Barbara Loveland and Linda Powell are this year’s recipients of AIGA West Michigan’s Fellows Award and were honored at the AIGA Friends and Fellows event on January 25th at The Ballroom @ CityFlatsHotel in Grand Rapids.
Barbara and Linda joined two AIGA WM members to talk about their experience with AIGA and their love for the West Michigan design community.
What year did you become a member of AIGA West Michigan?
Barbara: “I joined at the national level when I was a student–around 1972. One my professors at WMU encouraged us to because it was good exposure to see what else was going on.”
Linda: “They made us join! Our program at WMU was small, so our professor felt that it was a good way to be involved with design at an international level. Joining allowed us to join competitions, too.”
Why did you become a member of AIGA?
Barbara: “As a practicing professional, I saw it as a means to connect with other professionals. As an instructor, it was a way to make connections for my students, and to introduce them to professionals. Not only future employment but for the awareness in the industry. Plus, I like other designers. AIGA was the only organization there was for us.”
Linda: “You felt like you were part of the group and I was able to interact with other designers at a national level. It allowed me to go to conferences and different competitions–and to see posters and invitations end up in the design archives. You were seeing the names of the people and firms who were engaged and doing things in the industry.”
Barbara: “When you saw the caliber of the work other members were doing, it made you realize that it really is a worthwhile group of people have an association with. And it was worth the investment.
Linda: “Back in the 60s, things were changing from commercial art to graphic design. We were lucky enough to have an instructor who came in and knew the difference and changed the program. We could see the change and progress because we were in AIGA.”
Why would you suggest becoming part of AIGA to other designers?
Barbara: “Networking. Design enrichment opportunities. Connection to national. To build connections with like-minded people like writers and photographers. You have an opportunity to realize people’s strengths and to form friendships with people of different ages and backgrounds.”
Linda: “AIGA is a great organization. When the student chapters started it was so good to expose them to this community.”
Barbara: “The best thing AIGA has done is to include the students. They need to know what came before them so they can carry on the depth of thinking, and the talent.”
Linda: “With AIGA we are able to meet alumni and students and talk to them. Even now with our work with the archives, we use all of our connections through AIGA.”
Barbara and Linda recently initiated the West Michigan Graphic Design Archives in collaboration with many colleagues from the design, paper, printing, and education fields. The Zhang Legacy Collections Center at Western Michigan University houses the growing, curated collection. The Archives will make both physical artifacts and digital representations available to design professionals, educators, students, researchers, and others interested in the rich legacy of graphic design, paper manufacturing, and printing in West Michigan.