The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) mourns the loss of Mark Dziersk, FIDSA, a prominent industrial designer and decades-long supporter, leader, and advocate of our Society. Mark passed away suddenly on January 31, 2020 while traveling abroad in Tokyo. He was 60 years old. Mark is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and three daughters.
Northerstern University's MPD program is accepting donations to the MPD Mark Dziersk Scholarship fund. Please make checks payable to:
Northwestern University - MPD Mark Dziersk Scholarship
2133 Sheridan Rd
Evanston, IL 60208
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Mark's design career was expansive. He holds over 50 U.S. product design and engineering patents.
He was a Partner of McKinsey & Company, and spent much of his career as Managing Director of LUNAR in Chicago. McKinsey acquired LUNAR in 2015.
Previously, Mark was the senior vice president of industrial design at BrandImage-Laga/DesGrippes and executive vice president of design at Herbst LaZar Bell, Inc. (HLB), two of the nation’s top design and innovation consultancies. Widely known in the industry as a design thinking and management consultant, his expertise included innovation strategy, branding, industrial design, packaging, and public speaking on the topics of design, sustainability, and creativity.
Mark taught as an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI and the New England School of Art & Design in Boston, MA. Most recently, he was a beloved adjunct professor in the Master of Product Design and Development Management (mpd²) program at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
Born in Detroit, MI, Mark graduated from the University of Michigan in 1981 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in industrial design.
Contributions to IDSA and the design community
Throughout his professional career, Mark remained incredibly active in the design community. For more than 20 years, he held many volunteer positions within IDSA, such as National Design Management Committee Chairman, National Conference Chairman, National Secretary Treasurer, and Executive Vice President. From 1999 to 2000, he served as President of IDSA and Board Chairman. He also led the IDSA voting delegation to the 1999 International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID, now called the World Design Organization - WDO) Congress in Sydney, Australia.
In 2001, Mark was honored by his peers with an introduction into IDSA's Academy of Fellows. Additionally, he maintained an ongoing position as editor of IDSA's INNOVATION magazine until early 2019.
Mark received numerous awards for design excellence, including a Gold IDEA for instrumentation and concept explorations, several Silver and Bronze IDEAs and "Best of Category," and "Design Distinction" awards from ID magazine's Annual Design Review. His writing was featured in INNOVATION, Fast Company, ID magazine, Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.
Additionally, Mark engaged with other design associations including the Association of Professional Design Firms (APDF), the Design Management Institute (DMI) and Product Design Management Association (PDMA).
Paul Hatch, FIDSA
CEO at TEAMS Design
He not only inspired those around him with his amazing talent in storytelling, but also reached a much greater audience through the IDSA and other global design communities. Mark's enduring commitment to improving how design is perceived in business helped bring us to the place we are today. The success of his efforts will be his legacy and his good deeds will live another lifetime.
George McCain, FIDSA
Mark was a giant in IDSA and the design community. It is incredibly sad to hear of his passing. His life and his leadership enhanced us all.
Austen Angell, FIDSA
CEO, Modern Edge
I had the privilege of sharing a friendship with Mark for 30 years through working, designing, and chairing the board of our beloved IDSA. He was far more than a great designer and a great design leader. He set a standard for professionalism in design, and I relied on his council more times than I can possibly remember. When his name popped up on my phone, I would never have any idea what new thing he was about to spring on me. He was uniquely kind and optimistic. He had a fierce brand of loyalty and an unwavering sense of fair play. Above all, he was a truly beautiful human being, I cry thinking about his lovely wife Elizabeth and his amazing children. I will miss his wicked sense of humor and his infectious laugh. Godspeed, Mark.
Stephan Clambaneva, IDSA
Design Innovation Executive & Product Development Consultant
I simply have no words to describe my profound sorrow. He was an amazing leader mentor and proud to call my friend. I will always remember fondly all our great times together in Milan, New York and most recently in Boston! RIP Mark. You will be missed
David Kusuma, PhD, FIDSA
VP Global R&D, Tupperware Brands Corporation
I am saddened to hear of Mark’s passing. He was a great advocate for IDSA and for the design profession as a whole. Mark was not only a leader but a significant and respected role model for new and “older” designers alike. The Society will miss his presence.
