2021 Year in Review

2021 Year in Review featured image
By Nicole Norgren | Published December 19, 2021

What. A. Year. Take 2.

As we wind down 2021 and head into 2022, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on everything that has happened this year. I think we were all hoping for a 180° from 2020 but that didn’t really happen — it was another year full of virtual events, work-from-home and still a global pandemic. As I started my new term as president, I was excited for Phoenix Design Week and figuring out how our chapter moves forward in a time that might stick around awhile. As I look back on this year, I am still amazed by the incredible board members we have and the creative community that continually shows up and participates together. I am proud to be a part of this and can’t wait to see you all in 2022.

This year, we knew that a lot of our programming would need to be virtual including Phoenix Design Week. In this pivot, we also looked to provide more content on our blog and social media, whether resources, tips and tricks or creative spotlights. We know that in a time of virtual overload that an event every week or even every month can be a lot to ask.

A few highlights of the year:

  1. We held our second virtual Town Hall – AIGA AZ’s open board and community meeting – where we got to hear from you all and introduce the new board.
  2. Continued our Board Explorer program for a second year with another graduate on the Design for Good team.
  3. Hosted our first in-person events in over a year in Tucson & Flagstaff.
  4. Launched a Collide monthly meetup in Tucson.
  5. We had Phoenix Design Week (*end) – fingers-crossed for the last virtual year – back in October with over 300 attendees from not only Arizona, but 16 states and 5 countries around the globe!


More chapter accomplishments to be proud of:

Our committees have stayed motivated and engaged throughout another rough year. While many pivoted to providing additional or different content, we still managed to host 13 events this year including Phoenix Design Week (*end) comprised of 22 sessions over the course of a weekend.

Business of Design

The BOD committee held a few events in 2021 starting with a deep dive into time tracking software that can be game changers in our profitability. During Phoenix Design Week (*end), Matt Fischer and Matt Adams took us through the journey of trusting your struggle in running your own business, along with the wins, the friendships, the amazing clients, and fun stories that grow every year.

Design for Good

The Design for Good committee continued to meet and produce content for the community and continuing relationships built with last year’s CreateAthon. As we move into the new year, we will be planning a few different events and event some cross committee programming. 

Education + Mentorship

The Education + Mentorship committee continued to persist through the pandemic to hold a successful virtual Portfolio Review. Emerging designers and design leaders from all over the state came together to support each other and design in AZ. They also launched a new Mentorship Meetup series that makes mentorship more accessible and effective.

In-House Design

The In-House committee strove to share meaningful content and form connections with in-house creatives via the chapter’s social media platforms and virtual speaker events. During Phoenix Design Week (*end), the committee organized an in-house showcase featuring the work and expertise of local creatives at our annual SNAPS event.


While we had planned to be virtual for one more year, we also had a smaller team; we knew we needed to scale back the frills and focus on what makes the conference the conference: YOU and our vibrant Arizona Creative Community. So this year, we focused on featuring only local speakers and talent and stripped back the identity with the theme Sans (with the help of DotPixel), creating space for the community itself to bring the color and flavor. Thank you to all that submitted their DIY logo interpretations, it was truly amazing to see the variety and quantity we received!

Oh and don’t forget! If you attended Phoenix Design Week (*end), all of the session recordings are still available for viewing until December 31, 2021.

Tucson and Flagstaff

AIGA AZ represents the creative community ALL over the state. Our satellite boards in Tucson and Flagstaff helped us spread the love too. The team down in Tucson started a monthly meetup to bring the creative community together regularly. They also had our chapter’s first in-person event in over a year back in July! Flagstaff also had their first in-person meetup, a group of people gathered on a local patio to catch up after such a long time behind a screen.


Our committee Directors and their team members want to thank all of you for your encouragement, engagement, and support this year. If you have any questions or ideas for them, head over to our Meet the Board page to find the right person and reach out.


We couldn’t do this without our community…

Please join us too in thanking the following sponsors that contributed to our chapter in 2021, helping us bring this past year’s programming and content to you:

Agency Partners

Official Print Partner
Artisan Colour

Community Sponsors
Grand Canyon University
Common Workspace
One Stop Mail

So what’s next?

Our board met last month to brainstorm ideas for continuing our mission of creating an inclusive community for all AZ creatives and set goals for the coming year. We will be hitting the ground running at the first of the year to bring some great programming and content your way in 2022, including another Phoenix Design Week, tentatively scheduled around the weekend of September 23-24, 2022, so mark your calendars now!

That’s a wrap!

I know this year has been another tough one, but from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of our chapter sponsors and partners for their continued support, every single board member that comes to board meetings, plan events and content all while having full time jobs and responsibilities, and of course… YOU! Without you, and the rest of the Arizona Creative Community we wouldn’t be here. Thank you for allowing us into your space, we are proud to be a part of this great Arizona community.

Whatever you might celebrate this time of year, I wish you a happy and healthy one. See you in 2022!

– Nicole Norgren

AIGA Arizona Chapter President
and the 2021-2022 Board of Directors