2020 IDSA Individual Achievement Award Recipient
One of the emcees for IDSA’s virtual International Design Conference 2020, Sept. 17-18, Spencer Nugent also received one of IDSA’s top honors before the conference on Sept. 16, during the virtual IDSA Awards 2020 ceremony. IDSA’s Individual Achievement Award recognizes IDSA members or non-members whose sustained individual achievement has made a value contribution to the profession of industrial design. Nugent is highly deserving of this honor, both for his boundless contributions to the ID profession and for the tremendous personal impact he has had on his fellow designers, colleagues, mentees, students, and followers on social media.
As the founder of Sketch-A-Day.com, Nugent has been engaged in providing free, high-quality online design sketching tutorials and on-site sketch workshops since 2008. He has created an extensive online network and following within the industrial design community and continues to connect with students and design professionals via his websites, social media, and YouTube channel. A prolific content creator, Nugent has hundreds of thousands of followers across his Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. Though many come for the daily, attractive sketches, they often find themselves staying for Nugent’s easygoing teaching style and quick, helpful tutorials that have helped countless aspiring designers worldwide to improve their skills and become industrial designers themselves.
A graduate of Brigham Young University with a BFA in Industrial Design, Nugent’s design experience includes working at General Motors in Warren, MI and Astro Studios in San Francisco, CA. Recently, he served as strategic UX and ID lead for Vivint Smart Home, guiding research, user-testing, ideation, prototyping, collaboration, and coordination across multiple business verticals. Through his own business, 50/50 creative labs, he provides creative experimentation and consulting in the categories of Industrial Design, UX, Graphics, Illustration, Prototyping, and Implementation. Over the course of his career, he has worked with brands including adidas, Dell, Intel, Hasbro, HP, Tupperware, Microsoft, Motorola, and Verifone.
Besides being Instagram-famous in the ID community, Nugent is known for giving talks and collaborating with other designers. His ongoing collaboration with the nonprofit organization Advanced Design includes teaching a 12-week online course on Design Discourse for the educational pilot program Offsite in Fall 2020, helping students to figure out why they design, what they design for, and how to communicate the value of their work. During the International Design Conference livestream on Sept. 17, Nugent led the workshop “Your Product Story: Sketching to Communicate,” showing participants how to break down complex stories and product experiences into bite-sized chunks that can be easily visualized.
Above all, Nugent is widely regarded as an inspiration: someone who is a pleasure to work with, learn from, and look up to in an industry where Black men and women in particular are underrepresented, and where Nugent’s striking combination of raw talent, strong work ethic, and generosity of spirit are rare. Those who know Spencer personally and who have personally benefitted from his teaching agree.
“Spencer is someone I look up to as a mentor, not only due to his long and fruitful 20-year course as a designer, but because of his well-developed thoughts and ability to articulate design and design thinking,” writes Dominic Montante, a designer and fellow instructor alongside Nugent for the Offsite pilot course. “He is incredibly intelligent, selfless, and thoughtful in every area of his work and public image. I would challenge you to find someone who has given so much and so consistently in our field. That’s what speaks to me most about Spencer. He commits his own time and money to produce these resources for the community—for years, might I add—and asks for nothing in return.”
“As someone who is a part of the nonprofit Advanced Design, I’ve been able to see the direct impact of Spencer’s work to our group,” writes designer Michelle Turcios. “Being a design student, and to be able to work and learn from someone so established in our community, has been a great service to me. He has always been open to us and someone we felt we could talk to when we needed his help. Aside from being a great designer, he’s an even better person.”