Brett Lovelady, IDSA
CEO & Founder, ASTRO Studios
Optimism. Mark always projected optimism. Last Fall Mark and shared a table at the DMI Design Value Awards where he was collecting an award for a project by McKinsey (Lunar) Design, called Measuring the Value of Design. He said it was program that would result in helping companies put design in a more useful context, in turn elevating the overall value of design and designers across many industries. This goal was something that Mark had been advocating for years in his many leadership roles and he was now so happily seeing the fruits of his labors. Mark was incredibly proud of his family, his students and co-workers, and as you might imagine, very optimistic about the future and the next stage of his life as a partner at McKinsey. Mark and family, Godspeed in your journeys and healing.
Brian Vogel, FIDSA
Founder & President, Brian Vogel Consulting
So very sad to learn of Mark's passing. I have known Mark for many years. Mark introduced me to the design industry and was instrumental at getting me (an engineer) involved at IDSA. I followed Mark in each of my leadership positions at IDSA through executive vice president. As Acting Executive Director of IDSA (twice), I could always rely on Mark to provide guidance and positive inputs for the benefit of the society. He was a tireless volunteer and freely gave his time to the profession, to IDSA and to design education. He will be missed. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
Pattie Moore, FIDSA
President, MoreDesign Associates
Yesterday was spent with bright, compassionate; earnest Students at MICA. Our focus was bringing Dignity, by Design, to the realm of Dying and Death. In discussing Grief and its role in Healing, I shared an unattributed reflection: "Crying is a way your eyes speak when your mouth can't explain how broken your heart is." Mark was a remarkable force in Design and Education, but more important, he was an extraordinary Spouse, Father and precious Friend. Our tears are testament to our love for Him and his Family, always and ever.
Robert Sheldon, IDSA
Co-founder, Product Council - Chicago
I had the opportunity to meet Mark on several occasions over years, whether it was mentoring university students, attending local IDSA functions, or running into him on the Northshore where we both lived. He was always gracious and generous with his time. He was a leader, an inspiration, and a great advocate for our profession who will be missed. I wish to extend my condolences to his entire family.
Stuart Constantine, IDSA
I’ve counted Mark as a friend, mentor and colleague for over twenty years and I am shocked and saddened at the news of his passing. He always had a kind word, an insightful comment and a sincere laugh to share whenever we spoke. The design community, and the world at large, has lost a true gentleman and a genuinely decent person, something we definitely need more of right now.
RitaSue Siegel, FIDSA
RitaSue Siegel Resources
What a shock! Mark was a warm, wonderful, loyal friend who loved his family, industrial design, and designers. It’s hard to imagine an IDSA event without seeing his smiling face and getting a big hug. Mark asked me to recommend Lunar for a Cooper Hewitt award, which I was delighted to do. They won, of course, because so many others agreed they deserved it. Mark’s magnetic personality and optimism, and Lunar’s impressive talent base and accomplishments, were a natural combination. My sympathy to his wife and daughters. I will miss you, Mark. You were very dear to me.
Jonathon Dalton, IDSA
Chief Executive Office & Co-founder, THRIVE
Very shocked to hear this sad news. Mark did a tremendous amount in promoting design and building our community—most recently in his work with McKinsey Design, espousing the use of design as a strategic business tool. Thoughts to all his family and friends. He will be sadly missed.
Cofounder and retired CEO, LUNAR (now part of McKinsey Design)
After knowing him casually for many years, Mark and I became close friends soon after he joined LUNAR in 2011 to found and lead its office in Chicago. And while I dearly loved the company I had cofounded and led for over 25 years, Mark brought a more positive, uplifting and energizing perspective to me and others in our firm than I had ever imagined was possible. He did this because he was such a genuinely enthusiastic, talented and positive human being who loved our design profession and loved working with and helping others do great things. He also brought such youthful energy to everything he did that I felt he would be with us forever. While he has moved on far too soon at what for him was a very youthful age of 60, experiencing his happy heart and soul will continue to positively impact the rest my life. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his lovely wife Elizabeth and their three wonderful daughters.
