Design Foundation Secretary/Treasurer 2013-2015
Former IDSA Housewares Special Interest Section Chair
Former IDSA Chicago Chapter Chair & Vice Chair
For Marianne Grisdale, FIDSA, design is like breathing. “You just have to do it,” she says. “There is no choice. You were born to do it. That’s all.” At some point in school, Grisdale realized that if she flunked out of design, she didn’t know what she would do. She was committed—and still is. “While I do a lot less hands-on design now, I still have a lot of influence on how a project goes,” she explains. “I love the research. I love to discover how different cultures respond differently to products and how that affects the product’s design.”
At the IDSA Awards during IDSA’s International Design Conference 2017 in Atlanta, the VP of TEAMS Design USA was inducted into the IDSA Academy of Fellows. With decades of experience in product design and development consulting, she served as secretary/treasurer, then Midwest District VP, on IDSA's Board of Directors. She also held the roles of Design Foundation secretary/treasurer; Housewares Special Interest Section chair; and IDSA Chicago Chapter vice chair and chair.
Grisdale finds good design is not a way to make the individual designer shine; in fact, she believes the best design goes unnoticed, working its way into the user’s life seamlessly and adding to the overall quality of their experience. Of course, it should also add to the clients’ bottom line. Grisdale is practical that way. “Ease of use,” she says. “Good old (Ludwig) Mies van der Rohe: ‘Form follows function,’ you know—and a happy client. That’s what I strive for.”
Grisdale first became involved with IDSA while attending College for Creative Studies in Detroit. “They had cool field trips,” she recalls. And when she moved to Chicago for her first job, she saw IDSA as a way to meet like-minded people in a new city—all aiming for the same goal. That sense of community, friendship and mentorship inspired her to join.
Her commitment to the Society has only grown and her volunteer work on behalf of IDSA has yielded many rewards. “Volunteering for IDSA provided me with training and contacts I could not have gotten in a typical work environment,” she says. “I have my current job because I met (IDSA Board Member) Paul Hatch while he was leading our IDSA Chicago Chapter’s book club. He knew my former boss, so it was easy for him to check up on me ahead of time. One day, Paul called me out of the blue and offered me a job. That probably wouldn’t have happened without IDSA.”
At TEAMS, Grisdale focuses on brand management, user insights, human centered design, strategy development and design management.
Her work has earned many honors, including an IDSA International Design Excellence Award. Grisdale has led projects for diverse accounts such as Jarden, HoMedics, Kimberly-Clark, Canadian Tire, Bosch, Fiskars and Siemens. Prior to TEAMS, she contributed to design and project management at Herbst Lazar Bell for more than 15 years.
Her induction as an IDSA Fellow took Grisdale by surprise. “I didn’t see it coming,” she reveals. “I figured it would take a lot longer, or that I would’ve had to become a Board Chair first.”
Grisdale has been touched by all the people who have let her know how much her contributions have helped them throughout the years. “I had no idea my actions affected so many people or anyone had noticed,” she says. “I was so honored. In particular, I was happy to have all of this year’s IDSA Student Merit Award winners—who happened to be all women for the first time—come up to me and tell me they’re inspired a woman could be recognized this way by the Society.”
She adds, “I hope more women will pursue careers in ID, persevere and believe they can achieve C-level roles. The door is opening to organizations that appreciate different points of view and value what women can bring to the table.”
As for Grisdale, she is proud to be one of the women—blazing a trail in the profession of industrial design.