INNOVATION Winter 2021: Academia 360

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IDEA 2022 is open for entry January 3 - March 21, 2022

2021 Student Design Gold Winner: Swell Surf Foot Designed by Zachary Samalonis and Yuhan Zhang of Jefferson University



ver 50 years of in-depth industrial design articles, academic papers, and case studies is now available online. IDSA, in partnership with the Hagley Museum and Library, is pleased to share archives of the Society’s quarterly journal INNOVATION magazine, dating back to 1968. Sometimes critical and sometimes comical, but always thoughtful and articulate, the articles in INNOVATION over the years are a testament to our desire to share knowledge with one another and celebrate our best accomplishments in design. INNOVATION presents a rich historical account, told by those who lived it, of an organization and profession simultaneously defining and re-defining its own boundaries. INNOVATION WINTER 2021



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678.612.7463 Above: A storyboard for a birthday cake embalming, by Jillian King, S/IDSA, a 2021 SMA finalist, page 82.



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t’s no secret that industrial design education is (and has been) at a crossroads in terms of what is being taught, how that content is being delivered, and who is standing at the head of the class. It is, at times, both an existential crisis and an opportunity for its future. As if this wasn’t enough, the relentlessness of the pandemic has had a profound effect on traditional academic institutions, who have suddenly found themselves in a position where they needed to rethink everything. But if we look deeper, there are many more layers to explore. In this issue, we expand the Academia 360° column (introduced in Spring 2021) into a complete collection of essays that illustrate the complicated and multidimensional reality in which design academia resides. This includes addressing head-on the topics of equality, equity, diversity, wellness, and work culture in industrial design education, to name a few. In many ways, this is a continuing of the conversation started in the Winter 2020 issue, Education Interrupted, which attempted to broach such topics as keeping pace with professional practice and the shifting industrial design landscape, dismantling biased institutional norms of “good design,” and creating a system that provides equitable access to quality educational opportunities. At the end of the day, all of these have a direct impact on the quality of education a student receives and on the first impressions a young designer digests at the earliest stages of their career. The guest editors of this issue aim to amplify voices in and around academia that have not been heard enough



in the past. Aziza Cyamani, IDSA, and Verena PaepckeHjeltness, IDSA, are two of IDSA’s most active educators in the field today. Both are tremendously passionate about their work, and IDSA is thankful to have their efforts reflected here in these pages as a sounding board for our community to reflect upon. We hope this serves as a call to action for both design educators and design practitioners that there is no time like the present to make the changes necessary to ensure industrial design is taught in an inclusive, interdisciplinary, and holistic way. We also celebrate young talent from our community: the winners and finalists of the 2021 Student Merit Awards. This long-standing program is a central component of the IDSA student membership experience, which routinely shines a spotlight on some of our best and brightest student designers and the academic programs they represent. Thank you to all the students and educators who contribute to making this nationwide competition a reality each year. It couldn’t be done without your support and belief in its impact. INNOVATION has long been a vehicle for critical discourse related to all matters connected to the practice of industrial design. It’s also been a place for commemoration and accolades for those in our community who are achieving their best. Both require a level of awareness that acknowledges the state of design as it is today but also provides an optimism for what is ahead. —INNOVATION Editorial Team




DSA is frequently asked for data and insights about the industrial design landscape across both the academic and professional spectrums. This might include everything from the distribution of designers in the US, areas of practice, and salary ranges to gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. As a leading organization representing the field of ID, having this data allows us to better respond to these requests with a level of authority that is expected of us. The unfortunate reality we face is that the data we do have is often incomplete, outdated, and/or doesn’t present a clear picture of our profession. Knowing we could do better, and understanding the importance of our mission, we set out to create a new dataset that will serve as a baseline for all future efforts. In June and July 2021, IDSA conducted its first membership survey since 2016. Staff worked independently and with members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council Data Team to create a list of questions, which was deployed to IDSA members in the form of an anonymous survey. We also had input from IDSA’s Board of Directors and outside design researchers during the development of the survey. Different versions for students and professionals (with similar but targeted questions) were created. In total, the responses we received represent roughly 21% of our membership. While this may seem low, this response rate represents a statistically significant sample size with a 5% margin of error and a 95% confidence level when applying the results across the membership. Our goal with this effort was to collect information in two primary areas: the basic demographics of our membership composition and how our members feel about the value of their IDSA membership. The data we received will help us improve our programming and forecast trends that impact the design community. Further, we want to begin a more regular cadence of data collection/analysis and eventually build it into an industrywide report that provides insights and voice to the more than 30,000 industrial designers working in the US (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Report for Industrial Design, September 8, 2021). Let’s take a quick look at some of what we collected.



Gender The gender balance among all IDSA members is about what we expected and in-line with other creative industry gender reports. A key here will be analyzing this over time by comparing past data and tracking it regularly moving forward.

Among students, the breakdown of gender is much different. Over half of our student members are female, non-binary, gender neutral, or trans. This is really interesting and is an indicator that we might see a shift in the years ahead in terms of who is entering the workforce and in the composition of design teams across the country. We’ve heard anecdotally that there have been steady increases in the number of women studying industrial design, so these numbers help support those accounts.



Ethnicity White/Caucasian represents the majority of our members, which we would have expected based on historical trends and existing data. A combined 25% of IDSA’s membership is Asian, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, and Black/African American. We suspect the number of non-white/Caucasian members will continue to grow, and we are working on ways IDSA can help bring awareness of the profession to groups of people who may not otherwise have access to information about design.

Age We see a pretty even distribution of our members across several age ranges from 18 through 64. This is interesting because, as an organization, we need to provide relevant programming across a designer’s entire career. Yet each of these age groups requires something unique based on where they are in their career and their goals at that time in their life.

CAD / 3D Modeling




Mfg / Engineering


Consumer Elec / Tech


Commercial / Industrial


Design Mgmt


Medical & Health




Color, Material, Finish


Education - College




Furniture & Lighting





86 81

Prototyping 63

Sports & Rec


Soft goods Spaces & Exhibits


Children’s / Toys


Auto / Transportation


Service Design


Sales / Biz Dev

47 41

POP / Retail 11

Education - K-12 6

Prefer not to say


Other 0




Areas of Professional Practice (Professional Only)


419 responses, check all that apply, 5% margin of error

Areas of Professional Practice This graphic shows the areas of professional practice within IDSA’s professional population. You’ll see product categories such as soft goods, medical, and consumer technology mixed with skill sets such as prototyping and 3D modeling. With this question, we wanted to understand what areas of the profession our members work in and where their attention is focused regarding the day-to-day tasks they perform. These findings will help us extrapolate a content direction for future IDSA events and professional development courses. For example, CAD/3D modeling received the highest number of responses. This could be a strong indicator that members might value training or resources in this area.

Having accurate and current data is essential to our ability to make sound decisions about our future. The survey collected a lot more information than what is presented here; we are just starting to unpack and review everything in detail. Armed with this data and the insights it suggests, we can begin to understand who our members are and what they desire from IDSA so we can move forward in a way that is mutually beneficial to both our members and the profession at large.

—Chris Livaudais, IDSA, Executive Director






or the longest time, the constant lament of industrial designers has been that no one knows what we do. Wikipedia knows: “Industrial design is a process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured by mass production. It is the creative act of determining and defining a product’s form and features.” Our IDEA criteria widen the scope to include: (1) Innovations that (2) benefit users and (3) the client/brand while doing good for (4) society with (5) appropriate aesthetics. Maybe we are bewildering our public when we say we also create services, design the behavior of the users, make manufacturing more efficient and greener, and originate reuse plans. Regular people simply say we design stuff like cars, chairs, and potato peelers. “We are not building big and little gadgets—we are building an environment,” Walter Dorwin Teague, FIDSA, said back when products used to be objects. Now software engineers work on digital “products,” mathematicians have been making “products” (4 is the product of 2 x 2), and you even get financial “products” from your broker. That’s not so outlandish. Bill Moggridge, FIDSA, pushed the definition of how a product functions from hammering a nail to nailing an interface when he pointed out that everything is an interaction. “The design of matter should matter to designers,” says RISD professor Peter Yaden. Ayse Birsel wrote the book on how to Design the Life You Love. Brian Joseph Chesky and Joe Gebbia, RISD industrial design students, created the $3.7 billion AirBnb based on renting air mattresses to attendees at an IDSA conference! Constantly blending and morphing, our field has expanding horizons. “Function” is a moving target and never was a single idea. The Ultimate Guide to Product Design course on Udemy declares that the “world finally understands the essential role of design…. But, the designer’s role has been changing over the last few years.” How are people supposed to comprehend what we do when we are always pushing beyond the limits? Designing the Profession What do you expect from a profession born riding on the 20th Century Limited? The roaring of the roaring ’20s came from manufacturers demanding new products to feed their factories and merchants craving attractive things to sell to the expanding consumer market. It was an opportunity begging for a new profession. Theater set designers, window dressers, and illustrators who knew how to make



things look good dove into the growing gap. Because industrial design did not originate evolving from an elite profession or have privileged patrons, the new practitioners had to prove their worth in the marketplace. Architects and craftspeople of the time, steeped in their own methods and procedures, did not adapt to the needs of the factory or the desires of the mass market. The “amateur” designers and educators took a fresh unbiased approach and quickly created new professional practices from the ground up. The practical necessity of giving form to ideas was the mother of all the design methods. Their main insight was don’t start with the answer. Like Jason Belaire, IDSA, asks: “How else should they begin? Start with Phase 1: Explore: divergent investigation, survey the issues, understand the scope: then Phase 2: Discover: speculate, create many ideas, sketch out concepts, get user feedback and converge; then Phase 3: Develop: refine the best schemes, test and iterate again; finally: Phase 4: Deliver for production—in this case, the design process.” What’s remarkable is they created the design process using the design process. (Is that why it’s so good?) Is it so remarkable that using that design process leads to better designs? Made in America Industrial design was born from practical working-class needs. This new American profession sprang from shop class, not the Bauhaus. Donald Dohner, FIDSA, taught in Pittsburgh’s public trade schools and at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) as he worked designing Deco-style melamine trays and electric locomotives as an “Art Engineer” for Westinghouse. While he was developing the new design program at Carnegie, he moved to the Pratt Institute, using the iterative process at both places to create the design profession and the education curriculum we use today. He brought in Alexander Kostellow, FIDSA, to direct Pratt’s first-year experimental program Design and Structure. One belief Dohner and Kostellow shared with the Bauhaus was that all art and design students should begin their studies with a common basic course. The Germans called their freeform survey Vorleher. Pratt named it Foundation because they conceived it to lay a firm foundation for the design curriculum. The Foundation course was the first stage in systematically introducing students to the fundamentals of materials, form, and color and how to

see and draw. Rowena Reed Kostellow, FIDSA, developed the primary series of exercises that like music scales, everyone can practice. Kostellow and Reed realized that teaching abstract principles of design could free designers (and artists) from arbitrary and subjective constraints by giving them a set of more objective tools with a new visual and verbal vocabulary. “New York is where the idea of abstraction comes into its own with Abstract Expressionism creating a counterpoint to realism,” Bruce Hannah, IDSA, observed. “At Pratt we see the history of abstraction and how it allows individuals freedom of expression through rigorous objectification of form by the manipulation of color, texture, line, volume, tone and plane.” The Pratt curriculum quantified design education with a pedagogy scaffolding that integrates form study and production methods. The combination of form and function gives beautility power both as a creative generative force and for complex problem-solving that the industrial design profession was born for. Housewares historian Vicki Matranga, H/IDSA, recently sent me an email that Budd Steinhilber, FIDSA (Pratt class of ’43), sent to Cooper Woodring, FIDSA, about Donald Dohner: “In 1934, Fortune Magazine published that article about the new profession of industrial design (ghostwritten by George Nelson, FIDSA). The article mentioned that Dohner had a staff of 8 designers and noted that the annual cost of the design department was $75,000. A Westinghouse Vice-President was so incensed that this huge sum was being paid to ‘a bunch of goddam artists,’ Dohner was fired from his role.” That didn’t stop Dohner’s pedagogy from flourishing and spreading around the world. (But maybe it is the reason we avoid being called artists?) Form Follows Fingers It’s literally a reality check: You can’t BS your hands. Thinking with our hands is our superpower. Our hands put us in touch with reality. Like hands-on progressive kindergarten education, learning by doing simulates visual and lateral thinking, activates brains, and builds muscle intelligence. Eye-hand coordination is embryonic and transdisciplinary, integrating intellectual skills and physical skills. To teach a person to swim, they need to jump in the water; likewise, designers need to work in the shop. Working in 3D transforms ideas into tangible results. This activity is the portal to multidimension thinking, problem-solving in other dimensions that includes the multi-sensual, the multiemotional, and the subconscious. Working in the shop not only delivers beautiful proof-ofconcept physical results—the powerful hallmark of industrial designers—it is also the gateway to design thinking and the source of our design process. “Rowena Reed taught threedimensional design,” Hannah says, “the way Mr. Miyagi taught karate in The Karate Kid. You thought you were doing something ordinary but you really were learning something extraordinary.” Design is everywhere. “Hidden in plain sight,” says Bruce Mau. When we teach students to design real things, they learn how to peel away the subjective (“I like it”)

and negotiate ingrained cultural bias in the quest to see objectively and empathetically. By learning to manipulate the abstract basic elements of physical form and composition, students build visual literacy, organization skills, and an aesthetic eye. They learn a vocabulary to critique and understand design. “Determining and defining a product’s form and features” (as Wikipedia says) we now understand includes useability, modular thinking, UX, branding, and service. Of course, everyone’s doing design thinking now on any project. With design methods moving mainstream, industrial design’s essential form-giving job is getting eclipsed. Education is mirroring the shift of our multiverse profession with a pile-up of courses like crowdfunding, food design, and SolidWorks Essentials, short-changing actual design studios where students learn how to make designs. And they are squeezing in more research, innovation, and ethnography into those studio classes, leaving students with even less time for sketching and making real-word results in the shop. I asked my senior students how many design classes they have taken. They said they have had only one—Space/Materiality—and it was in their foundation year! Taking cues from the program’s structure and general cultural trends, of course, the students’ capstone projects also inflate up-front analysis. They spend too much time setting up their projects and telling stories, like knowledge workers, and then run out of time to design.

Teaching students to make things with their hands is not just a good way to style products; it is the gateway to truth. Our shape-changing profession requires something like My Octopus Teacher, building on the fundamentals of form-giving. All students today face a massive change ripe for using their multi-talents built on a foundation of fourdimensional reality. In the beginning, educators defined our profession, and it turns out that pedagogy and the design process they created are applicable to everything from kindergarten to the space station. Now we all must use it to design a better, more sustainable environment. No one cares what Leonardo da Vinci’s job was. Why do we waste so much time trying to explain our job? “A system of education is not one thing,” wrote Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois. “Nor does it have a single definite objective, nor is it a mere matter of schools. Education is that whole system of human training within and without the schoolhouse walls, which molds and develops men.” Everyone is designing both hardware and software that will be the future. As Rowena Reed Kostellow said, “Pure, unadulterated beauty should be the goal of civilization.”

—Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA




Seunghark (Andy) Cho, S/IDSA | ArtCenter College of Design 2021 Design Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship Raised in South Korea and currently based in Los Angeles, CA, Seunghark (Andy) Cho, S/IDSA, believes having a diverse background as a designer has been critical to helping him understand many different points of view. “If you do not understand the user, you can never be a successful designer,” he says. “Hence, I am looking forward to contributing greatly to society with the full respect and environment that sustains us.” Now in his final year at ArtCenter College of Design, set to graduate in April 2022, Cho is preparing his graduation portfolio and planning to apply for a full-time position in January. Winning the 2021 Design Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship “really helped me reduce the burden of high tuition,” Cho says. “Luckily, I’ve had the honor of receiving additional scholarships from school, so my remaining terms are looking very affordable, thanks to IDSA and ArtCenter.” This scholarship and attendant promotion by IDSA “also made me recognized by various design studios,” he adds. “In fact, I am currently talking to a few companies for potential internships and even full-time positions.”



Cho’s winning design projects include Wella, a sustainable packaging solution for the competitive hair product market; Span, a camera that consistently records beloved memories and events in one’s home; and SMD Oral Irrigator, a domestic oral care unit that broadens the user spectrum with a unique mouthpiece. In summer 2021, Cho worked as a medical devices industrial design intern at Johnson & Johnson, and in the fall, he participated in a studio sponsored by Asus Republic of Gamers, geared at creating the future of gaming solutions. Cho’s favorite part of the design process “is the transition from an idea to 3D tangible form,” he says. “This includes translating sketches to 3D models in CAD and then making iterative prototypes to conduct proof of concept.” He values this process as an emerging designer because, as he has learned, “one of our core goals is to create something that people can use and benefit from,” and one fancy rendering does not show whether the design will be successful or not. Cho’s immediate plan after graduation is to land a fulltime job as an industrial designer. “I am enthusiastic about consumer electronics,” he says, and hopes to work for “one of the tech giants on the West Coast.”

