At its annual conference in Santa Fe, NM in 1995, IDSA honored David Smith, L/IDSA, for his management style with RichardsonSmith that helped to bring the consultancy to prominence within the industry. Smith's role in integrating different disciplines, developing diversified teams, broadening their knowledge base and enriching the process helped grow the breadth of the design business.
Smith studied architecture at The Ohio State University and graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in industrial design. He worked as a staff designer at the Kelvinator Division of American Motors Corporation; Chrysler Corporation in Detroit, and AEG in Frankfort, Germany. In 1959, he co-founded Richardson/Smith in Columbus, OH. During the next 36 years, along with a group of talented designers and professionals, Smith built an innovative design and marketing communications consultancy with offices in Columbus, Boston and San Diego. As president/treasurer and later co-chair, Smith oversaw operations of the firm. In 1989, RichardsonSmith merged with Fitch.
When he retired, Smith worked with Crown Equipment, extending a long-time relationship dating back to 1960 (IDSA Special Awards, 1995, Crown Equipment). In 1994, he became the first Nierenberg Distinguished Professor of Industrial Design at Carnegie Mellon University, and the following year, he received the Alumni Achievement Award from Pratt Institute.
Smith served as chair, president and treasurer of the Association of Professional Design Firms and was a member of the Human Factors Society. He received the Edward Grauer Award from the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts, and served on the YMCA Board of Directors.
Along with his family and the Richardson family, Smith restored a circa 1808 second home in Castine, ME. He was married to his best friend and wife, Elaine, since 1955.