2021 IDSA Awards: Meet the 2021 IDSA Fellows and Award Winners

Oct 5 2021 - 10:52am


The recipients of 2021 IDSA Awards, including new inductees into IDSA's Academy of Fellows, were revealed live on September 20, 2021.

The virtual ceremony was hosted by ClayVon Lowe, IDSA, At-Large Director, Awards on IDSA's Board of Directors, Chair of IDSA's Awards Committee, and Co-chair of IDSA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.

Please join us in congratulating the following members of our design community for their dedication, contributions, and excellence.

The 2021 IDSA Award recipients are:


IDSA's Academy of Fellows
Lucia DeRespinis, FIDSA
Louis Nelson, FIDSA
Dr. Mark Evans, FIDSA
Alistair Hamilton, FIDSA

Education Award
Randall Bartlett, IDSA

Young Educator Award
Dr. Elham Morshedzadeh, IDSA
George Chow, IDSA


Academy of Fellows



Lucia DeRespinis, FIDSA


As an icon of industrial design and IDSA member for over 50 years, and for her lasting contributions to the profession and design education, Lucia DeRespinis, FIDSA, more than deserves IDSA’s highest honor of Fellowship. Her body of work is legendary, from the midcentury clocks she designed for George Nelson Associates, to the 1959 American Exhibit in Moscow she designed with a team including Charles and Ray Eames, to the Dunkin’ Donuts logo she designed using her five-year-old daughter’s favorite colors. 

A practicing industrial designer before IDSA was formed in 1965, DeRespinis received her Bachelor of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in 1952 as one of three women in her graduating class. She built her career in a male-dominated industry by working as a senior designer at the eponymous studio run by George Nelson, FIDSA, from 1954 until 1963. She worked on lighting, interiors, ceramics, graphics, packaging, and more, including tableware for American Airlines, furniture for Herman Miller, and the Chrysler Pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Many of her designs are still manufactured, sold, and exhibited worldwide. Her clock designs have been reissued by Vitra and are still available for purchase at MOMA and the Noguchi Museum in New York. 

DeRespinis was a student of Rowena Reed Kostellow, FIDSA, and Eva Zeisel, carrying their legacies through her own teaching at Pratt. She started as an adjunct professor of industrial design in 1979, at the age of 55, and continued until her retirement in 2020, at the age of 93. She taught Kostellow’s 3D design methodology and the ways of applying it to different fields, from tableware to furniture, with her famous Tabletop Design course sought after by four decades of students.    

“My first class in industrial design was with Lucia DeRespinis,” writes Debera Johnson, IDSA, professor of industrial design at Pratt Institute. “I was a sophomore at Pratt back in 1986. She pulled the two other women in the class aside and told us, ‘You’re going to have to work harder than the guys.’ She spoke from experience.” 

“Lucia is a torchbearer,” writes Crystal Ellis, co-founder of the New York design company Egg Collective. “She always told her students, ‘Once you are an industrial designer, the world is filled with questions of how and why and you will never be comfortable again. This profession seeks to make life better for humanity. Keep that in mind as you choose a path.’” 

In the late 1980s, DeRespinis traveled with Robert I. Blaich, FIDSA, and an IDSA delegation to China to promote industrial design. She has participated in numerous events with the IDSA NYC Chapter over the years, helped to start the IDSA Student Chapter at Pratt, and has long directed individuals and potential clients to IDSA as a primary professional resource for industrial designers.  

“Lucia’s care for her work, her students, and the field of industrial design has not waned, even as she turned 94 years old this year,” writes Amanda Huynh, IDSA, assistant professor of industrial design at Pratt. “In a recent 2021 exhibition by Egg Collective, Lucia’s Beehive Lamp (1960) was shown alongside contemporary pieces. It looks like it could have been designed yesterday.”  

