Archive for the ‘Product Design’ Category

Designmatters at Sustainable Summer School – Part 1

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015


In the first of Designmatters‘ three part Sustainable Summer School blog series, Product Design student and head of the ArtCenter EcoCouncil, Arotin Hartounian reflects on his time spent at the 7th annual summer school program in Western Germany.

authorphotoAt a 17th century monastery situated in a rural area of Western Germany, 28 students gathered for the 7th annual Sustainable Summer School. The summer school program is organized by a collaboration of the Ecosign Academy, Folkwang University of the Arts, and The Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy. The Designmatters Department at ArtCenter in partnership with the Provost’s office generously sponsored three students to attend this program. Most of the students were from Germany with one student each from Italy, Spain, and Austria. Janya, Daniel and I were the only students from the USA. Over the course of 7 days we lived and studied at the monastery with all the students and teachers. The students were divided into three workshops, each focusing on different ways design can initiate and support sustainable behavior in our daily life. (more…)

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

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015
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. (more…)

Reach out and Art Someone

Thursday, September 10th, 2015
Still from film workshop video

Still from film workshop video

What started as a passion project for Alvin Oei, has morphed into an official and active ArtCenter student club that brings the disciplines of art and design to underserved kids in the community. This past summer, some sixteen Environmental Design, Film, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interaction Design and Product Design students participated in Art Reach volunteering in two separate local Boys & Girls club locations, offering a number of twice weekly workshops.


From techno to wearable tech: Study abroad students showcase Berlin-influenced wearables

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

“Head to Toe, Berlin” was a study abroad upper term course involving ten students from Product Design, Interaction Design, Graphic Design and Illustration. With nine weeks in Berlin, this immersed students in the design, textile and fashion industries of Berlin. Through field trips to designer studios, museums as well as input from professional guest speakers and studio work sessions, students were empowered to develop their own collection of designs focusing on head to toe wearables: apparel, accessories, soft goods, textiles and/or wearable tech.


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

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

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.


Student designers incorporate quantified self metrics into mind-bogglingly innovative devices for people with disabilities

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Panoramic shot of students in the Exploring the Quantified Self class

Panoramic shot of students in the Envisioning the Quantified Self class

Graphic Design student Leah Demeter found herself in the unique position of acting as both designer and potential consumer in one of her recent product design classes at Art Center. That’s because her team had chosen a challenge particularly relevant to her: develop a better captioning device for the hearing impaired.

“As someone with profound hearing loss,” Demeter says, “I face communications challenges on a daily basis. Captioning is one of the tools I use to help me follow conversations I would otherwise miss, but there are problems with the current design.”


You go, grads: Let the Summer Graduation festivities begin!

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
Graduating students with friends and family following Spring 2015 commencement. Photo: John Dlugolecki

Graduating students with friends and family following Spring 2015 commencement. Photo: John Dlugolecki

“Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.” Bob Marley

This Saturday, following a sometimes exhaustive, always intensive, memorably vigorous and astonishingly creative commitment to making and learning, 91 ArtCenter students will receive their diplomas. This will be the second graduation ceremony to be held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, a thankfully climate-controlled venue conveniently located between Hillside and South campuses.

As the day approaches, let’s celebrate these creative and talented individuals who are about to take on the world. Here’s the lowdown for the week:


View from the Bridge: Reflecting on #ADA25, inclusive design and Ed Roberts’ pivotal role as a pioneer for independent living

Monday, August 10th, 2015
Ed Roberts being sworn in by California Governor Jerry Brown as the State Director of Rehabilitation in 1975. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Transportation Committee

Ed Roberts in 1976 being sworn in by California Governor Jerry Brown as the State Director of Rehabilitation. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Transportation Committee

Last month marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a groundbreaking piece of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and guarantees that those individuals are afforded the same opportunities as everyone else. Or, as the Justice Department puts it, the Act guarantees that people with disabilities can “participate in the mainstream of American life.”

This anniversary means a great deal to me. Prior to coming to ArtCenter, I spent five years deeply involved in the development and building of the Ed Roberts Campus. This stunning and groundbreaking facility, situated atop the Ashby BART Station in Berkeley, was created by a number of disability organizations to serve as the global resource for the disability community.

The man whose name graces the campus, Ed Roberts, inspired the independent living movement and is widely considered the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act. His story is both thought provoking and exhilarating.


All you need to know about the value of mixing business and design from Airbnb’s Katie Dill

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

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.


Extra! Extra! May-June Art Center alumni notes are hot off the press

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
Laura Leiman's RAAC project

Laura Leiman’s RAAC project

Here’s your early summer bounty of Art Center alumni notes, news and happenings, best enjoyed with a cool beverage, under a shady tree on a breezy afternoon.