Recently the AIGA partnered with INDEX, Circle of Blue and New York design firm Collins, to launch “Designing Water’s Future”, the first annual Aspen Design Challenge. Aiming to stimulate thought and mobilize the design community towards tackling global issues, the project is calling a global audience of design students to redefine and respond to the global fresh water crisis.

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The Aspen Design Challenge has been distributed to thousands of students at over 250 universities from Beijing to Boston, and anyone wishing to participate may do so by visiting the Aspen Design Challenge website. The AIGA has reported, that there are “already commitments from schools in Australia, China, Denmark, Qatar and the United States.”

The medium of entries is unrestricted; print design, web applications, environmental design, physical devices, data presentation tools, and other approaches are all encouraged. “Design students are encouraged to lead cross-disciplinary teams of engineers, artists, ethnographers, anthropologists and scientists, and to consider the social, cultural and scientific significance of water use.”

The most promising project will receive The INDEX:AIGA Aspen Design Challenge Prize in August 2009 in Copenhagen. Winners will also be given the opportunity to develop their concepts with world leaders and policy makers at the Aspen Environment Forum, and their solutions will be discussed at the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and the World Business Summit on Climate Change.


  • October 1, 2008: Projects may be submitted online.
  • December 15, 2008: Deadline for entries.
  • February 2009: Finalists announced.
  • February–April 2009: Finalists develop polished presentations.
  • Late March 2009: Finalists attend the Aspen Environmental Forum.
  • August 2009: Finalists invited to Copenhagen for a collaborative workshop.
  • October 2009: Selected projects will be published.
  • November–December 2009: Select number of projects will be presented to participants of the World Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen
  • This is such an exciting competition! To find our more visit

    + Aspen Design Challenge

    + AIGA

    + INDEX

    + Circle of Blue