IDSA at Georgia Tech: Year-in-Review 2013

Hope everyone’s had a great New Year and a wonderful start to 2014!

Spencer Nugent:

We closed last semester out by inviting Spencer Nugent of to lead a lecture and workshop on product sketching and visual communication. He started things off by discussing the significance of using sketching as one of the many vehicles for transforming an idea to a product. You can download the full presentation here.


The following workshop provided a small group of students with the opportunity to work through drawing various objects with Spencer and receive suggestions for improvement. Spencer then demonstrated his preferred workflow when using digital tools to sketch and render. The resulting shoe – rendered in Photoshop using a tablet – can be downloaded here.

Portfolio Workshop:

IDSA and IXDA teamed up to bring you an introduction to web and print portfolios – both which are necessary to showcase your projects to potential employers. We’ll be offering portfolio help desks this semester, so stay tuned!

portfolio night

Upcoming Events:

Keep an eye out for our next newsletter and event calendars (located in the COA West 2nd Floor Atrium & ID senior studio bulletin boards) which will announce the new events we’ve got planned for each month.

Exciting news: the 2014 IDSA Southern District Conference, “Design: Mind. Body. Soul.” will be held April 12th in Savannah, Georgia! Click here for more info.

About Us:

For those of you new to the IDSA @ Georgia Tech chapter, we have neither dues nor weekly meetings, but instead focus on small workshops and events devoted to design skill growth and networking amongst both peers and professionals. If you haven’t done so, stay in the loop by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.





Atlanta Mini Maker Faire & the Lighting Challenge

Early last Saturday morning, IDSA GT set up a booth on Tech Green and joined the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire for the first time. We were excited to join such a big event, with 140 booths and roughly 10,000 attendees. We used our booth to show off the results of our latest competition with Auburn. This competition was a lighting design challenge, limiting entries to two 18×32″ sheets of material and a basic light kit. To further push students, we added the constraint of no fasteners or glue. We ended up with 13 entries overall, 9 from Georgia Tech and 4 from Auburn. To determine a winner, the lights were put to a public vote through out the day at Maker Faire. We were happy to find how much interest and questions passerby at the faire had for us about the lighting designs and industrial design in general. In addition, it was great having students from Auburn’s IDSA chapter with us at the faire all day. This is our second year of design challenges with Auburn, and hopefully a tradition we can continue. This year Auburn stole the competition, taking 1st and 2nd place. Third place went to Georgia Tech student Elvin Chu. Photos of the winning designs can be found below.

lightingwinner2Thanks a million to everyone who entered the competition and helped run the booth throughout the day. This was a great event, and we couldn’t have done it with you.

For more photos from Maker Faire, check out this album on our Facebook page.


A great start to a new year

We’ve had a great first month of IDSA this school year, and there are plenty more exciting things to come. Here’s recap of September so far.

Sketch Night 9/5

We kicked off the year with an awesome sketch night, filling pages with drawings of power tools, toasters, and lamps while enjoying some tasty pizza. Even in the midst of a pre-review week, we had a great turnout of around 30 students. Follow us on Facebook or keep an eye on the 2nd floor pin up board for updates on the next sketch night!


Creature Studio Tour 9/12

Last Thursday afternoon, we had a group of ten students visit Creature Product Development and their engineering counterpart, Enginuity Works. They gave some great insight into the design process in the professional world as well as the value of working cross-functionally. We also got to see their beautiful workspace, as well as some pretty spectacular sketches. If you missed this studio tour, be sure to come to our tour with Lorenc+Yoo in a few weeks!





A GoPro and a chair photoshoot


We got together on Tuesday night with some camera gear, a backdrop, and a GoPro to photograph plywood chairs coming out of the sophomore ID studio. Everyone came out of the studios to help out, photograph some chairs, and finish up their process books.

A GoPro clamped to the ceiling captured the action for a few hours, see the short clip below:

Core77 Design Awards


We wanted to shed some light on a great opportunity for Tech students thats happening right now: the Core77 Design Awards. Done by our favorite industrial design blog, they have 17 categories ranging from service design to consumer products.

