Author Archives: Teri Bond

Alums and faculty from Google, NASA, Fiat, Sony Share Survival Tools and Strategies for Success in Tech and Design

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For designers, who often create structure out of chaos, it is critical to establish a common language across a variety of disciplines and have a strong point of view. Leaders, many who work in male dominated fields, reinforced those points at ArtCenter’s Women in Industrial Design Forum on July 15. Women designers from Nike, Airbnb, Sony, Mattel, MIT Media Lab, Google and Snap gathered on campus to share wisdom from the trenches.

“Being opinionated and having a point of view is even more important when working in a male dominated industry because you’ll get a lot of no’s and people talking over you but you have to push past that and not be personally offended by those obstacles,” said Angie Park (BS 2011), who is a hybrid UX researcher at Sony in San Francisco.

When asked “Why do you keep redesigning our product?” by a colleague, Sara Ortloff Khoury (MFA 1992), user experience design director at Google, responded by explaining the iterative process, reflecting a core principle of design thinking particularly relevant to the tech industry: everything can be upgraded into a new and improved product, app, service or device. Khoury lead the design on Google’s recently launched Hire, a new service that helps businesses more effectively manage their internal recruiting process.

“It’s a life long endeavor,” said Angie Park. “A large part of what we do is educate coworkers and clients, champion the idea of design thinking.”

“Engineers think of you as an afterthought,” said Kristina Marrero (BS 2014), colors, materials and finish (CMF) designer at Snap Inc., who makes it a point of educating more people about her field to make products more successful.

While it’s easy to obsess over whether or not you play up your femininity or play it down and what in the room is working against you, the consensus among attendees was that working in a male dominated field, it is important to find a support system, be strong, fight for your point of view and be yourself.

“Don’t be afraid to speak loudly,” said Jenn Kuca (BS 2012), senior strategic designer, BCG Digital Ventures. “When people are talking over you, speak louder.”

When asked if there is a way to approach the design research process that is enhanced by being a woman, panelists agreed women are better collaborators, more empathetic especially in awkward situations, and more detail oriented in their observations, generally speaking, than men.

Some projects are male driven and it’s obvious based on the output, said Angie Park. “You can’t design well if the team is not diversified, it can’t be only female driven either.” Diversity among voices represented by gender and ethnicity, they agreed, is most important.

“I was inspired to pursue a leadership position at Nike when I realized there were no women in senior positions at the organization,” said Marni Gerber (BS 1985), ArtCenter faculty and senior design director at Nike. She created a group within the footwear leader to focus on constructive changes to the corporate culture and be a safe place for women with the purpose of helping senior leaders become more supportive of women. She urged audience members to have many mentors, not just one.

Khoury said while it’s hard to bear witness to gender bias, we must stop thinking about the fairness issue because effort doesn’t know gender. “At the end of the day, I’m judged by my effort.” She encouraged the audience to read Angela Lee Duckworth’s writing about the power of passion and perseverance.

Panelists encouraged women to approach job qualifications as wish lists not check lists because, they said research shows women tend to only seek jobs they’re 100 percent prepared for and men pursue positions they’re only 60 percent prepared for.

Mariana Prieto (BS 2012), a design innovation consultant, summed up the day by saying you’re never too young or too old to be a mentor or a mentee, there’s always someone on either side to learn from and when you help others, you learn a ton. Follow your intuition she urged, because once you take the first step the next will follow.

Companion exhibitions at ArtCenter and Descanso Gardens explore the tension between natural and urban environments

Constance Mallinson's "Short History" is featured in the upcoming exhibition "Urbanature" at the Williamson Gallery on ArtCenter's Hillside Campus.

Constance Mallinson’s “Short History” is featured in the upcoming Urbanature at the Williamson Gallery on ArtCenter’s Hillside Campus.

Artists are exploring how we perceive the eroding boundaries between nature and the city in an age of environmental change, crisis and impact. Two winter exhibitions—Farewell, Eden and Urbanature—present works by urban artists who are seeking to define their relationship to nature.

