Posts Tagged ‘Designmatters’

The success of Safe Agua: Students design solutions to water scarcity in Colombia

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Alumnus Isaac Oaks offers a student’s perspective on the Safe Agua Colombia project, just published in the new Designmatters book, Safe Agua Colombia (June 2014). Continuing to build on the investigations and experiences of the award-winning Safe Agua Chile and Safe Agua Peru projects, Oaks traveled as part of a student team to Altos del Pino, in Bogotá, Colombia, to co-create innovative technical design solutions with local families, seeking to overcome some of the social issues created by water poverty and to make an impact through resulting products and systems. 

The Designmatters Safe Agua project fostered my personal exploration into the area of community design co-creation. The experience began with an immersive 12-day research trip to outskirts of Bogotá, Colombia, in fall 2013, where I was among a small team embedded with families in the asentamiento of Altos del Pino. Our focus was designing for the all too common problem of extremely limited water supply. Because they are only provisionally connected to the official water grid, each household has access to a small hose of running water for just one hour every eight days. This highly restrictive schedule became the catalyst for our designs.

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Designmatters and Aspen Institute examine the social, creative and economic impact of the new culture of ‘intrapreneurs’

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Mariana Amatullo speaking at Desigmnatters' Leap Symposium on the New Professional Frontier in Design For Social Innovation." Photo by Alex Aristei

Designmatters’ Mariana Amatullo opening the Leap Symposium: The New Professional Frontier in Design for Social Innovation. Photo ©2013 Alex Aristei for LEAP

This week the Aspen Institute launched a new series of essays on the growing importance of social intrapreneurs — change-agents within organizations large and small who are fusing business success with positive social and environmental impacts — and the value they are adding to their organizations and society. To kick off the series, the Institute, in collaboration with The Huffington Post, published the following piece by Mariana Amatullo, co-founder and vice president of Designmatters at Art Center College of Design.

Safir BellaliThe Institute also named 2001 Art Center alumnus Safir Bellali, Design Innovation director for Vans, to its incoming class of 2014 First Movers Fellows. Each fellow will tackle a project that will have a positive financial, social and environmental impact on both their company and society. Bellali, who maintains close ties with the College though his participation in critiques and hiring student interns, will explore how new manufacturing technologies will allow Vans to work toward bringing production back to the United States. In Fall 2014, Vans will sponsor a Designmatters/Product Design studio at Art Center.

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‘Stand With Us’: Students find kinship with Homeboy’s gang intervention program

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

This spring term I had the privilege of directing a short film as part of a Designmatters studio hosted by the Graphic Design Department, which was structured in partnership with Homeboy Industries, the country’s most successful gang intervention program.

Addressing Homeboy’s real and ongoing need for fundraising, we put together a video called Stand With Us. It brings together the insights of longtime donors to the organization with the stories of two former gang members, whose lives were transformed for the better at Homeboy.

Homeboy decided to screen Stand With Us on May 3 as an opener for the Lo Maximo Awards, the organization’s annual fundraiser. It was a fabulous night with food and drink, glamorous people (some of whom were tattooed) and lots of hugs, laughs and even some tears. It was a special moment for me as I got to see an eclectic and undoubtedly grateful crowd cherish my work—and the fruits of a successful collaboration between my school and one of LA’s finest institutions.

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Spring 2014 Grad Show: Making the world a better place, by design

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Like a field of tulips bursting with color, spring has sprung at Art Center in the form of last weekend’s Grad Show. With an eye-popping array of stunning creations and innovation, works from this term’s wildly talented cohort of graduating students exploded through the hallways and galleries of Hillside and South Campus. Potential employers, curious visitors, beaming family members and excited (yet relieved) friends fawned over the fruits of many years of work and sacrifice grads invested in joining the coveted club of Art Center alumni.

Dazzled as I was by the work, I was able to meet up with a few students. And the following survey offers but a small sample of the artists and designers who stood out for various reasons.

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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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