Recognizing excellence in all areas of design enterprise, the Core77 Design Awards celebrates the richness of the design profession and its practitioners. We present 17 categories of entry, providing designers, researchers and writers a unique opportunity to communicate the intent, rigor and passion behind their efforts. From client work to self-initiated projects, entrepreneurial to pro-bono engagements, we embrace a wide diversity of enterprise: commercial, cultural, social, environmental and discursive.

Both the Professional and Student Winners of each category will receive the C77DA trophy, and all Honorees will be published in the Awards Gallery, across the Core77 online network. Register now to receive a limited-edition 2013 Core77 Design Awards Poster, designed by Zut Alors!, and take part in the most inclusive and celebratory design awards platform of the digital age.

Full details are available at

With a relatively low cost of entry ($50), students should pick their best project and give it a shot. Winning gets you a C77DA award, and some major publicity on one of the biggest ID blogs around. Deadline for entry is March 15th, so get started!

ATL Connect: Sign-Ups

We’re happy to announce that we’ve officially scheduled this years ATL Connect for March 1st, 6 to 9pm at Kids II in Buckhead, Atlanta. This year’s event will bring students and professionals together from IDSA Atlanta, Georgia Tech, Auburn University and SCAD.

For those that have never been, ATL Connect is a chance for various schools and industry professionals to come together for an evening of portfolio reviews and connections. It gives students a chance to gain insight and feedback from those in specific industries, while connecting student talent with professionals in the area. This event is arguably some of the best portfolio feedback you’ll get as a student. We had a tremendous turnout last year and we hope to continue that success this year. All questions or concerns about the event can be sent to .

For students:

There’s a big demand, so you’ll need to RSVP using the web form below. There is no cost of attendance, but an advanced RSVP is required before February 15th. After that cut-off, we can’t guarantee room—so sign up early if you’re interested!

Student Signup

For professionals and alumni:

If you’re an IDSA Atlanta member and interested in participating as a professional, please RSVP with (if you haven’t already). Your feedback helps build confidence and skill in young designers and is pivotal to their success.


More on this shortly, but IDSA Southern District Conference registration has officially opened. It will be at it’s lowest cost until 2/17—so if you know you’re going, get in before the price hikes. Sign up here.


Call for Ideas – Intraschool Design Competition

Back in November, we wrapped up a design competition with Auburn University’s IDSA chapter, the 4×8 Challenge. The competition was a huge success with a total of 9 furniture pieces being exhibited at Auburn’s Design Interaction Symposium. The winning piece, designed by Georgia Tech students W.L. Bishop and Sarah Marie Maddox, was a modular stool capable of snapping together into a bench or table. [Photos by Noah Posner]


Looking ahead, we’re hoping to do a similar competition within the next few months, culminating with an exhibition at our annual portfolio review session, ATL Connect. What we’re hoping for is ideas for this semester’s competition. We’re hoping for a smaller scale, perhaps utilizing a different construction method of laser cutting, vacuum-forming, or paper-modeling.

What product or design problem would be fun to work on for a few days? Could they play off a specific fabrication tool or material? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, or at



Transport – a bike project from the 3rd year studios.

As the semester wrapped up, there’s always one group of students still grinding away—this year it was the 3rd year product dev studio, finishing up their commuter bike project (a sponsored project with SRAM). It’s a stressful, challenging project that forces the teams of three to rethink the bicycle, the commuter, and the streets of Atlanta.

Working with a specific client, 3rd year’s David Hotard, Matthew Cambell and Win Collier did just that—reimagine the bike to better serve their commuter. Their concept, called Transport, challenges the status quo on what cargo means on a commuter bike. Featuring a single hubless front wheel, they’ve found a sleek, elegant solution to the issue many commuters face: what do I do with my stuff?

