Industrial Design

Industrial Design

The industrial design program at UW-Stout is the only industrial design program in the UW System and is recognized all over the country. Program graduates work in firms from San Francisco to Massachusetts.

At Stout, they have the opportunity to work with such well-known companies as PUMA USA, Rollerblade and Black & Decker. Industrial design students currently are collaborating with Black & Decker to design the drill of the year 2010.

Black & Decker and the art and design department created the program to provide students an opportunity to apply industrial design theories and methods to "real world" projects. Both Black & Decker and the university hope to gather new ideas to continue their exploration of future product possibilities.

Using any combination of current or future technologies, students were encouraged to develop conceptual models of drills and other power tools based on innovation, ergonomics, manufacturability and consumer appeal.

"We asked the students to imagine the types of power tools consumers will use at the year 2010, the beginning of Black & Decker's second century of operation," said Martin Geirke, director of industrial design at Black & Decker and program coordinator.

"Students were given broad guidelines to follow and encouraged to use their imaginations to develop concepts that will be appealing to consumers as well as that can be manufactured into useful tools," Challis Hodge, industrial design lecturer and program adviser at UW-Stout, said.

"These projects are good for students in that they see ways in which the skills they are learning can be used professionally," Benjamin Pratt, industrial design instructor, said, adding that it also gives students the opportunity to work with well-known companies which is good on their resumes.

Currently the industrial design department is exhibiting at 3M. Companies come from all over to view the work. "3M has been very supportive of our work and our students. They donated the space for the exhibit," Pratt noted.

"We try to connect with professionals as much as possible," Pratt said of the collaborations with industry. Todd Ellis, a program graduate, is a designer at PUMA USA of Brockton, Mass. David Miller, director of research and design at PUMA, said that "Todd advocated for the selection of his alma mater because of its up and coming design program, which is improving every year."

Todd Olson, another UW-Stout alumnus, is a senior industrial designer at Rollerblade in Minnetonka, Minn. "Stout students give a fresh, diverse look to Rollerblade products," Olson said, noting that the company management was impressed.

Students in the industrial design concentration get the opportunity to take classes in all areas of art as they do in all the concentrations so they are familiar with art areas they may work with in the field.

One project students particularly enjoyed, Pratt said, was designing packages in which to mail a raw egg without having it break.Packages were exposed to the ultimate challenge--the U.S. Postal System. Students worked hard on packages which would allow the egg to be mailed back to them without being scrambled inside or broken outside.

"We have highly motivated students," Pratt said. "They put a lot of time into their projects, but they love it."
"It is exciting for me to see what the students will go out and do," Pratt said. "We have such a variety of extremely talented students here."

Apparently the public sector thinks so too. PUMA recruited another student, David Stender, after seeing his work in their most recent project with UW-Stout.

Outlook Spring '96