Posts Tagged ‘Designmatters’

Alumni Spotlight: Erik Molano, social impact graphic designer

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

3 catalysts

Erik’s story originally appeared as part of Desigmatters’ Alumni Spotlight series. Find out more about Art Center’s social impact design department, Designmatters.

Throughout my education, I had always been fascinated by the power of graphic design. It’s everywhere. In books, freeway signs, software applications, automobile dashboards, cereal box packaging, architectural wayfinding, maps, and so much more. The thoughtfulness and intention that goes into the communication we consume daily is so ubiquitous we sometimes forget that it’s carefully crafted by a worldwide community of graphic designers. Since I had become a part of this community, I challenged myself to find a place within it; to discover my full potential.

I began to ask myself, ‘What’s the most impact I can have as a designer? Is there more to design than just laying out images and text in a beautiful way? How does our work impact culture?’ After a few years of soul-searching, I found my answer lying within the world of social innovation, with many thanks to the following three catalysts.

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View from the Bridge: Saluting graduating students and Art Center’s social impact on healthy drinking water and food

Monday, December 16th, 2013
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A Balde Movil prototype is put to the test in Altos del Pino, Bogota, Colombia.

The Fall 2013 term culminated last weekend with our Grad Show—an unqualified success attracting hundreds of industry representatives—and the arrival of our students’ families on campus for graduation. It was my great pleasure to meet many of them and share in their excitement and pride.

I began this weekend’s ceremonies by reading Everything is Waiting for You by David Whyte. An ode to the creative power of community, this poem was born surprisingly out of a moment of deep grief for the author, which makes its vibrant call to action all the more remarkable. The work begins with a warning of isolation—“Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone”—moves to an acknowledged tension of individual identity in the crowd—“Surely, even you, at times, have felt … the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding out your solo voice”—and concludes with an exultant celebration of discovery and the power of entering the “conversation”—“The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink” and, ultimately, “Everything is waiting for you.”

I shared this poem because I want our graduating students to find the strength to face what is calling them and recognize that they are surrounded by an astonishing depth and plethora of life. I want them to celebrate where the new edges meet and, as the poem suggests, believe they can change the world by their attentive presence.

Our students’ work offers ample evidence that this is all very much underway.

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Mirka Meyer: Designmatters alum addresses visual communication needs in humanitarian aid context

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Mirka Meyer

Kenya-based Designmatters alumna Mirka Meyer

Mirka Meyer started her career in 1995 as a graphic designer in New York. She has since built up a successful career as a communication and branding specialist for various corporations and agencies in New York, Los Angeles and Frankfurt. In 2002 she came to Berlin with Pentagram and shortly thereafter co-founded the branding agency ‘metorical’ as well as the gaming magazine [ple:]. In 2008 she redirected her professional career from the creative industries to the humanitarian sector, managing acute and chronic emergencies with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF / Doctors without Borders) in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Haiti, Chad, DR Congo and South Sudan. Her current project brings her knowledge of visual communication together with the pressing practical communication needs of humanitarian emergencies in developing countries. Mirka received her BFA from Art Center College of Design in the year 2000, and currently lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

When people see my CV nowadays I usually get a few puzzled looks and definitely a few questions. It is neither the most common, nor the most obvious path that I have taken. But I have always strongly believed in “thinking outside the box.” I know that this belief has given me a very unique view of the world and very valuable insights into the importance of visual communication within the context of humanitarian emergencies.

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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.

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How embracing failure has helped John Ryan design solutions to life’s most puzzling questions

Monday, November 4th, 2013
John Ryan (second from left) works with UNICEF and frog design staff on mHealth solutions

John Ryan (second from left) works with UNICEF and frog design staff on mHealth solutions

What was your background prior to Art Center?
I was born in Dublin, Ireland and studied multimedia as an undergraduate. I began my career working as a digital and web designer, and early on I knew that I really wanted to start my own studio. After working for a couple of in-house design teams, I couldn’t quite find the right fit: designers weren’t supposed to have the desire to move so broadly throughout the design process. So I started my own business and worked directly with clients throughout Ireland and UK. It was a fun couple of years and I learned a lot from the experience.

But I had always had a desire to go to grad school, and with my weird mix of interests across disciplines — design and art, technology and code, politics and culture — I became hungry for a new challenge that would integrate more of my own passions and curiosities into my design practice.

Art Center’s Media Design Practices program was exactly the kind of interdisciplinary environment I was looking for—innovative, experimental design work that would give me a platform to engage with the bigger ideas, concepts and questions that lay beyond the previous client work I had been doing.

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LEAP Day 3: Tools and takeaways to activate social innovation career tracks

Monday, October 7th, 2013
by Wendy McNaughton

by Wendy McNaughton

This is the third in our three-part Dotted Line series covering “The New Professional Frontier in Design for Social Innovation: LEAP Symposium,” hosted by Art Center College of Design Sept. 19–21, 2013.

