Meet the Winners of the 2020 IDSA Awards

Sep 28 2020 - 11:31am

 

The recipients of the 2020 IDSA Awards were revealed live on September 16, 2020, by ClayVon Lowe, IDSA, Awards Director, and Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA, Education Director. For the first time, the event was held virtually and broadcast live to a global audience. The 2020 Student Merit Award winners also were highlighted once more during the online ceremony.

 

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

 

Watch the ceremony

 

2020 IDSA Award recipients are:

 

IDSA's Academy of Fellows
Tor Alden, FIDSA
Ralph LaZar, FIDSA

Individual Achievement Award
Hartmut Esslinger
Spencer Nugent

Special Achievement Award
Yves Béhar, IDSA
D'Wayne Edwards

Education Award
Katherine Bennett, IDSA
Ricardo Gomes, IDSA
Pascal Malassigné, FIDSA

Young Educator Award
Betsy Barnhart, IDSA
Dr. Louise Manfredi, IDSA
Kelly Umstead, IDSA

 

 

Academy of Fellows

 

Tor Alden, FIDSA
Principal/CEO, HS Design, Inc.

 

Tor Alden, FIDSA is a principal of HS Design, Inc. (HSD), a New Jersey-based, ISO 13484 certified product development firm specializing in solving complex problems in life science, medical and consumer healthcare markets. Alden has more than 25 years of experience in product design, earning more than 30 patents and multiple design awards. He is actively involved in emerging technologies with a focus on next generation medical systems.

Alden has served as chair of IDSA’s Medical Special Interest Section and currently serves on the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Human Factors Committee, developing guidance documentation such as ISO 62366 and HE 75.

For his unwavering dedication, not only to IDSA but to elevating other designers and the practice of medical design as an integral part of the industrial design profession, IDSA is pleased to welcome Tor Alden, FIDSA as a Fellow.


 

Academy of Fellows

 

Ralph LaZar, FIDSA
Co-founder, Herbst, LaZar, Bell

 

With more than 50 years of membership and service to IDSA and the industrial design profession, Ralph LaZar has laid the path for countless others to follow. The co-founder of the influential product design consulting firm Herbst, LaZar, Bell (HLB) in Chicago, IL, and co-founder with the late Carroll Gantz, FIDSA of the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), this distinction is long overdue for LaZar, a renowned, early champion of IDSA and of design as a value to businesses worldwide. 

LaZar’s service with IDSA began in Chicago, where served as the Chicago Chapter Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Program Chairman during the 1970s. He also served as Chairman of IDSA’s Nominations and Elections Committee, leading numerous programs and activities. In this role, he encouraged IDSA members reach for solutions to seemingly difficult programs, such as how to structure a program like a major conference that would effectively interest, educate, and inspire its attendees. As Chairman of IDSA’s 1977 national conference in Lake Barkely, KY, he assembled an impressive roster of guest speakers that included astronaut Neil Armstrong and journalist Sidney Harris. 

Instrumental not only in IDSA’s formative years but also to the growing recognition in the United States of design as essential to businesses looking to innovate, LaZar often gave presentations at trade association gatherings and contributed articles to early IDSA publications, ID magazine, and Design Manufacturing magazines. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the North Shore Art League, and often lectured to students on the power of good design.

IDSA is proud to honor Ralph LaZar, FIDSA as a Fellow for his half-century of IDSA service and his enduring impact on the industrial design profession.

 


Individual Achievement Award

 

Hartmut Esslinger
Founder, frog design

 

It is perhaps impossible to overstate the significance of Hartmut Esslinger’s impact on modern industrial design. As the founder of Frog Design Inc., a global design consultancy he established in Mutlangen, Germany in 1969 and then moved to Silicon Valley, Esslinger has been at the forefront of design excellence for decades. He coined the phrase “form follows emotion,” which stood in stark contrast to the “form follows function” edict that dominated industrial design until that point. He has been a dynamic force in the industry, pushing boundaries and taking risks to design products that have stood the test of time. 

In 1982, Esslinger partnered with Steve Jobs to create a design strategy that would catapult Apple from just another Silicon Valley startup into a global powerhouse brand. Now in California, Esslinger and his Frog Design team produced the iconic Show White design language that was applied to all of Apple’s product lines from 1984 to 1990, including the original Appl IIc and the Macintosh computer.

