AIGA LA, Public Design Education and the Future

In 2022, AIGA LA began a partnership with the California Department of Education’s Arts, Media and Entertainment Career Technical Education (CTE-AME) Industry Sector. The CTE-AME sector develops programs that improve training for those in emerging careers and helps administer relevant and future-proof workforce training. A complete breakdown of this initiative and the extensive list of work this group does can be found here.

As our various industries grow and change, design has become a foundation for the success of business, creativity, innovation and development. It is more important than ever to use this time of change to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive design profession that stands up to the challenges of those who will live in it.

With this in mind, AIGA LA formed an advisory group of thought leaders, educators and historically underrepresented professionals in the design world to discuss and develop what skills our future creatives need to thrive. We’re incredibly pleased with the fire and passion of this group, who developed new curriculum standards that develop critical thinking and rigorous empathy in design. At this point of publication, these standards are now being used in 30+ California state schools as well as being shared and implemented in education curriculum across Washington and Oregon states.

We want to highlight a few* of these foundations that will guide the future:

  • Design Skill Building
    • Use accessible design practices, considering the needs of people with different abilities.
  • Design Process and Practice
    • Explore different approaches to solving design problems and evaluate what makes each approach effective.
    • Read and interpret a project brief and generate multiple relevant concepts.
    • Write an effective proposal for a client, including pricing, relevant case studies and work samples.
    • Contribute to a comprehensive design project in a professional environment.
    • Monitor project milestones and deliverables and create project status presentations.
  • Design Career Exploration
    • Explore career pathways in packaging, publication, and graphic design, interactive design including UX and UI, web design, product design, system, and information design, branding design, advertising, and digital marketing.
  • Design: Impact
    • Understand the environmental impact of design and how to create with sustainability in mind.
    • Use design and creative problem solving for the greater good, while resolving or communicating issues within local communities.
    • Design a solution for a community need or problem.

*(An extensive list can be found here in the new curriculum standards.)

In 2024, AIGA LA will continue this work with industry integration in mind. In this process, we have laid the foundation of what skills and tools are necessary to learn to become a designer. Now, we are seeking real life examples of what those careers may look like – to empower a future of designers, emerging in their own careers and finding pathways they may have never imagined before.

We are inspired to create sustainable and repeatable efforts with partners or individuals that will:

  • Bring awareness to careers in design
  • Empower education and learning throughout every stage of the design career
  • Provide mentorship and opportunities to make connections with industry professionals
  • Explore apprenticeships and opportunities for structured, paid, on the job training
  • Give access and transparency to the design industry
  • Provide healthy employment opportunities

At this time, we have partners like the Adobe design team, who have hosted a Design Career Speaker Series from September 2023 – May 2024. Anyone can register to attend or replay a 45 minute session geared towards students to learn more about their unique design paths, work and passions.

As well, we’re excited to share that we are developing a new mentorship program that will partner industry professionals with emerging designers to help guide them in a competitive marketplace. More info will be shared soon.

We would like to thank the following for their commitment, dedication and passion as a reminder that it takes a few daring people to do a few daring things, to enact real and lasting change.

AIGA LA + CTE-AME Advisory Group 2022–2023

Sean Bacon
, Professor of Graphic Design, San Diego City College

Love Beach
, VP of Creative Strategy, Blavity Inc.

Anne Bown-Crawford
, Principal Artist in Residence, Google

Inez S. Bush
, Assistant Dean of Extension, Otis College of Art and Design

Matthew Carlson
, Director of UX Design, Education, Fonts and Fresco

Min Choi
, Professor of Graphic Design, MiraCosta College

David Dylan-Thomas
, Founder & CEO, David Dylan Thomas, LLC

Allison Frenzel
, Education Programs Specialist, California Dept. of Education

Nick Gawith
, SVP, Executive Creative Director, Razorfish

Erika Hall
, Co-Founder Mule Design

Ariba Jahan
, Director of Product and Innovation, Ad Council

Dr. Amarpal Khanna
, LA City College

MaeLin Levine
, President, AIGA San Diego

Mike Monteiro
, Co-Founder + Design Director Mule Design

Andrew Pak
, Grants Coordinator, Los Angeles Unified School District

Jean “JP” Pongsai
, AIGA LA, Founder Studio DBJ

Renee Reid
, Sr. Manager, UX Design Research, LinkedIn

Louis Sandhaus
, Faculty, Cal Arts, Founder/Co-Director, The People’s Graphic Design Archive

Aisha Sims
, Senior Manager, Intuit

Tacy Trowbridge
, Global Education Lead for Thought Leadership and Advocacy, Adobe

Dori Tunstall
, Dean, Ontario College of Art and Design

Dawn Zidonis
, Executive Director, SF Design Week



Artwork designed by Marina Murad

By AIGA Los Angeles
Published April 5, 2024
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