Randall Bartlett, IDSA


The recipient of the 2021 IDSA Education Award is a beloved educator, designer, colleague, and mentor with a long-held commitment to bridging the gap between industrial design education and industry. Randall Bartlett, IDSA, the Bauhaus Quasi Endowed Professor in the School of Industrial and Graphic Design at Auburn University, is well-known for working to ensure the success of his students and the industrial design profession on an international scale.    

Following a decade of professional practice in the commercial lighting, sports equipment, and health and wellness sectors, Bartlett joined the faculty at Auburn in 1993. Since then, he has produced multiple student-based industry collaborations each year. To date, he is the principal director of 32 corporate-sponsored design studios, including a 10-year collaboration with Emerson Tool.     

Bartlett has developed and led two initiatives at Auburn that have become influential program hallmarks. Since 1996, he has directed the nine-week Collaborative Studio Abroad Program each year, which has provided more than 375 students with the opportunity to learn industrial design through collaborations with schools and organizations across Ireland, the UK, and Italy. In 2015, he began the Mobile Futures Studio, a 10-week design assistance program with local businesses in Mobile, AL.     

A long-standing IDSA member, Bartlett has contributed to multiple IDSA publications and IDSA conferences. He worked extensively with RitaSue Siegel, FIDSA, in producing a series of conference workshops that helped students and professionals improve the effectiveness of their portfolios. This lauded portfolio review collaboration set a standard of excellence and earned an IDSA in Gratitude Award in 2001.     

Additionally, Bartlett has been named twice on DesignIntelligence’s list of the Most Admired Educators, in 2010 and 2011, and is a three-time winner of the Auburn College of Art, Design, and Construction’s Outstanding Teaching Award, in 2001, 2002, and 2011. 

“I have witnessed firsthand Randy’s great passion and dedication to both industrial design practice and education,” writes Shu-Wen Tzeng, IDSA, associate professor of industrial design at Auburn. “After 41 years of design practice and 31 years of teaching, Randy is still devoting himself to design education with the goal of bringing positive impact to not just the students at Auburn University but also the design communities inside and outside the United States.”