Beyond his dedication to design as a practitioner and as an educator in academic institutions worldwide, Esslinger is widely admired for his playfulness and refusal to play it safe when creativity strikes. “We must recognize that at the time of their release, the designs Hartmut and his team produced were anything but conventional; they set new precedents that were so ubiquitously copied that they became the standard,” writes Remy Labesque, now a senior industrial designer at Tesla. “Hartmut has dedicated his life to industrial design, design academia, and relentless disruption. Without question, his work has been foundational to the very definition of industrial design as a discipline.”


Individual Achievement Award

 

Spencer Nugent
Owner, Sketch-A-Day.com

 

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.   

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 Advanced Design's 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.”


Special Achievement Award

 

Yves Béhar, IDSA
Founder, fuseproject

 

The continued innovation that emerges from fuseproject each year under Béhar’s leadership is inspiring, not only to the broader design community but also to the team inside fuseproject, who nominated Béhar for this award. “We would like to show him what his contributions mean to us, and what it means to be lucky enough to have a vibrant, dynamic, and endlessly creative studio to come into each day,” writes Harriet Tzou, fuseproject’s marketing and communications manager. “At more than 70 people, we still consider each other family at fuseproject.” 

In serving as fuseproject’s chief designer and as the co-founder of multiple other design ventures, Béhar is known for crafting products and experiences that establish new categories: for example, the first sleep and fitness tracker on the wrist, Jawbone UP; the smart baby sleeper SNOO; and the Herman Miller Sayl task chair. Most recently, his notable product launches in the health and wellness sphere include Moxie, the smartbot companion for children developed alongside robotics company Embodied, Inc., and ElliQ, a sidekick for aging adults.

For more than 20 years, Béhar also has pioneered design as force for positive social and environmental change. His humanitarian work includes the One Laptop Per Child, which has provided 2.5 million laptops to children in developing countries; and See Better to Learn Better, which distributes 500,000 free corrective eyeglasses to schoolchildren in Mexico and California every year. For each of these causes, he was honored with the INDEX Award, making him the only designer to have received the award twice. He is currently spearheading SPRING, an accelerator supporting African and Asian entrepreneurs focused on social and economic change in East Africa and South Asia.   

Designs by fuseproject are known for their elegance and their tendency to have a socially progressive bent, from light fixtures that encourage energy conservation to Moxie, a revolutionary robot that provides play-based learning to promote social, emotional, and cognitive learning in children. Béhar’s guidance and vision are key to fuseproject’s success, and also why IDSA is thrilled to honor both Béhar and fuseproject with the 2020 Special Achievement Award.


Special Achievement Award

 

D'Wayne Edwards
Founder of Pensole Design Academy

 

Dr. D’Wayne Edwards and the organization he founded in 2010, Pensole Design Academy, have made a profound impact on the design community. With Pensole, Edwards has opened doors for many design students who may not have been able to pursue their dreams otherwise, and helped them to hone their skills, boost their confidence, and land jobs at some of the world’s top footwear companies. 

Edwards has written that he founded Pensole in part to give talented young designers, regardless of socioeconomic background, the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s best: “Growing up my dream was to become a footwear designer, but there were no schools that taught that curriculum, and even if there had been, I couldn't have afforded to attend design school. I created Pensole to provide students the opportunity I never had.” Since he started Pensole, graduates of his classes have gone on to work at brands including New Balance, North Face, Under Armour, adidas, Stride Rite, Jordan, Nike, and more.

In giving back to aspiring footwear designers with Pensole, Edwards has produced a unique education model with passion and meaningful results. “D’Wayne identified that businesses were the ones benefiting from a well-trained pool of designers, so he organized Pensole around businesses paying the tuition for each and every student,” writes Michael DiTullo, IDSA. “I can’t think of another organization that has done more to improve inclusion in the footwear and sportswear industries by reaching out and connecting young talent directly with brands” In just a few years, Pensole has partnered with numerous universities and with retailers to run design workshops for high school students in their local areas. 

“D’Wayne’s philosophy of giving back and product as the vehicle for a deeper message still echoes in my mind every day,” writes Kaito Choy, an industrial designer and former Pensole Design Academy student. “His action-driven passion for providing education for the less fortunate has inspired a new wave of talent across the spectrum of design. Pensole Academy truly sets the gold standard of specialized design education.”


Education Award

 

Katherine Bennett, IDSA
Professor, ArtCenter College of Design

 

A professor at Art Center College of Design since 1988, Katherine Bennett is part of the core faculty for undergraduate and graduate industrial design programs, and has taught at both the Pasadena, CA and European campuses. She has been teaching the college’s advanced design research course since 1991 and served as the faculty advisor for IDSA’s student chapter at the school from 1988 to 2007. To this day, Prof. Bennett inspires design students with her specialties in research (understanding the user experience), strategic planning, and information architecture. 