Farewell, Eden, curated by L.A.-based artist/writer John David O’Brien at the Descanso Gardens’ Sturt Haaga Gallery in La Cañada Flintridge, is now open and continues through April 3. Urbanature, curated by L.A.-based artist and writer Constance Mallinson at ArtCenter College of Design’s Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery in Pasadena, opens on February 23 and continues through May 8.

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Building a better digital world: Meet the inaugural graduates of ArtCenter’s interaction design program

An excited crowd gathered around Ting Wu’s Kaleidoscope exhibit, spilling out into the Hillside Campus hallways during ArtCenter’s Fall 2015 recruitment open house. Inspired by the toy she loved as a child, Wu wondered what it would be like to experience the inside of a kaleidoscope. Weeks of user testing and research for the Play Studio assignment paid off: The popular interactive installation transformed the joy of the single user toy into a shareable immersive and, yes, kaleidoscopically cool experience. Visitors hastily snapped selfies of their own digitized images while others used the installation to create stunning art. Perhaps most significantly, this unqualified Grad Show hit represented an important ArtCenter milestone: Its creator would soon become a member of the first class of ArtCenter students to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Interaction Design, the College’s youngest undergraduate program.

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ArtCenter master plan features affordable student housing and elevated quad and cycleway

ArtCenter’s vision for a South Campus student housing village, mobility hub, public gallery and park-like quad. (Image credit: Michael Maltzan Architecture / Tina Chee Landscape Studio)

ArtCenter’s vision for a South Campus student housing village, mobility hub, public gallery and park-like quad. (Image credit: Michael Maltzan Architecture / Tina Chee Landscape Studio)

ArtCenter College of Design has made public its new master plan, charting a 10-year vision for the future of the College’s physical campuses. At a November 12th reception, nearby residents and business leaders were treated to an early look at the visionary proposal that will provide students with innovative learning and making spaces as well as much-needed housing. The College plans to break ground in 2017, following the City of Pasadena’s review process, to create a thriving art and culture educational urban destination.

Highlights of the plan include an elevated park-like quad that spans the Metro Gold Line tracks, a transportation hub, a cycleway, the transformation of Raymond Avenue into a tree-lined pedestrian-friendly road and a student housing village.

“This is mission-driven growth informed by the College’s conservatory-like approach to education,” said Lorne M. Buchman, president of ArtCenter College of Design. “We’re sharing our vision for rich, intercultural and transdisciplinary dialogue, and our goal is to ensure that institutional development is synonymous with meaningful change in the surrounding community.”

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Pop-Up sensor salon co-creator Kristina Ortega nails wearables job at Intel



Kristina Ortega and Jenny Rodenhouse offer a new twist on functional nail art using digital sensors which enable users to interact with their environment in new ways.

A few days after celebrating the completion of earning her graduate degree in Media Design Practices, Kristina L. Ortega (MFA 15), swiftly packed up her life in Southern California and moved to Portland to begin a new career chapter with Intel’s New Devices group as a wearables user experience designer.

“Our goal is to launch designers who will question the world or view the world differently, imagine needs and products which may not exist for another 10 or 20 years into the future,” said Anne Burdick, chair of Art Center’s Graduate Media Design Practices (MDP) Department.

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X-factor: Inside ArtCenter’s pipeline to Tesla’s Model X design team

Model X seems ideal for a road trip from Pasadena to Mammoth for skiing with ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear. Photo courtesy of Tesla.

Model X seems ideal for a road trip from Pasadena to Mammoth for skiing with ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear. Photo courtesy of Tesla.