Indeed, designers continue to discover and be inspired by DeRespinis, including Lauren Dern, IDSA, Chair of the IDSA Northern Lakes Chapter. In 2020, the Chapter invited DeRespinis to speak on the virtual panel “Women in Industrial Design: Generations.”  

“She told us a story of her first job as a designer—as the only woman, she was expected to answer the phones—and how she took it as an opportunity to get in the door, prove her design skills, and a few weeks later, she was no longer answering phones,” writes Dern. Learning how DeRespinis advocated for herself helped to give Dern the framework and confidence she used to land a job shortly after the event. “Speaking to a group of designers about being a woman in industrial design, starting her career in the midcentury, and in a very predominantly male environment, she gives young women today the perspective and perseverance we all need.” 

As IDSA and her many nominators for Fellowship agree, DeRespinis’ legacy will live on in IDSA’s Academy of Fellows in recognition of her body of work, her commitment to promoting excellence in industrial design, and her development of young designers for generations. 



Louis Nelson, FIDSA


A visionary designer, artist, business consultant, and writer whose work has touched lives for more than 50 years, Louis Nelson, FIDSA, is a long-standing IDSA member whose contributions are highly deserving of Fellowship. Among his countless achievements, Nelson designed the Mural Wall of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, winning an IDEA in 1996, the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal for the United Nations, and the nutrition facts label for the Food & Drug Administration and America’s food packages. 

“Louis Nelson is an important leader of design in the world and locally in New York City,” writes Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA. “Enriched by boundless curiosity and a rare sensitivity to the world around him, his career encompasses helping travelers find their way at America’s leading airports; branding and identity programs for global corporations and start-ups; and product development in the fields of mass transit, museums, telecommunications, entertainment, construction, and government.” 

As director of the multidisciplinary design and planning firm Louis Nelson Associates in Manhattan, Nelson has delivered award-winning and profitable work in product development, interiors, exhibitions, environmental graphics, information systems, corporate communications, and packaging. His clients have included multinational and local corporations, professional associations, foundations, and city, state, and federal governments. 

Nelson served in IDSA’s New York Chapter between 1970 and 1978 and worked at the highest levels to advance the World Design Conference and the World Design Foundation, now the Design Foundation. He has contributed to numerous IDSA chapter and national events, including the IDSA/ICID 1985 World Design Conference and the IDSA 2005 National Conference, both held in Washington, DC.  

“Louis was one of the first members of the Society that I met when I joined in 1972,” writes Peter W. Bressler, FIDSA. “Louis, through his superior design work and always charming and supportive manner, has been a mentor and role model for me and so many other designers, helping us find our way in what is, from time to time, a challenging profession. To many of us, Louis was the north star of the independent design consultant. His support for IDSA has been unwavering and his contributions to the success of the profession are innumerable.”  

Nelson has received a Rowena Reed Kostellow Award, Career Achievement Award, and 125 Icons distinction from his alma mater, Pratt Institute. He graduated with a degree in industrial design from Pratt in 1958; served in the U.S. military from 1958 until 1962, becoming a captain and helicopter instructor; and returned to Pratt, graduating with a master’s degree in industrial design in 1964.  

RitaSue Siegel, FIDSA, met Nelson when he was a graduate student and she was an undergraduate at Pratt Institute. “The chair of the department, Rowena Reed Kostellow, FIDSA, spoke very highly of him, and we became the close friends we are today,” Siegel writes. “Louis was the first designer and the only one I have ever met to refer to himself as both an artist and designer. When I review the work he has accomplished over the years, listen to him reason and develop ideas on multiple levels for a wide range of interests, I know it is an accurate reference.” 

For 14 years, Nelson served as chair of the Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund at Pratt. Under Nelson’s leadership, the Fund sponsored the research, writing, and design of Elements of Design: Rowena Reed Kostellow and The Structure of Visual Relationships for design students and designers. Nelson also wrote the book Mosaic, describing the history of monuments and the story of how the one he designed was developed. 

