Author Archive

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

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

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

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

“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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Onward and upward: Art Center’s Spring 2015 Grad Show

Monday, April 20th, 2015
Bruno Gallardo shows off his Zero Motorcycle prototype to alum Miguel Galluzzi of Aprilia/Piaggio. Photo by Jennie Warren

Bruno Gallardo shows off his Zero Motorcycle prototype to alum Miguel Galluzzi of Aprilia/Piaggio.
Photo by Jennie Warren

A fresh crop of creatives, 205 strong graduated from Art Center this past weekend, ready to harvest and haul their skills to the marketplace. The first pages of these grads’ yet-to-be-told professional narratives could involve launching a start-up, diving into a new position at a high-profile agency or escaping on a global adventure to see the world and collect some inspiration in the wilderness instead of the concrete jungle.

We decided to check in with a few during Spring 2015 Grad Show—our annual recruitment open house.

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Giving design the business: The ROI on Art Center’s longstanding partnership with INSEAD

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

What at first felt like a total culture clash just a decade ago is now standard practice in most top-earning companies. The idea of blending design innovation with business strategy has quickly evolved from a seedling, to a trend and now to a “must have.”

Art Center alumni and friends reunited in San Francisco on February 28 to celebrate the 10-year partnership of the College and INSEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools. Close to 150 industry leaders gathered at the posh play-inducing headquarters of Airbnb on Brannan Street to toast the success of a concept early adopters admitted seemed wacky.

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2015 Oscar predictions from Art Center’s movie makers

Friday, February 20th, 2015
Birdman

Birdman

As you plan your viewing party and fill out Academy Award voting ballots before the winners are revealed Sunday night, consider these opinions from our working professional Film Department faculty. The race for Oscar gold is nearing the finish line, so we asked our panel of  experts not only what they think will win but what movies they would like to see recognized in various categories and why.

May the best film take home the biggest box office regardless of the number of statues the cast and crew collect.

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Love designed to last: Alum couples share the secret sauce to relationship bliss

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
Alumni Wakako Takagi (BS 06) and Fridolin “Frido” Beisert (MS 08) say "If you can make it through Art Center together as a couple you are pretty much bonded for the rest of your life." Photo by Max Wanger.

Alumni Wakako Takagi (BS 06) and Fridolin “Frido” Beisert (MS 08) say “If you can make it through Art Center together as a couple you are pretty much bonded for the rest of your life.” Photo by Max Wanger.

Art Center’s reputation as a creative proving ground doesn’t exactly evoke images of artistic ardor, sunset strolls or even longing looks among the library stacks. But, as the saying goes: love is stronger than hate, war…or, in this case, work-weary creative determination. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that Art Center’s bridge has also served a figurative function, fostering deep and durable connections among more than a few alumni who have tied the knot. 

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re taking a closer look at the elements unique to couples who survived three years of Art Center’s intense maker bootcamp of high-standards and brutal crits and successfully applied the iterative process to love.

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Adoration and appreciation abound at memorial for letterform expert Leah Hoffmitz Milken

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Laughter, tears and, most of all, love was in abundance last Thursday evening, when more than 200 close friends and family gathered in Art Center’s Wind Tunnel Gallery to remember the extremely perceptive, bigger than life, impressively precise, brutally honest and encouragingly supportive Leah Toby Hoffmitz Milken, who passed away in October after battling a rare form of brain cancer.

President Lorne M. Buchman described Leah’s teaching as “the spine,” the core, the fundamental center for the design practice of her students. “Letterforms are a significant means through which human knowledge is conveyed and made precise, he explained. “Leah gave us the gift of knowing language, of seeing the visual word, in its most precise and exacting form. And from that came a release, a creativity of communication that can only enhance our experience as human beings.”

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Brace yourself for alum Winnie Cheung’s stylishly edgy Chrysler interiors

Monday, January 5th, 2015
Trans alum Winnie Cheung named among Automotive News' 40 Under 40

Trans alum Winnie Cheung named among Automotive News’ 40 Under 40. (Image courtesy of Chrysler)

Car design prodigy Winnie Cheung—so dubbed by Automotive News in its 40 Under 40 list of the industry’s current crop of early achievers—is interior design manager for Chrysler Group headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The magazine likened the young titans who made the cut to the legendary Lee Iacocca who, at 36 in 1960, was the youngest vice president in Ford Motor history.

Cheung has come a long way since first entering Art Center as a Product Design major. Back then, she admits, the thought of drawing a car made her nauseous. But after her first assignment she fell in love with the mobility art form and transferred to Transportation Design.

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Typography Center to be Established with $2 Million Gift, Honors Beloved Professor Leah Hoffmitz Milken

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Leah_Hoffmitz_with-student-Copyright-Steven-A-Heller-Art-Center-College-of-Design

Letterform expert and Professor Leah Toby Hoffmitz Milken works with a student at Art Center where she taught for more than 20 years. © Copyright Steven A. Heller and Art Center College of Design

Typography is the hidden power player influencing the way we read, talk, write and interact with the digital world. Storytellers throughout corporate America, from soap makers to car manufacturers, articulate ideas through common visual languages. Similarly, global initiatives like the (RED) awareness campaign thrive from strong visual recognition. Armed with 21st-century visual literacy skills, artists and designers can be among the most important drivers in reaching consumers and influencers, helping business leaders communicate with each other and creating value for industry as well as nonprofits.

To that end, Art Center, this week announced a $2 million gift to the College from the Lowell Milken Family Foundation that will establish the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography. The Hoffmitz Milken Center’s aim is to advance the research, teaching and understanding of letterform design and typography. Recognizing typography as a vital component of our visual culture, the College has been developing plans to make Art Center a central influential force in this field. The Foundation’s gift helped turn those plans into reality.

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Your iPad or mine? Tablet design skills boost business

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
Terry Scott's iPad design

An immersive and provocative IPad experience designed by Pacific Life Insurance Senior Designer Terry Scott

Successful business owners know that the only way to reach target customers is to find them where they live. Digitally that is. Above all, this means speaking to consumers with content tailored to the platform of their choice. Just ask Pacific Life Insurance in Newport Beach. After the firm’s Senior Designer Terry Scott completed an iPad class through Art Center at Night, he convinced Pacific Life’s leadership to enroll the entire design team in the same class the next term so they are equipped with the latest developments in iPad design in preparation for the the company’s upcoming migration from print to tablet-based promotional materials.

Businesses and organizations are increasingly relying on iPad friendly formats to produce magazines, brochures and other key business tools. With 200 million iPads in circulation, the switch is vital to stay relevant to our evolving culture of visual learners.

Carla Barr has been Art Center’s expert faculty member on all things iPad since the introduction of the popular device in 2010. Barr’s Art Center at Night class is geared towards designers with established careers who are either interested in learning new technology or need to boost their skill set for their current gig. Her course covers three complex steps: concept, design and interactive build.

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