore his brother’s infamous Playboy bunny jacket. Lastly, Marcia Lausen addressed the crowd with tears in her eyes saying “Today, more than ever, I feel like Dorothy in the Land of Oz.” Lausen’s work demonstrates that design can solve everyday problems and reminds us that “the power of design is to move things forward.”

After the ceremony I continued to meet esteemed members of the design community with expertises ranging from signage to interactive to motion to type design. Attending the AIGA Gala reminded me why I choose to pursue a career in graphic design. As designers we must continue to be advocates of change in society. We must have passion, continuing to look below the surface and see things from different points of view. Finally, we must never cease to create meaningful solutions that educate and empower. I am honored to have had the opportunity to attend this event with my teammates at Vector Media Group and am proud to be a part of a community of design professionals that never fail to inspire me.

Photos by: SplitShire, AIGAForest Young

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