Pedro Villar | ArtCenter College of Design 2021 Gianninoto Graduate Scholarship Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Pedro Villar was a dreamer who “lived in imagination, explored the rhythms of many instruments, and created fantastical stories.” While starting his design career at Pontifical Catholic University in Rio, Villar decided he would continue to follow his dreams by moving to Los Angeles, CA, and earning his master’s degree from ArtCenter College of Design. Currently, Villar is finishing up his MS in industrial design at ArtCenter paired with an MBA from the Drucker School of Management. To conclude his design education, and spurred by his passions for “connecting people, interesting human synergies, and furniture design,” he devised a project that plays with spatial interaction through a line of furniture objects. “Although this project is in its earliest stage,” he says, “I am very excited to see what comes out of it.” This project, Cachoeira, is one of many that resulted in Villar receiving the 2021 Gianninoto Graduate Scholarship from IDSA’s Design Foundation. Others include Makita Split, a power tool experience that allows for an intuitive and shared use of Makita tools, and Alienware Cosmos, an immersive, active social gaming environment focused on the telling and sharing of stories.

Receiving this scholarship “gave me incredibly valuable recognition that encourages me to be confident about my design voice,” Villar says. “It sparked a deep desire within me to share my vision through design and continue developing pieces that connect with people and make them notice and question their behavior.” Furthermore, the financial benefit “allowed me to increase the potential and breadth of my thesis project,” he says. “It released me from having to think about, ‘How much will my prototypes cost?’ I can focus on the design with peace of mind.” After graduation, Villar plans to take his favorite aspects of design—such as the discovery of interesting behaviors, the interpretation of environments, and the conscientious use of materials—and apply them to the development of technological experiences. “I think that technology has a vast potential to evolve how people interact with real and virtual objects; it is my goal to be a part of developing these new experiences,” he says. “However, I plan to continue to work on personal furniture and ceramics projects that will serve as creative and material outlets, since being in touch with natural materials further stimulates my ability to imagine.”






his year’s Education Symposium addressed the theme of breaking down barriers to foster collaborations for systemic change. The theme was adapted from the changes observed in the industrial design professional and educational settings and aimed to capitalize on shifts brought by the current pandemic as well as access to design practices across the globe. We kicked off the symposium with a new tradition: acknowledging the traditional territories of where the event’s emcees were calling in from. Aziza Cyamani, IDSA, called in from the Pawnee territory in Lincoln, Nebraska; Carly Hagins, IDSA, from the Potawatomi in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Bryan Howell, IDSA, from the Ute, Piute, and Goshute regions in Provo, Utah; and Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA, from the Iowa territory in Ames, Iowa. We sincerely hope to continue these acknowledgments for all IDSA events in the future. This year we also expanded the academic conference committee to include three invited organizing members, greatly enhancing the event structure and content quality while decreasing the workloads placed on the organizers. Types and Modalities of Contributions We invited contributions from design education and practice and from across the disciplines. This year we made some changes to how we categorized papers, providing a clearer and broader structure, and introduced a new visual paper modality: • Research papers: This modality included papers built on empirical investigative methods presented in the traditional education research paper format. • Visual papers: Visual research papers were a new (to IDC) modality, which followed the same classic research structures as written research papers (with an introduction, method, experiment, results, discussion, and conclusion) but were constructed primarily using sketches, images, or other non-written forms of communication. • Case studies: These types of contributions conveyed elaborative investigations centered upon one specific area or topic within the academic or professional realms. • Design letters: These contributions encompassed



thought pieces that were not necessarily built on empirical research but addressed concepts or ideas, pushed boundaries, or shared thought-provoking content. All initial contributions went through at least three blind reviews, which culminated into three academic research papers, three student research papers, five case studies, and two design letters presented during the conference. Of these, three were visual papers. You can read all the papers at Leaning on what we have traditionally done and what we learned from last year’s first virtual Education Symposium, we held two rounds of rapid-fire sevenminute presentations, which were followed by a joint Q&A. Our speakers ranged from recently graduated master’s students to educators and practitioners, covering all the new paper modalities. We hosted two workshops and a panel discussion during the three break-out sessions: “Breaking Down Barriers & Crossing Aisles,” “Cli-fi Futures,” and “Carbon Neutrality in Makerspaces: Circular Makerspace Evaluation Toolkit (CMET).” We wrapped the symposium up with a joint keynote with Lextant and SCAD. Throughout the conference, we had a steady audience stream of up to 140 participants.

Sketchnotes by Carly Hagins, IDSA

Reflections from the Emcees We discussed and shared our learnings from the symposium with the goal of continuing to improve the experience for both attendees and organizers and to make the event more relevant to the concerns of the day. Here are some of our initial thoughts: How was IDC for you this year? Cyamani: Overall, it was a great experience! There are a lot of lessons that we learned from last year when we held the conference virtually for the first time that allowed us to refine and plan better for this year’s conference. I think it was a great move to establish a planning committee as it helped to lighten the load, diversify ideas, and concentrate efforts during the planning stage. The presentations and workshops were all captivating and made for engaging discussions, while the new visual paper modality introduced this year seemed to be positively received! Howell: It was a fantastic event to meet and collaborate with new people. The enhanced conference framework and expanding the organizing committee was a significant shift forward. Hagins: As a newly minted member of the Education Council, I’ve enjoyed taking on ever-more responsibilities within IDSA, particularly when it comes to the IDC and specifically the Education Symposium. This year’s event offered an all-access pass into seeing just how much happens behind the scenes: from judging Student Merit Awards to reviewing papers and even crafting a detailoriented and entertaining script. The high caliber and wide range of work shared by presenters made it easy to craft discussion-worthy questions for the Q&A segments. Paepcke-Hjeltness: As usual, the time leading up to the symposium is a mad dash on our end. We review all the papers that made it through the blind peer-review process, discuss the content, and make final acceptance decisions before seeing who the authors are. Afterward, the symposium content and modalities are curated, which goes through several rounds of iterations by the conference

committee. This year I also communicated a lot one-on-one with some authors guiding their final paper revisions. What do you want to see next year? Cyamani: I hope for more opportunities to formally document and possibly publish the papers presented at the conference. Howell: More visual papers! As designers, we think visually and don’t have many opportunities to disseminate our unique visual knowledge. Non-written research outputs have emerged in many global design organization events, and I expect them to continue to expand. IDSA members have the chance to establish visual paper standards for the future and push the boundaries for sharing our research and ideas. Hagins: As we look forward to the potential of once again meeting in person, I’d love to see us push the conference and presentation format even further. Everything about design education is constantly changing: the field is expanding, technology is advancing, and students are facing ongoing adversity. The Education Symposium is a precious opportunity for educators to connect, share best practices, and envision the future of design. Paepcke-Hjeltness: The current plan is to bring the IDC and Education Symposium back as an in-person event, which will open doors again for actual networking. As such, the symposium’s programming might be very different from what we have done in the past. Less focus on paper presentations and more emphasis on networking and activities. So stay tuned! We are grateful to the IDSA community for the continued support of the Education Symposium and the International Design Conference in general. —Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA, Aziza Cyamani, IDSA, Carly Hagins, IDSA, and Bryan Howell, IDSA,,,






n the Winter 2020 issue of INNOVATION, IDSA shared a conversation with educators about the impact of COVID19 on industrial design pedagogy. This year, the effects of the pandemic have taken shape and raised new questions about how students prefer to learn and how educators can best prepare the next generation of industrial designers. To discuss these changes, IDSA reached out to the winners of the 2021 IDSA Education Award and Young Educator Award and to one of the educators serving as a judge on this year’s IDSA Awards Committee. Editor’s note: Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.

How is ID education keeping pace with the shifting role of industrial designers and the changing needs and trends of the profession? George Chow, IDSA, assistant professor of industrial design at the University of Houston and a 2021 IDSA Young Educator Award winner: We are trying our best not only to adapt to the changes in the industry and world, but we are also trying our best to lead changes in some areas. Many of our students are fueled by social issues such as climate change, racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, poverty, pollution, and sustainability. Through our connections with professionals, we can stay up to date with the changes happening in industry and in our education programs, and we can continue to encourage students to address larger social issues through the power of design. As our profession shifts generally to more virtual design spaces, we are incorporating more UI/UX classes into our



curriculums, encouraging the exploration of VR/AR, and including more service design projects in our studios. Elham Morshedzadeh, PhD, IDSA, assistant professor of industrial design at Virginia Tech and a 2021 IDSA Young Educator Award winner: In my opinion, our industry has begun a shift from user-centered product design to communitycentered system design. There are three major areas of alignment where design education can prepare students: sustainability, whole health, and design for social impact. All these areas are rooted in community engagement principles, and creating opportunities for students to work in interdisciplinary teams and with users (especially in their environments) can help them develop more effective solutions to these types of challenges. This also helps them develop their ability to understand the relationship between each member of a community in relation to a product or service and the experiences related to them. This way I can see designers, finally, taking a seat at the table. Randall Bartlett, IDSA, Bauhaus Endowed Professor at Auburn University and the 2021 IDSA Education Award winner: As design educators, we are aware of the changing needs and trends, and it is a challenge, especially in technological resources. Even with the inevitable shift of the industrial designer’s role, we must focus on teaching the primary fundamentals of design practice.

What are the most important skills ID students should graduate with? Percy Hooper, IDSA, associate professor of industrial design at North Carolina State University and a judge on the IDSA Awards Committee: About 25 years ago, as a new IDSA Chapter Chair, I wrote to the ID firms in my chapter and asked them what skills they would like to see in their new hires. The responses were surprisingly similar. What they most wanted in a new hire was not dazzling sketching or crisp model-building, as I had expected, but the ability to listen: • Listen to instruction. • Listen to the client. • Listen to correction. Nothing else compared to the ability to add to their understanding intentionally and consistently by paying close attention. They should listen with the open willingness and eagerness to adjust their planned course, to accommodate new information and new understanding. The second most desired skill was the ability to speak: • Speak honestly and tactfully. • Speak professionally, yet casually. • Speak to a client as to a respected friend. These are skills that ID firms valued 25 years ago. I am convinced that such skills are more valuable today than ever, and ID educators have a responsibility to prepare their students with these skills.

Are the expectations that students have for the type and quality of education they will receive changing? What is being done to address these shifts? Morshedzadeh: Absolutely. It seems like expectations are changing every semester, and especially in a traditional education system it can be very difficult to keep up. With the fast-paced changes in society and technology, these new expectations are reflections of market needs that must be addressed. We have to constantly adapt and explore different teaching strategies to meet these demands. Design thinking methods and tools have had a wide range of impact in many areas outside of design, so industrial designers can be a crucial asset to any team that is focused on strategy and innovation. With that in mind, I believe educators need to shift the traditional studio models into specialty, or theme, studios where projects are focused on the newest demands. In these scenarios, it is important that students collaborate with industry professionals and user groups to get a more holistic, real-world view of the needs. Allowing students (graduate or undergrad) to take on leadership roles can also foster professional behavior and a

sense of ownership in the process. Another possible route is to provide short (two or three weeks) teaching modules that focus on new and sometimes temporary demands in the curriculum. This method can also bring more diversity in content as well as origin of content (e.g., geographically), especially considering available online teaching platforms. Chow: Students want an education that will prepare them to be powerful positive change agents in our world. They are less concerned about making and designing objects and much more concerned about the kind of impact and change their designs will have on transforming communities and our environment. To address this shift, we are challenging students with more in-depth studio projects that address larger social, environmental, political, and health-related issues.

What is the biggest challenge facing ID education today? Chow: The lack of diversity in our faculty and students. The more diverse our faculty and students can be, the better our future designers will be because people from different cultures and groups can add unique perspectives, talents, voices, and ideas to our community. Unfortunately, the cost of some design schools can be a barrier for lowerincome families, making it that much more challenging to increase the amount of minorities represented in our design communities. It will be a long road to increase overall diversity, but not impossible. Just like a river carving through solid rock, we can break through if we make a focused, consistent, and collective effort to change. Bartlett: Keeping pace with and incorporating technology without sacrificing the design fundamentals and principles. Technology is a powerful resource, yet you must filter technology through the human function process.

What is your biggest learning from having to teach in remote settings due to COVID-19, and how is that being applied to a return to in-person settings? Bartlett: Working with a student in developing a design concept face-to-face was moved to using video cameras, sharing screens on Zoom, recording lectures, and inserting comments on a Google Slides document. Using comments on Google Slides and then saving the document provides a reference during the grading process. Morshedzadeh: Coming back to the studio, there is a new appreciation for everyday activities and resources that we used to take for granted. Even things such as sketching on actual paper to explain a thought, holding a prototype



in your hand, or having an in-person pinup are especially satisfying. For me, remote teaching also highlighted the importance of inclusivity and accessibility in education. As designer(s), we always strive to turn a challenge into an opportunity, and now we are using those skills to create more equitable, inclusive opportunities to connect with our communities. Chow: Some things just can’t be done over Zoom, and we should be extremely grateful to be meeting back in person! As industrial/product designers, we design and make physical things, which requires being in person to interact with them. For example, you can’t sit on a physical chair prototype via Zoom. You can’t interact with a physical model and modify it on the spot. You can’t physically show them how to use the shop tools. You can’t take students on a field trip to local design stores and have lunch together afterwards. You can’t enjoy one another’s company and build community, studio culture, and camaraderie like you can in person. Zoom fatigue is real and we can only take so many hours of online classes every day. People are designed to live in community with one another; so when in-person community is taken away, the mental health of people can suffer. Our students are so grateful to be back in person again, and so am I! We have learned a lot of new remote online tools, such as Zoom, Miro, Conceptboard, Teams, etc., which I am grateful for because they have expanded our ability to provide multiple remote learning methods and avenues for our students. However, there is nothing like being face-to-face with our students for the most effective, engaging, and enjoyable studio learning experiences.

We’ve seen a recent increase in online IDspecific courses. Do you see these as a threat to traditional academia, or do you see them as another viable opportunity for students to learn through different channels? Chow: I don’t see them as a threat. I don’t think the courses are intended to be replacements for ID degrees but more as supplements to them. It’s not possible to condense four years of in-person design education into a few or even a semester of online classes. Knowledge, experience, and skill development require an appropriate amount of practice, time, and dedication to reach a high level of quality. There is no shortcut when it comes to putting the work in to develop hard skills. I always encourage students to learn as much as possible as fast as they are able to, so if there are other opportunities for them to learn, they should make the most of them. However, as I stated in my previous response regarding in-person versus remote learning, some things



just can’t be done or replicated as effectively online/ remotely. Morshedzadeh: Online platforms can greatly enhance traditional classroom instruction. The industry and the role of designers are becoming broader every day, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to teach everything in a four-year program. I constantly remind my students that there are a huge variety of skills one can learn through online courses, but just learning a skill is not enough. It is important to practice implementing that basic knowledge within a studio setting where one can engage with real cases and work in interdisciplinary teams. Bartlett: Industrial design studio courses need to remain as in-person experiences. There are some ID lecture courses that can be taught as online courses, but I don’t believe that it will ever be as effective as traditional in-person education.

What would you advise a graduating ID student to put in their portfolio? Hooper: Based on interviews with industrial design firms around the nation, the time available to review portfolios from potential hires is increasingly reduced, making it necessary to flip through the portfolio pages (or PDF images) more rapidly. Under these conditions, color, high contrast, and sketch style are most likely to arrest the attention of the rapid reviewer. Once the image flipping is halted, you should enthrall the reviewer with clear visual storytelling. The reviewer must instantly understand the designer’s journey through selected images leading to a satisfying conclusion. Since added paragraphs of text will break the spell, notation should be kept only to the essentials. Additionally, make sure that your best skills, whatever they may be, are featured. Don’t worry about the chronology of your work; lead with your best project and finish with your second best. Once you get the resulting call, the interview is up to you.

Diversity is a big topic across many aspects of the profession. What can educators and academic institutions do to increase their diversity and promote a more inclusive design culture? Chow: Reduce tuition costs; make it a priority to hire as many diverse faculty members as possible; actively recruit students from minority populations; start introducing industrial design in K-12 education, especially in minority neighborhoods; invite diverse speakers; showcase the history and work of minority designers; and build minority mentor programs led by minority designers.

Morshedzadeh: During the pandemic, many programs discovered that online learning allowed for new connections with unheard voices in the industry around the world. Online platforms allow borders to disappear and open up a wealth of opportunities to hear from users, communities, and professionals in areas we may have never considered before. This teaches us to be even more inclusive with those who are right next-door but whose needs and contributions have been overlooked. Bartlett: A well-designed product or system is inclusive; if not, the designer has failed. Good design is inclusive. You cannot create a culture—you must be the culture.

