Author Archive

No developing world emergency is too great for UNICEF Innovation Lab lead and MDP alum Jeff Hall

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
Media Design Practices alumnus Jeffrey Hall, in black T-shirt, conducted fieldwork in Uganda before being named UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia.

Media Design Practices alumnus Jeffrey Hall, in black T-shirt, conducted fieldwork in Uganda before being named UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia.

As UNICEF’s Innovation Lab Lead for Indonesia, alumnus Jeffrey Hall has developed a simple standard for his projects: to use design to improve the quality of people’s daily lives. “I collaborate with some amazing people, both in the U.N. and the creative community, to see how innovative approaches can be applied to improving their programs, technology, process or partnerships,” says Hall.

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Alumni video: Strategic brand storyteller Michael Etter sources his inspiration for the ‘beerification’ of wine

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Pizza delivery, filmmaking and teaching are not typical bullet points on a designer’s resume. But Michael Etter (BFA 03 Graphic Design) took a roundabout route to his chosen field at Art Center, which he ultimately came to see as the most effective means to exercise his passion for storytelling. The thread connecting all his diverse interests has always been a narrative one, which continues to inform his work today as a strategic brand storyteller.

What does that mean exactly? As you’ll see in the above video and the Q&A below, Etter works to define brands as if they were characters in a story he’s writing. He then shapes a campaign around the specific attributes of the company. It’s a process that has yielded supremely successful results. Case in point: His recent campaign for Union Wine Company, which was designed to take the pretension out of wine drinking and make it more casual and accessible to non-oenophiles. The resulting campaign combined design innovation—selling wine in cans. But it was Etter’s bold narrative about the “beerification of wine” that distilled the essence of the idea into a media-friendly easily digestible package, generating a smash hit for Union, which quickly sold out of its first run of cans and is now expanding its reach far beyond its roots in Oregon.

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From Insulin tape to reusable sanitary pads: Meet the 2015 Denhart Family Sustainability Prizewinners

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Denhart Sustainability Prize jurors (from L): Kristin Brown [Principal in charge of sustainability, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development], Christian Denhart [representing the Denhart family and Art Center Alumnus] and Heidrun Mumper-Drumm [Professor and Director Sustainability Initiatives, Art Center]

Denhart Sustainability Prize jurors (from L): Kristin Brown [Principal in charge of sustainability, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development], Christian Denhart [representing the Denhart family and Art Center Alumnus] and Heidrun Mumper-Drumm [Professor and Director Sustainability Initiatives, Art Center]

Art Center’s recent announcement of the Denhart Family Sustainability Prizewinners highlights the ways in which a design-thinking approach to social innovation has the potential to create measurable improvements to our health and well-being. The judges selected each of the following four projects based on the concept’s efficacy in addressing pressing environmental, social and/or economic sustainability issues, the potential benefits of the project and its impact as well as its ability to advance the teaching and practice of art and design. Please join us in congratulating the winners. We look forward to seeing these out-of-the-box ideas come to life.

1st Place / $15,000/ OATH: INSULIN TAPE SYSTEM / Martin Francisco

Product Design student Martin Francisco received the grand prize for ‘Oath,’ an innovative insulin delivery system that provides individuals with an accurate and painless method of dispensing insulin, while dramatically reducing material waste and environmental impact.

Oath is designed for aging adults, who have issues with dexterity, needle safety, storing and measuring proper dosages when administering liquid insulin. The tape and dispenser system makes using Oath as easy as applying and removing a Band-Aid. Moreover, Oath has 72% fewer environmental impacts over its life cycle when compared to the current insulin pen. The ergonomic Oath design accomplishes this by reducing the number of materials and components, minimizing waste at all stages, and using non-toxic, recyclable and renewable resources.

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Alumni video: adidas Head of Innovation Al Van Noy on the intersection of design, footwear and pop culture

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Product Design alum Al Van Noy has spent the past twenty-four years devising adidas gear to make us stronger, faster, better and, yes, cooler. As the iconic athletic brand’s Head of Innovation, Van Noy oversees a large team of designers, technologists and sports scientists responsible for anticipating industry trends and creating products designed to serve a wide array of consumers’ needs and wants, ranging from high-performance footwear for professional athletes to a suite of classic and contemporary must-have kicks and sports accessories for everyone else. In other words, it’s Van Noy’s job to maintain and enhance the star power of those three stripes.

As Art Center’s Product Design department prepares to send another cohort of students to kick off its annual PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy Challenge, a two-week footwear design master class in adidas’ US home-base of Portland, Oregon, we’re proud to feature the above video tracing Van Noy’s steps from Pasadena to Portland and his ongoing journey into the stratosphere of footwear innovation.

 

What is design? asks Transportation Systems and Design grad and Student Leadership Award recipient Russell Singer

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
Russell Singer

Russell Singer

Each term, Art Center has the great honor of presenting the Student Leadership Award to a graduating student. This award fulfills Art Center’s vision of educating artists and designers who are not only leaders within their professional fields, but leaders in their communities. Based on recommendations from faculty, staff and students, this award recognizes a student who has provided leadership through participation in Art Center’s campus life, community outreach, student organizations and department initiatives.

