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Honoring Aly Khalifa, a Design Catalyst

Written by
David Burney
September 17, 2013

Many organizations and institutions recognize the contributions of those who have made a significant impact within the organization and the community with the distinction of naming them a “Fellow.” The AIGA Fellow award program was created in 1999 as “a means of recognizing designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community as well as in their local AIGA chapter. The areas of education, writing, leadership and reputation, as well as the practice of design are given equal consideration in measuring significant contribution.” 1

Since 1999, AIGA Raleigh has honored two design community leaders as Fellows of the chapter—Meredith Davis and David Burney. On September 26th at Made Good, we’ll be recognizing Aly Khalifa as our chapter’s third Fellow (join us!)

David Burney, AIGA Fellow 2008, explains Aly’s work as a design catalyst in our community:

“As the design industry moves into a new century, and the world moves from the machine age full steam into the information age, the need for innovation, creativity, and community engagement have become more strategic. It makes sense that AIGA, as a professional association, re-examine the new and changing roles of design and designers.

Aly represents the best of that change. His talents as a designer in the traditional sense are well noted. Working with clients such as Nike, Trek, Bausch & Lomb—Aly has a history of making beautiful artifacts that people love and enjoy.

Aly has leveraged this work with national clients to explore the model of designer-as-entrepreneur. Today, Aly creates his own designs and takes them to market directly. To meet the demands of the mass markets his products have created, Aly routinely travels worldwide, partnering with manufacturers and fabricators.

Yet Aly stays connected to the local design communities as well. He and his wife started Designbox—a creative collaborative—in 2001, which led more recently to SPARKcon—the Triangle’s first Creative Conference that enables more than 30,000 people in the Triangle area to stake its claim as the “Creative Hub of the South.”

Aly continues to develop in his role of designer-as-leader and was awarded a prestigious Eisenhower Fellow in 2011. And has recently partnered with Stefan Sagmeister to produce the Vilcek Prize awards for the Vilcek Foundation. These awards have become award winners themselves and are presently on display at the Louvre in Paris.

Aly’s accomplishments honor the design community of North Carolina. From designer-as-maker to designer-as-entrepreneur to designer-as-collaborator and designer-as-community leader, his work exemplifies the best of our profession. Aly is a design pioneer. AIGA Raleigh is proud to add Aly’s name to our list of Fellows.”


1 AIGA Fellow Award

Joe Schram and Amy Lyons contributed to this article.

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