Overheard (Random quotes from the day)

  • “Fire it up.”
  • “This has been like a wonderful summer camp.”
  • “I can’t tell you how in awe I am of the amazing, creative people I have met.”
  • “You fired every synapse in my brain, especially those that have been dormant for the last three or four years.”
  • “The conversation has really progressed since I joined this field in 2009 and it’s been like amazing to be a part of this.”
  • “I love the word designer.  It’s sexy, it’s powerful and it’s dynamic just like me and that’s what’s important.”
Mind-blowing Ideation session at LEAP. Photograph by Terry Bond

Mind-blowing Ideation session at LEAP. Photograph by Teri Bond

Practical tools, next steps and taking action were the focus of the third and final day of the LEAP Symposium presented by Designmatters, the College’s social impact department. A key aim expressed by many attendees was to bring the valuable new tools they gained during the confab back to their home base organizations to help establish solid career pathways for young design talent and clarify the direct link between great design and success.

The last day was choreographed in three parts. First, working groups who had self-organized in to small thematic clusters, spent a few hours finalizing proposals that were later displayed on giant poster boards all around the student dining room, taking a page from grade school science fairs. Then, a spokesperson for each project pitched it to the larger group.

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LEAP Day 2: Designing strategies for the future of social impact design careers.

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
Overhead view of a LEAP design storm. Photograph by Dice Yamaguchi

Overhead view of a LEAP design storm. Photograph by Dice Yamaguchi

This is the second in our three-part Dotted Line series covering “The New Professional Frontier in Design for Social Innovation: LEAP Symposium,” hosted by Art Center College of Design Sept. 19–21, 2013.

LEAP’s Day One established the event’s tone, methodology, purpose and goals as well as a set of burning questions facing the field of social impact design professional pathways. The following morning, participants arrived eager to drill down into the issues that arose during the previous day’s workshops.  Leap’s faculty team of facilitators and student teaching assistants were ready to continue guiding the second day of collaborative ideation sessions.  Leap’s core programming team which included Karen Hofmann, Sherry Hoffman and Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, had mapped out a programming flow for these charrettes based on Art Center’s tried and true Design Storm methodology, which enabled intense collaborative study, brainstorming, and problem solving throughout the day.

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Pasadena green-lights Art Center student’s design for Armenian genocide memorial

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Catherine Menard’s design for the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial.

This week the Pasadena City Council unanimously approved the memorial designed by Art Center Environmental Design student Catherine Menard. The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 150 supporters attended the Sept. 9 meeting, including members of Pasadena’s large Armenian community.

Menard’s design concept was selected by the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee (PASAGMC) in January, at the conclusion of a two-phase competition. The monument will be built at a proposed site in Pasadena’s Memorial Park once PASAGMC completes its fundraising campaign. Dedication of the public artwork is set for April 2015, coinciding with 100th anniversary commemorations of the Armenian Genocide.

Related:

Art Center student wins Pasadena Armenian genocide memorial competition

How Alex Cabunoc set out to save the world, one laundry load at a time

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Visitors to Art Center’s homepage may have found themselves wondering if that Brady Bunch-like grid of student selfies splayed out on Art Center’s homepage was some kind of post-modern meditation on ’70′s pop culture. And they’d be wrong. The real explanation —  a refreshed batch of student profiles — is a lot like Art Center itself: A practical solution to a real world need whose outcome is a lot more interesting than anyone might have expected going into the project.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out a series of deeper dives into the creative lives of those profile subjects, with highlights from the body of work they’ve produced at Art Center. We’re kicking off the series with this look at Product Designer Alex Cabunoc’s truly impressive array of innovative social impact designs aimed at improving the lives of inhabitants rural communities in the developing world. For the project featured in the above video, Cabunoc teamed up with fellow student Ji A You to create the GiraDora foot-powered washing machine for a Designmatters challenge to alleviate the water shortage in Lima, Peru. The product he produced has vast potential to improve the health and quality of life of women in water-poor communities throughout the developing world. In the below Q&A, Cabunoc provides some personal context to his Art Center journey.

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Art Center in the News, July 2013

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
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Alumnus Jim Root, art director at Cramer-Kasselt, was featured in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

From fuel efficiency standards changing the look of your car to top ranked film schools, from Gibson Guitartown to backyard beehive designs – here’s where you can catch up on any Art Center news you may have missed with our latest media roundup.

The Hollywood Reporter, “The Hollywood Reporter Unveils the Top 25 Film Schools of 2013” July 31, 2013: Art Center moves up from #23 to #15 in  annual film school ranking.

The New York Times, “Carlab Mixes Natural Gas and Gasoline for More Efficient Vehicle”  July 9, 2013: Transportation Design instructor Eric Noble featured throughout the Wheels blog about rethinking the size of the natural gas tank.

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