In your years as an educator, what has been the biggest change you’ve witnessed? Bartlett: The dependency on a digital interface— computers, 3D printing, sketching on tablets—has been a double-edged sword. The digital edge is terrific and will continue to increase. The sword’s other edge is neglect: neglect for developing craftsmanship and sensitivity to model fabrication. Chow: The general shift from teaching about designing solely physical products to a hybrid of physical and virtual products, as in service design and experience design. Also, a shift from being product-focused to more systemsfocused. As long as we live in a physical world, we will have physical products. However, physical products themselves are becoming less important, and the systems they are a part of and the services they provide are becoming more important. Morshedzadeh: The growing attention to the whole community and their values, culture, environment, interactions, access to resources, and, ultimately, their needs in designing solutions for a more enjoyable human experience.

The Education Symposium only happens once a year during the International Design Conference. Perhaps if there were regional district conferences or gatherings for industrial/product, UI/UX, and service design educators to get together and learn from one another, we would have another opportunity for iron to sharpen iron. Currently, the only opportunity for us to publish papers or present publicly through IDSA is during the annual Education Symposium. Perhaps we could develop an IDSA design journal where we could publish articles, papers, and/or projects on a more regular basis to share and build upon our body of knowledge. It would also be very helpful if IDSA could offer scholarships for educators to receive further training on topics of their choice and many more needs-based scholarships to help students cover tuition and/or school supplies and prototyping materials. Bartlett: Increase the importance of the IDSA Education Symposium with a concentrated effort to teach methods and techniques. Establish an IDSA Design Education Advisory Board to establish a list of learning outcomes that all ID students must be exposed to before graduating, with IDSA to assist in communicating to the ID students that they are receiving a professional degree. Morshedzadeh: With the variety of possibilities for connections that IDSA offers, I see a great opportunity for collaboration and knowledge-sharing between faculty and IDSA. During the last year and half, while our classes were 100% virtual, we developed a closer relationship with our alumni in the Virginia Tech Industrial Design Board of Advisors and the many professional resources they offer. This has proven to be a huge asset to our students. Faculty and IDSA working together can help design programs stay better connected to industry and teach the most up-to-date skills and learning opportunities so that students can be fully prepared for a successful career.

What can IDSA do to best support design educators in their career growth and impact with students? Chow: We need to maintain a strong connection between industry and academia. Providing and facilitating opportunities for professionals, educators, and students to network, encourage one another, and share ideas is extremely important. I’m immensely thankful to IDSA for providing many opportunities to network; however, to further improve networking, reducing membership fees can encourage more professionals, educators, and students to join and, therefore, increase the community of designers to network with.




ACTIVISM IN DESIGN: HOW TO INTEGRATE ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS INTO THE DESIGN PROCESS 1. Introduction The design process was established to guide designers through a course of actions to create changes to an intended audience. However, the current design process perpetuates competition over collectivism, encouraging companies to innovate toward winning over other companies instead of contributing to the overall human conditions. The lack of the inclusion of the intended audience throughout the design process causes the outcome to be misaligned with what the users have wanted, and a series of other social issues [7]. The emphasis on revenue generation [5] and customer adoption as the key performance metrics for businesses causes the companies to neglect the importance of community building and engagement. To study the intersection between design and social issues, a conversation series through a podcast was initiated to better understand how designers’ roles shape our social structure and to brainstorm ways to integrate elements of social movements into our design process to create a more equitable and inclusive future. Questions that informed this visual paper: 1) What do design and activism have in common?



2) How to integrate activism into the design process to create more inclusive and equitable outcomes?

3) How to connect designers’ personal values and beliefs with their daily jobs?

2. Methods and Processes The following visual explains the methods and process it takes to conduct each conversation series to understand the intersection between design and a particular social issue.



3. Market Analysis The following visual breaks down the current design process. [4]



The following visual breaks down the process of creating a social movement. [1][2]



4. Discussions The following visual shows a reimagined design process by incorporating elements of activism. [2][6][8]



5. Conclusion Design can be used as a framework for change, just like activism. As we continue to challenge our social norms and redefine our social structures, we need to constantly reevaluate our design process to make sure it is evolving toward where the society is going. As designers, we bring a unique set of skills to apply to our shared human experiences, which means the work we put into the world comes with a tremendous number of responsibilities [7]. When we center our design process on the intended audience instead of ourselves, move from empathizing with the users to including them throughout the process [3], work toward collectivism instead of competition, and prioritize success based on community values over business revenue, we can start to create more equitable and inclusive outcomes.

References [1] Astakhova, M. (2017). Just 7 Steps To Starting A Movement For Social Change. Yonah. [2] Boone, K., & Chase, N., & Drake, S., & Fuentes, L., & Cookson, T., & Goh, K., & Henry, K., & Hester, R., & Hou, J., & Karaman, J., & Lebuhn, H., & Lum, K., & Mullins, A., & Richter, S., & Roberts, A., & Rodriguez, A., & Roy, A., & Sanders, L., & Wilson, B.B., & Yarina, L. (2018). What does it mean to engage in activism through design? To engage in design throug activism? The MacHarg Center. [3] Chang, F. (2020). To Build More-Inclusive Technology, Change Your Design Process. Harvard Business Review. more-inclusive-technology-change-your-design-process [4] Dam, R.F., & Siang, T.Y. (2020). Design Thinking: A Quick Overview. Interaction Design Foundation. article/5-stages-in-the-design-thinking-process [5] Krummeck, K., & Korsunskiy E., & Garmon, G. (2020). Reflections on Power and Privilege in Design: A Letter from Three White Design Educators. Journal of Design and Creative Technologies. https://designcreativetech. [6] Monteiro, M. (2017). A Designer’s Code of Ethics. Medium. https://medium. com/@jacksonwgv/a-designers-code-of-ethics-abbc5f36cf50 [7] Rezal, M., & Khazaei, Dr. M. THE CHALLENGE OF BEING ACTIVISTDESIGNER. An attempt to understand the New Role of Designer in the Social change based on current experiences. The Design Journal. https:// [8] Wang, T. (2021). The most popular design thinking strategy is BS. Fast Company.

—Danielle Chen, IDSA

Danielle Chen is a designer who works at the intersection between design and activism to create meaningful and transformative changes through authenticity and vulnerability.

This paper was presented at the 2021 IDSA Education Symposium and selected through peer review for inclusion in this issue. It is presented here in a slightly edited form. For the complete paper, and other 2021 education paper submissions, visit





1. Introduction Most individuals from minority backgrounds already deal with various personal, social, and economic obstacles that can drastically impact their career goals and opportunities. Many educational institutions in the United States are brimming with inequality issues that leave many minority students at a disadvantage relative to their majority counterparts. Problems like inadequate educational funding, lack of career awareness, and systemic abandonment of predominantly minority school systems can severely affect what these minority students decide to do with their life. This phenomenon of not providing design-based education opportunities to minority students has contributed to the visible lack of professional designers. It also has hidden a powerful tool from a community of people that could directly benefit from design. This study examines the issues surrounding the lack of diversity in the design professions by focusing on the obstacles minorities face when pursuing design education and careers. It will also attempt to provide students, educators, and under-resourced communities with a tool to help close equity gaps in design and deliver a fun design learning experience targeted to minority youth. The hypothesis is that doing so will ultimately yield more awareness and increase the perceived value of design. This study employs a qualitative case-study methodology that seeks to serve as an example of how design and design thinking can be introduced to minority students.



2. Literature Review 2.1 Lack of Minorities in Design Profession The racial and ethnic demographics of the United States are ever-changing, as projected by the U.S. Census Bureau (2015), which estimates that the size and composition of the US population will cause the nation to become more diverse than ever before between the years 2022 and 2060. Yet, the field of professional design remains burdened by a legacy of demographic homogeneity concerning racial identity. Professional designers spend their lives creating for society and listening for feedback. Despite the field’s creative and ubiquitous nature, racial and ethnic representation has not evolved to match the current and future demographic reality. As a result of the nation’s shifting demographics, it is imperative that the field of design works to become more representative if it is ever to meet the needs of those served through design innovation. In 2014, Antionette Carroll stated, “Diversity in design means diversity of experience, perspective, and creativity, otherwise known as diversity of thought.” Diversity of thought is essential to creating accessible services and products that serve the needs of all humanity. Data collected from a 2018 U.S. Department of Labor report of 983,000 designers shows that only 5.7% are African American. The same report reveals that just 11.3% of the total employed design workforce identifies as Latinx. Mitchell-Powell and Miller (1991) published an AIGA essay titled “Why Is Graphic Design 93% White?”, which postures the specific barriers

that keep minorities out of the graphic design industry. Mitchell-Powell and Miller argued that the most robust obstacles impacting minority students are a lack of access to resources. Nearly 30 years later, this research remains relevant as many of these barriers still prevent underserved minorities from studying design. Throughout the country’s history, underserved minority communities have been burdened by a lack of access, resources, and opportunities to higher education and creative industries. These barriers to entry and resources have denied minority students career opportunities, creative development opportunities, and the ownership of their ideas. Data from Adobe’s Creativity’s Diversity Disconnect (2017) survey indicates that “young creatives of color are twice as likely to perceive a lack of access to tools and training as a significant barrier.” Other obstacles serve as barriers to design education, including social factors such as bias and systemic exclusion. 2.2 Design-Based Pedagogy According to Royalty (2017), Design-Based Pedagogy (DBP) is an “educational environment with instructional scaffolds that allow students to solve problems through the practice of design. It encompasses a learning environment that allows educators to teach design to non-designers” (p. 2). Royal posits that DBP has five main attributes: audience, challenges, teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity. In classrooms that use a design-based pedagogy, students

are expected to exhibit the behaviors of designers to solve problems. When compared to other well-known educational frameworks, DBP proves to be “robust” and provides a “learning environment that invites students to practice design to explore and expand the boundaries of their creativity” (Royalty, 2017, p. 2). Carroll et al. (2010) claim that “design thinking is an approach to learning that focuses on developing children’s creative confidence. Students engage in hands-on projects that focus on building empathy, promoting a bias toward action, encouraging ideation, and fostering active problem-solving. Using one’s imagination is central” (p. 38). Further, Owen (2005) highlights the many other benefits of learning design thinking, such as the enhanced ability to visualize, being conditioned for inventiveness, gaining the ability to use language as a tool, and developing a bias toward adaptivity. 2.3 Education Needs of Minority Students Throughout the last few decades, various researchers have documented many of the unique learning characteristics of minority students. McKinsey & Company (2009) addressed that “the persistence of the educational achievement gap imposes on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession” (p. 6). In 1987, William B. Johnston investigated and hypothesized that “without substantial adjustments, Black and Hispanics will have a smaller fraction of the jobs in the year 2000 than they have today, while their share of those seeking work will have risen” (p. 114).



From left: A student participant working on the M.O.L.D sneaker challenge during the classroom workshop at the Hall Center for Education. The participant’s teacher, David Landry, helping the students conduct research during the classroom workshop at the Hall Center for Education. A student participant building his M.O.L.D sneaker design challenge prototype at home due to COVID-19.

Sadly, their dismal vision of the future has come true, as racial disparities within the design field remain significant. In Key Issues in Minority Education, Ward & Cross (1989) addressed four major themes that are still prevalent today: (1) Legal access for minorities, (2) Access and retention of minority faculty and staff, (3) Access and retention of minority graduate students, and (4) The role of standardized testing in the admission of minority students. In recent years the study of culturally responsive teaching pedagogy uses “the cultural characteristics, experiences, and perspectives of ethnically diverse students as conduits for teaching them more effectively” (Gay, 2002). This ideology, developed by Ladson-Billings (1994), has emerged as a primary way to educate minority students. Based on the literature review, a list of minority educational needs must be reviewed by educators who work primarily with minority student populations. Those needs include (1) Students working together, (2) Critical thinking, (3) Rich, complex curriculum, (4) Engagement and competitiveness, (5) Ability to impose order on chaotic data, and (6) New standards on assessments. Furthermore, diversity is essential within the design industry because of the way the design process works. Homogeneity often fails to breed new ideas, while the



convergence of diverse experiences and knowledge often does. The philosophical tone in this study was influenced by the transformative worldview that emphasizes “advocating for an action agenda to help marginalized people” (Creswell, 2014). It is illogical and unfair that the diversity gap within the field of design is stagnant, yet there are still very few studies conducted that investigate minority students’ design education. 3. Methods and Design Process 3.1 Research Methodology To facilitate the exploratory sequential approach, this research was executed in four phases, beginning with a qualitative step to determine the educational needs of minority students and the benefits of a design-based education. In phase one, qualitative data was gathered through minimally structured expert interviews. Online surveys with educators that work primarily with minoritized student groups were also conducted. Relying on the list of needs identified through prior research, the online educator surveys were used to gain further knowledge of students’ educational needs as observed by active classroom educators. Following the needs analysis, a prototype design tool was made in phase two based on the design themes developed from phase one.

In phase three of the study, the final prototype design tool was tested with minority students and educators at the Hall Center for Education in Aldine, TX, during a design workshop guided by the researcher. The racial and ethnic demographic makeup of student participants of the Hall Center for Education fit the demographics of this study’s focus, which were Black and Hispanic students between the ages 13 and 17. Workshop participants completed a before and after survey about their design awareness and their perceived value of design. Their reactions and feedback about the prototype design tool were recorded through both qualitative and quantitative responses. The participants’ teacher was also interviewed to collect their feedback on the physical design tool experience. In response to COVID-19’s demand for stay-at-home learning activities, a slight pivot was made to focus on the at-home and online experience of the design tool. The at-home adaptability for the design learning tool was tested by a 13-year-old participant under the supervision of a parent. In the last stage of phase three, the online experience of the design tool was tested by conducting a website usability survey. There were three different versions of the online usability survey. The first survey targeted minority students, the second survey targeted educators who work with primarily minority students, and the third survey targeted designers. 3.2 M.O.L.D Development and Design Approach This case study aimed to develop a design learning tool and platform that would provide design awareness and value to underserved minority youth. These prototypes must provide access to a profound learning experience and force the student to think critically and with empathy. Therefore, the primary approach we explored was to incorporate the educational needs of minority students into a design workshop. This workshop was designed to integrate minority youth’s culture into a learning system that embodies a human-centered design framework. The newly developed design learning tool for this study was branded as M.O.L.D, an acronym for Minorities’ Opportunity to Learn Design. M.O.L.D provides design learning access, resources, opportunities, and value to minority students. These four pillars will serve as the foundation for the M.O.L.D experience. The focus was to design the experience to suit the educational needs of minority students using a problem-centered learning curriculum. The design learning experience must be adaptable enough to be implemented in different settings. To include aspects of cultural relevancy to the workshop, M.O.L.D’s initial challenge focused on footwear design. Sneakers and urban minority culture have been integrated

for over 40 years, and launching the initial challenge as a sneaker will help explain design with products that many target participants are familiar with. M.O.L.D I.T Design Thinking Process M.O.L.D I.T is the framework to teach the design thinking process to underserved minority youth developed for M.O.L.D. The design process includes simplifying the human-centered design process. The experience flow and design thinking process served as a foundation for developing the content of the design tool. Design Courses M.O.L.D’s design thinking courses give participants access to a design thinking approach for innovation and developing ideas. Introductory courses focused on “What is Design?” and the “M.O.L.D I.T Design Thinking Process.” The design courses featured a series of videos to help M.O.L.D realize its goal of reaching student participants ages 13–17. M.O.L.D’s design courses emphasize the power of design and the value of a tangible process to take ideas from paper to prototype. Design Challenges M.O.L.D’s design thinking challenges are developed using a problem-solving framework to get students thinking while solidifying their collaboration and building skills. The initial M.O.L.D design challenge focused on footwear design. Handbooks that serve as lesson plans and guides were created to model the M.O.L.D I.T process. The M.O.L.D sneaker design challenge offered three options to provide the participant with a culturally democratic learning environment. The challenge options focused on real-world problems. Option one was science and anatomy based; it asks the user to create a shoe prototype for a person with missing digits on their foot. The second option focused on business and branding. This option asks the participant to create a shoe for someone looking to start a shoe company inspired by animals. The last challenge option allowed the participant to freestyle their prototype. Student & Facilitator Handbooks The student handbook was designed with the M.O.L.D I.T framework in mind. It takes the participant through the entire M.O.L.D I.T process and sets the foundation for building the shoe prototype. The facilitator handbook was designed as a guide for the workshop facilitator. It takes them through the objectives of the lesson and the State of Texas assessment goals for students ages 13–17 that are achieved through completing the workshop.