Professor, Industrial Design, MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design)
Mark Dziersk lectured annually at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design for almost 20 years. He was gracious of his time and energy, and always shared his passion through story. We would always end with a dinner of his favorite Coq au Vin at a French restaurant in Milwaukee, where he would always bring up his family, tell stories of his beautiful daughters and say how lucky he felt he was.
Allen Samuels, L/IDSA
Emeritus Professor and Dean, University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art and Design
Mark was a student of mine at the University of Michigan, School of Art and Design. I am shocked and saddened by the news of his death. I remember him sitting at his desk at the rear of the ID studio (his choice) where he could walk in quietly when he was late to class. I saw him every time and he saw me, seeing him. As an industrial design student he took many of my classes, so I knew him well. He was proud of his family that he mentioned often, and he worked hard to learn all that he could. He graduated and went on to do high-quality work. I was always proud to learn that he was selected for leadership positions, both in practice and within our professional organization, IDSA. We kept in touch over the years as I sent him numerous articles to review when he was editor of INNOVATION. He was always welcoming and fair. I will always be proud of his accomplishments and I will miss him greatly. My thoughts are with his family at this most difficult time.
SVP, Design and Development, Ergobaby
In 1994 I did my final set of internship terms at Group 4 in Connecticut, where Mark was my manager while heading up the Industrial Design department. What struck me immediately was his intense drive for greatness and his skillful management of his projects and clients. He worked hard, hired talented people and led by example by setting a high bar for thinking and quality. Shortly thereafter he left for the role at HLB which was a definite blow to the team and a void that was impossible to fill. I too wrapped up my time at Group 4 to head back to school. By the time I returned to finish up my final few quarters before graduating, I had grown leaps and bounds as a designer and I owe so much of that to the training he provided both directly and indirectly. Under his tutelage I learned most how to be a professional designer and for that 25+ years later, I am still forever grateful. He and I stayed in touch over the years and would see each other at IDSA events, would occasionally speak by phone or meet in person when I’d go through Chicago. But though we didn’t get together often, when we did he was always gracious, full of great memories and so utterly up-beat and enthusiastic, he just made you long to be around him more. He was a giant and steadfast in a design scene that has churned its share of leaders and I have always marveled at his unfailing energy to share, teach and inspire. This news hit me like a ton of bricks to see his life end so prematurely. He was an amazing designer and design leader, a consummate professional, a gem of an evangelist for our field and a better man than all of that combined. He will be dearly missed and my heart breaks for his family.
Director, Client Services & Design Operations, Nationwide
The news of Mark’s passing is devastating. We’ve lost a truly wonderful individual and talented designer. He leaves a vast void in the community that will be difficult to fill. His leadership and passion will be missed. He was an inspirational, selfless leader. While Mark and I never worked directly together, we shared years of IDSA collaboration advancing design. He leaves an impressive legacy. Thank you Mark for all you did to elevate the awareness of design’s value. The industry owes you significant gratitude.
Eddie Licitra, IDSA
Associate Design Director, McKinsey & Company
Mark was an amazing individual, business leader, and mentor. He was a reminder that at the heart of all businesses were humans with emotions. He cared deeply about his team, never shied away from asking how you were doing, and never failed to bring a smile or laugh to everyone’s faces. Stories were his language and he used them to empower design around the world.
Warren Ginn, FIDSA
GinnDesign Product Development
Mark was such an enthusiastic and eloquent voice and advocate for Design and the IDSA. He was a charismatic and effective leader and a respected friend and colleague. He will be deeply missed by everyone that knew and worked with him.
Really saddened and actually shocked by Mark Dzierk's passing away. A wonderful human being and a great designer & leader. My heartfelt condolences to his family and peers at Lunar.
Vice President, Global Design & User Experience, GE Healthcare
We have known each other for more than 30 years. Mark was a very dear friend, colleague, and fellow Design warrior. He touched and inspired so many with he intelligence, imagination, and endless charm. My broken heart is with his family and the legions of those who loved him like I did.
