A few months ago, I joined AIGA. I had heard the debate for a while about whether or not AIGA (and other professional societies) are worth the effort and the dues fee to join. Personally, I never felt that I fully needed to be a part of AIGA, but as the year went on and I found myself increasing alone and feeling like an outsider in the industry I thought it was time to buck up.
And they have a job board, that was my main reason.
So, the experminent began. With a price tag of $250/year, its not cheap. Generally, this is the sort of thing that your company should be paying for, but its pretty steep for a freelancer or young creative to shell out. And although its tax deductible, its shame to see my dues going toward things like this:
So let me explain. Here are two posters, sent in the mail. Bold, and professionally printed with Pantone colours and everything, but representing, essentially, nothing! I can’t imagine how much it costs to print several thousand of these and mail them, but I assure you its more than it costs to email the member base (which they also do). The poster on the right, literally, says nothing. It is simply a way to remind me I am part of the New York City chapter. The one on the left is publicity for an event that I missed. In fact, the poster didn’t turn up in my possession until a week after the event. (although that may be due to the mail system here at my parents’ house)
After about 5 months, I will say with full confidence that joining AIGA is not a wise investment for someone like me. I’ve been to a few gallery showings, but haven’t really “networked” with anyone siginificant, and haven’t learned anything from seminars, etc. The AIGA Gain conference is coming up at the end of this month, and that will pretty much set the tone for whether or not I will re-up next spring.
These posters remind me of the “stairs to nowhere” that used to be featured on Drexel University’s campus. A monument of ego, if you ask me. Just printed for the sake of spending our money, lest they might have to justify the budget some other way.