Each day during the week leading up to National ID Day 2022, we're publishing the comments of IDSA community members who reached out to us from each of IDSA's five North American Districts.
Currently, IDSA's Northeast District includes eight Professional Chapters—Boston, District of Columbia, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland (Maine), Providence, Syracuse, and Toronto—and many Student Chapters.
Learn more about a few IDSA members and friends from the Northeast District below.
Ranee Lee, IDSA
Associate Professor in Industrial Design, OCAD University (Toronto, ON)
How does IDSA contribute to the ID field and community? For me, IDSA has put a spotlight on other fellow BIPOC industrial designers and what it means to decolonize design, and I think this is important for industrial design students and young designers alike.
Why do you think industrial design is important? Industrial Design is important because we dovetail into so many other industries with a social framework acting as an agent of change, addressing cultural, social, environmental and other issues as a way to bridge differing values.
Ayana Patterson, IDSA
Consultant, Ayana Patterson Design + CMF Strategy (Brooklyn, NY)
Why did you become an industrial designer? I think I was always an industrial designer. I was always taking things apart to see how they worked and building new things. I love learning how things are made (I can still see vivid clips from a PBS show visiting the Crayola factory to see how crayons were made!). I didn't know that what I loved and what I do was called industrial design until I visited Syracuse for a college tour.
What impact (professionally or personally) has industrial design had on your life? I am grateful every day that I get to practice my passion as my job. ID is one of my forms of creative expression and I love that I can share my gift with the world on such large scales. ID has taken me and my designs around the world. I have designed luxury product that has been sold around the world. When you travel to the other side of the globe and see your product admired, it's a powerful feeling.
How has IDSA supported your career path as an industrial designer? It has given me a path to connect with other people who are also industrial designers. Industrial design is a vast field but when I get to connect with people across ID disciplines our world feels less disjointed.
How does IDSA contribute to the ID field and community? You get to see how someone in medical design can learn from someone in toy design and how someone in consumer technology design can learn from someone in home decor design, and vise versa. Connecting is powerful.
Why do you think industrial design is important? Industrial design is so many wonderful things: It can be used to solve problems, minimize worries, spark joy, create ease, inspire and push the world forward.
Patrick Bowers, IDSA
Industrial Designer, Iron Mountains LLC (Morgantown, PA)
Why did you become an industrial designer? I fell in love with sketching the future.
What impact (professionally or personally) has industrial design had on your life? It has opened my eyes to the beauty all around us.
How has IDSA supported your career path as an industrial designer? IDSA has supported my career with mentoring opportunities. I have found that giving back to young designers energizes and inspires me even more.
Why do you think industrial design is important? It allows us to bring joy to products that work well. Industrial design is the perfect blend between engineering, art and marketing. The ecosystem that is created amongst these disciplines allows collaboration for innovation.
How does IDSA contribute to the ID field and community? Hosting the International Design Conference each year has ignited passion and community in the ID field.
Raja Schaar, IDSA
Program Director, Drexel University (Admore, PA)
Why did you become an industrial designer? Before I knew Industrial Design was a career, I knew I wanted to solve problems and understand how to make things that brought people joy. I originally started my undergraduate education as an engineering major. I was lucky enough to go to a school that had Industrial Design as an undergraduate degree program. ID allowed me to nurture both my creative and analytical impulses.
What impact (professionally or personally) has industrial design had on your life? Industrial Design is really more my identity than anything else. I've had many roles and titles since starting my professional career 20 years ago. Museum Educator, Exhibition Designer, Lecturer, Administrator, Researcher, Professor, Program Director... However, I always identified as an Industrial Designer. While my practice as a designer has been transdisciplinary, the technical skills and mindsets, and processes that I practice that are the hallmark of ID are always beacons of applied creativity and critical thought. My ID skills have served me well in all my endeavors, from industry to education.
How has IDSA supported your career path as an industrial designer?