Steven R. Umbach, FIDSA
Umbach Consulting Group, LLC
A true friend to the profession and to so many of us. I first met Mark in the mid 1980’s when his boss at the time and my former professor from RISD, Earl Powell, introduced me to Mark when I moved to Boston after I returned from Germany. Mark was kind enough to open his small apartment to me and let me sleep on the couch until I got settled into my own place. He also introduced me to his group of friends where I first met Mike Westcott as well. The bunch of us had the privilege as serving as Boston Chapter IDSA officers where we organized numerous events for the design community. Mark and I also started a social club for designers that met every Thursday night for happy hour at various establishments in downtown Boston. The club grew quickly and was a great source of friendship for many of us young designers at the time. That’s the way I remember Mark; always enthusiastic, warm and welcoming, a friend for decades, and truly a great leader and spokesperson for the industrial design profession. You have touched so many lives, we will miss you Mark.
SVP Innovation Domain Lead - Central Region, Kantar
Mark’s impact on my professional and personal life was significant. He taught me that innovation is a personal quest, requiring you to know the customer and the team bringing it to market. He was a master storyteller and used that talent to bring ideas into focus in environments that often lacked curiosity and imagination. I will remember him laughing, an escalating chuckle that finished with a warm smile.
Pascal Malassigné, FIDSA
Senior Professor & Chair, Product Design, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
Knowing Mark for over 25 years, I still cannot believe that we lost him. Mark was a great designer, friend and colleague, generous of his time, always willing to help and share his experience with our MIAD students and his fellow professionals. I will miss his friendship and our wonderful times together.
Porter Gieske IDSA
Manager, Package Design, McCormick & Co, Inc.
I had the opportunity to work with Mark and several Lunar employees recently; and over the course of the months of work, I came to admire him more and more for his work ethic and his encouragement to rest of the team. His optimism and energy always lit up the room. He never backed down from the challenge and long hours. He constantly spouted design wisdom while he presented ideas, adding reasoning to design choices while educating others.
I am truly grateful to have been able to design with such a visionary talent and wonderful person. I am very happy that I chose to steal him away from everyone, to share food and stories of his family and mine. I cherished our conversations, as they always led to more to think about. He had such terrific empathy for everyone he met. I will miss his laugh.
Alistair Hamilton, IDSA
Mark never stopped sharing his time, energy, wisdom and ideas with the design community. An irreplaceable role model of generosity that will live on. Rest in peace, Mark.
Steve Cozzolino, IDSA
Mark was an inspiration. A true leader by how he spoke, acted, and in how well he treated people. His design acumen was without peer. I had the pleasure and honor of judging multiple Design Competitions with Mark. Not only was he always willing to learn, share, and challenge, but more importantly, he was always caring, kind, and thoughtful. A more genuine person you will not find. He showed us what the power of “wow” design could be and what the power of giving is. I’m truly saddened to learn about the passing of Mark. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
Dr. Robert Blaich, FIDSA
I share with many others a sense of loss of Mark Dziersk. His commitment to his profession in many ways is evident in his many contributions as a design leader and writer.
Deane Richardson, FIDSA
ICSID senator, RichardsonSmith Properties
Sandra Longyear Richardson
Former GM designer and RS partner
Mark was a true professional when our field was still defining itself. He grew into one of our leaders, helping industrial designers write new chapters as we evolved our contributions to cultural definitions and economic well-being across all populations. Thank you, Mark. Our sympathies to his family.
Sustainability Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Eastman
I, too, am shocked and saddened to learn of Mark’s passing. It is indeed too soon, as he was always full of life and brought that spirit to others. I will always be appreciative of the conversations we shared that oscillated between life and design. He was always in pursuit of something larger and he made the world a better place because of it. My heart goes out to all his family and friends.
Kevin Shinn, FIDSA
VP, Industrial Design, Altair
I’ve known Mark for many years and I am shocked to hear of his passing! I will absolutely miss his contagious energy, humor and great stories! I’ve always looked forward to our lengthy discussions around design, business and most any other topic. It never mattered whether we agreed or disagreed – there was always value in the conversation. He was a genuine and true advocate for industrial design and IDSA. The world has lost a great person. My sincere condolences to his family.