“Katherine has had a distinguished, long-term career in service to design and has certainly earned the respect and admiration of colleagues across the United States (and the world!) in her role as an educator," says Lorraine Justice, PhD, FIDSA, Dean Emerita and Professor of Industrial Design at Rochester Institute of Technology. “Katherine was a practitioner for years before becoming an educator, and she brings practice into her classes so that research can be applied, not just a theoretical idea.”

Prof. Bennett has developed designs ranging from laboratory and business equipment to tableware and furniture for clients such as Herman Miller, Johnson Controls International, and many more. As an IDSA member, she has served as the Society’s West District education representative, an IDEA juror, and Education VP on IDSA's Board of Directors. She is an advocate for women in design and was one of the keynote speakers at IDSA’s first Women in Design conference.  

“Katherine epitomizes all that a design educator should be,” says Jim Budd, IDSA, Professor & Chair of the School of Industrial Design at Georgia Tech. “She has helped define the role of industrial design education and the contribution designers can make to the field as we know it today.”


Education Award

 

 

Ricardo Gomes, IDSA
Professor, San Francisco State University

 

A longtime member of IDSA, Ricardo Gomes has been a faculty member in the School of Design (formerly the Design and Industry Department) at San Francisco State University since 1991. He was the Chair of the Program from 2002 to 2012 and coordinated the school’s Center for Global Needs and the Shapira Design Archive Project, which is dedicated to promoting responsive design solutions to local, regional and global issues. He also is a prominent Product Design and Development Consultant, known for his expertise in the areas of sustainable design, social responsibility, and design for community development.

“I have admired Ricardo’s commitment to addressing the important, underlying issues in design and design education for close to 30 years now,” says Ed Dorsa, FIDSA. “This focus on using design to solve serious problems has impacted thousands of students at San Francisco State University in the School of Design.”

Prof. Gomes has conducted keynote speeches, presentations, symposiums and workshops at universities and international conferences throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the U.S. In addition, he has served on juries related to Inclusive Design, Universal Design, Design for Social Responsibility, Sustainability and Equity for BIPoC in the Built Environment.  

Prof. Gomes earned his MFA in Industrial Design for Low-Income Economies and MA in Architectural Building Technology from UCLA, and earned his BFA in Industrial Design from Massachusetts College of Art. A Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Nairobi, Kenya in the mid-1980s, he conducted post-graduate research and product development of a container system for mobile health care delivery in East Africa from 1982 to 1987.

Since 2002, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Human Centered Design in Boston and as a Trustee of the Beta Beta Chapter of Epsilon Pi Tau (EPT) International Honor Society for Technology. 


Education Award

 

Pascal Malassigné, FIDSA
Senior Professor, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design

 

Pascal Malassigné, FIDSA, Senior Professor and Chair of Industrial Design at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), is celebrated by his colleagues, students and peers for his work in the areas of medical and rehabilitation design. Beyond his many accomplishments as a design educator, he is known as a research engineer and industrial designer for the Veterans Affairs medical centers in Atlanta and Milwaukee. For these centers, he has designed and prototyped mobility systems, bathing fixtures, and other devices for the elderly and individuals with various disabilities for more than 30 years.

“Pascal leads by example and believes in the higher aspirations of Design as a change agent in creating a better, more equitable world,” says Haig Khachatoorian, PhD, IDSA, Professor Emeritus of Industrial Design at North Carolina State University. “He is very much in the vanguard of Industrial Design, as an academic and practitioner.”

Prof. Malassigné’s education in Industrial Design at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France and at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY led him to a career in academia—first as an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech in the 1970s, then as an Associate Professor at Georgia Tech from 1980 to 1990, before joining the faculty at MIAD in 1991. Over four decades, he has used cross-disciplinary approaches to design problem-solving, applying various methods and technologies throughout the design process to teach multiple generations of design students.

An IDSA Fellow, Prof. Malassigné has served on IDSA’s Board of Directors and Districts Committee, and as President of IDSA’s Design Foundation. He also is an active member of HFES and RESNA. 


