The passageway leading into the South Campus gallery is swimming in an alphabet soup of letters and familiar icons and signage, hawking everything from the latest blockbuster to cheap, fast cash loans. It’s an immersive experience in the nuanced codes and messages contained within the various fonts and typefaces that punctuate our modern landscape. This visceral typographic encounter acts as an introduction to the student-produced temporary show, 85_15 TYPOGRAPHY: PAST/PRESENT/FUTURE, which is the first exhibition to be presented by the new Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT), due to make its official debut on November 7 with the Symposium and Center opening celebration in its permanent space on the ground floor of ArtCenter’s 950 South Raymond building.
Gabrielle Jennings (MFA 94 Grad Art) is a multi-media artist and Associate Professor teaching in ArtCenter’s Graduate Art program. Most recently, Jennings has edited a collection of essays to be published by University of California Press: Abstract Video: The Moving Image in Contemporary Art (forthcoming Fall 2015). This groundbreaking volume includes a diverse set of essays centered around the question of abstraction in the moving image arts.
Jennings has been artist in residence at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin and 200 Gertrude Street Artist Spaces, Melbourne and has been honored with support from such organizations as the Art Matters Fellowship, Philip Morris Kunstforderung, and the Samsung Faculty Enrichment Grant. Among others, writers Harold Fricke, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, and Jan Tumlir have written about her work.
Jennings received a BFA from the University of California, San Diego. There she had the opportunity to study with artists such as Eleanor Antin and Allan Kaprow. She then studied with Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Patti Podesta, Mike Kelley, Stephen Prina, Lita Albuquerque and Sabina Ott in the Graduate Art program at ArtCenter.
With her book due to be released next month, Jennings answered a few questions about the broad spectrum of personal, professional and creative experiences informing her writing and video creative practice as well as her journey from student to faculty member in ArtCenter’s Graduate Art program.
Doreen Lorenzo: What do you think influenced your career path and becoming a designer?
Katie Dill: Growing up my sister and I were chopping wood, helping to build the extension on the house, taking down trees, driving cars when we were nine years old, and just playing outside in the Adirondacks, making things, like forts and whatever would come to us. And so it was very hands-on—if you see a problem, fix it. I think that kind of approach took me onto the design route, which is all about problem solving and making things.
I’d never even heard of the profession of design, outside of interior design. I studied history in college, because I wanted to know why things are the way they are, and graduated looking to try to understand my next step. While I was studying abroad in Florence I fell in love with architecture, so I started to explore that as a career, speaking to several different architects, trying to learn how they got into it and what they did. That’s when I realized it probably would not be a good profession for someone as impatient as me.
My roommate recommended I talk to industrial designers, and when I did, I realized it sounded like a dream job come true. I applied to school and was accepted at Art Center College of Design. I studied industrial design and did a study abroad at a business school, INSEAD in Singapore, and then did several internships that took me further into the business world.
I saw how MBA students would tackle problems a designer could tackle, but in a different way. And I saw their way of thinking versus our way of thinking, and how together we could do something really great. That energized me to unite the fields. Because it’s not enough to just imagine a beautiful thing. It’s all about: how does that thing fit in the larger ecosystem? What’s the impact going to be on the community? What’s the impact going to be on the business?
Later when I went to work at frog design, I came in as what they called a design analyst. And I started doing more interaction work, and more design strategy, leading design projects. And then from there, after five years at frog, I was leading teams and building teams. Now my design project at Airbnb in many ways is helping to design the team that creates all of our digital products.
To read more about Katie’s experiences transitioning from agency to corporate design work, managing change at Airbnb and her ever expanding definition of what it means to be a designer in today’s world, visit FastCoDesign.
Riding a motorcycle can be a near mystical experience. Under the right circumstances, a road warrior awakening can possess the potential to turn a wanderlust-y freedom seeker into a hardcore biker evangelist. For pioneering motorcycle designer Miguel Galluzzi (BFA 86 Transportation), that zeal took hold early on, when he received his first motorbike for his eighth birthday. Once overcame some initial disappointment—he was expecting a drum set—Galluzzi saddled up, hit the road and never looked back.
Galluzzi’s outsize passion for biking fueled his journey from his native Argentina to Art Center’s Transportation Design program and on to an illustrious career designing iconic motorcycles, including the Ducati Monster, the original “naked bike” which became a landmark of minimalist automotive design and defined the performance-based aesthetic of bike design for the decades that followed.
Relevance is a loaded topic for anyone with creative aspirations. That goes double for members of the Instagram Generation seeking to forge a directing career on screens big or small. And multiply that to the power of three for anyone and everyone working in advertising.
The relevance of relevance certainly is not lost on Zak Marx, a current student in Art Center’s undergraduate Film Department who happens to qualify in all three of the above categories after scoring a coveted gig with American Apparel directing 12—count ‘em, 12!—commercial spots central to the brand’s image overhaul under its new CEO, Paula Schneider.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?