David Dombrowski, IDSA
Director, Industrial Design & Innovation, GSK Consumer Healthcare
My deepest sympathies to Elizabeth, their three daughters and family. Mark Dziersk is synonymous with the profession of Design and IDSA. He will always be remembered that way. Mark was a mentor to me as I entered the design profession at Group Four Design and through my time involved in IDSA, teaching me marker rendering techniques and to keep driving my passion for Industrial Design. I am so saddened Mark was taken from us way too soon. I still cannot believe he is gone. Mark, you are missed.
Gerard Furbershaw, IDSA
Lunar Cofounder, Furbershaworks Founder
Mark was a rock star in our profession. His boundless energy and passion for design enabled him to accomplish so much in his six decades. He won awards, judged award programs, was granted a plethora of patents, and served in leadership roles for IDSA. His teaching, writing and speaking about design and innovation was inspirational. Although his professional accomplishments were mythic, I believe his greatest contribution was his ability to deeply impact the lives of his family members, friends, and professional associates. Mark and I were close friends for over thirty years. His passing leaves a hole in my heart. Rest in peace brother!
Enterprise Design Principal, Maga Design Inc.
Past Executive Director, AIGA
These tributes to Mark reveal his singular, exquisite generosity, which all of us at Brandimage Desgrippes Laga benefitted from across many projects, conversations, challenges. I hope that his humanity will inspire all of us to raise that bar every day. I hope that his daughters will get to know many of you, and hear about their father from you. Thank you IDSA for this wonderful expression of love, respect and community. It is very moving.
Principal, Hannah Design
Thank you Mark for making The World a little bit better everyday of your design life. Your contributions to design and education will not be forgotten.
Emily Moyer Industrial Design
It is with a heavy heart that I process the loss of my friend and mentor, Mark Dziersk. After working closely with him on and off over the past two decades at three different companies, and his voice often echoing in my head as I go about my days, it is hard to imagine a world without Mark in it. I always looked forward to the times when we would catch up and share successes and challenges. I admire him not only for his wit, wisdom, optimism and inspiration, but mostly for his sense of childlike curiosity and wonder, which I intend to carry on and share with younger designers as he did with me. My thoughts are with his family, of whom he was so proud.
Former Senior Vice President, HLB
Mark and I worked together in Boston at HLB. Mark’s effervescent personality was a mainstay of our relationships within the company and our clients. Mark was also consistent in being fair and honest with everyone. He was the kind of person you would wish every human being to be. He will surely be missed.
Chief Marketing Officer, Boost Lighting, Inc.
When I first met Mark in 1992, it was through our mutual association with IDSA and events held through out the US. He, and not I, approached me and introduced himself. I remember this because as younger peer to him it should have been the other way around, but that was Mark, and it would be the first of many such proactive gestures we shared in the past 25+ years.
As me moved up the ranks of IDSA, and both shared time on the BOD for IDSA, we got to know one another much more and spent numerous hours discussing and debating how to improve the perception and importance of ID to the business community. One thing that stood out to me, was his passion for the subject. Not a passion exhibited by loud or forceful exchanges, but instead one of friendly, respectful and open communication that articulated his views yet respected the views of others. Another attribute I learned from him was public speaking. He was truly a master communicator who was able to present design and related topics in a clear and creative way that spoke to everyone in the audience.
In late 90's, when a discussion about expanding HLB was taking place, it was he who suggested my name to the then CEO of HLB. Six months later, we opened a branch office of HLB in Ft. Lauderdale, FL to be closer to our customers in the southeast US, and eventually expanded our services to multi-nationals in Latin America. During this expansion and process, he was always there for me to answer any questions I had, because as we all know, designers are designers and not business people.
After the HLB experience, which ended in the mid-2000's, Mark and I managed to stay in contact as much as we could, and in fact while he was with another design firm, I worked with him on some major projects, and most recently, via his introduction to McKinsey, collaborated with him and the Atlanta office.
Mark will always and forever remain close to my heart and mind.