A large open cavity, replacing the spokes of the front wheel with a hubless design, lets their commuter drop a backpack in and ride away. A sleek frame design and compartment integration keep the bike looking quick and nimble. A full-scale, non-rideable plywood model was built to showcase the design and verify the concept.

DSC_0074 DSC_0161 DSC_0168 side_view Transport_contents_photo Transport_Cover_photo



Back from our Studio Coma – a November Recap

November’s been a busy month for everyone in the School of ID (and IDSA)—and thus, it’s been all too quiet on our digital front. Some highlights from the past month and things you might’ve missed:

Atlanta Mini-Maker Faire:
On a warm sunny day, makers of all kind flooded central campus for the 2nd Annual Atlanta Mini-Maker Faire. The School of ID had a tent set-up with a huge turnout. We brought out projects and models of all sorts for people to look at. More info can be found at:


4 x 8 Challenge with Auburn IDSA:
We’re still waiting on more pictures and documentation on this, but it was a huge success for the first official collaborations between programs. We coupled with Auburn IDSA and challenged students to build ‘furniture’ with a single piece of 4×8 sheet plywood in teams of 2-4 (no glue/fasteners and only CNCing). Despite the busy schedules and difficulties of flat-pack furniture — all 9 competition pieces stood and functioned as intended. Judged by professionals from Lunar and Humanscale, a Georgia Tech team won with their highly modular stool/table design. More info on this soon!


Portfolio Workshop – First Steps
On a busy Thursday night students lurked out of studio to come talk portfolio basics and first steps. The entire slideshow can be downloaded at this link. We have more portfolio workshops planned for spring semester.


IXDA Workshops
Our brother organization IXDA Georgia Tech has been delivering useful electronics workshops all month. Covering topics like Arduino construction, advanced soldering, and basic electronics — they’ve done a lot for the interactive products track here at Tech, and should be applauded for their efforts.

Photography Workshop – Part 1
Last night, we ran over some basic tips, tricks, and examples of product photography. Even did a walkthrough shooting a simple waterbottle with nothing more than some printer paper, an iPhone, and Photoshop tricks. A before and after can be seen below.

Looking ahead:
We’ve got an Open Model Shoot planned for Tuesday night, 7:15pm to 10pm. We’ll have some major photo studio equipment setup, and a handful of photographers volunteering their time. Bring any models you have on by, work with the photographers to get photos you like, and we should be able to get you the final photos by the end of the night.

As always — we entertain nonsense on Twitter and Facebook, as well as send our occasional e-mails with relevant events or news.

Good luck with final projects and final reviews to all students.


Banana Pianos and IXDA Georgia Tech

IXDA Georgia Tech ( hit the ground running on Monday evening with a “Makey Makey Social”—what in this world is a ‘makey makey’? It’s a sweet new electronics invention kit from the likes of MIT’s Media Lab that allows easy capacitive play and prototyping. In it’s simplest form, it’s a board that plugs into your computer and allows you to make anything capacitive into a working button.

Students wandered out of the studios to find a playable banana piano, aluminum foil DDR, lightsaber fights with sound effects, and eventually a human synthesizer. It’s safe to say few people were able to walk by and resist playing some banana-related-tunes.

Georgia Tech’s student chapter of IXDA, founded a year ago by Basheer Tome, is one of IDSA GT’s brother organizations within the School of ID. They offer students a glimpse into the ever growing world of UX and interaction design through workshops, meet-ups, and tutorials. Follow them on twitter or facebook to stay in touch.

Speaking of fun things happening in the atrium, we’re doing our first sketch night of the month tonight at 7:15pm. Rest assured, we’ll have more pizza and space to accommodate for the bigger crowd this time around. IDSA GT Sketch Nights are an excuse to hang out and meet new people, sharpen up your sketching skills, and get some much needed [non-vending machine] sustenance.

We always keep our facebook and twitter looking fresh and usually throw lots of pictures and fun stuff up—so make sure to share the love and ‘like’ or ‘follow’ us.