Stefan Sagmeister, Bill Drenttel, Jessica Helfand Among 2013 AIGA Medalists

Frederic Goudy had one, so did Philip Johnson and Robert Rauschenberg. The Eameses had two. Pentagram is awash in them. George Lois wears his to bed. We’re talking about AIGA Medals, the graphic design world’s highest honor. Allow us to be the first to tell you this year’s banner crop of medalists: John Bielenberg, William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand, Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, Stefan Sagmeister, Lucille Tenazas, and Wolfgang Weingart. Read on for AIGA’s citations of each design star, who receive their James Earle Fraser-designed medals on April 19 at the AIGA Awards in NYC.

•Designer, entrepreneur, and imaginative advocate for a better world, John Bielenberg will be recognized for innovative investigations into the practice and understanding of design and leadership in the “design for good” movement.

•Designer, theorist, and publisher William Drenttel will be recognized for advancing critical thinking about design; for his long-standing commitment to integrating design strategy into organizations; for expanding design’s role in social innovation; and for his work as cofounder, editor and publisher of Design Observer.

•Designer, educator, and writer Jessica Helfand will be recognized as an incisive critic; a pioneer in design practice and education; an innovator of new forms of visual narrative; and for her work as cofounder of Design Observer.

•Type designers extraordinaire Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones will be recognized for their contributions to the typographic landscape through impeccable craftsmanship, skilled historical reference and insightful vernacular considerations.

•Inspirational and intriguing designer Stefan Sagmeister will be recognized for a career based on imaginative and often unorthodox design solutions to both commercial and social communication challenges, which often reveal design’s potential for addressing vexing social problems within popular culture.

•Design educator and practitioner Lucille Tenazas will be recognized for her prominent role in translating postmodern ideas into critical design practice; her exploration of the relationship between type, photography and language; and the development and leadership of highly-respected design education programs—always with exquisite execution.

•Designer and instructor Wolfgang Weingart will be recognized for his typographic explorations and teaching at the Schule für Gestaltung Basel, and who, through the work of his students, created a more experimental and expressive approach to typography that has been influential around the world.