On the eve of the highly anticipated release of Tesla’s Model X electric sports utility vehicle, ArtCenter alum Javier Verdura, director of Product Design at Tesla Motors, took a few minutes to chat with us about the many ArtCenter alums contributing to this pivotal team responsible for one of the most significant car releases in recent memory. From the top design post held by Franz von Holzhausen to the current crew of interns, ArtCenter alums were front and center in all aspects of the design process. So we seized this opportunity to explore the contours of the connection linking the hottest electric carmaker on the planet and our diverse community of sharp inventors and innovators. Continue reading

OUTSIDEIN exhibition assembles a pantheon of street artists to create mural-sized works illustrating public art’s expanding sphere of influence

RISK's OutsideIn installation on the north face of ArtCenter's Wind Tunnel building at 950 South Raymond Avenue. Photo by Chuck Spangler

RISK’s OUTSIDEIN installation on the north face of ArtCenter’s Wind Tunnel building at 950 South Raymond Avenue. Photo by Chuck Spangler

“Street art has exploded as an anti-authoritarian form of art making and an important global movement happening in the visual arts today,” said OUTSIDEIN curator and author G. James Daichendt in a recent TEDx speech, “The Streets As Canvas.” “Even if you’ve never stepped foot into a museum or gallery, you’ve been impacted by street art since it lives in the corners of our communities.”

In recognition of this phenomenon, ArtCenter College of Design has organized OUTSIDEIN, an expansive indoor and outdoor exhibition opening, with a public reception on October 8, 2015, and continuing through January 10, 2016, at multiple venues in Pasadena. Initiated by ArtCenter’s Illustration Department Chair Ann Field, the exhibition’s curatorial team also includes Daichendt and Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery Director Stephen Nowlin.

“Like many artistic insurgencies, street art has had to navigate around the pitfalls of its own commercial success to remain possessed of raw and vital meanings,” said Nowlin. “That tension, along with the breadth of street art’s current influence in contemporary design and visual culture, is what we set out to explore in OUTSIDEIN.”

Featured in the show are artists Olivia Bevilacqua, David Flores, CHASE, Robbie Conal, Cryptik, Jeanne Detallante, Shepard Fairey, James Jean, Geoff McFetridge, RISK, Kenny Scharf and Jeff Soto, who is an ArtCenter alumnus.

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Doing well by doing good: ArtCenter students’ social impact innovations win big at 2015 IDEA awards

Though the hum of activity in the halls and classrooms of Hillside and South campuses has temporarily lulled as we await the start of the Fall term, Summer 2015 has ended on a high note with this week’s news that ArtCenter students’ innovative prototypes and projects were honored by the prestigious Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) at the organization’s International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) in Seattle on August 22.

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Celebrating the ADA’s 25th birthday with a primer of inclusive design at Art Center

Kira Song's floatation vest for brain-injured athletes with limited motion.

Kira Song’s floatation vest for brain-injured athletes with limited motion.

As the nation prepares to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, the community of makers at Art Center College of Design continues to innovate products and experiences that help improve the world for people who have essential life function limitations.

Since its founding 85 years ago, students, faculty and alumni have been making a difference through inclusive design by applying a human-centered theory to assistive products and experiences for populations challenged by issues of aging, race, gender, ability, chronic disease, psychological or developmental disorders, and more.

“We have a community of students who want to leverage their creativity to impact people’s lives,” said Product Design Chair Karen Hofmann (BS 97 Product) who has guided designers making significant contributions through rethinking how products can improve people’s lives for more than a decade. “That’s the most meaningful work designers can do.”

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Environmental alum Viirj Kan deploys disruptive design thinking toward humanity at MIT Media Lab

“I think there’s a lot of space for designers to expand beyond the producer/client model and become knowledge makers, cultural disruptors and gatekeepers between pure economic gain and the well-being of humanity,” said alumna Viirj Kan (BS ’14 Environmental), currently a graduate student and researcher at MIT Media Lab.

Virij Kan at work

Virij Kan at work

Born in Macau, China and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Kan’s work is inspired by the laws of nature, science, social climates and shifts in the social norm.

Kan and her fellow MIT researchers developed TRANSFORM as Adaptive and Dynamic Furniture, an exploration of how shape display technology can be integrated into our daily lives as interactive, shape changing furniture. The project was recently honored with the Golden Mouse award at a gathering of experts in Seoul examining innovation around how humans interact with digital technologies.

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