Remembering Betty Baugh, FIDSA

May 10 2022 - 12:37pm


The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) celebrates the life of Betty Baugh, FIDSA, an integral member of our Society and beloved designer, leader, and friend.


An IDSA Fellow since 2003 and member since 1971, Baugh held many prominent roles within the organization. She served as Board Chair beginning in 2003, and prior to that, as IDSA President (2001-2002), Executive Vice President (1999-2000), Secretary-Treasurer (1997-1998), and West District Vice President (1995-1996). During her tenure as IDSA President, IDSA's Design Foundation was formed. This charitable 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to providing educational opportunities for aspiring industrial designers, continues today.

Baugh also served as Chair of the IDSA Women's Section, co-founded by Nancy Perkins, FIDSA, and Sharyn Thompson, FIDSA. The Section's first meeting was held in 1992 at the annual IDSA conference in San Francisco; Perkins emceed the program with Baugh, Thompson, Ellen Manderfield, IDSA, Liz Powell, IDSA, RitaSue Siegel, FIDSA, and Leslie Speer, IDSA, as speakers. This Women in Industrial Design community has since grown into a network of IDSA Women in Design Chapters.





"Always a class act. Always ready to get her hands dirty and innovate. Betty Baugh will be missed greatly but memories of her laughter and love of design will endure. RIP Betty."

 - Leslie Speer, IDSA

"Betty was an amazing talent and an inspiration to me. Her knowledge of materials technology was exceptional and her work so elegant and masterful. As a past President of IDSA she led the Society with humility, heart, and grace. I will very much miss my dear friend Betty. Thoughts and prayers to her family."

- David Kusuma, FIDSA

"I am so sorry to hear of Betty’s passing. We were roomies at an IDSA conference. She was delightful and a strong role model. Rest In Peace."

- Peggy Howe

"She lived a great and long life! Talented, funny and loving woman! She truly had it all and did it all. What a role model."

- Lisa Smith

"Betty was such an inspiration. A breath of fresh air. I had the pleasure of teaching with her in the Steven Holt & Leslie Speer era at CCA.

I hope when I am her age I’ll be emailing younger designers, as she did with me just a few years ago, about her latest design project. Long live Industrial Design!"

 - Rick Lewis, IDSA

"Betty is irreplaceable. I will so miss our great conversations. To me, her inspiration and example were unmatched. My sincere condolences to her daughters and son for their loss. It is the design community's loss too."

- Nancy Perkins, FIDSA

"Betty was an icon and taught us all much about humility, creativity and imagination. She was a blessing to us all. My heart is with her family."

- Bob Schwartz, FIDSA

"Betty was a wonderful leader, pioneer and role model to many! She made women Industrial Designers realize that there was a place for us all. RIP Betty."

- Carole Bilson

"So sorry to hear of the passing of Betty Baugh. She was one of the grand ladies of both IDSA and the greater design community. I had the pleasure and honor of being the IDSA Executive Vice President during Betty's presidency of IDSA. She was an inspiring leader and a role model for women in and joining the profession. She had a quiet grace about her and worked well with the IDSA staff and IDSA leadership nationally and at the local level. She brought people together without drama and with humility. She will be missed. Condolences to her family." 

- Brian Vogel, FIDSA

"Our Sincerest Condolences on the passing of a 'legacy' empathic, engaging, and inspirationally sincere IDSA stalwart, executive member, and WONDERFUL trailblazing Woman! Betty may have set the bar in impacting the Seattle design community, but she was also a Design Community 'Neighbor' and mentor to our ID Program activities & events in the School of Design at San Francisco State University during her later years. I have a beautiful slump glass design bread tray that she designed and gifted to my wife and me for our wedding, that we will always treasure! What a WONDERFUL Woman!"

- Ricardo Gomes, IDSA  


August 15, 2001 - IDSA President Betty Baugh, FIDSA, presents a check to Design Foundation trustees. Pictured (left to right): Jim Ryan, FIDSA, Pascal Malassigné, FIDSA, Cooper Woodring, FIDSA, Austen Angell, FIDSA, Betty Baugh, FIDSA, and Jim Kaufman, FIDSA.


Pictured: Betty Baugh, FIDSA, left. Photo posted by Leslie Speer, IDSA.


Pictured: Betty Baugh, FIDSA, at the 2014 Women in Design Gallery Show in San Francisco, CA.



Betty Baugh, FIDSA, grew up in San Antonio, TX and attended Stephens College in Columbia, MO for an AA Degree in liberal arts, later transferring to the New York State School of Industrial Ceramic Design at Alfred University, NY. She spent a school summer throwing pottery at the Whitte Museum in San Antonio, TX and received her BFA degree cum laude from Alfred in 1953.

She formed a partnership and moved to West Virginia, where she designed handblown glass, her own house and furniture, and taught a ceramic class at the Huntington Museum. In New York City, she designed new products for manufacturers' representatives at their showrooms and traveled to trade shows to build a solid client base. In 1963, Baugh moved to Columbus, OH, creating designs for West Virginia and Ohio glass companies, and worked with a San Francisco import company, developing designs for the many Asian manufacturers they represented and traveling to Japan and Taiwan for research. During this period, she joined what was then IDSA's Ohio Valley Chapter.

In 1972, Baugh settled in Tiburon, CA with her partner and four children. In 1986, she relocated to Mill Valley, CA and formed a one-person independent consultancy, Betty Baugh Design. She created food service product designs for Libbey Glass, L.E. Smith Glass and Grainware; tabletop designs for Villeroy & Boch and Wilton Armetale; and architectural glass concepts for USG. Other clients spanned advertising, photography, local architectural installations, and manufactured gift products.

In 1993, she moved to Kirkland, WA and continued to develop houseware products with Progressive International in Seattle. She became very active in IDSA, moving up to the national level in leadership roles. Baugh represented IDSA in the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design congresses, published articles, lectured at design schools, and juried the NHMA Annual Student Competition.

In 1999, Baugh returned to San Francisco and her one-person design practice. Her glass platter and Tower grater were shown at the 2000 Tacoma Washington Museum Show, "Fast Forward: The Shape of Northwest Design," and her designs were also shown at the Toledo Museum exhibit, "Toledo Designs For a Modern America." Her Tower grater won an Award of Merit at the 2000 Northwest Industrial Design Invitational Competition in Seattle.

In 2001, LG Electronics invited Baugh to serve as a juror for the Electronics Competition in Seoul, Korea. In 2002, she began teaching at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Industrial Design of Glass Production, and served as a juror for the Lexmark "Design of Business Printer of the Future" competition in Lexington, KY.

Baugh instructed design students at City College of San Francisco from 2006 to 2010. She worked as an industrial designer and owner of Betty Baugh Design for more than four decades.


Betty discusses her career experience and finding the work/life balance.

Interview conducted by Bret H. Smith, IDSA and video by Adrienne Campbell




If you have memories to share of Betty Baugh, FIDSA, please email IDSA Membership.