Author Archive

Art Center and Intel forge an alliance in the war of the wearables

Monday, March 10th, 2014
(L-R) Intel's Steven Holmes, Artefact's Jennifer Darmour (MFA 05 Media Design Practices), Intel's Lama Nachman and Karten Design's Eric Olson (BS 96 Product)

(L-R) Intel’s Steven Holmes, Artefact’s Jennifer Darmour (MFA 05 Media Design Practices), Intel’s Lama Nachman and Karten Design’s Eric Olson (BS 96 Product) at the Connected Bodies symposium

At last month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung showed off its upcoming Gear Fit, a wrist-worn device that performs double duty as an activity tracker/personal trainer and as an extension of your smartphone. It’s just the latest salvo in the escalating war of the wearables, a battlefield already crowded with devices from companies like Jawbone, Fitbit, Nike and Pebble, and about to get even hairier with Google and Apple preparing to enter the fray.

While companies were showing off their wearables in Spain, here in Pasadena, Art Center’s graduate Media Design Practices (MDP) and pioneering technology company Intel were exploring the future of the field itself in a public symposium titled Connected Bodies: Imagining New Wearables.


Products become customized vehicles of personal expression in Art Center at Night’s surface design class

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Patterns from Debra Valencia's Kyoto collection.

Patterns from Debra Valencia’s Kyoto collection.

Can you imagine a world filled with nothing but solid colors and smooth surfaces?

If not, then thank a surface designer, those daring individuals who transform our vanilla products—everything from iPad cases and coffee mugs to tote bags and pillowcases—into personalized vehicles for individual expression.

In this spring’s upcoming Art Center at Night Introduction to Surface Design course, taught by artist and designer Debra Valencia, students will learn about the styles and techniques used in creating surface designs by exploring case studies, product categories, themes and other business basics of earning a living as a surface designer.


Fine Art student Kristy Lovich to receive the Student Leadership Award

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Fine Art student Kristy Lovich on board the Metro. Photo by Jennie Warren.

Fine Art student Kristy Lovich on board the Metro. Photo by Jennie Warren.

“My practice as a culture worker is hinged on the belief that art making lives in tandem with social action,” says Fine Art student Kristy Lovich, who this weekend will receive Art Center College of Design’s Student Leadership Award.

Each term, Art Center presents the Student Leadership Award to a deserving student from the College. The award is a distinguished honor granted to a graduating student who exemplifies leadership qualities and accomplishments that stand out above their peers.

Students who receive the Student Leadership Award represent the character, the integrity and the skills that Art Center desires for all students to develop during their time at the College. Recipients must have represented student interests by providing outstanding leadership through broad involvement in Art Center campus life.

Politically engaged and dedicated to creating an artistic community based on a culture of mutual support, Lovich provided a vivid model for how art and design can directly confront today’s crucial issues. “As a student at Art Center, I knew that the rigor of my studies would limit my ability to maintain my activism outside of school,” says Lovich. “The solution to this was to bring my desire for social justice directly into the school community.”


Chinese immersion: Alum’s award-winning agency behind high-adrenaline campaign

Thursday, December 12th, 2013
An immersive experience that’s part of a campaign in China created for Under Armour by David Schwarz and Hush Studios. (Photo courtesy of Hush Studios)

An immersive experience that’s part of a campaign in China created for Under Armour by David Schwarz and Hush Studios. (Photo courtesy of Hush Studios)

In the United States, if you want to push yourself physically there’s a competitive infrastructure in place, from t-ball to the pros, to help you achieve your goals. That’s not so much the case in China, says David Schwarz (Graduate Media Design ’04), creative partner at Hush, the New York-based design agency: “The minute percentage of the population that are seen as having athletic ability are whisked away at a young age and put on an Olympic track.”


Danziger@90 celebrated alumnus and legendary designer Lou Danziger’s lasting work and inspiration

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Three Advertising alumni together at Danziger @ 90: Lou Danziger (center) with former Art Center instructor Roland Young (left) and former Advertising Department Chair Mikio Osaki (right).

Lou Danziger (center) with student and former Art Center instructor Roland Young (left) and student and former Advertising Department Chair Mikio Osaki (right).

Lou Danziger is a pillar of West Coast design. He has worked as a designer, art director and consultant since 1949, bringing his talents to a diverse list of institutions, from Microsoft to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Danziger studied at Art Center in the late 1940s and went on to become a legendary instructor at the College as well as at institutions like Chouinard, the California Institute of the Arts and Harvard University. And he recently turned 90 years old.

To celebrate the occasion, earlier this month at the Public Programs gallery at South Campus, Art Center held Danziger@90, an exhibition and appreciation of Danziger’s work and teaching, organized and curated by instructor and former Advertising Department Chair Elena Salij. In addition to Danziger himself, the event attracted more than 150 individuals–with some guests traveling from as far away as Hong Kong–former students of Danziger’s from Harvard, California Institute of the Arts and Art Center.

Past and present leaders and instructors from the Advertising department were at the event, including Chair Gary Goldsmith, former Chair Mikio Osaki and former instructor Roland Young. Other guests included former President David Brown, Provost Fred Fehlau, alumnus and JPL Visual Strategist Daniel Goods and Williamson Gallery director Stephen Nowlin.

The audience to this intimate event were treated to a presentation of Danziger’s work along with his singular philosophy and timeless insight.

We’re pleased to present to you a taste of the event below.


Art Center students and alumni ignite Spark!

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Student Mathias Hintermann's Aiguille short track speed skater headgear won a Spark! Award.

Student Mathias Hintermann’s Aiguille short track speed skater headgear won a Spark! Award.

