Industrial Design celebrates 70th year

By Lane Song

The School of Art and Design recently celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the industrial design program, showcasing the latest product designs from graduates and students.

“It’s everything we engage with, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep,” said Deana McDonagh, a professor in the College of FAA, referencing the industrial design program.

The celebration went from April 28 to 29 and featured a reception for the new designs at the Krannert Art Museum. David Weightman, director of the School of Art and Design, and Mark Arends, chairman of the industrial design program, spoke during the celebration.

The event also connected alumni with current students. Seven industrial design alumni, each representing a different decade of the program, were in attendance to give seminars on their work and achievements.

“The best part was actually meeting alumni, getting their feedback on my portfolio and learning about how they made their career decisions,” said Juhi Solanki, a junior in Engineering who plans to transfer into FAA.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

Alumni designs showcased in the event included an assortment of chairs, toilets, kettles and other household items. McDonagh mentioned that the purpose of industrial design was to enhance the quality of life and help consumers experience the products.

“If the architects design the building, then industrial designers build all the artifacts inside those buildings,” McDonagh said. “Industrial design is more than just styling, it’s about function and intuitiveness.”

McDonagh also noted the change in industrial design during the last seven decades.

“There’s more consumer psychology involved as we try to make products more sustainable by making consumers attached to them,” McDonagh said. “We want to look at individual behavior, how the products communicate to the user.”

Industrial design students are becoming more research oriented, getting consumer reactions to help design products. McDonagh discussed how the modern industrial designer needs to listen to consumers to come up with an effective and appropriate design solution. The program is working with researchers around campus to help developing technology find real life applications.

The students in the program were already anticipating the future of industrial design.

“In the next 10 years, there’s going to be more focus on something integrated into everything you use,” said Amy Kim, sophomore in FAA, about consumer electronics. “There will be more money spent on design than effective use.”