What’s Next: AIGA Chicago 2014 Individual Student Grant

You’re just about to finish design school (or you’ve finished very recently), and you are likely asking yourself, “What’s Next?” While you may already have an idea— a job, summer travel, or maybe graduate school—AIGA Chicago is offering you the opportunity to take initiative and propose a project that will extend your studies, advance your design research, kickstart your career, or otherwise progress your own creative momentum. Don’t wait for what’s next.

Our goal is to foster a community of emerging designers that are proactive, engaged, and bold risk-takers. To do so, we are encouraging self-initiated projects and practices that might not get off the ground without support. By doing so, we hope to advance the designers that undertake such projects as well as the community that supports them. With the 2014 Individual Student Grant, we are offering an award of $3,000 to assist one recent graduate to initiate a unique, viable, and focused design project to produce and share with the Chicago design community.

If you are a recent Chicago area graduate and have a project that you believe will have a positive impact on both your advancement and the local design community, then AIGA Chicago encourages you to apply. It doesn’t have to be a big project. It could be producing an awareness campaign for a social cause or campaign you support. Or perhaps, you want to turn your critical focus toward writing an essay to build upon or expand your research. Whatever your passion may be, propose a project that will produce something original and incisive that you’d like to undertake within the next six months.

Make a case for your project with a Proposal. Make a case for yourself with a Portfolio. Define your own future. Be what’s next!

Eligibility & Requirements:

  • Open to all Chicago-area AIGA members graduating from a full-time design program within the 2013-2014 academic year (Fall 2013–Fall 2014), regardless of major.
  • Applicant must be a current AIGA member. (Please note: you do NOT need to belong to an AIGA student group to apply.)
  • Open to recent graduates from both undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Your proposed project must be completed by December 31, 2014.
  • AIGA Chicago will ask you to share periodic updates on your process with the AIGA community via blog posts.
  • AIGA Chicago will ask you to present the results of your work to our board when the project is complete.


To apply, complete the application form below and submit a single PDF containing:

  • Proposal stating clearly the work that the award will support. Your Proposal should include a title, the concept, a timeline for completion, your objectives or goals, any costs that the award may be used to cover for the production of your work, and how you believe the project will impact your career and the broader design community. No more than two pages describing what you intend to make, write, or otherwise create with the award.
  • Portfolio of design work. You may submit more than one image per project but no more than 10 images total. Please include project title, media, and a very brief description of each assignment or project. Label your materials clearly with your name, school affiliation, degree sought, and graduation date.
  • Letter of recommendation from a professor in your program.


Post submission as a single PDF (no larger than 10mb) via ftp.
Hostname: ftp.aigachicago.org
Username: xaigachicago-student-grant
Password: 5tud3ntgr4nt

If you cannot post via ftp, please send your application materials as a single PDF to both matt@chicago.aiga.org and david@chicago.aiga.org.

Proposals Due: Friday, May 30 , 2014
Award Recipient Announced: June, 2014
Project Complete (with report to AIGA Chicago Board): December 31, 2014

Proposals will be judged by a panel of three judges: two current AIGA Chicago board members and a former board member or advisor. Proposals will be judged based on their perceived impact on both the designer and the community, the clarity of intent, and the feasibility of the proposed project—to be considered in conjunction with the strength of the Portfolio. The grant recipient will be notified once judging has taken place and will be announced officially in conjunction with the AIGA Chicago Centennial Poster Show in June 2014.

If you have any questions regarding the submission process, please contact Matt Wizinsky, AIGA Chicago Education co-Chair at matt@chicago.aiga.org.


By AIGA Chicago
Published May 15, 2014
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