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Friday, September 22, 2023

Academics & Research

Did you know? Industrial Design

Did you know, a weekly column, highlights interesting facts about majors offered on campus. Adam Wells, an industrial design professor, provided the supporting information on UH’s ID program for this week’s column:
1. ID is the study of design and creation of objects. This could be its function, the relationship between it and the user, aesthetics or the manufacturing and mass production of a product or service.
2. Over a 4 year span in ID, students are expected to spend 4,300 hours in studio and 12,900 hours outside of studio. Although not publicly endorsed, many students are forced to stay overnight and regularly sleep under their desks.
3. All student projects are self-funded, and the budget is set per individual. It is not at all uncommon to spend at least $1000 dollars per semester on supplies, tools and materials.
4. Recent ID graduates typically average $40,000 a year. In Texas, the highest concentration of design consultancies are found in Austin. Nationally, industrial designers tend to gravitate toward New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
5. The UH ID program is very new — the first graduating class was in 2007. There has been 4 more graduating classes since then that has released about 40 to 60 industrial designers to the professional field. 2013 will mark the first ever creation of the industrial design graduate program. The program hopes to attract older practicing professional who wish to come back to improve their skills, undergraduates and interdisciplinary majors.
6. Graduation is only possible in completion of a thesis project and design related internship. These students are responsible for finding their own internships and documenting in a portfolio all the work they have done over their time in school. Upon graduation, said portfolio is the only evidence an ID student has to prove they are worthy of hiring.
7. Industrial design is a broad field that allows multiple philosophies to compete. Think of ID as a triangle of skill sets that only takes two to match. One side represents creativity of the fine arts and opposite to that is pragmatism and engineering. On the bottom lies anthropology and psychology, which necessary to understand people.
8. Industrial design is a male-dominated profession, but current trends — especially those in UH — show that more women are entering the field. Most students may not have an awareness of what the job of an industrial designer entails, but by higher brand recognition and well-known designer names such as Phillip Stark and Karim Rasheed, the awareness of the field is spreading.
9. Eunsook Kwon, director of the ID program at UH, was nominated by Design Intelligence as the top design educator in the nation. There have been many students who have interned at notable places and won contests that received national recognition. In the past five years, the computer company HP has selected UH ID students three times in a national search for interns. Other places students have interned at include BMW, FOC design, Make My Day, Elaine Turner and Rigid.
10. The fact that ID is such a small program has helped the teaching support structure by maintaining a higher quality. Lecture candidates are required to go thorough interviews with the student body upon selection. The diverse backgrounds and industry experiences of the supporting faculty encourages an educational balance within the program.
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