M.O.L.D Physical Experience The ideation process for the physical experience of M.O.L.D consisted of a combination of building simple models with cardboard, foam core, tape, and other inexpensive materials to build mock-ups to be explored. The physical prototype for M.O.L.D utilized recycled products that included bubble wrap, tape, denim, upholstery foam, waxed string, and duct tape. Using miscellaneous material could allow for more adaptability, but it could also sacrifice the instructor’s control over the workshop. The next part of the process focused on more of a structured approach to the M.O.L.D experience. The structured approach allows more control and direction in the process. It allows for anyone to participate, even with specific disabilities, and it ensures the participants have the needed tools to complete all tasks. M.O.L.D Online Experience The online design approach centered around the inquiry: How can M.O.L.D deliver design learning content in a fun, coherent, and interactive way? User research was conducted by first targeting people who educate minority students to develop the content requirements. Then, user personas were created through this interview process. Next, a competitive analysis was completed on different online educational platforms that target a similar age demographic. Before the website layout was constructed, M.O.L.D’s content was inventoried and audited. The content was evaluated in terms of the value that it provides for users who helped create a hierarchy of information for the website. Next, the content was grouped and labeled to investigate any potential relationships between the content. The grouping of content gave insight into what to begin marking and how to prioritize navigating the content delivery. From there, wire-framing was done based on that content navigation insight. This part of the process’s goal is to create a visual representation of a layout for the online experience of M.O.L.D. 4. M.O.L.D Workshop Summary & Discussion 4.1. M.O.L.D Learning Outcomes from Classroom Workshop The M.O.L.D classroom workshop consisted of presenting the design learning content in part one, and part two focused on the sneaker design challenge. Before and after surveys of the participants’ knowledge and awareness of design, demographics, and workshop experience were collected. Every participant stated they found the M.O.L.D I.T process to be helpful in bringing their ideas to life. This confidence is key to developing critical thinking skills. After being asked if their definition of design changed after taking the workshop, one of the participants stated, “Yes, design is everything.” Another participant said that the workshop “really opened my mind to how I could create different things, in different



ways.” One participant explained the most memorable part of the workshop was “making a sneaker for someone with missing toes,” showing high levels of empathy. When asked about M.O.L.D’s overall experience, the educator of the participants said, “I think it was awesome; my kids were extremely receptive to everything. It was something completely different than what they are used to. You can see that they were challenging themselves creatively and mentally throughout the process.” 4.2 M.O.L.D At-Home Learning Outcomes The participants shared how learning this process could help them bring their ideas to life, and the most challenging part of the whole process was putting the shoe together at the end. The responses from the parent interview stated they believe this was a quality learning experience for their child. One parent said that their child “learned how to put something together off of reading instructions, and built it on his own.” They also noted that the M.O.L.D sneaker challenge box had all the necessary tools to complete the challenge, and they would recommend M.O.L.D to other parents. 4.3 M.O.L.D Online Usability Responses Student Responses The responses from the student usability surveys stated that the landing page made them want to continue through the website, they liked how the website looked, and they thought the interface was easy to use. Five of the six student participants stated they would like to try M.O.L.D’s sneaker design challenge, and four of the participants said they would like to learn more about design. Professional Designer Responses The professional designers surveyed work in eight different design fields, including industrial design, UX design, and graphic design. The designer participants were identified from five other races or ethnicities. The responses from the designer usability survey showed that all participants understood the purpose of M.O.L.D. Design critiques and improvement suggestions were collected by asking the designer participants what they would change about the M.O.L.D website. One of the participants stated, “Stronger home page & navigation.” Positive responses from the designer participants included: “M.O.L.D is practical, doable, realistic, and I can see this included in a school project within a class or curriculum.” Another participant stated, “I love the idea of this! I think early exposure is key in developing design talent.” Educator Responses A majority of the educators surveyed believed that M.O.L.D offers a credible learning experience. One of them responded:

“Yes, I do. I believe so because M.O.L.D is aligning its education to today’s world. It’s more creative with its education, while still challenging students’ creativity and thinking. It’s giving students a new experience in education.” That educator participant also added, “We all know it has been way overdue for education to make changes, and M.O.L.D is stepping in and doing just that.” 5. Conclusion A diversity-focused design tool, M.O.L.D, was created, tested, and branded as Minorities’ Opportunity to Learn Design. M.O.L.D was developed based on the hypothesis that providing design access and resources to racial minority grouped students will increase their awareness of design, the perceived value of design, and knowledge of the design thinking process. Minority students, educators, and designers participated in this study by providing feedback on the physical, digital, and overall learning experience of M.O.L.D. After testing, a majority of the student participants expressed their excitement for the new learning experience, and the results of pre and post-surveys revealed that their awareness and value of design grew as well. This outcome supports the hypothesis since engaging underserved minority students with an equity-driven design tool led to higher awareness and perceived value for design. By offering interventions such as M.O.L.D to minority youth and educators, we might one day have a field of designers that represents our diverse world. Plans for the project could include having M.O.L.D established as a 501c3 non-profit organization. With that status, applying for grants would allow continued research and testing with more student participants to develop the design tool experience further and to expand design courses and challenge offerings. Since the original launch, a new design challenge has been created that focuses on teaching the participant how to make face masks from materials found at home. There has also been a partnership with a STEM organization to implement M.O.L.D in their summer camp curriculum. The further development of this project could provide access to a powerful way of thinking for countless minority students and add a splash of color to the design industry. This study suggests that students enjoy having a design-based learning experience and that educators believe learning design skills can significantly impact the students. Further, this case study serves as an example of a way to introduce minority students to the benefits of design and design thinking and increase the diversity efforts within the design industry. The impact of this study could be seen outside the targeted demographic as well, as the benefits of a design-based education not only serve minority students but can elevate the creative thinking skills of all students.

6. Citations and References Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. Retrieved from Carroll, Antionette. (2014). “Diversity & Inclusion in Design: Why Do They Matter?” Carroll, M., Goldman, S., Britos, L., Koh, J., Royalty, A., & Hornstein, M. (2010). Destination, Imagination and the Fires Within: Design Thinking in a Middle School Classroom. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 29(1), 37–53. Colby, S., Ortman, J., & Us Census Bureau. (2015). Projections of the Size and Composition of the U.S. Population: 2014 to 2060. Population Estimates and Projections. Current Population Reports. P25-1143. US Census Bureau. Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (4th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications. Johnston, W., & Packer, A. (1987). Workforce 2000: Work and Workers for the 21st Century. Indianapolis, Ind: Hudson Institute. Ladson-Billings, Gloria. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children. Jossey-Bass. Luka, Ineta. (2014). “Design Thinking in Pedagogy.” Journal of Education Culture & Society. 5(2), 63–74. Mitchell-Powell, Brenda & Cheryl D. Miller. (1991). “Why Is Graphic Design 93% White?” McKinsey & Company. (2009). “The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools.” Page 6 Myrold, Jamie. (2017). “Adobe’s Creativity’s Diversity Disconnect Research.” National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.” Owen, Charles. (2005). “Design Thinking. What It Is. Why It Is Different. Where It Has New Value.” Royalty, Alex. (2018). “Design-based Pedagogy: Investigating an emerging approach to teaching design to non-designers.” Mechanism and Machine Theory, 125, 137–145. mechmachtheory.2017.12.014 Ward, W., & Cross, M. (1989). “Key issues in Minority Education: research directions and practical implications.” Norman, OK: Center for Research on Minority Education, University of Oklahoma.

—Cameron White and Dr. EunSook Kwon Cameron White is a UX designer at Q2 in Austin, TX. He is a 2020 Master of Industrial Design graduate from the University of Houston. Dr. EunSook Kwon serves as chair of the School of Industrial Design at Georgia Tech. Before joining Georgia Tech, Kwon was director of the industrial design program at the University of Houston. This paper was presented at the 2021 IDSA Education Symposium and selected through peer review for inclusion in this issue. It is presented here in a slightly edited form. For the complete paper and other 2021 education paper submissions, visit















6. References Alberts, J.K., Nakayama T. K., and Martin, J. N. (2010). Human Communication in Society, Pearson Higher Education. Basic Act on Education, Act No. 120 (2006), MEXT, Japan. https://www.mext. Bruce, M. A. (1985). A missing link: women and industrial design, Design Studies, 6(3), 150-156. Conner, M. (2008). Understanding the Differences Between Men and Women. Dweck, C.S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York, Random House. Fairs, M. (2020, December). UK design has “shocking gender imbalance” according to Design Museum research. https://www.dezeen. com/2018/12/05/design-museum-research-women-design-uk/ Fouad, N. A., Chang, W., Wan, M., and Singh, R. (2017). Women’s Reasons for Leaving the Engineering Field. Frontiers in Psychology. 8, 875. Murphy, M.C., Steele, C.M., Gross, J.J. (2007). Signaling Threat: How Situational cues Affect Women in Math, Science, and Engineering Settings. Psychological Science, 18(10), 879-885. Rincon, R. (2019, November). SWE Research Update: Women in Engineering By the Numbers. Scott, R. (2020). Strength in Diversity Act of 2020, US Committee on Education & Labor. Diversity%20Act%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf Seron, C., Silbey, S. S., Cech, E., Rubineau, B. (2015). Persistence Is Cultural: Professional Socialization and the Reproduction of Sex Segregation. Work and Occupations, 43(2), 178-214. Steele, C.M. (2011). Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York. UK Engineering Council, The Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (AHEP). (2020, August). 4, pp. 11, 29-30, 34-35. Walters, K. (2018). Hegemony in Industrial Design: A Study of Gendered Communication Styles. 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education. Woodcock, A., Hernandez, P.R., Estrada, M., Schultz, P.W. (2012). The Consequences of Chronic Stereotype Threat: Domain Disidentification and Abandonment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(4), 635646.

INNOVATION MAGAZINE CONSISTENTLY RANKS AMONG THE MOST VALUED OF IDSA’S MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS. We would like to hear your thoughts on the magazine and how we can make it even better in the years ahead. Thank you!

—Bryan Howell, IDSA, Cameron Unson, Judith Westwood, Becky Fuller, Asa Jackson, Rebekah Rawlings, and Michaela Hill Bryan Howell, IDSA, is a faculty member in the Industrial Design Program at Brigham Young University, with students Cameron Unson (animation), Judith Westwood (ID), Becky Fuller (math & statistics), Asa Jackson (ID), Rebekah Rawlings (ID), and Michaela Hill (ID). This paper was presented at the 2021 IDSA Education Symposium and selected through peer review for inclusion in this issue. It is presented here in a slightly edited form. For the complete paper, and other 2021 education paper submissions, visit INNOVATION WINTER 2021






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he design industry’s future designers are coming from a generation raised on media and the representations of themselves displayed in it. To see yourself among design professionals is so encouraging as a student. It helps bring to life the idea you have of your future self. If a designer comes from a similar background as you or has overcome the same struggles to get to where they are, it affirms that you can do the same. And on top of that, you now have relatable guidance to get there. The First Layers The industrial design program at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) is unlike any other when it comes to its student body. It screams diversity. The white male is a minority. Within the faculty, there is representation, but not with the same level of diversity. The ID program is conscious of the diversity issue in design and is taking appropriate steps to create a faculty body that represents the student body. The program recently transitioned two Black faculty members into more consistent teaching roles. In speaking to Rotimi Solola, IDSA, one of these faculty, he believes this is one of the most crucial steps to incorporating diversity into the curriculum, and the hope is to eventually see that reflected in the industry. Solola has experienced being the only Black person in a professional setting, and as a teacher he has had students come up to



him expressing how hopeful it is to have a professor that looks like them. “The best way to implement diversity in the curriculum is through the representation of the faculty,” Solola says. “For the first time ever, you have two Black industrial design instructors teaching ID studio courses at UIC. Regardless of whether we say, ‘We want to incorporate diversity into this class,’ just the fact that we’re Black is going to come through in the tools we bring, the people we reference, the language we use; it’s going to be there.” He also highlights the importance of considering who you are teaching and how that should influence a course’s content. When speaking of the notable industrial design figures students are introduced to and expected to know, the obvious is brought to light: They are all white men (with a few women sprinkled in). Solola and his colleague Norman Teague recognized this issue when preparing their course content for ID 2. “It’s essential for us to educate our students so they know who the important figures are who have contributed,” he says. “But on the other hand, it’s got to be relatable. If I’m a Black student sitting in class and I don’t see any Black designers on that list, I can check out, believing that this profession isn’t for me if no one who looks like me is doing this.” So Solola and Teague added more names to their curriculum—designers of color, women, and youth—making it relatable to a wider variety of students. On the topic of the UIC student body, Felicia Ferrone,

one of the two female instructors in the ID program, says, “The student diversity at UIC is unlike anything you will ever see. For our students, that level of diversity in design is normal, so their transition into the professional world can be a bit shocking given the lack of diversity in the field today.” As a veteran of the industry, she can see the progression of change. She sees more women in design now, the profession having moved past the boy’s club of drinks after work. “There are more women in the field now due to all the avenues available for producing their own work,” she says. “There are many female-founded design brands, which have allowed for this diversity and, more importantly, for these voices and expressions to come to fruition.” Ferrone went from seeing the topic of diversity be completely dismissed in the workplace to the workplace now having to talk about it. But, she advises, “It takes time.” Progress is being made, though. Now she asks, “Are the designs we create changing to reflect diversity?” Well, that’s the next step. The Many Layers In order to create diversity reflected in the designs we create, we must go beyond diversity at the surface level. What about background, gender identity, and sexuality? Physical and mental disabilities? As industrial designers, we’re creating products meant to be used by the masses. It’s our job to know who we are creating for. And that

means taking that extra step and diving deeper beyond race and assigned gender. If we don’t, we’re ignoring our diverse society and the responsibility we have to showcase them in our designs. This is not to say we have achieved the fundamental level of diversity in the design community; there is still work to be done. But having our designs reflect the multilayered diversity present in our society will only aid in that work. How do we introduce this next level of diversity? How do we instill these conversations in the profession? Do we create spaces in industrial design programs for conversation and discussion between students? Do we introduce new curricula addressing it? Or does it start with faculty? These questions are daunting and exhausting in the face of a capitalist society where work and production equate to value. But if no one asks them, then the discourse stops. Where do you think change starts? —Desi Lentz, S/IDSA Desi Lentz is a student at UIC, double majoring in industrial and graphic design. She’s passionate about inclusivity and sustainable design.



approach to scheduling to ensure that breaks for meals are always present and to create predictable blocks of unscheduled time for faculty and students alike, and I have banished after-hours email! I encourage everyone to preserve communication- and meeting-free zones in their days. Relief from feeling like you must be doing something productive every minute is welcomed by those who can adjust their schedules and expectations, but I readily acknowledge the privilege that is implied in taking this position. Despite design’s reliance on iteration to improve ideas, participants in higher education are burdened by perceived imperatives to succeed the first time they attempt something. This is true for students and faculty alike. Students’ fear that a low grade will derail their career goals resonates as strongly as professors’ concerns that lulls in productivity will jeopardize their employment. Each can be paralyzing. As methods for finding value in low- or no-cost risktaking begin to permeate our approaches to evaluating students and colleagues alike, I am increasingly convinced that the growing satisfaction and well-being that accompany them matter more than old-fashioned conceptualizations of rigor ever did. I have met too many industrial designers who studied in the 20th century who merely survived their education. Helping compassion, empathy, and second chances become more acceptable parts of learning and discovery encourages the advancement of knowledge creation and health and happiness in academic life and life in general. They also provide a powerful foundation for contemporary design practices that are rooted in the ethics of care. Having effective tools and road maps to navigate complex organizations, such as large universities, is another critical factor when establishing places where mental health and happiness can thrive. Incorporating flexibility into those road maps so that multiple paths can lead to a common destination matters too. Design education’s historical dependence on lockstep or cohortbased curricular structures works against this premise. Although it remains easier to say than to do for some of us,

programs that have figur e d out how to effectively incorporate choice, change, and elasticity without sacrificing e ffic ie nc y a nd quality are models for us all. Care Now It is with this point in mind that I return to what design educators began to discover in March 2020 and have been learning ever since. We can be mobile, agile, virtual, and responsive. While the pandemic’s isolation and the distancing it imposed emerged as a formidable enemy to health and happiness, they also served—and continue to serve— as powerful reminders of the value of being part of a community, which is, by definition, a place where you know you can get help when you need it. We all crave a place where people care about each other more than they care about profit or artificial standards or historical traditions. What we may have understood in the past as designers’ passion for perfection must now become an imperative to prove that you care: about the earth, about others, and about yourself. —Mary Anne Beecher, PhD Mary Anne Beecher, PhD, is a professor of design and the chairperson of the Department of Design at The Ohio State University.






