High school students attending the Department of Industrial + Graphic Design’s Design Workshop get a first-hand introduction to the product design process. More than summer camp with arts and crafts, participants develop design solutions addressing real-world concerns. They experience, in a hands-on environment, the mindset and methods used by professional designers.
In this, the fifteenth year of the program, Design Workshop participants were charged with taking a look at problems realized out of the past spring’s deadly tornado outbreak. Focusing on the ways that people share information, Chris Arnold, Associate Professor of Industrial Design, asked the campers to explore how information about life-threatening situations, such as severe weather, might be better communicated.
This year’s campers took a human-centered approach to the development of design solutions. Research ideation and prototyping efforts focused on the needs of people in a variety of situations such as young children, parents, business owners, public officials, athletes and recreation sports enthusiasts. For example, how does someone hiking in a remote area or a busy mother with small children receive warnings and actionable information about a potential tornado threat?
This immersion into the product design process is an excellent way for students to see if industrial design is the career path for them. Learning and using the tools of the trade; research methods, sketching, software, and modeling techniques, participants realize their concepts and are equipped with skills that help them develop and clearly communicate their very own ideas.
“I’ve learned a lot about the process of design,“ says Dalton Mundt, a high school senior from Austin, Texas. “And I think if you like what you do in this week, it is a good indicator that you’ll be a success in industrial design in the long run.” Mundt plans to follow in his father’s and older brother Taylor’s footsteps and study industrial design at Auburn.
Thirty-one campers took part in the two Summer Design Workshops in 2011. They came from as far away as Texas and New Jersey for the one-week, on campus experience. Auburn’s highly ranked industrial program drew four campers from states that have their own industrial design programs.