Young Educator Award

 

Betsy Barnhart, IDSA
Assistant Professor, University of Kansas

 

Just two years into her time as an Assistant Professor and Program Director of Industrial Design at the University of Kansas (KU), Betsy Barnhart has elevated the program and helped students to succeed in myriad ways. In addition to teaching industrial design studio classes and elective courses, she has set up sponsored studios and workshops with the industry’s top designers, established mentorship programs, organized the local IDSA Student Merit Awards presentations, worked with graduating seniors to put on their Senior Shows, and helped to organize events for the school's IDSA Student Chapter and Women in Industrial Design group. 

“During my time at the University of Kansas, I have witnessed Betsy put her heart and soul into our program,” says Tori Karlin, President of the IDSA Student Chapter at KU. “She gives so much more than what is asked of her and always makes herself available. As a woman in Industrial Design myself, she has helped me feel empowered, confident, and capable.”

Prof. Barnhart’s academic research focuses heavily on the under-representation of women in ID, which she also brings to her leadership role on IDSA’s newly established Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC). With an MFA in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology, she also is known for her exceptional work as an industrial design consultant in the sporting goods industry.

“It is evident that Professor Barnhart is without question a Designer and Educator of exceptional ability, with a reputation in sporting goods and soft goods as an outstanding professional,” says Lance Rake, IDSA, Professor of Industrial Design at KU. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anyone with the education, skills, experience, and compassion to consistently get design students to perform at the highest level and produce work that is at the same time passionate and professional.” 


Young Educator Award

 

Dr. Louise R. Manfredi, IDSA
Assistant Professor, Syracuse University

 

Since her arrival at Syracuse University (SU) as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Louise Manfredi has made a significant impact. “Louise has recently completed her third year of teaching in the School of Design and to say she’s an emerging talent is an understatement,” writes Don Carr, IDSA, Program Coordinator for Industrial and Interaction Design (IID) at SU. “When viewed in comparison to her colleagues, the path she has blazed has been nothing short of meteoric...I believe over the past two years within the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the total amount of grant funding she alone has secured is unsurpassed.”

Dr. Manfredi has been particularly instrumental in forging a connection between SU’s School of Engineering and IID departments, resulting in a major increase of Engineering students taking IID classes. She has developed and grown Invent@SU, a program that pairs Engineering students with IID students. She also has involved many students in research projects, greatly adding to their educational experience, and is currently developing a new curriculum for the IID program with a focus on trans-disciplinary classes.

Additionally, Dr. Manfredi helped pilot and is an advisor to Women in Design at SU: a student group focused on empowering women, encouraging creativity and advocating for equality in every field. Having received her Bachelor’s in Product Design and PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, she is respected and admired by her students as someone who actually listens and cares.

"There are a lot of great professors at Syracuse University, but none compare to Dr. Manfredi,” says Celia Boltansky, a former student and graduate of the Class of 2020. “As a professor, researcher, and individual, she exudes passion, dedication, and drive in all she does. She pushes her students to find meaning in what they are doing and leads by exceptional example. I am immensely grateful to have learned from her both in and out of the classroom.” 


Young Educator Award

 

Kelly Umstead, IDSA
Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University

 

Upon joining North Carolina State University (NCSU) as an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design in 2016, Kelly Umstead has been an asset. In addition to leading several sponsored studio projects with big-name companies like Under Armour and Coca-Cola, she has worked to improve the experience for incoming students by driving meaningful changes to the graduate curriculum.

“Kelly has made a tremendous impact on industrial design education through her attention to curriculum development, course delivery, and student mentoring in our BID and MID programs,” writes Sharon Joines, PhD, Associate Dean of Academic Strategy and Professor of Industrial Design at NCSU. “She brings her experience as a professional medical device designer to each studio she teaches; each solution must meet the needs of the stakeholders (very often including studio sponsors) and be realizable and desirable. Kelly models outstanding communication, collaboration, and collegiality for our students with enthusiasm.”

With a BS in Biological Engineering and MS in Industrial Design from NCSU, as well as an MS in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University, Prof. Umstead has worked at Gamil Design, Smith & Nephew, and Bioventus as a product designer, manager, and development engineer.

Currently, she is a member of a multidisciplinary team at NCSU that has been awarded a $2,500,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This represents the largest research grant ever received in the NCSU Department of Graphic and Industrial Design. The work itself, to which Prof. Umstead is a significant contributor and co-investigator with colleague Carolina Gill, places Human-Centered Design at the core of a major endeavor toward patient safety. 

“I have a long career as a faculty member in three different R1 Research institutions and Kelly is by far one of the smartest, kindest, and dedicated faculty members I have ever worked with,” says Gill. “Kelly is respected and loved by students and faculty, and I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award than her.”