hese days, industry (particularly the consumer electronics industry) and society require converging talents for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Industries want their employees to be flexible, work in multidisciplinary teams, and collaborate with people with different backgrounds. Moreover, the world faces a new era with the pandemic, which has changed how people interact with their work. It not only requires transferring from officebased work to remote work but also developing new work processes and a new work culture, which require employees to have a diverse set of abilities. Based on these changes, I believe that industrial design education will also evolve to support cross-pollination between industry and academia. From Specialist to Polymath Before the Fourth Industrial Revolution, academia focused on educating and training students to become specialists to match industry needs, which divided labor for manufacturing efficiency. According to Devon McGinnis of Salesforce, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies.” With the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, companies are looking for individuals who are polymaths. Polymaths are people who have a deep understanding of multiple subjects that are related to each other. A polymath is different than a generalist since polymaths are proficient in their respective areas while generalists have only a baseline knowledge of their subjects. Lately, both hardware and software are beginning to merge. Lots of products and features are being combined



and supported as a single platform. For example, recent smartphones have incorporated other products, like a camera and health trackers, into their mobile platform, which offers integrated services. There is a specific process to this merging of products. In the beginning, there is a single-purpose device, such as a mobile phone. The next stage is convergence, where two different physical products merge into a single unit. An example would be attaching a camera to a mobile phone. However at this stage, there is very little software integration between the two merging products. For the first two stages, the industrial designer is the primary role involved. The final stage is fusion, when software is integrated into the merged product to create new experiences. This would be when features using both the phone and the camera would be created, such as video calling. At the third stage, not only are industrial designers involved but also user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers. The New-Age Industrial Designer According to industry needs, there are several ways an ID student can become a polymath designer: study both industrial design and UX research; study both industrial design and engineering; or study industrial design, UI design, and UX design. While there are more possibilities for polymath designers in the field, let’s focus on the third option since ID students already are commonly required to study UX research and engineering. I studied industrial design for my undergraduate degree. For my master’s degree, I studied research, design planning, and UX design from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. After I graduated, I joined Samsung Electronics as a UX designer. When I started as an interaction designer coming from industrial design

The recommended curriculum for an ID program that will produce polymath designers ready for industry.

in consumer electronics, I understood UI/UX design from an industrial designer’s point of view. My first project was called the Next Display UX. It focused on exploring new forms for displays, such as flexible, transparent, and others. My team’s mission was to find every possible form factor, related user interfaces, and interactions for future display types. The team consisted of product designers, graphic designers, hardware developers, software developers, and people from other backgrounds. Through working with my team members, I learned three things. The first was that hardware and software are closely related and need to be designed together. The second was that having a deep understanding of the target technology is a key factor for successful design. The third was that it is essential to learn about other areas in the product development process. After this project, I contributed to emerging devices, new mobile services (such as AI, IoT, and healthcare), and other topics related to user interfaces with cutting-edge technologies as a polymath designer. From my previous experiences, I found that designers who understand industrial design, UI design, and UX design tend to be core members in multidisciplinary teams. These days, many electronic products are designed by combining digital applications with physical products. They are closely related and share core attributes when put in a single platform. So designers who understand both can find better and more seamless solutions between products. Training Students in Academia ID students learn how to design with materials, structure products, and understand the manufacturing process through logical thinking. User interface design has very similar requirements to industrial design but with different

materials (for example, pixel-based graphic objects and other UI materials), operating systems, and processes. Therefore, I believe that students can do UI design if they are already trained in logical thinking after they understand the nature of software materials and processes. Here is my approach for educating and training students to become polymath designers: In freshmen year, students learn essential skills and knowledge about both industrial design and UX research. In sophomore year, students develop their industrial design and UX research skills with assignments and practice. In junior year, they add UX to their study of industrial design and UI design by working with professionals through co-op projects. They will also need to decide which industry they are interested in and want to join. In senior year, based on their selected industry, they choose their thesis topic and research and develop an industrial, UI, and UX design project. This road map for producing polymath designers will help students become industry-ready designers. For design students who want to join the consumer electronics industry, consider your program of study and the skills you will need to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As other industries follow the model of consumer electronics and embrace polymath design, not only will that help them produce more relevant and successful products but it will also help build a stronger relationship between industry and academia. —Jung Joo Sohn, IDSA Jung Joo Sohn is an assistant professor at the Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance at Purdue University.



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hen I started writing this article, it was about transitioning from being a design practitioner to also being an academic at a top-tier research institution and, as a side note, the experience of being a mother in those realms. It quickly devolved into being a before and after COVID-19 scenario, where everything was doable before—having a full-time consultancy position, having a robust research agenda, and teaching—and now facing the fact that being a mother affects my professional experience in a way it didn’t before the pandemic. Since the pandemic, the news and media have been talking about the heightened stresses working mothers face. Earlier this year, NPR reported the alarming statistic that 1.8 million fewer women are participating in the workforce than before the pandemic. McKinsey & Company’s 2021 “Women in The Workplace” report shows that mothers are leaving management positions at a concerning rate due to unrealistic expectations and burnout. This situation hasn’t been discussed as much in academia. Balancing It All My research revolves around the under-representation of women and minorities in industrial design. Over the past six months, I’ve been interviewing faculty at other institutions. It’s clear that during the pandemic mothers have not felt supported by their institutions. Most institutions have granted all faculty members a reprieve from research because the workload required to provide quality education to students skyrocketed last year, regardless of if you were a parent, a situation



the university system recognized. Yet institutions have generally failed to support their lecturers and tenure-track and tenured professors who are mothers. In academia, there is a disconnect between women’s lived experience and institutional expectations, despite the seemingly daily accounts on the news of mothers leaving the workplace or suffering burnout. Consistently, tenure-track researchers are reporting in these interviews that their peers or chairs imply that they should have been more productive in their research over the past year—“because no one has had anything going on this past year and a half”—despite the official pause on the tenure clock. So the message is: Take a break, but don’t really. Meanwhile, all of my SolidWorks video demos for my CAD course from the past year have my kids talking to me in them (they now know what a tangent surface means). My kids are in elementary school, but we currently don’t have after-school care. After all this time, I’m still having to navigate more responsibilities than what I had before COVID-19. The past year and a half and the transition back to in-person learning have been hard on students as well. Throughout my interviews with women academics, they report an increased number of students reaching out to them who are in crisis or just need more one-on-one support. Before the pandemic, women faculty often filled this role, but now the time they dedicate to students in this manner has greatly increased. Meanwhile, annual reviews and tenure dossiers have no section for reporting this type of work.

Having, No, Keeping a Seat at the Table There is no way my students don’t see me as a mom now. Maybe they did before, but it’s much more apparent now. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Does it mean that they take me less seriously? What are the implications of that on how my students interact with me compared to their other non-mom professors? I question what it means to even be asking that, but after having young woman designers and students ask me at nearly every design presentation I’ve ever given if it’s possible to both have a career and be a mother, I know how important these conversations are to have. At first, I was surprised how consistently women were asking me if they could be a mother and an industrial designer. Then I realized it was because many women just aren’t seeing themselves as having a seat at the table in this field. They believe they cannot deviate from what has been presented to them as the definition of a successful designer: Working 10 or more hours a day and going to happy hour with the group after. And they think that if they don’t meet these perceived expectations, they won’t make it or get promoted. These perceptions are not always true, but it’s telling that so many young women believe they are. And suddenly I, and many other mothers, now have these same questions and doubts about being a mother and an academic when we never did before. I always have loved being a parent and a professional and never thought it was a hindrance. If anything, I felt that it has improved my design skills, management skills, and teaching. But this past year has pushed many of us to our limits, and the mamas are growing weary. —Betsy Barnhart, IDSA Betsy Barnhart is an assistant professor and program director of industrial design and the University of Kansas.



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hen the COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020, San Jose State University (SJSU) was one of the first institutions in the country to shut down or severely limit access to hands-on learning facilities and on-campus activities and to switch to virtual engagement. As a result, our students returned to their homes of origin, sometimes across the world, and the design faculty were challenged with finding creative ways to pivot our instruction and curriculum to teach remotely and virtually. This was the perfect storm for us to leverage industry partnerships, rapidly mobilize efforts toward digital tools, and find new ways to engage with an evolved process and workflow of industrial design education. Who Moved My Foam? Our first response to the design education emergency at the beginning of the pandemic was to collaborate with our academic community (professors, alumni, industry) across the world to create video content on a collaborative online platform called MakingDesigningThinking. Inspired by a past SJSU industrial design alumni mask-making instructional video, professors from multiple universities in the design community came together to create and publish content we all needed to teach. When it comes to academic topics such as chemistry and mathematics, online resources for learning have been around for decades. Within design education, the pandemic revealed a huge gap in digital learning, teaching resources, and recorded content to memorialize age-old and new techniques specific to our trade and the design process. One of our first challenges with content creation was the lack of availability of traditional materials, such as urethane foam. During the pandemic, the lightweight, sculptable urethane foam so common to the industrial design process, and which we use for physical form studies, was not an option for a variety of reasons. Global supply chain limitations and the high cost to distribute materials across the world ruled out our trusted material of choice. Instead, we were forced to either find a more locally available alternative or avoid physical model creation



altogether. XPS and EPS foams have been used by industry and academia to model prototypes; however, we have traditionally not used them in our program. Given the availability of XPS and EPS foam at most local hardware stores, we decided to explore, create, and curate a series of videos to replicate processes that accomplished similar objectives using foam core, sculpey, 3D-printed models, XPS, and EPS foams. To Design [in CAD] or Not to Design [in CAD] The problem with the availability of materials and the lack of tools in distance learning also challenged our approach to the foundation curriculum, particularly the focus on refinement and perfection along with the perceived inherent value of high-level final appearance models. Given our lack of access to the shop and the materials necessary to prototype at a high-level finish, we considered an approach to finalized models in CAD instead of high-level final appearance models. We asked ourselves, What is gained and what is lost when designers begin using CAD to visualize form in place of physically modeling? Is the value of using CAD software worth the loss of hand-building skills? In 2016, Jonathan Ives was quoted in Dezeen magazine talking about how designers who don’t build with their hands fail to gain an understanding of materials that is only possible through physical experience. We have witnessed this in our design curriculum over the years. Students lack an understanding of form, proportion, and scale when they work solely in CAD without a physical model reference. Nonetheless, the disrupting forces of the pandemic forced our hand, and we committed to introducing CAD in the first year in the form of Autodesk Fusion 360—albeit with some trepidation and wincingly suspended judgement. Fusion 360’s relatively low barrier to entry and the way it allows a designer to move fluidly from parametric modeling to surface modeling is impressive. Within the Fusion 360 software, we did our best to reflect the processes students were missing because they had no access to field trips or the shops, by replacing cutting on the bandsaw with digital demos. For example,

Above left: Alison Armstrong led her students in foundation design by providing them with a 3D printed half-scale head model on which they applied clay to reflect their design. Pictured here is the honorable mention winner by first-year student Janella Catura, a clay model on a mirrored surface. Above right: Connecting physical models with CAD helped students innovate function. Pictured here is the first place winner in the Commuter category by Kai Bannister, a third-year student from John McClusky’s Inclusive Design course.

one of the usual foundation projects involves curvilinear form exploration in which students are tasked with coming up with a unique, visually balanced, and aesthetically pleasing form by making only two 90-degree cuts on a block of wood. We replicated this exercise fairly successfully in Fusion 360 by starting with a rectangular block form and then projecting two separate cuts on two different planes within the software. These preliminary exercises in Fusion 360 build layers of complexity into their skill base, and the organic shape of a helmet pushed their skills to the max as the last project of the term. The Road to CAD Was Paved in Gravel In spring 2021, Autodesk hosted a multi-campus design competition with the industry sponsor Limar Italia. The sponsor and design brief captured the imagination and motivation of the first- and third-term students. Fusion 360 software made it possible for them to design and visualize their ideas quickly in CAD given our continued limited access to campus. The main concern for us was the viability of introducing CAD and having students design around the organic form complexities and challenges of a bicycle helmet all in their first year of study. The faculty was able to access the Seid Innovation Lab, where we 3D printed half-scale head models and mailed them to students. Students started first by modeling over-the-head 3D prints with clay and sculpey to get a sense of proportion, relative size, and scale and then grounded the design in physical form.

The partnership with Autodesk included Autodesk Ambassadors, who provided much-needed support for faculty and students. The students in this ambassador position played a role balancing the needs of academia and industry and received valuable professional experience and communication skills in interfacing with both. Peer-to-peer learning was also a successful way for students to get the support they needed and the faculty the time to focus on higher-level design instruction. When it came to digital translation into Fusion 360, the Autodesk Ambassadors were instrumental in mentoring students on workflows mirroring the physical experience, grounding their CAD work in the physical. Students imported the same CAD head model they were sculpting in 3D into the digital workspace and then modeled and rendered their designs for evaluation and presentation. The End Continues None of this digital workflow is new, but what was significant for our foundation students and faculty was that we were able to ground the students’ CAD work in physical form by centralizing video content instruction through the online MakingDesigningThinking platform and shifting the focus from a highly polished physical model to a rendered representation. We were unsure how much success our first-year students would enjoy, but the end results blew us away. Not only were their projects successful, but they were comparable to previous third-year student work.



Shown here is a pre-pandemic glimpse of the Seid Innovation Lab. Given the lack of shop access during the pandemic, the lab provided the ability to 3D print reference models as part of the foundation workflow, grounding students’ designs in reality.

SJSU is historically a commuter school, but students also live on or very near campus. Many students also have to work part-time jobs to pay for housing, tuition, and supplies. In the past, this set up an inequitable access to the shop. Everyone working remotely off campus during the pandemic using CAD software leveled the playing field and proved to be a game changer as an accessible, equitable education resource. Instead of results being dependent on the accessibility of the shop, the results were driven by time spent in CAD and referencing the 3D-print half-scaled models. What might have been an unhealthy process of modeling in foam and surface fillers, was instead accomplished safely in the comfort and safety of home on computers. The concurrent projects were supported by the monumental efforts of creating a centralized video archive through the MakingDesigningThinking website, support from Autodesk to ramp up CAD skills in the first year, and the generous donation of the Calvin Q. Seid family to create



the Seid Innovation Lab. These made all the difference between an ungrounded introduction to CAD and one that still referenced, evolved, and built on traditional skills.

—Kohar Scott, IDSA Kohar Scott has been an assistant professor at SJSU since 2020 after teaching as an adjunct professor in the Industrial Design Program since 2015. The MakingDesigningThinking platform is a collaborative, compiled resource for design education. The team includes Leslie Speer (Maryland Institute of College and Art and retired SJSU professor), Taylor Lane (SJSU alumni), John McClusky (SJSU professor), Kohar Scott (SJSU assistant professor), Alison Armstrong (SJSU adjunct), and Soumitri Varadarajan (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia).




H E N G B O !

The University of Illinois, the College of Fine & Applied Arts, and the School of Art & Design are very proud of your achievements. We wish you even more success in the future. In your journey ahead and through your design, may you create a new and better world.

Hengbo Zhang Winner Graduate IDSA SMA 2021 ayama libra adamas

Annabel Huber Winner Undergraduate IDSA SMA 2021 aarden aarden ring fit redesign

We believe an education in art and design should be as stimulating, consequential, and enjoyable as the career opportunities that follow. Our undergraduate and graduate programs challenge students to think, create, and act in transformative ways. • • • INNOVATION WINTER 2021



REFLECTIONS ON ACADEMIC BELONGING: Feeling Valued as a Woman in Design Education


eing a design professor has been such a privilege. I have met and worked with incredibly smart people, I have visited amazing places around the world, and I have had the opportunity to share with and learn from great students, some of whom have also become my mentors. I belong to this community. I see my role in it as a major component of my identity. I am grateful for the colleagues and friends who welcomed and mentored me, but it has been lonely at times. I have been the only woman teaching industrial design in my department, the only Latina member of the faculty, and, until now, the only industrial designer working on complex multidisciplinary projects. Throughout my career as a designer in the US, I have lacked the feeling of being connected and valued. I am Colombian born and raised. I lost my sense of belonging when I moved to the United States about 30 years ago. I suddenly acquired minority status and had a difficult time identifying with the industrial design community. This feeling has persisted as I have yet to see my identity reflected in design practice. As a woman of color in industrial design with an undergraduate degree from a developing country, I realized that design firms in the early ’90s did not value my intellectual abilities and talents. I was told several times that my drawing style and the types of projects in my portfolio were not a good fit. At the time, designers were experts in everything “cool,” and my projects focused on social innovation.



