November 2020 Community Update

Hello Portland Community,

I am pleased to share an update from AIGA Portland with you. This past summer I stepped into the Presidency position in the midst of a truly unprecedented time for the world. Among the many stressors in 2020, our community has endured a global pandemic, natural disasters, the continuing prevalence of racial and social injustice, and finally, recovery from the heavy toll of an election year.

A decent amount of our public-facing chapter activities slowed down. Our team of volunteer board directors and committee members took pause to address the outside forces that have affected our daily lives. Meanwhile, we have also been adjusting and working through operational and role transitions on our team.

Embracing Change

Our chapter had originally planned for 2020 to be a fruitful year of 42 programming events, which included series such as the AIGA Portland Design Book Club, Career Tools, dMob, Member Meetups, The MIX portfolio review, Studio Tours, and more. We simply could not carry onward with the type of in-person programming we had planned without posing a health risk and endangering the lives of our community individuals and families. 

We have been holding our team’s regular board meetings over Zoom and have adapted events such as AIGA Portland Design Book Club, The MIX, and Volunteer Info sessions to the virtual format. With virtual gatherings becoming a new norm, we’re excited about the opportunities we have to bridge the Portland community with additional outside resources and meaningful connections. Additionally, we continue to develop relevant and engaging content for our blog and social media channels.  

Spring Renewal

While many of our regular in-person programming series had to go on pause, the AIGA Portland Design Book Club continued virtually. Over the past couple of months, readers from various parts of the world joined us on Zoom for the meetup. The book club will be taking a break for the holidays and return virtually in January 2021. In case you’re in need of books for your reading list, here is what we read this year:

  • Herding Tigers by Todd Henry
  • The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
  • The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker
  • Picture This by Molly Bang
  • Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

Design for Good & Mental Health

Lifestyles in the Spring of 2020 took a new form as plans started to get shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic. Many have been adjusting to possible job loss or an unexpected work-from-home lifestyle. The AIGA Portland Design For Good: Creative Connection was a weekly series that offered creatives a virtual safe space to share experiences, strength, hope, and resources with each other. Creative Connections became a place to help us not feel so alone in this crazy world. While there are no current plans to host any more Creative Connections, we are looking forward to sharing news and developments from our Design for Good committee in the upcoming year. Something you can keep a lookout for is our upcoming #AIGAExchange, a creative postcard exchange that anyone can be a part of. Stay tuned!

Women Lead

Our Women Lead Committee has been working on new opportunities for 2021. AIGA chapters across the U.S. are hopeful to partner and co-host a nationwide panel of womxn creatives who will provide insights and inspiration around our work, our activism, and our connections. For those who were looking forward to our Design Week Portland event with Natasha Jen (of Pentagram) — we will keep you posted on plans to reschedule in the future.

BIPOC Hardware Grant for Students & Recent Grads

AIGA Portland is looking to partner with a community of agencies for an upcoming grant program specifically aimed at providing much-needed computer hardware for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) design students and recent grads who have lost access to their campus computers due to the pandemic. This grant will award 10 BIPOC design students with a new computer so that they can continue to make art and look for work in the safety of their homes.

If your company or organization is interested in sponsoring a student please contact Simon Sotelo, our Equity & Inclusion Director for more information on how to get involved.

Education & Professional Development

Our Education Committee’s primary focus is to create opportunities for meaningful connection and growth. In addition to The MIX, our annual portfolio review, we are looking forward to offering programming that reflects the professional development needs of Portland’s design community. Based on the current need for more connection and support resources, we are excited to announce some new offerings rolling out over the next year!

We have opened up applications for our first session of AIGA Portland’s Mentorship Program! This 8-week program starts in January and pairs student mentees with professional mentors to meet and talk weekly about design, career, goals, and inspiration. There are applications to get involved as a mentee or mentor. We are also working with student groups at various colleges to initiate some new cross-program student connection events for more peer mentorship within our student community. Finally, in later 2021 we are going to launch a new Career Tools resource website that will be a curated content library offering tools, methods, and other resources relevant to Portland’s professional designers.

AIGA Portland is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to listening, understanding and responding to the ever-changing needs of the local creative community. 

There are various are ways in which you can support our efforts:

  • Volunteer with us – help us design, write content, mentor, copyedit, and more!  
  • Join a committee or the board
  • Become an AIGA member or renew your membership
  • Make a donation towards an initiative you care about
  • Sponsor a student through the Equity and Inclusion Hardware Grant 
  • Partner and collaborate with us
  • Select AIGA Portland as your charity of choice when you shop on

I encourage you to reach out to me at with questions and/or feedback.

I am proud of the passion, professionalism, and resilience of our organization. I hold enormous amounts of respect for the individual volunteers and the members of our Board of Directors, who make AIGA Portland possible with the generosity of their time and efforts.

With gratitude,

Monica Mo
President | AIGA Portland

Thank you: Duncan Lawrence, Jennifer Pantages, Simon Sotelo, Brandon Waybright, Michelle Roberts, Audrey Desler, Angela Esperson and Carrie Grant.

Graphic designed by Brandon Waybright

About Monica Mo

Monica Mo is a Taiwanese-American multi-disciplinary creative, educator, and President of the AIGA Portland chapter. She is a critical thinker who has a passion for crafting experiences that leave lasting impacts on the user, audience, and community. She brings these characteristics into her leadership role on the AIGA Portland Executive Board. Prior to this role, Monica led strategic planning for the chapter as Vice President, and served three years as Programming Director, producing events such as Career Tools, Design Week Portland, dMob (Design Mob), and much more. Monica is an Assistant Professor, teaching part-time in the Graphic Design program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Throughout her career, she has worked alongside a multitude of clients and companies such as Adidas, Downstream, Liquid Agency, Nike, Second Story, Skylight Collective, Swift, Pentagram, and much more.

By Monica Mo
Published November 25, 2020