“Louis Nelson has conducted himself both personally and professionally by contributing to IDSA and the general public at the highest levels of design,” writes Michael Cousins, owner of Cousins Design in New York City. “His work has encompassed both the public and private sectors, making important contributions to our lives and to society at large. Louis is truly deserving of this honor of recognition by his IDSA peers.” 



Dr. Mark Evans, 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.” 



Alistair Hamilton, FIDSA


With an over 30-year history of IDSA membership and design leadership at world-renowned technology companies, including Motorola, Microsoft, Blackberry, and now Amazon, Alistair Hamilton, FIDSA, has contributed essential research, passion, and knowledge to the profession and the Society that merits Fellowship. He has served as Director at Large on IDSA’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2012, Executive Editor of INNOVATION from 2010 to 2012, and IDEA 2008 Jury Chair, among other positions in the organization. Hamilton has contributed expert content to IDSA events, publications, and programming, and over the years has ensured the professional dialogue remains up to date and relevant to the changing technology landscape.  

Hamilton began his career at NCR Corporation, where he went on to lead an integrated team of industrial, environmental, and interaction designers supporting NCR’s retail, financial, and computing business units. Developing the first self-service checkout in 1998, Hamilton founded the Design Center’s Interaction Design practice and grew this team into an innovative professional services organization integrating research, design, and human-factors specialists.  

As vice president of innovation and design at Symbol Technologies from 1998 to 2007, Hamilton created a portfolio of integrated products and design processes and was deeply involved in company strategy and product development. This approach attracted global recognition and billions of dollars in revenue, ultimately driving Motorola to acquire the company.  

In a presentation at Microsoft’s Interactive Edges conference, Hamilton shared a schematic device, UI, and networked databases that preceded the notion of IoT or cloud computing by more than a decade. This insight was integral to his position as partner and creative director at Microsoft. From 2007 to 2009, he led the research and design development of the Windows Phone 7 and developed the chassis strategy that enabled devices to scale through OEM without compromising performance and quality. At Blackberry, he led integrated ID & UX experience planning and research for the Blackberry 10 devices portfolio, including the first-all touch Blackberry with a breakthrough on-screen gesture-based keyboard, and the first hybrid touch keyboard on the Blackberry Passport. 

Since joining Amazon in 2013, Hamilton has held director of design roles overseeing Kindle, Amazon Prime Video, and now the physical stores. He built and led the design teams responsible for developing the end-to-end CX and brand personality of Amazon Fresh Stores, including the development of the Dash Cart, a smart shopping cart that recognizes items as you shop and skips the checkout line. Today he leads UX, ID, and design research across Amazon’s physical stores. 

“Alistair was drawn to Amazon based on the potential of using more data in the design process to further raise the bar on design’s impact to the business,” writes Steve Kaneko, FIDSA. “In his time there, he has built the team that invented an industry-first mechanism for connecting the dots between customer impact and the bottom line. This required leading progressive efforts to integrate both business factors and human factors to achieve customer outcomes.” The integrated business and design approach has become widely used across Amazon. 

Hamilton is also known for openly sharing his knowledge, giving back to the design community since the beginning. “I know Alistair from his time in Ohio at NCR and his service to the local IDSA community in Ohio,” writes James C. Kaufman, FIDSA. “His advice to us was invaluable in formulating the direction in our graduate design program.” 

“Alistair Hamilton has significantly expanded and deepened the body of knowledge available to industrial design, funding and contributing to IDSA programs such as the DesignAbouts and INNOVATION,” writes Kristina Goodrich, former executive director of IDSA, in reference to the groundbreaking IDSA DesignAbout conferences in the early 2000s and the INNOVATION Index, a complete digital directory of the journal for membership and with archives preserved for the public. Additionally, “as a member of the IDSA Corporate Design Consortium, he shared his management methodologies and challenges openly with his peers, helping position industrial design as a vital contributor to corporate success.” 

