Bridging Global Gaps

Mark Evans, PhD, I/IDSA, Earns Education Award

In recognition of his contribution to scholarship that extends from teaching freshmen the basics of perspective—to supervising PhD students in the quest for new industrial design knowledge—Mark Evans, PhD, I/IDSA, has been honored with the Indsutrial Designers Society of America's Education Award for 2016.

The international member of IDSA holds the distinction of Reader in Industrial Design at the renowned Loughborough Design School in the United Kingdom—where he also earned a pioneering PhD in which he undertook the design of consumer products to support data collection.

Intent on spreading knowledge, Evans then became a global leader in the supervision and examination of industrial design PhDs, with an impressive track record of 25 to date. Through the recruitment and supervision of doctoral students, he addresses some of the biggest issues in industrial design—the impact of printed electronics; commercial applications for design thinking; the contribution of biomimetics; product development in low income economies; collaborative medical device design; and the future of the industrial design profession. Evans has published more than 100 academic papers on his research into the use of digital design tools and design methods.

With a background as a consultant and corporate designer, Evans is committed to bridging gaps among academic research, education and practice—resulting in outcomes that reach beyond the more typical academic journal publication by translating findings into apps, websitesvideos, patents, exhibitions, cards, posters and design awards. For example, his 3D concrete printing bench design project resulted in 61,000 views of the supporting YouTube video—and more than 10,000 visitors to the 2016 Concrete Innovation Exhibition at the UK’s National Centre for Craft and Design.

One of the most notable achievements from this distinctive approach has been the iD Cards design tool that supports collaboration and understanding in the use of sketches, drawings, models and prototypes during product development. Created, validated and promoted in collaboration with IDSA, 5,000 sets of the foldout iD Cards were distributed to members at design schools and IDSA District Design and International Conferences in 2011.

In 2014, in response to ongoing demand, the tool was converted into an app and launched on IDSA.org. As its use to support education and practice gained traction, the app was picked up by design organizations around the world such as the British Industrial Design Association, Design Denmark, Brazilian Association of Designers, Finnish Association of Designers, German Design Council and more. The content of the tool was adapted to the new IDSA.org in 2015 to define the profession on the popular “What is industrial design?” page.

Evans also has developed strong links across the pond with educators in the United States through formal appointments as an International Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a visiting professor at Rhode Island School of Design, and stays connected through IDSA. “Friendships developed at IDSA conferences have resulted in countless collaborations, guest lectures and reciprocal transatlantic visits with educators throughout the United States—demonstrating that a few thousand miles of ocean and minor linguistic differences are no barrier to like-minded souls seeking the best for our students and the profession,” insists Evans.