Redesigning Community: 3 Takeaways From AIGA’s Midwest Design Week

Sep 28, 2020
Midwest Design Week

Throughout 2020, countless cultural events, conferences and learning platforms have adjusted their format to an online approach, bringing people together to learn amid the pandemic.

The inaugural Midwest Design Week (MWDW) brought together new perspectives on design, culture and inclusion–in an all new digital format. Hosted by the AIGA Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and Toledo chapters, the event focused on culture and how that impacts our creative communities.

The event highlighted everything from protest design to diversity coalitions–amplifying the voices of the Midwest design community and bringing together creatives to learn, listen and motivate each other.

Distilling down a creative event with so much inspiration is difficult, but we here’s a few of our key takeaways:

Design for your whole community

How does your privilege impact your work? Shantanu Suman highlighted his experience finding influence in his own culture and community. Now a teacher at Ball State University, Suman examined his privilege throughout his career, and how it impacts his current work. He found a way to create and acknowledge his story while amplifying culture to larger audiences.

Our takeaway: It’s imperative to design for all cultures.

Know what you stand for

Eso Tolson framed it perfectly: “This presentation is not about how to draw an ‘s’ or ‘g’ in cursive. I use design as a tool for activism, pride and community.”

Throughout the week, the idea of activism through design was a common theme. In a world that is flooded with more design than ever, it is important to know what you or your company stand for at all times. Understanding and championing these ideals makes for better decisions in your community, workplace and business development plan­–just about everything!

Our takeaway: Know your message and your mission.

Understand that change takes work

Change does not happen overnight. Throughout Aaron Scamihorn’s Protest by Design workshop, he explored what makes an impactful and motivating phrase, detailing the delicate process, psychology and mindfulness it takes for a simple protest sign to spark curiosity or conversation.

Our takeaway: When making change in an organization, a community or a person, it takes care, conversation and time.

AIGA (The Professional Association of Design) is a nonprofit organization with over 70 chapters across the United States. Its focus is to advance design as a professional craft and foster a more creative community. Westcomm was proud to sponsor 2020 Midwest Design Week and our local and regional design community.

Redesigning Community: 3 Takeaways From AIGA’s Midwest Design Week


Benefit Communications Report: New Insights into What Works

Toolkit: Promoting Your Benefits Year-Round

Toolkit: Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health

New Program Communications Checklist

Communications Metric Checklist

Open Enrollment Debrief Worksheet