Tag Archives: Industrial Design

Making experience is make-or-break for designers, says Art Center at Night instructor Jesse Ellico

Aerospace engineer Jesse Ellico teaches industrial design modeling at Art Center at Night.

“I get to fly airplanes and blow things up,” says Jesse Ellico, an aerospace engineer for Orbital ATK, when asked to describe his job. “It’s a little boy’s dream.”

The first thing Ellico tells students enrolled in his seven-week Introduction to Industrial Design Modeling workshop at Art Center at Night (ACN) is that they’re “going to make stuff and have fun.”

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Venice Family Clinic gives Art Center designers a seat at the table for new pediatric center


“Design has an enormous and growing role to play in developing health and wellness products and spaces,” says Art Center Product Design faculty member Jeff Higashi.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that when the Venice Family Clinic, an affiliate of UCLA Health System, was preparing to launch its new Children’s Health and Wellness Center, organizers made sure that designers—including 12 Art Center students—had seats at the table. Continue reading

Alum De Liu’s Xiaomi Inc. inspires China’s growing ranks of design entrepreneurs

Art Center alum De Liu

Art Center alum De Liu

Mr. De Liu, Co-founder and Vice President of Xiaomi Inc., graduated with a Master’s degree from Art Center College of Design in Industrial Design. Because of his outstanding academic performance, top U.S. universities began to cast their eyes at emerging design talents in China. As the saying goes, “it takes a decade to sharpen a sword.”

It was a long and arduous grind for De Liu to grow from being an ordinary designer to his current position as a successful business leader and entrepreneur. De Liu will share his experience as a designer and entrepreneur at the Create Change Design Forum to be held from September 19 to 20, 2015. Visit www.accdchina.com for more information.

Now let’s take a peek at how his Art Center design education impacted his professional ascent as well as the development of his personal abilities.

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Art Center in Asia: It Began in Japan

Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57), second from right, arrives in the United States in the 1950s.

Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57), second from right, arrives in the United States in the 1950s.

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we take a look at Art Center College of Design’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Take a trip with us through time and across the Pacific as we look back in history and forward to the future. Today, we explore the College’s historic relationship with Japan.

In 1956, Edward A. “Tink” Adams, Art Center’s first president, traveled to Japan with Advertising alumnus George Jergenson (BFA 35)—then the director of the College’s Industrial Design (ID) Department—and ID faculty member John Coleman. They had been invited by the Japanese government to tour the country and to share their thoughts on how industrial design could provide a competitive advantage for a nation still early in its post-war recovery.

After returning to the U.S., they filed a formal report containing several recommendations for Japan, including instilling a sense of national pride in products being “Made in Japan”—they cited Nikon’s confidence in placing its name on its camera, “one of the finest cameras anywhere”—and making sure Japanese students fully grasp their country’s rich cultural history. The future designer, it stated, “will learn more…from studying Japanese masters of painting and design than he will from Western art.”

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History in a box: Unpacking Art Center’s industrial design photography collections for the world

Over 100,000 photographs, 2,000 films and videos and 500 linear feet of print materials—all documenting aspects of American design history—make the Art Center Archives a treasure trove for exploration by scholars, faculty, students and the general public. But making those materials accessible to a world beyond campus raises challenging questions: Who decides what to preserve first? Once digitized, where should a collection live online? How does one prepare for inevitable changes in technology?

To begin tackling questions like these—and to start the process of bringing the Art Center Archives to the world—the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2013 awarded the College a prestigious grant to launch a pilot project to digitize, preserve and make accessible a portion of Art Center’s industrial design collection. As the project wraps up one year later, Bob Dirig shares his thoughts about collaboration, unexpected outcomes and the future of the College as a locus of art and design scholarship.

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Inside Job: Industrial Design alum Kevin Bethune helps companies innovate and disrupt from within

Kevin Bethune designed Ethereal, a fitness app and device, as a Grad ID student.

Kevin Bethune designed Ethereal, a fitness app and device, as a Grad ID student.

As soon as Kevin Bethune earned his master’s degree in Art Center’s Industrial Design program in 2012, he joined colleagues in establishing a digital innovation boutique to help Fortune 500 clients in health care, retail, consumer products and other industries “figure out how to incubate new ventures within their large corporations,” Bethune said. In early 2014, Bethune and his team relaunched as BCG Digital Ventures inside The Boston Consulting Group.