I decided to go to graduate school to address the feeling of being an “unfit designer.” Instead, graduate school opened a world of possibilities. There I found like-minded people passionate about the things I cared about. I fell in love with teaching and decided to work toward advancing the profession beyond traditional design practice. Academic Belonging and Scholarly Work A sense of belonging is important. It validates you as an accepted member of the academic community where your presence and contributions are valued. Being promoted and acquiring tenure and full professorship are milestones that should mark acceptance into the academic community. This community, however, is not a single entity. Each university, college, and discipline has different methods of inquiry and diverse goals, values, and expectations—and they all play a role in evaluating candidates for promotion. Every new faculty member needs to understand how to navigate the complexities of their academic environment and carve an agenda for original scholarship that will be valued enough by the university, college, and discipline they inhabit. This is especially important for scholars who are underrepresented and whose membership in these groups may be questioned more. In research institutions, value and excellence are measured through scholarly productivity, research funding,

and external recognition through peer-reviewed publications, speaking engagements, and awards. In art and design, value is also placed on creative production and professional practice. This means that for design faculty, validation from designers is key to promotion. If you aren’t valued by the design community, you may be at risk of not getting the support you need in building your agenda and acquiring external recognition. Academic research is an alternative or complementary path toward promotion, and it comes with its own challenges. Design faculty may find themselves the minority working in large multidisciplinary teams. Our tools and methods for discovery lack the rigor that other disciplines follow, and finding the right balance between disciplinary methodologies is an ongoing effort. The majority of ID faculty I know (male professors) do not choose the academic research path as their focus for scholarly work. They have a strong sense of belonging to the ID professional community and a support system in place that allows them to navigate the creative production and professional practice route. That was not the case for me, so I felt my only option was to engage with various academic communities even though I was always the odd person on different research teams. Being a minority on a team is a familiar feeling, one I am comfortable with. Finding Your Place When I took my first tenure-track faculty position, early on I decided to invest my efforts in promoting industrial designers as professionals who are able to lead innovative endeavors and research activities by contributing to the advancement of knowledge alongside disciplines such as engineering, the sciences, and healthcare. I sought opportunities for collaboration with multidisciplinary groups focused on innovation within the university. I initially questioned my ability to contribute. I was again the only woman, the only Latina, and the only one without a PhD. Nonetheless, I was the designer in the room. I did not have to prove my value as a designer. I had to prove my value as a contributor to the team. I quickly learned how my ability to frame problems and my design knowledge and visualization skills helped lead teams to generate new knowledge in the context of large-scale challenges. I believe complex multidisciplinary projects represent a great opportunity for the industrial design field. To date, I have collaborated with researchers from fields such as mechanical engineering, systems engineering, computer science, public health, biomedical engineering, and medicine. My career total funding is $3.5 million ($1.4 million as a principal investigator or lead). The learning outcomes of our collaborations have the potential to impact our profession, our research capabilities, and the education of our students.

In this journey, I have faced pushback from colleagues in my department, my college, and the professional industrial design community. They have questioned my belonging to the different communities with microaggressions, jokes in passing, and serious statements that have impacted my career. I have tried to dismiss those incidents, but it’s hard not to feel discouraged. Thankfully, I have also received support from faculty, researchers, and practitioners who share my vision. I have developed my own sense of belonging through my connections and collaborations with forwardthinking individuals whose opinion I value most. I am proud of the work we do and the people I work with. I’m also grateful to those who helped me get to where I am. A few takeaways: Own your value. As a woman in ID education, be confident and show people you are someone worth hearing. Wanting to achieve the highest level of promotion within the academy and wanting to do the best does not make you aggressive or overly ambitious. You owe it to yourself and to the women who come behind you. Find allies, mentors, and collaborators. As design faculty in research institutions, it is hard to figure out all the complex interactions in academia on your own. Find mentors in your department, college, and university. Find mentors and collaborators in other universities and professional practice. Other people’s experiences provide valuable perspectives that can help you validate your choices. Become a mentor to those who come behind you. Be an ally. As a male in design or design education, recognize privilege and use that knowledge to expand the possibilities of our profession by advocating for others. The ID community continues to undervalue anyone who isn’t a traditional designer who excels at sketching. Let’s join the conversation and move our profession forward. Foster partnerships. As designers, we should be building partnerships between industry and academia to explore the future of our profession. Academics in other disciplines are regarded by their professions as essential to the evolution of their disciplines. That isn’t the case in design. We should strengthen our connections and work together to discover new knowledge. —Carolina Gill, IDSA Carolina Gill is a professor of industrial design at the NC State College of Design and co-director of the Health Centered Design Lab,





Gokul Beeda, IDSA | Syracuse University



okul Beeda, IDSA, says he always wanted to do something apart from the mainstream career choices presented to him in India, such as becoming a doctor or an engineer. “I used to sketch a lot of human figures in my texts and class notes,” he says. “I was significantly influenced by regional Indian cinema and drew one single storyboard for a random scene.” In 2016, Beeda made his way to Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and interaction design in 2021. Currently, he is working as an industrial design intern at the Boston, MA-based design consultancy Sprout Studios. As a first-generation student in the United States and the first in his family to study design, “it was hard,” he says, “to find a reference point or a role model to navigate what to do in ID.” Early in his first semester, Beeda learned the importance of role models in communities in a sociology class. Eventually, he found IDSA, joining the university’s student chapter. IDSA has given him a community, he says, both at the local and international level, to help him and to connect with Syracuse alumni and industry leaders. In the future, he would like “to work for and collaborate with as many



new professionals as possible through design skills,” and in 10 years would hopefully be in the early years of his own consultancy. Beeda’s work centers on inclusive solutions that create compelling user experiences and seamlessly integrate into the user’s lifestyle. One project, NEVA, is a longitudinal health monitoring system that assesses biological and environmental determinants of health and their interactions to personalize healthcare and help to prevent chronic diseases before their onset. Another, Project X, is a modular handheld console system that offers gamers a hybrid configuration of accessories for a better user experience. “My faculty and university infrastructures have encouraged me to explore different subjects, skills, and perspectives,” he says. “A learning that has stuck with me is context is everything. Define the constraints, goals, and design principles as clearly as possible and let them drive your design.”

Right: The Project X modular handheld console system offers gamers a hybrid configuration of gaming accessories for a better user experience, designed by Gokul Beeda, IDSA.





Hunter Elmore, IDSA | University of Cincinnati



ince childhood, Hunter Elmore, IDSA, has loved making things. “When I was little, I had all this creative energy, but didn’t know what to do with it,” he says. “I would take a hammer and nails out into the woods and just nail sticks together, with no real purpose other than to satisfy that need to make something.” In high school, he found an outlet for that energy in fine arts, particularly drawing. “Although I loved it, I never felt quite complete until I began product and transportation design,” he says. “The idea of developing a physical product, with its own unique purpose both practical and emotional, and the ability to validate its level of success—that’s what really pushed me toward industrial design.” Elmore describes finding ID as a bit of a happy accident. “I thought that the only potential creative career was to become what people tend to call a ‘starving artist,’” he says. “It wasn’t until my high school art teacher, Mr. Greg Stanforth, pushed me toward a summer program at the Cleveland Institute of Art that I discovered the fields of design. I took a leap of faith at the time, joining a friend for the industrial design summer program back in 2015. I quickly realized that I loved the idea of building the future and have been hooked ever since.” In 2016, he matriculated at the University of Cincinnati, in the prestigious College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), and earned his bachelor’s degree in transportation and product design in 2021. Understanding that he is constantly growing and improving as a designer, and that he needs to be patient with himself, has been a powerful learning experience. “The most challenging part of my studies in industrial design has been learning to develop confidence and overcome imposter



syndrome,” he says. “As a field based heavily on technical skill, it’s easy as a young designer to compare oneself to those who have more experience and feel inadequate.” Elmore pushed through these challenges and created a wide range of intriguing work, both in school and through internships at companies such as Hasbro, Ford, and Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. For example, ONYX is a moving robot designed to help overburdened nurses clean hospital rooms. ECLIPSE is a prosthetic arm that marries empathic design with speculative engineering to develop not only a physical but also an emotional extension of oneself that prioritizes identity, honesty, and comfort. Currently, Elmore is working as an independent contractor. Within 10 years, “I’d love to develop that into my own consultancy with a team of talented and driven designers built up around me,” he says. His IDSA membership also has helped him progress in his career. “Being involved with IDSA has provided me with opportunities to showcase my own skills, as well as learn from fellow classmates in addition to design professionals,” he says. Elmore’s advice to new ID students is to fail often, fail quickly, and never stop learning, while also putting one’s mental health first: “We’re always pushing to improve and be the best, but don’t allow that healthy drive to devolve into obsession.” Instead of comparing yourself to other designers, he says, “compare yourself only to the designer you were yesterday, and the one you envision you will become.”

Right: The ONYX Robotics HS-1 uses robotic and UV sanitation technology to ensure hospital spaces are clean and safe, designed by Hunter Elmore, IDSA.





Annabel Huber, IDSA | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



nnabel Huber, IDSA, started out as a fine artist, focusing on ceramics and sculpture. “I was always interested in engineering and mathematics,” she says, “but I knew I couldn’t do solely mechanics for the rest of my life.” When she discovered industrial design, it seemed like a natural pathway. “Industrial design was kind of the happy medium between my left and right brains,” she says. “Industrial design, to me, was creating and designing functional artwork that could still bring people the same joy that my ceramics and sculptures could.” Huber enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana– Champaign in 2017 and received her BFA in industrial and product design in 2021. Today she works as an associate industrial designer at Newell Brands. Upon joining UIUC, Huber was driven by her artistic side, but soon found the program to be much more research-based than she had expected. “At first I was reluctant to shed some of the raw creativity,” she says, “but as I took more ID classes, I began to love and appreciate the more logical and rational side of design. It added validity and actual function to my work, which inspired me even more.” Huber’s award-winning product designs include Aarden, an electric composter for small spaces, and Chiaro, a portable light therapy device for helping users with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). “Like my artwork, I hope to bring joy to people with my products,” she says. “Yes, I want to appeal to their logic and have them be drawn to my products for their function/



purpose, but there’s another level to it. I want people to choose my product because it gives them joy, it warms their heart. That they just want it because it makes them happy.” Throughout her school years, being an IDSA member was a great way for her to build skills and find community with other designers. “Seeing other passionate people fueled my own passion for design,” she says. IDSA “has also allowed me to connect to designers I would have never known otherwise, and has led me to find some amazing mentors, which I am incredibly grateful for.” To those still making their way through ID school, “definitely take advantage of your time as students in your studio classes,” she says. “Be collaborative. Don’t be afraid to ask for your classmates’ opinions, for feedback from your professors—that’s how you learn and improve.” Huber cherishes the memories she made in school: a creative space full of mutual learning, passion, and drive. “I will forever remember all the all-nighters we pulled and how many coffee runs we made together,” she says. “I am incredibly thankful for my professors and peers, who helped me learn and develop into the designer I am today.”

Right, from the top: The Aarden composter for small spaces makes composting food waste accessible for urban-dwelling young adults, and the ZION essential oil difuser uses scents to evoke cherished memories, designed by Annabel Huber, IDSA.





Mila Penrith, IDSA | University of Oregon



ila Penrith, IDSA, grew up in a society and family that strongly believed in the adage “leave it better than when you found it,” and this continues to be her driving influence. “Where I come from, South Africa, plastic bottles are transformed into sandals,” she says. “Thrown away grocery bags are converted into glamorous garden displays every South African proudly owns. The used tires that are deemed inoperative now sit on my windowsill, serving as a fruit basket.” As a child, she both witnessed and experienced a lack of resources that drove her fellow South Africans to be innovative conservationists. She took this inspiration with her in studying industrial design, as she believes that “there is no better place to apply it than a career that thrives off innovation, resource efficiency, and optimization.” Penrith attended the University of Oregon from 2018 to 2021, earning her BFA in industrial and product design. Now she works as director of brand marketing at Skosh, a design group based in Portland, OR, area that designs, manufactures, and produces home technology and furniture products. “I aspire to touch the lives of those that rarely have the luxury to indulge in the beauty of design,” she says. “My main intention is to utilize my skills in order to alleviate stresses on both society and the environment. Whether I am seeking resource efficiency, or practicing empathy, or doing my part in a community, I ensure I carry those values into my design thinking and do what South Africans do best, design from the heart and the gut.” Her work varies from SUUNTO, a dive console meant to provide easily accessible data for scuba divers in moments of stress, to IOTA, an air purifier designed to improve



indoor air quality while maintaining harmony with the living environment, to KOVE, a redesign of the Portland MAX light rail systems to provide emotional and physical security amid COVID-19. While in school, Penrith endeavored to understand alternative perspectives, and being an IDSA member was a huge part of her development. As she puts it, “IDSA has challenged me to define my morals and ethics, therefore shaping me into the designer I am currently, and encouraging my growth from here onwards.” When she considers the future, biomimetic design is a huge consideration. She cites Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry, Innovation Inspired by Nature, as a role model. “Ever since I read the term ‘biomimicry’ projected onto the whiteboard of my high school design classroom, I have been itching to contribute to a community like the one Benyus has created through her Biomimicry Institute.” Penrith says, “I aim to challenge pre-existing material and manufacturing norms not only to inspire new innovations but to debunk the ideology that the world was put here exclusively for our own use.” Penrith’s advice for current product design students is fourfold. First, find your community. Second, when confronting a project that is perceived as insurmountable, talk it out and write it down. Third, failure is your friend. Finally, enjoy the process. “We are incredibly lucky to immerse ourselves in a career of creativity,” she says. “Do whatever it takes to spark that inner Lego-loving child who reminds you to have fun with it.” Right, from top: The SUUNTO dive console provides easily accessible data for scuba divers, and the IOTA air purifier harmonizes with the living environment, designed by Mila Penrith, IDSA.





Derek Tucker, IDSA | Auburn University



hen Derek Tucker, IDSA, thinks about where his creativity came from, he remembers being a kid and his father taking him into the backyard to explore nature’s tiny details. “We would overturn rocks and look in the grass for different types of bugs to observe and draw them in a sketchbook, so I largely give him credit for the creativity genes,” Tucker says. “Later, that inspired finding creative passions like photography, ceramics, and eventually design.” Like many other industrial designers, Tucker had an aptitude for engineering, but it was learning what he didn’t want to do that eventually led him to study ID. “Going through two years of chemical and mechanical engineering, I realized I needed more of a human element,” he says, “and industrial design was the perfect blend of engineering-like problem-solving and artistic creativity.” Tucker received his bachelor’s degree in industrial and product design from Auburn University in 2021. Shortly after graduating, he joined the medical device company Medtronic as an industrial design and user experience intern, working in the Diabetics Operational Unit. He believes the goal of every designer should be to help make the world better and would like to continue inspiring creativity, curiosity, and positivity through his work. “One day I hope to be in a position to teach, as I have always loved passing on the knowledge I have gained,” he says. His award-winning designs include Bebo, a friendly



device using AI to bring companionship to long-term pediatric patients, and Apollo, a redesigned infrared thermometer that aims to bring a delightful experience to the user. “I try to find the most efficient solution to better the user experience, but always find ways to add a playful or entertaining element,” he says. “Life is too short to use boring products.” Tucker credits IDSA and his community at Auburn for his personal and career growth. “IDSA has been a fantastic group to bring together those who share the same passions to build a network of leaders and further design knowledge,” he says. “My favorite thing is the people. My professors that are always driven to teach and inspire that creativity, and my fellow students that continually impress me with their hard work and motivation. It’s never a dull all-nighter with them. The people are what I will miss the most.” If you are still in design school, Tucker urges you to savor the experience. “Work hard to be the best version of yourself and enjoy every day you’re in an environment that fosters creativity and passion,” he says. “Design has the power to change the world, and design school is where it starts. They always say it will go by in the blink of an eye, but you don’t realize it until it happens.”

Right: The Apollo infrared thermometer displays the temperature to both the temperature taker and the patient to ease their mind, designed by Derek Tucker, IDSA.





Tati Ferrucio, IDSA | Rochester Institute of Technology



ati Ferrucio, IDSA, grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in a home full of math and science, but always felt connected to her artistic side, especially drawing. “I used to design my own characters and spend hours creating their adventures on paper,” she says. “Looking back, I believe that was the way I found to explore my creativity very early.” When the time came to choose a career, she found that industrial design was a great way to use this strength for good. Her upbringing in Rio is also vital to her creative development. “Brazilian culture is born from the mix of many different nations and cultures, making it unique and rich,” she says. “My identity as a creative person comes from this melting pot of cultural expressions.” Ferrucio received both her BFA and MFA in industrial and product design from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. The hardest part of design school, in her opinion, is realizing that the process can be messy and often doesn’t follow a script. “The university environment gives you the chance to explore and fail as many times as you need, and that can lead you to great learning but also to frustration,” she says. “I believe the projects I worked on at school were all a great exercise to embrace failure as an important part of the project development.” Failure indeed is a chance to grow and learn, and for Ferrucio it led to many successful projects. Her awardwinning work, united under the theme of “constantly questioning today to create new futures,” includes the Sage growing appliance, an indoor smart gardening system, and



Meli, a swing that gives new life to waste materials. As an international student and now a professional— currently, she is a junior industrial designer for Bark’s Super Chewer dog toy line in New York City—Ferrucio says IDSA really helped her to navigate the profession. “IDSA was an essential channel for me to build community,” she says. “National and local school events allow me to meet many new designers, find great mentors, and make new friends. It is incredible to be part of this big community of creators and learn from different perspectives.” In the future, she sees herself working on projects or for companies that are exploring the latest innovations and creating products or experiences that positively impact people’s lives. She also looks forward to tackling cradleto-cradle projects: reimagining a product lifecycle from materials and manufacturing to shipping logistics and correct disposal. Ferrucio wants ID students to know that while in school, the sky is the limit. “Keep pushing your great work forward,” she says, but also, “always remember to make friends, mentors, and connections in the creative field. These people will be your best allies when you start your career.” Her second piece of advice: “Be prepared to present your work and who you are,” at any given moment. “Most of the time, opportunities will not be predictable, and you need to be ready to take them.” Right, from the top: Meli is a swing designed for indoor spaces, and this kitchen island for the Homegrown kitchen concept by GE Appliances envisions a sustainable, zero-waste future, designed by Tati Ferrucio, IDSA.