With designs ranging from a portable desk for low-income children in India to lighting inspired by the beauty found in Japanese metal craft, Art Center students and alumni brought home several awards last week from the 2013 Spark International Design Awards.

Students and professionals from more than 27 countries across the globe competed in the categories of Experience Design, Product Design, Spaces Design, Transport Design, Communication Design, App Design and Concept Design, with awards ranging from Bronze Awards to the highest award, the Spark! Award.


Cobras, Stingrays and Mako Sharks, oh my! Auto afficionados get “Inspired by Nature” at Car Classic

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

This past Sunday, nearly 2,000 visitors—transportation designers, car collectors, auto enthusiasts and more—assembled at Art Center College of Design for its popular annual Car Classic event. This year, the event showcased transportation design “Inspired by Nature” and celebrated a generous recent gift from Southern California philanthropists and car collectors Peter and Merle Mullin, who attended the event.

Nearly 90 carefully curated cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles–many of which, in keeping with the event’s theme, were inspired by birds, fish, insects and other natural phenomena–were on display at the event. A jury of alumni, faculty and industry leaders issued Best in Class awards to 18 vehicles in eight categories; while attendees voted for five vehicles in five categories.

Local custom auto designer Gary Wales’ 1917 La Bestioni Boat Tail Speedster was named the People’s Choice award winner. The Inspired by Nature award went to the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Racing Stingray, whose lines were originally penned by alumnus and Car Classic honorary guest Peter Brock. And a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark, designed by alumnus Larry Shinoda, received the first ever Kids’ Choice award.


Take two and check your tricorder in the morning: XPRIZE students design the future of medical diagnosis

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The Rytm student project tackles the “silent killer” of hypertension.

If you’ve ever watched Star Trek, even casually, chances are you’ve seen Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock or Dr. McCoy use a tricorder, a hand-held device capable of detecting everything from an object’s chemical composition to an individual’s vital signs (“He’s dead, Jim.”).

Thanks to the tricorder, the concept of a hand-held non-invasive device that can diagnose whether somebody is pregnant, experiencing abnormal neural activity, or countless other medical scenarios, has persisted as a dream gadget for decades.

But the powerful processing capabilities and the myriad of sensors found in today’s smartphones make a tricorder seem less the stuff of science fiction and more a very tangible, and inevitable, outcome of our current technology.

Or, at least that’s what the XPRIZE Foundation thinks.

Last year the foundation launched the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition to challenge teams from across the globe to design a device (or suite of devices) that can both accurately diagnose a set of 15 diseases independent of a healthcare professional or facility and also provide an appealing and engaging consumer user experience.

Thousands of individuals are participating in this challenge, including 14 students in an XPRIZE sponsored project at Art Center–an activity not part of the Tricorder XPRIZE but that paralleled the main competition–co-taught this past Summer term by Brian Boyl and Jeff Higashi.

In the class, students were encouraged to design a device concept that conforms to the guidelines of the XPRIZE competition. But they were also allowed to take their creations in a different direction altogether, with the understanding that their projects could serve as design inspiration for the final teams–which XPRIZE plans to name later this month–who will be in the running to create the actual medical device. Another possible outcome is that students from this class could join a like-minded team in the competition.

Continue past the break to see some of the projects the students created.


Required reading: Digital_Humanities, by Media Design Practices Chair Anne Burdick

Monday, September 30th, 2013

burdickWhat are the digital humanities? That’s the question posed in a new scholarly book co-authored by Anne Burdick, chair of the Graduate Media Design Department. And judging by the critical response—from movers and shakers in the field like Lev Manovich, Dan Cohen and Alan Liu—it’s a question many want answered.

In Digital_Humanities (MIT Press), Burdick—along with metaLAB (at) Harvard’s Jeffrey Schnapp and UCLA’s Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld and Todd Presner—explores geospatial analysis, data mining, corpus linguistics and other non-traditional modes of humanistic inquiry. Writing for Leonardo Reviews, media artist and scholar Dene Grigar urges everyone to read Digital_Humanities, no matter their academic discipline, as it describes an area of research that has “the potential of transforming higher education.” And in the Italian edition of WIRED, Matteo “Mister Bit” Bittanti names the book one of his best of 2012 and recommends that every Italian university student add it to their reading list. A free Open Access edition of the book is available at the MIT Press website.

This story originally appeared in Art Center’s Dot magazine. Check out Dot online for more news of alumni and faculty exhibitions, products, books, films and social impact.

Storytelling across mediums: Award nominations and class video showcase recent transmedia projects

Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Graphic Design student Lois Kim tests her transmedia installation piece.

Graphic Design student Lois Kim tests her transmedia installation piece.

Pick up the current issue of Dot and you’ll find a feature–Transform, Transcend, Transmedia: The Changing Face of Graphic Design–that takes a look at the transmedia area of emphasis within Art Center College of Design’s Graphic Design Department.

One of the students whom we highlighted in that story, recent graduate Paul Hoppe, has just been named a finalist for the 2013 Adobe Design Achievement Awards (ADAA)–an impressive feat considering that only 30 students out of a total pool of 3,752 submissions from around the world made it that far. Hoppe is a finalist in the category of Installation Design for his project ECHO: The Fragility of Moments Suspended in Time, which explores the rise and fall of a popular turn of the century tourist attraction in Pasadena.

Immediately after graduating this past spring, Hoppe became a teaching assistant for instructor Brad Bartlett’s Typography 5: Transmedia and Advanced Graphic Studio: Transmedia courses. He spent the Summer 2013 term at South Campus, helping two dozen Graphic Design students with their projects in which they dived deep into their personal interests to rebrand cultural institutions and create complementary interactive installations.