The new company’s stated mission: to establish “strategic partnerships with the world’s leading companies to create disruptive digital platforms” through “digital innovation, product development and commercialization.”

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New series of alumni video profiles launches with this profile of tech design visionary Yves Behar

Yves Behar has spent much of the past two decades inhabiting the rarefied air at the peak of design innovation. After graduating from Art Center College of Design in 1991 with a degree in Product Design, Behar became an early adopter in bringing a design ethos into the tech space, conceiving product identities for the likes of Apple and Hewlett-Packard. And in the years since founding his own forward-thinking industrial design and branding firm, Fuseproject, Behar has become something of an iconic brand in and of himself.

The above video represents the first in an ongoing series of video profiles of Art Center’s vanguard of mold-breaking, creatively audacious alumni. Behar welcomed Art Center’s video team into the hive of creative activity that is Fuseproject’s warehouse-like studio in San Francisco’s Mission District. The cavernous space was designed to promote collaboration and co-creation, with its long communal lunch table covered with bountiful fruit bowls full of healthy snacks, ripe for the picking. SodaStreams are stationed throughout the facility. And broad worktables are covered with mockup designs for top secret products that will most certainly one day make many lives easier, if not better. We hope you’ll come away as inspired as we were by Behar’s reflections on his own creative trajectory and the ways in which he’s continuing the Art Center tradition of learning to create and influencing change.

Wearing your heart rate on your sleeve: Inside the wearable tech revolution


By now you’ve heard of Google Glass. But what about bracelets that measure sun exposure? Headphones that double as heartbeat monitors? Or jewelry that unlocks your front door? Are you ready for the dawn of smart watches, smart earrings, smart contact lenses and smart wigs? And no, that last one isn’t a joke.

The “wearables” field is in an early yet promising stage of its evolution. But Art Center, always striving to stay ahead of industry and cultural trends, has had wearables squarely in its sights for years. Today, our students, instructors and alumni are busy imagining where this technology might head next, creating the devices that are paving the way for the future, and questioning how a wearables-saturated world will change our behavior as human beings.

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Industrial Design grad Lindsay Nevard on her research into designing a better patient experience

Grad ID student, Lindsay Nevard interviews patients in the service of developing her products for improving patient experience

Grad ID student, Lindsay Nevard interviews patients in the service of developing her products for improving patient experience

Lindsay Nevard is a recent graduate of Art Center’s Graduate Industrial Design program whose thesis focused on improving patient outcomes in physical therapy. For the Dotted Line, Alex Moore interviewed Lindsay about the process of design research, juggling the roles of both designer and researcher, and the potential uses of technology to enhance patient experience.

Alex Moore: I think a lot of people are unfamiliar with the idea of design research. Could you elaborate?

Lindsay Nevard: Design research is doing the research so the product is smart. That means making sure that people are going to like it, that people are going to be able to use it easily, and that it fills a need. It can be as big as: “We are going to create something totally new, what are consumers’ latent desires?” Or it can be as detailed as: “How much should our new product cost and what color should it be?” In both cases it is really important to understand the user you are targeting. You also need to determine the appropriate questions or methods to get the answers you need. When doing interviews, you have to get people comfortable talking and into the right state of mind. You try to coax people into a more playful space. If you give someone a literal map of their workplace, they are going to give you a literal answer. But if you give someone LEGO bricks, they can’t build a literal interpretation and you will often gather more interesting information.

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‘Mother nature is the best designer:’ Highlights from Gordon Bruce’s spring 2014 graduation speech

Industrial Design alumnus Gordon Bruce (BS 72) goes bananas at Art Center's Spring 2014 graduation

Industrial Design alumnus Gordon Bruce (BS 72) goes bananas at Art Center’s Spring 2014 graduation. Photo: John Dlugolecki

“Maintain truth to your core and you will be beautiful and create beautiful things in your future,” Industrial Design alumnus Gordon Bruce (BS 72) told graduating students during Art Center’s Spring 2014 Graduation Ceremony on Sat., April 19, where he received a Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award.

Saying that the award meant “more to me than you’ll ever know,” Bruce delivered  a lively speech in which he recounted: another college’s admissions counselor telling his dad that his son “didn’t have the right stuff” to design; sharpening pencils as a part-time office boy at the studio of architect and designer Eliot Noyes; meeting the “gods of design” through the College’s lecture series, including Charles Eames, Paolo Soleri and Niels Diffrient, the latter with whom he became best friends.

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