Mina Kasirifar, IDSA | San Francisco State University



ike many industrial designers, Mina Kasirifar, IDSA, enjoyed math and physics in school as much as art. It was finding industrial design that introduced her to the exciting process of creating for other people using empathy and problem-solving. “Design,” she says, “brought a sense of satisfaction that neither art nor mathematics alone gave me.” Kasirifar received her bachelor’s degree in industrial design from the University of Tehran before moving from Iran to the United States to further pursue her passion for design. She received her master’s degree from San Francisco State University and went on to to work as an industrial design intern at Bould Design in San Mateo, CA. “When the excitement of using the new tools I learned as a fresh student washed away,” she says, “I became more conscious about the effects of my every decision on the outcome. For me, there was this urge to get to a conclusion quickly to escape the pressure of being in unknown territory. Gradually I realized design is the constant balancing of these natural feelings, to be in the process, trust it, and be patient.” Her award-winning work ranges from FLIP, a multifunctional and sensory piece of furniture designed for children, to Hicel II, an interactive toy that helps kids with autism learn primary emotions to communicate better. “When the world is disappointing, good designers remain optimistic and see difficulties as opportunities to make progress,” she says. “I hope to expand my view as a designer to contribute to the world around me with solutions that promote optimism and fun while trying to leave a smaller footprint.” Looking into the future, Kasirifar sees the design field



as continuously evolving and, thus, requiring consistent learning. “Being inspired by fellow designers is as important as learning about the new technologies and methodologies,” she says. “IDSA is doing a great job of helping designers see the people and processes behind the products.” Kasirifar believes products should connect with the user in an honest, emotional way that sparks joy and wonder. She is exploring “ways through which we can bring a feminine experience into the aesthetics and functionality of our designs.” She tries not to fall in love with her designs early in the process as this can be challenging when the artistic side of designers is considered. In school, “practicing design in an environment where monetary profit isn’t the main focus exposed me to dialogues regarding the ethics and consequences of our approach,” she says. “Such conversations widen our perspective and show us aspects that cannot be unseen later on when we become professional designers.” To current design students, she says, “Try not to get overwhelmed by the competitive nature of this field. Design is about connecting with people, respecting nature, and solving problems that matter, so try to find your voice and the values that matter to you rather than live by the common rules that might be outdated. And, of course, help your fellow designers through collaborative learning.”

Right: Children can use FLIP, a multifunctional and sensory piece of furniture, as a rocking chaise lounge, a chair, a rocking horse, a stool, and more, designed by Mina Kasirifar, IDSA.





Hengbo “Hunter” Zhang, IDSA | University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign



arly on, the term “industrial design” was attractive to Hengbo Zhang, IDSA. “I have been interested in all kinds of products since I was a child,” he says. “Whether it was toys or tools, I was very curious about how they were made in those days before we were completely invaded by screens.” Zhang received his BFA in industrial design from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2017, and then worked eight months remotely and two months on-site in a startup company called SEER Big Data in Beijing, China. “I enjoyed my time creating new things with a talented group of teammates,” he says. “However, I really wanted to create physical products beyond function and shape.” He enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana– Champaign in 2018, graduating with an MFA in industrial design in 2021. “The best thing about the school,” he says, “is that there are many tools and resources at your disposal. At the same time, there is a group of like-minded young people to stay up all night with you.” Zhang continues to think critically about the future of industrial design. “Not only for industrial design students but for the whole design field,” he says, “we can hardly escape the trend of following the trend. Everyone’s attention is taken away by the new thing that comes up on the spur of the moment.” With a portfolio that encompasses footwear, an essential oil diffuser, and a mediation device, among other projects, Zhang believes that industrial design has always been the



combination of human productive capacity and aesthetic sense. “I hope I can design in a way that takes advantage of technology while building an emotional connection between the product and the user,” he says. “I hope to build a creative team that embraces challenging tasks in all areas.” He credits IDSA as a major factor in his professional evolution. “IDSA is a great organization,” he says. “It has helped us industrial designers create our own cultural circle. I have benefited greatly from the various events.” He adds that because IDSA allows top designers to connect directly with students, he has felt a sense of belonging and confidence in the design industry as a result of his membership. Zhang has two pieces of advice for current industrial design students. First: “There are so many ways to learn new things these days. Don’t hesitate before you even start.” Second: “Digital models and renderings on social media platforms are certainly very cool and appealing. But there is also great value in the wisdom of materials and craftsmanship contained in traditional physical models, and there is no substitute for that hands-on touch.” “Industrial design is challenging and fun,” he concludes. “I hope you enjoy it.”

Right, from top: The Libra essential oil diffuser relies on a single point of support, and Off-Normal combines a traditional formal leather shoe with the personality and comfort of a sneaker, designed by Hengbo Zhang, IDSA.



S M A F I NAL I STS Audrey Clarke, S/IDSA Cleveland Institute of Art Audrey Clarke is a soon-to-be graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art with a BFA in industrial design. She has always been interested in object-making and problem-solving, and product design pushes her to be creative while learning constantly from her interactions with the world and others. When she is not in the studio or shop, you can find her reading the same three books over and over, playing music, and cooking shrimp tacos.


Emma Coughlin, S/IDSA The Ohio State University Emma Coughlin is an industrial designer originally from Cleveland, OH. In addition to her major, she is earning an engineering sciences minor specializing in design for healthcare. Her goal is to design products, experiences, and systems that take better care of people. She is excitedly searching for post-grad opportunities and looks forward to growing her design skills in the professional world. When she’s not designing, she can be found watering her plants, spending quality time with friends, or brewing her next cup of coffee.




Nicholas Koch, S/IDSA Richmond Institute of Design & Innovation at Western Michigan University Nicholas Koch is excited to have the opportunity to represent the inaugural graduating class at Western Michigan University. Through his work, he looks to provide simple solutions to complex issues. Upon graduation, he looks forward to starting his full-time career at Stryker Medical in Michigan.


Timothy Brewster, S/IDSA International Center for Creativity with Cedarville University Timothy Brewster is originally from Amherst, OH, and is wrapping up his degree in innovative and industrial design at the International Center for Creativity in Columbus, OH. He has industrial design experience from his previous job at the R.W. Beckett Corporation, where he worked for 18 years, including 15 in the engineering department. He loves the outdoors, having a deep passion for cycling and hiking.




S M A F INAL I STS Jacques Zeevaart, S/IDSA Columbus College of Art & Design Jacques Zeevaart is a senior industrial design student at Columbus College of Art & Design. He chose to pursue a creative career because he truly believes that quality of life can be greatly improved through well-designed products and services. Outside of design, the natural world has always fascinated him. He hopes that design will aid conservationists in gathering appropriate research on sustaining fragile ecosystems and minimizing human-wildlife conflict.


Claire Dronen, S/IDSA University of Wisconsin–Stout Claire Dronen is a student at the University of Wisconsin–Stout’s School of Art and Design working towards her BFA in industrial design with a studio art minor. She serves as the IDSA Public Relations Officer for the UW–Stout campus chapter. Off campus, you can find her outdoors climbing, hiking, and soaking in the sunshine.




Simon Elser, S/IDSA Purdue University Simon Elser graduated from Purdue University in 2015 with a degree in business selling and sales management. After about three years as a successful federal sales team member at Hewlett-Packard, he returned to Purdue to pursue his dreams in industrial design. He has not looked back since. He is an avid outdoorsman with a great love of hiking and kayaking. He has hiked several multiday National Park trails. He is a native Hoosier and triplet sibling with a history of seven national and abroad service trips.


Lauren Fitzpatrick, S/IDSA Kansas State University Lauren Fitzpatrick has always held a passion for experiential and spatial design, and she has come to realize how all of the individual components of those spaces make up our human experience. She finds it fascinating how much the built environment sculpts our daily lives behaviorally, emotionally, and economically. She enjoys working with her hands, and the design-build program and prototyping processes at K-State allow her to investigate the materials, details, and connections that are so important to successful design.




S M A F INAL I STS Theo Hassim, S/IDSA Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Industrial design has been Theo Hassim’s desired career path since the age of 12. Accompanying his passion for design is his fascination with the footwear industry. As an avid footwear enthusiast, it wasn’t long before he began researching points of coexistence between footwear and industrial design. He is currently in his final semester of pursuing a BFA in industrial design at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Upon graduating in Spring 2021, he aspires to continue his design career through work in the footwear industry.


Ellie Hedlund, S/IDSA University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Ellie Hedlund is a student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities pursuing a Bachelor of Science in product design. She’s passionate about industrial design because it combines her creativity, curiosity, and strong belief that people should care for people. After graduating, she plans to continue her career in the medical industry, focusing on helping others understand the importance of empathy in design. In her free time, you can find her riding her bike through the woods or scouting out good eats in Minneapolis.




Jane Kassabian, S/IDSA University of Notre Dame Jane Kassabian is a dual-degree student pursuing both industrial design and mechanical engineering in order to develop a holistic understanding of the design process, from the conception of an idea to its technical implementation. She is passionate about using creative and technical problem-solving as tools to encourage conscientious choices while bringing joy to the human experience.


Olivia Larson, S/IDSA Iowa State University Olivia Larson grew up in Minnesota and is currently working as a user-experience designer at Medtronic while she completes her last semester within the industrial design program at Iowa State University. She is interested in solving problems through the user’s lens and believes that good design is measured not only by how good something looks and how well it performs but also by how well it allows people to get back to living their best life. In her free time, she enjoys running, biking, bird watching, and tending to her many house plants.




S M A F INAL I STS Erika Lobo, S/IDSA The University of Kansas Erika Lobo has always prided herself in being a helper and a problem-solver driven by the potential of making an impact on the quality of one’s life. Because of this, she identifies far more with the idea of the designer as a problem-solver as opposed to a stylist. She is motivated by projects that make her look at problems differently, teams that challenge her to see alternative perspectives, and spaces that keep the end user at the center of the conversation.


Olivia Paul, S/IDSA Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Olivia Paul is an industrial designer senior based in Milwaukee, WI. Her diverse expertise lies in soft good fabrication, coppersmithing, emerging technology, and design education. Compassion for the user is always her number-one priority as she approaches each design opportunity. Listening to potential users’ stories is what keeps her motivated and inspired to create lasting change through her design work. Her creative mission is to design for demographics that have been previously overlooked and offer them new products that allow them to live their lives more freely and comfortably than before.




Alexis Woo, S/IDSA University of Illinois Chicago Alexis Woo is studying industrial design and graphic design at the University of Illinois Chicago. As a double major, they have been fortunate to study a range of design skills and methodologies from some of Chicago’s notable design practitioners. Their approach to design is a marriage of these two worlds, resulting in an interdisciplinary, human-centered design process. After graduation, they are looking forward to new opportunities within design research and service design as a way to grow their passion for empathy-driven design. Outside of school, they enjoy working on self-initiated projects that allow them to collaborate with friends and mentors.


BreAnna Bechtold, S/IDSA Drexel University BreAnna Bechtold is a coffee enthusiast and lover of all things people and design. She believes the most gratifying part of being a designer is the opportunity to work on multidisciplinary teams and become an expert on new things with every project. Her work focuses on systems intended for everyday use and trying to eliminate the stress that is sometimes part of being a person. She studies product design at Drexel University with minors in marketing and graphic design and would be over the moon about working in strategy or consumer goods after college.




S M A F INAL I STS Haoyang “Thomas” Chen, S/IDSA Pratt Institute Haoyang Chen is a senior industrial design student minoring in sustainability at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. During the past few years of studying in this field and working alongside other creatives and under many mentors, he found a deep interest in the engineering and technology aspect of design—something that he continues to explore in everything he does. He enjoys going through every step of the design process, as well as creating engineering-focused design that’s human-centered, practical, and ethical to our society. Using his artistic, design, and engineering skills, his ultimate goal is to improve people’s lives physically and spiritually.


Alexandra Grant, S/IDSA Thomas Jefferson University Alexandra Grant is a senior industrial design student at Jefferson University with a concentration in soft goods. She wishes to pursue performance soft goods as a career, focusing on material innovation.




Leif Johan Hauge, S/IDSA Wentworth Institute of Technology Leif Johan Hauge is a senior industrial design student at Wentworth Institute of Technology. He has a passion for design with a focus on utility and sustainability. His thought process and work ethic are heavily influenced by skateboarding and its roots within street culture. His perseverance and a drive for success have created a habit of trial and error. Outside of design, he is an avid creative who loves to experience the outdoors and culture through traveling, camping, and skateboarding.


Arya Kapadia, S/IDSA Maryland Institute College of Art Arya Kapadia is a product design student at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She was born and raised in Mumbai, India, which has helped shape her perspective and encouraged her to create accessible designs through versatility and simplicity. She, therefore, considers it important to approach design globally and holistically, which is reflected in her work through systemic thinking.





Jillian King, S/IDSA Massachusetts College of Art and Design Jillian King is a Boston-based designer who is curious about storytelling, people, and ambiguous problems. Design represents a way to combine those interests while empowering communities and creating solutions that truly meet folks’ needs. She has worked as an insights and experience strategy intern at Johnson & Johnson, a business innovation intern at Mercedes-Benz, and a UX design intern at Fidelity Investments. While design is her professional focus, her interests include crafting comics, doodling while noodling with code, roller skating, and binge listening to podcasts.


Darice Lee, S/IDSA Parsons School of Design at The New School Darice Lee is currently a senior at the Parsons School of Design, pursuing a BFA in product design and a minor in communication design. She is interested in combining branding and product design to create compelling product identities, services, and systems through engaging visuals and storytelling. Her daily curiosity in people’s interactions with products fuels her inspiration to problem-solve in order to design new and positive experiences. She has previously worked for Jason Wu, GrowSquares, and Johnson & Johnson.




Gregory Louis, S/IDSA University of Bridgeport Gregory Louis is an industrial design student at the University of Bridgeport, with an ongoing internship with the Design Museum Everywhere as an exhibit design intern. He uses a variety of apps and software to showcase new design ideas and innovations. A strong believer in the power of positive thinking in the workplace or school, he regularly develops product designs to assist users in different aspects of life with ideation, CAD, and graphical techniques. He enjoys a good Netflix binge, but can be found either outside with a DLSR snapping photos or ideating projects within the studio.


May Ren, S/IDSA Rochester Institute of Technology Yaxin May Ren is an international student from Beijing, China, studying industrial design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has multiple industry experiences, including at Mattel Fisher-Price, Gain Life from Harvard Innovation Labs, Rich Products, and more. She strives to change the paradigm, deliver the unexpected, and design for good. She focuses on designing human-centric products to make a positive impact and values being kind, empathetic, and acquiring new knowledge. Outside of being an industrial designer, she enjoys cooking for other people, collecting (hoarding) packaging, and stopping to chat with strangers.




S M A F I NAL I STS Kimberly Wheeler, S/IDSA Kean University Kimberly Wheeler is an ambitious industrial design student at Kean University in New Jersey with a focus on consumer goods, practical form, and brand identity. She lives by the motto “passionate ideas, designed with purpose.” Good materials, smart form, and lots of love go into everything she makes—items that are kept not just because you need them but because you enjoy their company. She prides herself on hard work, extensive research, and elbow grease that give every aspect of a product purpose. There is no question too challenging and no goal too lofty for those willing to give it their all.


Joel Fleming, S/IDSA Georgia Institute of Technology As an industrial designer, Joel Fleming strives to give meaning and beauty to everyday objects through intentional design and compelling product stories. Actively approaching problems through a holistic lens, his goal is to enrich lives while fulfilling real business and user needs. He will soon be graduating with his bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Georgia Tech, where he has served as the junior and senior studio representative for the IDSA chapter and the KeyShot student representative for Luxion. He has also interned at NCR, where his team won Best Overall at their Intern Expo.