1. Exposure to career paths
2. Facilitating the continuity of my design network from school to the present, allowing me to keep in touch and work alongside former classmates, professors, colleagues, and professional acquaintances
3. Professional development through conferences, workshops, and events
4. Opportunity to give back to the ID community through volunteering on boards, committees, and councils
5. An international community
6. Allows me to keep abreast of discourse about ID and contribute my voice as an organization leader, writer, and public speaker
How does IDSA contribute to the ID field and community? IDSA contributes to the ID field by celebrating advances and excellence in designed products, design practice, design theory, and design education. IDSA is also a timely and reliable destination for the latest design news and information for aspiring designers, professional designers, educators, and design fans. IDSA has been more intentional about being more inclusive about what ID is, who is an Industrial designer, and why ID is important.
Why do you think industrial design is important? Humanity has always created and fabricated utilitarian objects. From tools and vessels to objects of beauty—the products of our imagination surround us every day. Industrial Design takes advantage of advances in materials manufacturing and standardization without leaving out people and beauty. The products, services, and experiences that come from the industrial design process are in response to problems, needs, wants, and our creative impulses. ID is a vehicle to fuel commerce and apply human ingenuity. And along the way, we've developed strategies and practices that bridge disciplines like physiology, ethnography, engineering, art, and science.
Industrial Design is important, but it's also important that we get Industrial Design right. Industrial Design has the power to shape worlds by creating the interfaces through which we access information, accomplish tasks, get around, and communicate. Access to the object and benefits of design must be equitable and inclusive, but so should the access to the power of design. Just as Industrial Design is responsible for advancing economic commerce it's also to blame for reinforcing inequity in economic accessibility. Industrial design has helped save lives, but it has also negatively impacted our planet through pollution and environmental impact of manufacturing, transporting, and use of designed goods. IDSA has an important part to play in pushing for Industrial Design to evolve as a field that is inclusive of diverse designers from diverse backgrounds, addresses the needs of all people, is ethical and environmentally responsible, and sets an ethical standard for the practice of and education of designers in the future.
Amanda Huynh, IDSA
Assistant Professor, Industrial Design, Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY)
Why did you become an industrial designer? I actually didn’t know what Industrial Design was until I started in Foundation at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada and a professor teaching 3D Design nudged me towards applying to the program. It was just luck!
Even in my relatively short 16-year career, the field has grown in leaps and bounds in ways that give me hope for a more equitable and just world. We’re no longer focused only on the things themselves, but on systems, services, sustainability, and justice. I met some of my best friends in the studio and am lucky to spend much of my life in the studio environment broadening students’ perspectives on industrial design.
What impact (professionally or personally) has industrial design had on your life? I knew that industrial design would open more doors for me than virtually any other discipline; so, professionally, it's allowed me to work in many sectors, from architectural signage and wayfinding to digital interaction design, and now teaching. I believe everything I do falls under the umbrella of industrial design and continue to test the boundaries.
How does IDSA contribute to the ID field and community? IDSA provides opportunities at all levels of membership—student, new professional, established professional, and distinguished trailblazers who want to give back to the community. It's important for us to feel a part of something bigger, especially when IDSA has led the way with initiatives to diversify our field, from events to publications and internal, organizational decision-making.
Why do you think industrial design is important? It has the power to truly impact and improve people's everyday product interactions. This can help people in big and small ways.
Sayeh Dastgheib-Beheshti, IDSA
Principal Designer, SAYEH.ca (Toronto, ON)
Why did you become an industrial designer? I studied industrial design since I believed I could make the world a better place. I wanted to improve lives and give opportunities to disadvantaged people.
How has IDSA supported your career path as an industrial designer? IDSA has been instrumental in connecting the ID community and making me feel included in relevant design issues.
How does IDSA contribute to the ID field and community? In recent years, IDSA has recognized and embraced the call to address the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in the profession, and the current programming and initiatives reflect the issues raised by membership.
We are living in exciting times, as industrial designers are realizing that they have the power to rise above the status of being a service industry to lead manufacturers to sustainable lifestyles.
Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA
President, Viemeister Industries (New York, NY)
Why did you become an industrial designer? Unlike most people, I never doubted what I would do when I grew up. From the day I was born I knew I was going to design things. Of course, my dad, Read influenced me by naming me after the car he was designing! Even as a baby I could see things could be improved. My mother, Beverly told me that design wasn’t just about making things look great; she showed how design has a powerful influence on social justice, inclusion and even peace. My career has been on the road to our multi-layered expanding field, where we do make the world better every day!
Scott Star, IDSA
Director of Product Development and Global Practice Area Leader, Gensler (New York, NY)
Why do you think industrial design is important? The built environment is intended for a human body of functions, and disability is often synonymous with an inability to experience spaces to the fullest. When industrial design can help make architecture and interiors more accessible, in a way that feels both integrated and seamless, the greatest range of users will win, regardless of their physical freedoms or limitations. Products for the built environment should always be designed to support inclusivity. This must always be an imperative.
Xue Dong, IDSA
Assistant Professor, Art + Design Department, East Stroudsburg University (East Stroudsburg, PA)
Why did you become an industrial designer? When I was a child, I enjoyed breaking things apart and exploring the inside. Curiosity drives me to pursue industrial design and to explore the world by combining art and technology.
What impact (professionally or personally) has industrial design had on your life? As an interdisciplinary field, industrial design and the way of thinking help train my mindset from linear thinking to be more open and divergent.
How has IDSA supported your career path as an industrial designer? I was very honored to participate in the 2015 IDSA South District Conference. The portfolio review was a huge help to my portfolio.
How does IDSA contribute to the ID field and community? IDSA has been very successful in connecting professionals with students. It opens the doors from different angles for students to take a look at the life of being a professional designer and a life working with real-world projects.
Why do you think industrial design is important? Through a strategic problem-solving process, industrial design drives innovations and business, and leads to a better life and harmonious environment.
From an educator's point of view, industrial design education is a relatively high-cost field. Due to the limited resources and high cost, it is not accessible and friendly for underrepresented groups to pursue. How to change the design education system to be more accessible to marginalized students will be a good challenge for IDSA.
Grayson Byrd, IDSA
Industrial Design Manager, Comcast (Bryn Mawr, PA)
Shout out to Claudia Rebola, Maureen Carroll, Chrissy Livaudais, and Raja Schaar! There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for the ways you and many other women advance the industry. Your influence on both my personal growth and the profession as a whole is profound.
Angela Yeh, IDSA
Founder, CEO & Chief Talent Strategist, Yeh IDeology (New York, NY)
Why did you become an industrial designer? The foundation of industrial design education equips people with the ability to solve just about any kind of problem the world has. And the world will need designers more than ever today to help solve a myriad of problems that will continue to surface in this next decade of rapid change.
What impact (professionally or personally) has industrial design had on your life? Like so many who fall in love with this profession, l fell in love with this practice and the passionate people in this profession. In my own circuitous journey through this industry, I found my own calling. My mission is to empower creative change agents to recognize where and how they impact best with agency and utilizing their unique gifts, thus earning what they are worth, all while living a balanced lifestyle.
How has IDSA supported your career path as an industrial designer? IDSA gave me the community and the camaraderie of others just as passionate and committed as I was. Confirmation of what I was reaching for was viable and needed, with the opportunity to collaborate on new ideas with people more talented than myself pushing me to be at my best. In the end, IDSA gave me the opportunity to work with the best possible clients I could ever wish to serve.
How does IDSA contribute to the ID field and community? IDSA helps support the design professionals with a community and a support system. IDSA allows designers to have a unified voice to the world.
Why do you think industrial design is important? Industrial design is the connection point of all things physical and tangible, to digital, logistical, cultural systems that affect what humans need in every aspect of our lives.
IDSA, like any organization or resource, is only as good as how you invest in it. The individuals that understand that concept get involved. If you want to make the most out of all that IDSA has to offer, step into the arena and join the IDSA mission.