IDSA Conference Encourages Designers to Break Through Boundaries
BDA industrial designer
Last week’s IDSA Western District Conference delivered on its theme of “evolving design practice.”
We explored how the role of industrial design is evolving and expanding by breaking through the traditional boundaries. Today, industrial design is influencing diverse areas, such as politics, music, film, fashion and business strategy.
Here’s a taste of what the presenters shared over the two days:
Tom Hobbs – Making Things in a Digital World
Tom stressed that we can no longer rely on designing a product for the individual. We must now design for a product’s environment as well. He spoke about integrating technology into a more physical environment. One slide showed an iPhone on a blank surface, then in someone’s hand and finally a person using the phone on a crowded street. This was to illustrate that sometimes the focus is so heavy on the product, the environment is often discounted.
Stanley Hainsworth – Gatorade: The Designed Evolution of a Brand
Stanley discussed the new product line his firm designed for Gatorade. He explained how the shape of the bottle was derived from the old brand language of the Gatorade lightning bolt. Watch video of the project.
Paul Wylde – What’s all the Fuss About? Brand Strategists Have Been Doing it for Years!
Paul was one of the most inspirational speakers at the conference. He opened by talking about the “curse of the designer.” He emphasized that, as designers, we need to design products that are both resilient and flexible enough to adapt to current trends. He reminded us to “ask why three times and never what when designing.” The “why” will answer the “what.”
Nikki Pfarr – Designing the ‘Irrational’ Brain
Nikki’s presentation focused on irrational thinking, timing, external cues, loss diversion and testing strategies. She used psychology and research studies to show the importance of each.
David Thorpe – A Change in Trade: Why the Linear and Prescriptive Innovation Process is No Longer Relevant in a Digital World Industry
David said we need to improve design through trial, refinement, repetition and responses to the market instead of “thinking harder.” He also addressed the “gold rush” idea that everyone can design products. Trained industrial designers need to be leading the design process, he said, or we will have products that aren’t right for the environment or don’t have society’s best interests at heart. He believes products are asking too much of the user and are adding too little value.
Jon Winebrenner – The Attention Deficit Designer
Jon shared his experience of being an industrial designer with ADD. The condition makes him see things in a different way and has a huge influence in his designs.
Carl Ledbetter – Digital Entertainment—Mashup, Remix or Reboot?
Carl had many great points about digital entertainment and the new ways we can design for a digital world. He discussed how we can make digital simple and how important entertainment is to humans. Looking at gaming specifically, Carl talked about how individuals have different levels of participation. Each of these personas has different problems and requires a unique set of products that will enhance its experience. It is very important to start with a persona and design directly to its needs. He closed his presentation with the point that we are “in a time of remixes and mashups” and that old designs and entertainment are coming back in reinvented ways.
Kevin Kudo-Kin – From Cities to Door Pulls: A Design Process for All Scales
Olson Kundig Architects
Kevin shared how his firm applies a process very similar to industrial design to design houses. The architects at Olson Kundig are very involved with the client in creating homes that are works of art. One of his examples, the “Art House,” uses kinetics to create unique experiences with light and space.
Mark Selander – When the Road Less Traveled Starts Getting Crowded
Industrial design consultant
Mark, who has worked as a contractor with our PowerA brand, shared strategies for finding work as an independent contractor. If you can’t include confidential projects in your portfolio, Mark said to create projects that inspire you.
Carrie Ferrence – Prototyping to Launch a Lean Startup and a Revolution
Carrie co-founded Stockbox Grocers, a local company that operates portable grocery stores that bring essential grocery items and fresh produce to urban areas with poor access to healthy and affordable food. Stockbox uses reclaimed shipping containers, which are portable, easy to locate and the right size for expansion.
Students from Northwest design schools presented their designs. Top honors went to Haley Toelle.