Double or Nothing: AIGA looks to tackle inequality in the design industry

AIGA, the largest professional association for design in the US, has launched Double or Nothing, a new movement to ultimately double the number of women leaders in design. Kicking off during Women’s History Month with the launch of a website, it's looking to build momentum within the design community to achieve this bold goal.

The site will continually expand and evolve with resources such as a corporate pledge for gender equity, practical toolkits, career advice and insights, and inspiring stories about female designers who are breaking boundaries in their field. "Double or Nothing is more than an awareness campaign; it is a movement to create tangible impact and forge partnerships between women who want to lead, and individuals and organisations committed to helping them do so."

Spearheaded by AIGA’s Women Lead Initiative and a coalition of the best and brightest from Blue State Digital, Decker Design, IBM, Lippincott, Pentagram, and Quartz, Double or Nothing intends to "catalyse massive change by confronting the ingrained biases that exist within the design industry".

Female design leadership ranges from only four to 11 percent depending upon business sector and individual survey, despite being a primarily female profession (53.5 percent of designers are women, according to the latest Design Census by AIGA and Google). Therefore, it seems there is no pipeline problem here but rather a promotion, pay and retention problem.

"Once in the workplace, particularly after five to 10 years, there is a lack of mentorship, a celebration of female work, support for mothers, and equal pay,” explains Lynda Decker of Decker Design and Co-Chair Women Lead Committee, AIGA. "At this stage of their career, women often do not feel empowered to negotiate pay and the position they deserve or are reluctant to ask for guidance. We want that to end."

Pentagram, a lead partner, developed the Double or Nothing creative strategy including the name, brand identity, voice and website design. "We’re working to empower women to have a stronger path toward getting what they want and deserve," said Emily Oberman, who led the team at Pentagram. "To that end, we’re looking for companies to make a public pledge of commitment and to be held accountable for meeting goals. You can bet that savvy designers will be drawn to those companies working to ensure inclusivity and balance."

"This is not just a campaign — it’s a movement to promote continuous and much-needed progress,” said Heather Stern of Lippincott and Co-Chair Women Lead Committee, AIGA. "‘Double or Nothing’ alludes to the ‘duos’ required to achieve our goal: pay and promotion, men and women, design and business, aspiring leaders and those who want to support them."

For more information, and to join the coalition, visit


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