The American Institute of Graphic Arts, or AIGA, conducted a census of over 13,000 designers. Lens is a book containing typographic visualizations of analyzed and categorized datas of the AIGA design census.
All of AIGA’s data is free to download in a massive spreadsheet. With over 13,000 participants, setting these parameters was necessary to set the focus for this project. Through a combination of CSV Explorer and Python scripts, we narrowed down our data, identified trends, and peppered in our own commentary and theories as to why the trends looked the way they did.
For this project, we wanted to focus on what AIGA designers thought about the future of our field. We then further tracked these lenses through generational trends (i.e. do older generation really value analog skills more than younger generations do?) We looked at all of the AIGA 2017 census data, and sorted respondents based on the decade they were born in, starting with the 1990s, and going back as far as designers born pre-1960. We then looked at a variety of different questions about what skills designers valued, their perspectives on the future, and what concerns they had. We also looked at major technological and social changes that took place based on the time the AIGA designers would have been practicing their professional career, to see the context of their responses.
In the end, we found three different ways of viewing the data. These lenses were potential futures for the field of design: one which further emphasizes ethics and diversity, one which further emphasizes traditional analog skills, and one which further emphasizes an adaptation to future technology.
Within these lenses, we also saw smaller trends, marked in this book by colors in the right column of each spread. Pink indicates generational consistency or consensus, yellow indicates an outlier generation, orange indicates consistent up or down trends, and green represents the differences in the generations. Finally, we are also designers, and we filtered this data through our own perspectives as well. So, in addition to visualizing different data points on each spread, we’ve included our own commentary in smaller boxes based on what we feel the data means. As the design field grows, it changes to encompass new ideas and ways of thinking. We hope this data gives you some new perspectives as well.