Aimee Ivers, S/IDSA North Carolina State University Aimee Ivers is a senior at NC State’s College of Design majoring in industrial design. She grew up loving art and engineering and found that industrial design was the perfect way to work in both technical and creative fields. As a member of the Design Council and the president of the First Year Mentorship Program at NC State’s College of Design, she set up learning opportunities and helped to guide freshmen through their first year at design school. After graduation, she wants to work in sustainability and human-centered design. She also loves to talk about dance, movies, and travels.


Mariana Keymolen, S/IDSA University of Houston Mariana Keymolen is a proud Latina industrial designer. Her goal is to spread awareness about industrial design to the younger generations. She didn’t know about design in high school but thankfully found her passion at the University of Houston. She thrives in the research phase, where she can listen to the users and analyze their unfiltered feedback. In her free time, she likes to travel the world and go on wild mini-adventures. Whether she is cross-stitching, baking a cake, or working on her FemTech startup, she is usually creating something!




S M A F I NAL I ST S Haroon Matties, S/IDSA James Madison University Haroon Matties is a senior industrial design student at James Madison University. His passion for industrial design comes from his love of problem-solving and critical thinking. He is excited to continue using his design skill set to solve tough problems and hopes to continue his education at the graduate level in the near future. When he is not designing, he enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, relaxing with a good book, and exploring new trails in the Shenandoah Valley.


Patrick McNeel, S/IDSA Appalachian State University Patrick McNeel is attending Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and earning a Bachelor of Science with his major in industrial product design. At Appalachian State, he served as president of his college’s IDSA chapter. He received the Richard Technology Scholarship, was selected to be a judge at the 2020 Google Gravity Games, and was chosen to represent Appalachian State at the 2020 Wanted Design Competition. He is looking forward to starting his career as an industrial designer after college and plans on traveling the country in a converted van.




April O’Gorman, S/IDSA Savannah College of Art & Design April O’Gorman grew up in a small coastal community where she spent more time in the water than on land. Her love for the ocean from a young age has inspired her to pursue industrial design and sustainable design to create products and services that help society enjoy life without harming the environment.


Abigail Storms, S/IDSA Virginia Institute of Technology Abigail Storms is a detail-oriented and performance-driven individual with passions for creative problem-solving and exploring new ways to make the world a better place through design. Some of her favorite hobbies outside the studio include crossword puzzling, hosting Bob Ross paint nights, illustration, and spending as much time in nature as possible. She has specific interests in soft goods and apparel design.




S M A F I NAL I STS Diego Almaraz-Perez, S/IDSA San Jose State University Diego Almaraz-Perez is a native of Big Sur, CA. He is currently living and studying at San Jose University as a 4th-year design student. He became a designer because he wanted to create innovative and impactful products that help make peoples’ lives better while keeping sustainability always in mind. When he is not designing, he loves to hike, bike, listen to new music, web surf, and play his favorite sports: soccer, football, and basketball.


Preston Howell, S/IDSA Arizona State University Preston Howell is a self-motivated worker, taking top priority in completing high-quality work and contributing to team members. He has a keen sense of detail, aesthetics, and design and takes pride in always striving to accomplish the best quality of work according to his abilities.




Matthew Koscica, S/IDSA Western Washington University Born in Hong Kong and raised in Arizona by a symphony musician and a product developer, Matthew Koscica usually daydreamed about pragmatic creative exploration. Engaged by how we interact with our environment, both cosmopolitan and wild, and perpetually inspired by the lives around him, he has an innate desire to creatively problem-solve. He has co-authored published scientific studies in ecological restoration, and his fine art paintings have been represented by galleries in Oakland and Denver. He is passionate about the design and manufacturing process and, happily, fully dedicated to a life in industrial design.


Emily Kwok, S/IDSA Brigham Young University Emily Kwok is from Orem, UT, and the daughter of two incredibly hardworking parents from Hong Kong. She loves to read, do ceramics, draw, talk to people, and listen to their stories. Some of her favorite things include the $5 tub of hummus from Costco, people-watching (especially when they’re on the phone), and watching movies. She strives to live her life through the paradigm of design and will be trying to find solutions to problems until the day she dies.




S M A F I NAL I STS Anucha Maga, S/IDSA San Francisco State University Anucha Poh Maga is a senior at San Francisco State University. He believes design is that which time and technology cannot make obsolete: addressing a problem without prior assumptions about the solution and using multiple areas of study in order to solve it. Whether it be through sustainable transportation, lowering barriers to entry in technology, bettering working conditions, conducting academic research, or simply creating objects that bring joy, it is his dream to improve the lives of people through design.


Ian Van De Kamp, S/IDSA University of Washington Ian Van De Kamp is a senior industrial design student at the University of Washington. He is also a part-time industrial designer at Innovelis TotalMount. There he has worked on eight patented products and honed his skill set. His work focuses on creating systems and products that reshape the way humans interact with technology, the world, and one another. Outside of work, he enjoys sketching, running marathons, and motorsports. Creating tangible things that impact the people and social components of the world excites him.




Sanae Wilson, S/IDSA ArtCenter College of Design Before ArtCenter, Sanae Wilson spent eight years working as a UI/UX designer in the automotive industry. She loved solving humancentric problems and saw the opportunity to create holistic solutions that lived in both the digital and physical worlds. As a designer, she integrates technology, product design, user experience, and business strategy in order to find solutions to everyday dilemmas. Connecting the dots from design research and ideation to final execution, she develops strategies that connect users to products, services, and experiences. Solving problems big or small, she designs for a positive change.




2 0 2 1 AFICADE NAL I STS MI C JURY SMA, GSMA, & Scholarship Judges

Tom Ask, IDSA

Danielle Chen, IDSA

Jemma Frost

Carly Hagins, IDSA

Professor of Industrial Design, Pennsylvania College of Technology

Senior Design Researcher, Bresslergroup

Eddie Licitra, IDSA

Expert Engagement Manager, McKinsey Design

Christy Sepulveda Industrial Designer, M3 Design

Monica Tournoux, IDSA Senior Industrial Designer, Design Central



Senior UX Designer, Huge

Assistant Professor, Western Michigan University

Ben Lindo

IIndustrial Designer, Southco

Kevin Shankwiler, IDSA

Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Georgia Tech School of Industrial Design

Chloe Condon CMF Designer, Whirlpool

Adam Jossem

Founder and Principal Designer, Jet Pack Industries

Seda McKilligan, IDSA

Professor and Associate Dean, Iowa State University

Paul Skaggs, IDSA Professor, Brigham Young University

Kyle Ellison, IDSA

Founder and Design Principal, Trailside Creative

Joshua Lederer Founder/Partner, Lexicon Design

Kat Reiser, IDSA

Principal Industrial Designer, Rise Design

Susan Sokolowski, IDSA

Professor & Director of Sports Product Design University of Oregon

Education Paper Judges

Başak Altan, IDSA

Ben Bush, IDSA

Robert Fee

Adam Feld, IDSA

Independent Design Strategist, Leader, Educator

Assistant Professor, Auburn University

Tod Corlett, IDSA

Dr. James Fathers

Jason Germany, IDSA

Lauren McDermott, IDSA

Director of Industrial Design Programs, Thomas Jefferson University

Professor (emeritus), Savannah College of Art and Design

Assistant Professor, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Associate Professor and Chair, University of Washington ID Program

Dr. Andrea McDonough-Varner

Hari Nair

Hale Selek, IDSA

Adjunct Professor, Pennsylvania College

Professor, Savannah College of Art and Design

Kelly Umstead, IDSA

Jerrod Windham, ISDA

Asst Prof + Director of Graduate Program in ID, NC State College of Design

Assistant Professor, University of Oregon

Professor, Syracuse University

Associate Professor, Arizona State University

Dosun Shin, IDSA

Professor and Head of Industrial Design, Arizona State University

Associate Professor, Auburn University

Thank you to these design practitioners and educators who volunteered their time to serve as judges of this year’s SMA, GSMA, Scholarships, and Education Papers programs. Each judge is responsible for reviewing a considerable amount of content in the process of making their scores and selections. Their dedication and commitment to identifying and celebrating the next generation of design talent is an invaluable resource to our community. This group of judges includes all members of IDSA’s 2020–2021 Education Council, led by Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA. Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA Associate Professor of Industrial Design, Iowa State University




IMAGINING NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR THE HOME “There are decades when nothing happens. There are weeks when decades happen.” —George Galloway


n these unprecedented times of crisis with the COVID19 pandemic, our industries, businesses, technologies, and lives have been reshaped. In particular, people’s relationship with their home has changed profoundly. More than a place to sleep, eat, and rest, over the past year and a half the home has evolved into a makeshift office, gym, school, and all-encompassing space to fit any lifestyle and purpose. Bringing the World into the Home During the pandemic, people who couldn’t leave their home started to bring the world them. As the platforms for delivery, online shopping, and online communities continue to evolve, they are swiftly transforming the home. While these new services make life easier, they also have drawbacks. Despite modern technology, a home cannot fulfill all of a person’s needs, and the list of new devices required for telecommuting continues to increase. While it should be a comfortable haven, a home can sometimes feel like a prison. As the number of people sharing a home increases, it can feel cramped. Online communities allow people to interact when they cannot gather in person, but they can also leave people feeling isolated and lonely. Samsung designers gave serious thought to what new value they can deliver to people. Until now, the criteria consumers use to choose the products they place in their home have included such things as a sleek design, excellent performance, functionality, and advanced technologies. However, as consumers now expect more diverse experiences at home, the values they seek in a product have evolved into an overall experience that goes beyond hardware.



Experience Beyond the Physical Since 2015, Samsung Electronics has been opening up new possibilities by breaking down stereotypes through unique lifestyle TV models. From The Serif to The Terrace, the possibilities for choosing a TV based on the user’s lifestyle are endless. The TV has been adapting according to the purposes of each family member’s space and their diverse lifestyles. The era of screens everywhere has begun. Samsung designers have focused on making it easier for users at home to enjoy the experiences they used to enjoy outside their home before the pandemic. For example, The Frame TV’s art subscription service, Art Mode, allows users to enjoy world-famous paintings without having to visit an art museum. Samsung collaborated with the prestigious Louvre Museum in Paris so that owners of The Frame can enjoy the Louvre’s collections through curated events and digital exhibitions. As more people watch movies at home instead of movie theaters, The Premiere can turn people’s home into their own personal theater with its superlarge screen and premium projector that can be installed anywhere in their house. Since it is more difficult to go outdoors now, more people make use of their backyard and other outdoor spaces. This new lifestyle has become a steppingstone for designing Samsung Electronics’ first outdoor TV, The Terrace. It provides an excellent viewing experience whether the user is sitting in the sun or shade. It can even withstand extreme weather conditions such as snow, rain, or heat as it is waterproof and dustproof. At Samsung, we believe that products and experiences should be designed to fit individual users’ lifestyles and spaces.

The Frame, for art connoisseurs.

A Passion for Connection When faced with anxiety and threats, people tend to seek out others, as connection and personal interaction are fundamental human reactions that give them comfort. Our brains take this social contact for granted, and when it disappears, people respond negatively. Throughout the pandemic, we realized how we took for granted communicating with loved ones, doing meaningful and productive activities, sharing small things in daily life, and feeling pleasure. Samsung designers explored a new way to satisfy our most basic and intense human aspirations, such as communication, productivity, and joy, at home. Multiview and TV Together allow users to watch content together, share their thoughts in real-time, and hold video conferences on the large screen, strengthening community spirit and restoring the TV’s original function of connecting the world. With this in mind, we must design services for social communication, productivity, and education that offer an immersive experience without friction. As people spend more time at home with a variety of devices simultaneously, it is also important to consider seamless connectivity and consistency in interaction across multiple platforms and protocols. This new and emerging set of multidevice experiences are the next set of challenges for today’s designers. This is the reason behind our continued passion for research and experimentation of new control modalities like voice and gesture interactions for our products. At

Samsung, we believe that users should be able to interact with devices across all modalities in the most natural and comfortable way. Respect for Individuality Homes are very telling about their residents—how they live, what they hope for, and what they aspire to be. A big crisis can rapidly change people’s living conditions and lifestyles and how they use products and services. At a time when the external environment is rapidly changing and technology and industry are developing at an unprecedented pace, designers should focus on going back to the basics, helping people regain their humanity and allowing them to express their personal preferences to the fullest. Designers need to stop asking users what they want and instead search for values linked to users’ passions. The key here is not only to design for form factors, interfaces, and the visual but also to create and build for customers’ comprehensive lifestyles. By doing so, the ethos of Samsung’s design philosophy—“Be bold. Resonate with soul.”—will be fulfilled through our products, enhancing customers’ lives. —Yoojin Choi Yoojin Choi is vice president and head of the Visual Display Business UX team at Samsung Electronics.






eedback can be a wonderful source of growth and validation. Meaningful and objective feedback is especially useful for learning, working collaboratively, and taking action toward a goal. It requires at least two players, a giver and a recipient, with both feeling the exchange is valuable. Typically, the posture of the recipient is implicit, driven by their relationship with the feedback giver. The giver provides feedback in various forms based on the situation and often with the expectation of having a direct impact. This expectation could create a power dynamic that stifles critical thinking and creative exploration. If the purpose of the feedback is simply a means to an end, this approach may suffice. However, in an educational setting, giving and receiving feedback should afford much more. Designers sit in the middle of the feedback relationship. When working with consumers and employing a usercentered approach to need-finding and problem-solving, they are the receiver of feedback. When working with other designers and clients, they need to pivot between being givers and receivers and, therefore, require the skills to do both. Moreover, they must have the ability to translate feedback into actionable items, objectively interpreting what they have experienced. This naturally leads to a few questions: How are we teaching students to drive opportunities for giving and receiving quality feedback? Should these opportunities be different when focusing on their personal growth versus their ability to develop meaningful products and experiences? Academia uses critiques as a pedagogical tool for feedback. Creating opportunities where ideas can be shared comfortably while honing a practice of collaboratively developing these ideas, self-reflecting, and developing skills underpins the critique. I can assure you that most educators feel their critique structure is effective, and yet some students experience critiques as drudgery or pointless. Moreover, many scholars have examined the pitfalls of critique, highlighting its lack of structure, its ability to marginalize participants, and its inherent biases. Conducting a successful critique requires all participants to have a clear understanding of its framework: the goal(s), the use of objective language, the format for presenting the content, and the curiosity to experience other reactions to the content. With a clear understanding, everyone can exercise agency in the critique’s success. Each presenter has a responsibility to concisely articulate their work and how they arrived at this state. Participants can mindfully and creatively converse, asking questions and sharing their reactions in support of the critique goals. When the work is presented poorly, the critique defaults to a review



of design skills. This too is beneficial; however, if it wasn’t the established goal, participants could feel frustrated by the redirection. Separating the project’s design goals from the personal development of design and presentation skills provides clearer expectations for productive conversation. For example, if we are critiquing the packaging and applicators for a line of makeup that’s expanding its user group to drag queens and we have no experience with makeup, we will assess the designs using general knowledge of form and functionality. Not knowing the specific problems the design is addressing also puts us at a disadvantage. When the presenter articulates the design challenges, everyone is better equipped to assess the proposed solution’s ability to solve these challenges. This framing can drive quality feedback and minimize off-topic or anecdotal responses. Moreover, a critique where only the instructor’s voice is heard doesn’t provide space for students to practice the language of expressing intent or reacting to what is seen and felt in productive ways. I’m exploring a two-part critique system that addresses design and presentation skills and then tackles the project’s goals. If the technical skills are lacking, the critique focuses on this, relegating the project’s goals to a separate session. Otherwise, the critique provides a healthy balance between addressing technical skills and the project goals. For the project goals, I’m calling the framework WCARI: What is the issue(s) and why is it important? What is the Context of the issue(s)? What are the designed changes to Address the issue(s)? What are the Results of users testing these changes? How are these changes Implemented in the product? Employing WCARI provides a way to navigate critiques throughout the entire design process. Critiques are structured based on each letter, building the overall design story. This allows fluidity in the critique’s format, using roleplay with mock-ups, slide decks, or pin-ups. However, the content is prescribed, providing a consistent platform to launch the conversation. The presenter is held accountable for the technical skills to direct the conversation as well as the creative ways they are exploring the areas presented. Those providing feedback enter the conversation objectively based on the framework. Ideally, an explicit framework would lead to healthier critiques, which would not only build community but strengthen the designer’s character and lead to connected design solutions. —Judith Anderson, IDSA


WE SUPPORT THE CREATIVE LEADERS OF THE FUTURE. CONGRATULATIONS GOKUL! Syracuse University’s industrial and interaction design program prepares you to embrace the complex challenges of creating innovative products, systems, and services in the 21st century. You develop skills and learn to address contemporary problems through creative and critical thinking guided by leading scholars and design practitioners.


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Professional Division Winner: Frank Gonzalez (left) Student Division Winner: Matthew Veloso (right)

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