Dozens of graphic design associations exist to not only promote the industry in general, but to aid designers who are looking to advance their career. From job postings and health insurance to additional education and networking, there are plenty of benefits to joining an association. Some of the top organizations can offer a great deal of opportunities to your career.
1. American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)
The AIGA is the largest community of professional graphic designers. Founded in 1914, it’s also the oldest and represents a top choice for any designer looking for an association to join.
The global organization is focused on bringing together graphic designers to enhance professional development, inspire designers, guide education for designers and define ethical practices within the profession.
Memberships are available and include benefits such as a design portfolio, event discounts, professional development courses and workshops, job postings and more.
2. The Freelancers Union
The Freelancers Union is focused on supporting independent workers, including freelancers, consultants and others. It provides members with job postings, events, networking opportunities and health insurance. It also helps with taxes, unpaid wages and other business areas.
Free membership is available, with the only cost coming in the form of an insurance plan.
3. International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda)
Icograda is a nonprofit association that represents more than 200 organizations in 67 countries and regions.
The association supports design education, awareness and best practices of the profession, facilitates knowledge management and more.
Memberships are available to organizations. These memberships help organizations with networking, promotion, information on best practices and other benefits.
4. Graphic Artists Guild
The Graphic Artists Guild focuses on educating and protecting professionals in the field, with specific focuses on economic and legal aspects of the profession.
Along with illustrators, web designers and other creative professionals, the association educates graphic artists and works to protect them. An insurance plan and a grievance committee are available, along with job referrals and other services.
Members receive these benefits along with webinars and other opportunities.
5. Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD)
RGD is focused on learning, research, advocacy and mentorship for the graphic design community. It aims to establish professional standards, innovative thinking and best practices in the industry.
Membership includes educational opportunities, job postings, portfolio reviews and other benefits.
6. Society for News Design (SND)
The SND specifically caters to those who create print, web and mobile publications and products. The nonprofit organization for news design has served the industry since its founding in 1979.
Approximately 1500 members currently take advantage of the benefits that are available, which include an annual workshop, class discounts, access to a digital publication and the ability to enter their award competition.
7. The Society of Illustrators
The Society of Illustrators was founded in 1901 to promote the art of illustration. Through lectures, education and exhibitions, the society assists its members and the community as a whole by enhancing the art.
Various membership levels are available at the Society of Illustrators. Benefits include discounted event fees, library access and opportunities to showcase work in the members gallery.
If you’re interested in graphic design and want to start or enhance your career, a degree can help. Brescia University offers a completely online Associate of Arts in Graphic Design that can be completed when and where you want. Look at our program page to find out more.