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. Continue reading
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
“Inspiring and helping each other goes both ways,” says Product Design alumnus Michael Sans of his engagement with students at Art Center Bikini Berlin, the College’s satellite studio where he is managing director.
Sans’ own education began at the workbench of his woodworker grandfather in a small German town on the Rhine. He apprenticed as a cabinetmaker, briefly studied architecture in Florence, and turned to product design when he entered the program at Art Center Europe in Switzerland—emerging forever shaped by its “professional approach, intense schedule, small classes and perfect facilities.”
1st Place / $15,000/ OATH: INSULIN TAPE SYSTEM / Martin Francisco
Product Design student Martin Francisco received the grand prize for ‘Oath,’ an innovative insulin delivery system that provides individuals with an accurate and painless method of dispensing insulin, while dramatically reducing material waste and environmental impact.
Oath is designed for aging adults, who have issues with dexterity, needle safety, storing and measuring proper dosages when administering liquid insulin. The tape and dispenser system makes using Oath as easy as applying and removing a Band-Aid. Moreover, Oath has 72% fewer environmental impacts over its life cycle when compared to the current insulin pen. The ergonomic Oath design accomplishes this by reducing the number of materials and components, minimizing waste at all stages, and using non-toxic, recyclable and renewable resources.
Product Design alum Al Van Noy has spent the past twenty-four years devising adidas gear to make us stronger, faster, better and, yes, cooler. As the iconic athletic brand’s Head of Innovation, Van Noy oversees a large team of designers, technologists and sports scientists responsible for anticipating industry trends and creating products designed to serve a wide array of consumers’ needs and wants, ranging from high-performance footwear for professional athletes to a suite of classic and contemporary must-have kicks and sports accessories for everyone else. In other words, it’s Van Noy’s job to maintain and enhance the star power of those three stripes.
As Art Center’s Product Design department prepares to send another cohort of students to kick off its annual PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy Challenge, a two-week footwear design master class in adidas’ US home-base of Portland, Oregon, we’re proud to feature the above video tracing Van Noy’s steps from Pasadena to Portland and his ongoing journey into the stratosphere of footwear innovation.
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.
In the fall of 2014, Designmatters and Art Center’s Product Design Department collaborated with the Nike Foundation, Yale School of Management and fuseproject with the challenge of empowering and getting resources into the hands of adolescent girls living in poverty around the world. Student teams on both coasts built on existing everyday practices and developed social impact design ideas for income-generating and time-saving tools and techniques that are widely accessible, radically affordable and can be used intuitively by girls in diverse cultures all over the world.