Mark Evans, PhD, FIDSA

 

For more than 30 years as an IDSA member, industrial designer, and educator, Mark Evans, PhD, FIDSA, has used his deep knowledge and capabilities to advocate for the practice of industrial design across the globe. A reader in industrial design at Loughborough University since 1991, Evans has worked as a corporate and consultant industrial designer, contributed to over 120 academic publications, supervised 36 industrial-design-related PhDs, and secured $1.2 million in funding. He also is the first international IDSA member (he resides in Leicester, England) to receive IDSA’s highest honor of fellowship. 

Through his leadership, Evans has seen the industrial design program at Loughborough University, including the Bachelor of Science in product design, grow from an undergraduate total of 90 students in 1991 to 530 students today. His contributions have elevated both the status of the industrial design discipline within the university and the reputation of its graduates. Industrial designers taught by Evans have gone on to land leadership roles at Apple, Porsche, Bosch, Rolls Royce, Philips, and Dyson, among other world-leading organizations. 

Besides serving as an IDEA jury member and facilitating engagement of UK students with IDSA for more than two decades, Evans created and distributed the IDSA-branded iD Cards beginning in 2011. In response to a need to improve communication and understanding between industrial designers and other professions during new product development, Evans created the iD Cards design tool. Working in collaboration with IDSA and a former PhD student, he designed the fold-out cards to identify and explain 32 key types of design representation. 

“I have been teaching design methods to industrial design students since 2004, and I haven’t been able to find a more useful and comprehensive methods toolkit than iD Cards,” writes Tsai Lu Liu, IDSA, professor and department head of graphic and industrial design, at North Carolina State University. “Mark is one of the most influential ambassadors of IDSA to the world. His passion and engagement in IDSA are truly inspiring and invaluable.” 

In shipping these cards to IDSA District and National conferences over the years, Evans reached an audience of approximately 30,000—a conservative estimate—and provided a clear understanding of the terms used by designers and the steps needed to create a world-class product. In 2012, the iD Cards were translated into a smartphone app; efforts to secure funding for an update to the app’s software are currently in progress. The app’s content has been used for the “What Is Industrial Design?” page and related articles that define the profession on IDSA.org. 

Despite a general trend in the UK and Europe to move away from the term “industrial design” to “product design,” Dr. Evans has been dogged in maintaining “industrial design” as the historically accurate and unambiguous descriptor for the profession. He was instrumental in retaining the term in the Loughborough University Bachelor of Arts degree that recruits over 110 students per year, and has been a pioneer of the PhD in industrial design.  

“Mark’s contributions to teaching, research, and IDSA have made a significant and unique contribution to further interests of the Society and profession,” writes Mary Beth Privitera, PhD, FIDSA, a principal at HS Design and a former student of Evans. “He has a unique profile that spans the teaching of foundation sketching to leading multi-collaborator, international research tackling major global challenges.” 

An IDEA winner and recipient of the 2016 IDSA Education Award, Evans also is a vigorous advocate for socially responsible design. In 2020 he was awarded $150,000 by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Global Challenges fund to, in collaboration with NGOs in Nigeria and Rwanda, investigate the use of plastic water bottle waste in 3D printing and study how industrial design can be used to produce socially useful products in low-income economies. In 2016, he was awarded $75,000 by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Global Challenges fund to explore how industrial design can transform indigenous sustainable materials in Uganda, Kenya, Indonesia, and Turkey to generate employment opportunities and help alleviate poverty. A fold-out Thinking Materials design tool was exhibited in these four collaborating countries and distributed to 146 countries on the Development Assistance Committee list. 

“Mark’s representation and leadership have been extremely beneficial for IDSA’s global outreach,” writes Tor Alden, FIDSA, principal at HS Design. “His efforts reaching into other professional communities have given increased understanding and exposure to the benefits of industrial design.”