Do You Know The Industry Standard of Graphic Design?

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Are you a graphic design graduate seeking to start your career? Or are you seeking to find a good graphic designer but are not sure about what to look for?

This article will help you clarify the standards of the graphic designing industry as provided by The Professional Association for Design (AIGA). 

Who is AIGA

AIGA is the oldest and largest professional membership organisation for design with more than 70 chapters and more than 25,000 members worldwide. The organisation serves as an advocate for a greater understanding of the value of design and designers in government, business, and media and also provides global standards and ethical practices for the industry.

AIGA’s industry standard

AIGA has thoroughly outlined the responsibility of graphic designers to various stakeholders like clients, other designers, public and the environment. The guideline also included other topics like fees, authorship and publicity.

Here are some of the AIGA’s industry standards that you will need to know before pursuing in a graphic designing career or approaching a graphic designer.

Designer’s responsibility to client

AIGA requires designers to acquaint themselves with a client’s business and provide design standards that line up with client’s best interest. Designers are also prohibited from working simultaneously on assignments that have conflict of interest without agreement of their respective client unless it is the convention of a particular trade for a designer to work at the same time for various competitors.

According to AIGA designers are also responsible to keep all clients’ information confidential and that designers have the right to refuse assignments that violates their ethical standards.

Designer’s responsibility to other designers

AIGA states that designers in pursuit of business opportunities should support fair and open competition. However, professional designer is not allowed to accept assignment that is already worked on by another designer without notifying the other designer or until the previous appointment have been properly terminated.

Criticism is accepted however they have to remain objective and balanced and do not denigrate the work and reputation of another designer.

Designers are also not allowed to accept client’s instructions if the involve infringement of another person’s property rights without permission.


Professional designer shall work only for a fee or other agreed-upon form of compensation and will not accept any kickbacks, hidden discounts, commission, allowances or payment in kind from contractors or suppliers. On the other hand, clients should be made aware of any mark-ups.

Designers are also allowed to charge and acceptable administration charge as long as the clients are aware of it.


When advertising or promoting, the medium must not contain misstatements of competence, experience or professional capabilities.


AIGA states that designers are not allowed to claim sole ownership on collaboration projects. On top of that, designers are to clearly state their responsibility in regards to the collaboration projects.

Designer’s responsibility to the public

Designers should avoid projects that will result in harm to the public and communicate the truth in all situations and at all times. Designers should also respect the dignity of their audiences and avoid stereotyping people or group of people. This is especially important in a multi-racial country like Malaysia and Singapore.

Designer’s responsibility to society and the environment

According AIGA, when a designer is engaged in the practice of design they should not to do anything that can lead to harm in the health and safety of the communities, privacy of individuals or other businesses in the area they are operating in.

If you are new in graphic designer than you should be aware that you are encouraged to contribute five percent of your time to projects in projects that serve society and improve the human experience. You should also consider environmental, economic, social and cultural implications of your work and minimize the adverse impacts.

AIGA also outlined that a designer should not accept projects that involve infringement of another person’s or group’s human rights or property rights and have the right to refuse to accept projects that tolerates discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.

AIGA’s industry standard is published to help designers understand their rights and responsibility as well as to aid clients to understand what should be accepted and how to work with one.

Different standards would concur to different countries therefore as a designer or clients looking to work with one, it might help to understand the local rules and regulation applied to the creative industry as what is permitted in one country might not be permitted in another.

For example, it is completely okay to advertise alcohol in your design in countries like Australia but alcohol in design might not be approved by the local government in Malaysia.

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