Lino Cantarella

“I'm very intrigued with the human factor elements of design. I love being able to see my user’s reaction and feedback toward my iterative concepts.”

—Lino Cantarella, IDSA, Northeast District Student Merit Award Winner

Little did Lino Cantarella, IDSA, know that when he was playing with Legos as a child, they would serve as the first building blocks to a future career in industrial design. “Before I even knew about industrial design, as a young kid I was already exploring and creating new forms through my favorite medium, Legos,” he says. In high school in New Hampshire, he started touring colleges. That’s when his eyes were opened to ID. “This revealed something I never could’ve imagined. I found my perfect blend of art and technology.”

Many people in the industrial design community brought the best out of the 2016 IDSA Northeast District Student Merit Award winner, but his parents, Donna and Placido, became Cantarella’s biggest inspiration. “They always told me to strive for the best and to establish an amazing work ethic that will continue through the rest of my life,” he says proudly. “Prior to any co-op experience, I worked with my Dad’s painting business. This allowed me to learn the true meaning of craft, which I was later able to translate into my own ID work.”

At Hasbro, Cantarella worked with the gaming team on classics such as Twister, Skip It and Trouble. “I was treated as another member of the design team and given multiple responsibilities that allowed me to flourish in the company,” he says.

In a second co-op with Hasbro, he designed for one of the toy maker's largest franchise brands—My Little Pony—and also worked on Blythe, Littlest Pet Shop and Equestria Girls. “Spending two co-op semesters with Hasbro allowed me to build relationships within several departments, giving me a greater ability to express my design knowledge.”

As Cantarella graduates in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, he says he’s interested in all stages of the product design process—but “very intrigued with the human factor elements of design. I love being able to see my user’s reaction and feedback towards my iterative concepts.”

The wide range of projects he presented at IDSA’s 2016 Northeast District Design Conference in New York City shaped him into the designer he is today. The bath toy called Pirate Art Wheel allowed him to visualize the process of bringing sketches into working prototypes; sink station Lavandino immersed him in the research process; and footwear M.A.G. (Mobile Authorized Gear) showed him how storytelling can enhance the essence of a design. When he won the SMA his “adrenaline was on overdrive,” says Cantarella. “It’s amazing that all my hard work paid off because there were so many other incredibly talented students presenting.”

“Industrial design is very essential,” he declares. “Every day it’s constantly evolving and it’s our job as designers to be ready to adapt to new ideas, technology and circumstances. Today, companies previously unrelated to design are seeking out the expertise of the designer’s creative process to foster their ability to problem solve. Industrial design is much more than the creation of products—it is the implementation of mindful strategy and creative execution.”