“Alistair has represented our profession with integrity and humility, and has been a mentor and coach for so many designers and human factors professionals creating the many consumer and enterprise-grade products in use today,” writes Kaneko. “I believe Alistair represents the professional expertise, proven IDSA commitment, and top-notch personal character deserving of being called a Fellow of IDSA.” 



Education Award



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.”



Young Educator Award



Dr. Elham Morshedzadeh, IDSA


IDSA is pleased to recognize Elham Morshedzadeh, PhD, IDSA, assistant professor in the industrial design program at Virginia Tech, with a 2021 Young Educator Award. Since joining the faculty in 2017, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Morshedzadeh has continuously impressed her colleagues and students, balancing an ambitious roster of sponsored programs with rigorous healthcare design research.  

She is a leader of the new undergraduate biomedical engineering degree at VT, regularly collaborating with clinicians and engineers to create unique research opportunities and turn them into learning experiences for her students. Among her many academic contributions, she initiated a program for fourth-year studio projects and internship opportunities with Carilion Clinic and collaborated on a study funded by the National Institutes of Health to design a comprehensive telemedical encounter for infants and preschool children.  

Dr. Morshedzadeh has worked with VT’s Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM) department on several collaborative efforts, including a program with the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Salem, VA, that brought biomedical engineering and ID students together to conduct in-depth needs assessments. 

As a result, “Biomedical engineering students have a deep respect for the complementary role of industrial designers, and actively seek out collaborations with ID students for new projects,” writes Christopher B. Arena, the collegiate associate professor and director of experiential learning at BEAM. “It is no surprise that Elham’s students frequently gain employment in the medical device industry, as they are already performing at a professional level prior to graduation.” 

“I believe Elham does the difficult and complex work of ‘walking the walk’ to translate skills learned in undergraduate courses to marketable post-graduation skills,” writes Sarah E. Henrickson Parker, PhD, an associate professor and department chair of healthcare innovation and implementation science at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “As IDSA continues to build their healthcare focus, young educators like Elham will be leading the way. She has learned to be polylingual, speaking the language of designers, engineers, and clinicians. She is teaching her students that same skill, creating the transdisciplinary workforce of tomorrow.”



George Chow, IDSA


IDSA is delighted to honor George Chow, IDSA, assistant professor of industrial design at the University of Houston, with a 2021 IDSA Young Educator Award. Chow is highly regarded for making several key improvements across the College of Architecture and Design and for always going above and beyond for his students. 

Since Chow joined the University of Houston faculty in 2016, he has focused on making the student design experience smooth and meaningful. One such initiative was to spearhead providing students with floating Solidworks and Keyshot licenses. This increased their productivity and the quality of their work, while also allowing for a seamless transition during the COVID-19 lockdown, since students already had the tools they needed to work remotely.  

Chow has written papers on industrial design education and sustainability, presented at conferences, and developed a sustainability class, which was offered for the first time in spring 2020. Over the past year, he has threaded sustainability through all his studio projects, encouraged students to reuse materials, and advised on student-run green initiatives.  

“From the first day of his teaching at the University of Houston, he has presented his passion for education and spent additional hours to mentor students,” writes EunSook Kwon, PhD, IDSA, who hired Chow and is the current chair of the School of Industrial Design at Georgia Tech. “He is an engaged and excellent teacher based on the number of students’ design awards, the samples of student work, and highly favorable course evaluations.” 

As IDSA’s current South District Chapter Representative, Chow tirelessly volunteers his time to promote students’ work and coordinate events that build connections between students and professionals across IDSA’s South District and nationally.   

“George is a force of positive change,” writes Anne-Elisabeth Baker, S/IDSA, a rising senior in the University of Houston ID program. She was taking one of Chow’s studio courses when the pandemic hit last year. During that time, she says, “George made himself entirely available to us and spent so many unrecognized hours on one-on-one sessions with each of us to make sure we had a strong foundation. His motto is, ‘No designer left behind.’”