A microsite that celebrates AIGA’s centennial and the impact of American design on our culture.
Focusing on the intersections between design and society, “100 Years of Design” brings to life exemplary works from AIGA’s digital archives, insightful interviews with living masters, quotes from leading designers, and significant moments from the organization’s history. These elements are woven into narratives to present how design informs, connects, delights, influences, and assists us. Framing the narratives in this way allows the intention behind a piece to take center stage and emphasizes why a piece looks the way it does, not just what it looks like. Unlike traditional design retrospectives organized by chronology or medium, the site offers visitors a new lens through which to view and evaluate great design. The experience also encourages visitors to join a dynamic conversation about the role design plays in our daily lives. Users are invited to share their favorite works and describe what they mean to them. Responsive programming enables them to keep the conversation going from a variety of devices, from desktop to mobile to tablet. 100 years from now, visitors can look back on this rich collection of artifacts and reflect on how design has evolved to further shape our society.
While also prioritizing usability and functionality, 100 Years of Design privileges the project’s rich content at every opportunity. With a structure that focuses on the intentions behind great works—the "why" rather than the "who," "what," "when," or "where"—the microsite's stories drive the experience rather than simply supporting it. As we crafted the site, we successfully considered a range of audiences, accommodating visitors' varied knowledge of design, will to participate, and choice of device. Developing the final experience led us to consider every detail of usability, from both a functional standpoint (a clean and intuitive navigation menu) and an emotional perspective (creating a thoughtful prompt to encourage visitor contributions). The end result of our collaboration with AIGA offers a rewarding experience for design experts and novices alike. Its framework urges users of all backgrounds to consider the impact of design on our culture and encourages practitioners to reflect on the purpose and value of their own creative efforts. Providing visitors with the opportunity to contribute to the site themselves enables designers and general audiences to have a conversation about design and its meaning in their lives. Because design and society are constantly mirroring each other, the contributions represent a kind of living archive, an ever-expanding collection of responses that demonstrate our culture’s understanding of how and why good design works.