This past Saturday, Graduate Transportation Systems Design grad Russell Singer accepted Art Center’s Student Leadership Award for the Spring 2015 term. He then listed his thank yous and fired off a question that appeared so seemingly simple it almost appeared to be pandering the crowd gathered in the Pasadena Civic for Art Center’s Spring 2015 Graduation ceremony.

What is design?

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Gee whiz! Graphic Design alum Earl Gee named AIGA 2015 San Francisco Fellow

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
Design by Earl Gee

Design by Earl Gee

Earl Gee (Graphic Design, 1983), has been selected as an AIGA San Francisco Fellow for 2015. AIGA, founded in 1914, is the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, with 69 chapters and over 25,000 members. AIGA San Francisco, founded in 1983, is one of the largest AIGA chapters in the nation with over 1600 members. The AIGA Fellow program recognizes mature designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within the design community and their AIGA chapter. Fellows are honored for their design practice and other contributions in a range of areas, including education, writing, and leadership.

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Change/Makers alumni profile video: Entertainment Designer James Paick on designing a life of play

Monday, March 30th, 2015

With its bookcases full of toys, games, models and monstrous action figures, the lobby of Scribble Pad Studios could double as a Comic-Con booth or a teenager’s fantasy boy-cave. Not far off is a large room full of people mouse-clicking in front of monitors containing the dark landscapes of video games. While this kind of activity might get a person in trouble at most other jobs, the work is all about play at this entertainment design firm, founded by Art Center Alum James Paick (Illustration, ’04),  specializing in character, creature and concept design for video games, TV and film.

Paick, who founded Scribble Pad in 2008, didn’t attend Art Center with the intention of becoming an entertainment designer. In fact, the Entertainment Design department didn’t yet exist back then. But in the years since, it has become one of Art Center’s most sought-after degrees, which has inspired the launch of the new Character Animation track in Entertainment Design, now accepting applications for Fall 2015.

Ultimately, it was Paick’s passion for popular culture and science fiction informed his illustration work, which he leveraged to land work in various video game design firms before he set out on his own and launched his own business. There’s a lot to admire about James Paick (the subject of our newest Change/Makers alumni video profile) who now spends his days creating fantasmagorical alternate realities and conjuring the creepy creatures who inhabit them. Check out the above video and the Q&A below to learn more about his creative inspirations and the wisdom behind making work out of the booming business of play.

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Art Center @ SXSW Interactive 2015: Malcolm Gladwell, John Maeda, immortality and mind-clones

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
John Maeda delivers the Design in Tech Report at SXSW Interactive 2015

John Maeda delivers the Design in Tech Report at SXSW Interactive 2015

Taken as a whole, the sweeping scope of topics discussed within the sessions on offer at SXSW Interactive formed an MRI-like portrait of the sub-currents coursing beneath the surface of our society. One of the dominant themes to emerge throughout the conference was the need to populate the tech, design and creative industries with makers and leaders who reflect the diversity of the audiences and users they aim to serve.

This imperative for inclusivity among the ranks of our creative and technological influencers bubbled up early and often on Day 2 of our coverage, in a variety of milieu beginning with our first session of the day: What Does an Art and Design Incubator Look Like? The panel’s lineup of NY-based artists and innovators included Art Center alum Lisa Park (Fine Art), whose performance installation pieces deploy technology in the service of illuminating our emotional lives through the use of sensors and sound, in addition to three other artist-entrepreneurs whose creative practices straddle the intersection of the entrepreneurial, technological and creative spheres.

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Art Center @ SXSW Interactive 2015: Frank Lloyd Wright, Princess Reema and David Chang

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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Let’s face it, the essential ingredients comprising daily life in the Digital Age are in a state of head-spinningly rapid change, we’re often just racing to keep up, unaware of the impact the onslaught of the new. Sometimes it’s hard not to wonder what’s been lost now that we have unlimited distractions, a highly curated set of entertainment options and no space for boredom. What are the unforeseen implications of the increasingly widespread adoption of the internet of things, artificial intelligence and the shared economy? How do we create a more inclusive and equitable environment for everyone who steps into the digital domain?

These were just a few of the thorny and thought-provoking questions addressed within the vast offerings of the 2015 SXSW Interactive program. In fact, this year’s lineup was so densely packed with timely, topical and totally useful panels, workshops and mentoring meet-ups, navigating the offerings was an exercise in content curation, information architecture and design thinking. Because so much of the subject matter covered within the festival’s many panels and lectures is so indisputably germane to the Art Center community, we attended the festival targeting the events most Art Center-relevant events, which we’ll recap to you in the form of key takeaways parceled out within a series of blog posts over the next three days.

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Remembering Norm Schureman: A video tribute to the larger-than-life legacy of an Art Center icon

Friday, March 20th, 2015

This week we are remembering and celebrating the life of Norman Schureman, our beloved teacher, mentor and friend.  It’s been 5 years since we had to say goodbye to one of the most passionate designers and significant instructors in our Art Center community.   The ripples of his influence are still felt as we continue to uphold his ideals in the Product Design department, as well as through the Norman Schureman Memorial Endowed Scholarship fund.  On the special week, let’s raise our glasses with pinkies out and remember our friend Norm.