I’m a graphic designer. Which means I basically am always thinking about stuff… How stuff fits together, how stuff works, how stuff can be reimagined. I’m always pondering the state of affairs of human existence, and often find myself imagining what the future holds.
It was with this mindset buzzing different thoughts through my head, when I found myself approaching the building where I was to attend my first AIGA LA event, “Avenues of Activism.” I’d been encouraged by a fellow designer to come for the discussion, but wasn’t quite sure what to expect. [Helms Design Center] was big with cool industrial style open ceilings and lovely white spheres hanging overhead. I got my nametag at the door and meandered inside.
“Everyone who fights for something is an activist” – Jayna Zweiman, Pussyhat Project
I entered, got some food and wine, chatted for a bit, and took in the beautiful posters that were on display. The speakers started and the chairs were filled. They each introduced themselves and gave a summary of their work and their roles. Then it was on to tackling the subject matter. I found myself more engaged than I anticipated I might, I have to say. I wound up jotting down some notes on my phone. The conversation went over the subject of activism, how designers can engage in it, and what that might look like for real-world objectives. “Everyone who fights for something is an activist” was one of my favorite quotes from speaker Jayna Zweiman.
The conversation took interesting turns into questioning the role of government agencies and how one could engage on that level to question the assumptions that underlie many policies. There were some great notes on finding a way to make an impact, balancing activism and career, and the importance of maintaining idealism while balancing the necessity of making your clients happy.
I left the event feeling somewhat inspired and energized by the whole thing. It was a good topic that anyone in today’s world that yearns for positive change, but doesn’t know quite where to start would enjoy. And it was refreshing to be in the presence of a bunch of other designer folks. I’ll definitely be back for another event soon.
For more information about this event and the presenters, visit our Avenues of Activism event page.