IDSA 2006 National Conference Day 3

IDSA 2006 National Conference Day 3

Rita Sue Siegel and Randy Bartlett offering passion and good sense in the IDSA Portfolio and Interviewing seminar.

The third day of the conference and symposium started off with a bang, students and graduates gathered for the Portfolio/Interviewing Seminar with Rita Sue Siegel and Bruce Claxton. The session was titled: "Building a Career with Passion and Good Sense." Passion and good sense were in ample supply from Rita Sue and Bruce who gave the best advice on the subject I have ever heard.

Here is an excerpt about interviewing that your reporter managed to jot down: "Practice," and "be prepared" for obvious and not-so-obvious questions: "What makes you special?" "What can you offer our company?" Be prepared, for example, ask for clear directions to get to the interview location.
You don't want to get lost and arrive late for a job interview. Arrive early. "Show your greatest strengths" but explain by telling a story and giving context. "Discuss a challenge you faced and how you overcame it." "Share a teamwork story" but not just talking about "we." Interviewers want to hear what "you" achieved. Take care of your personal presentation, take a shower, brush your teeth, etc... "Dress appropriately," if you are not sure it's perfectly fine to ask about the dress code. "Give a solid handshake," "maintain eye contact when talking," "balance talking and listening," "don't over explain." "Ask to meet the team you will work with," "be interested and enthusiastic," "be lively and expressive."

"Show them your design work, but equally important show them how you think, that is why interviewers like to see sketches." It's not about drawing, it's about thinking. "Take your own list of questions you would like to ask," its a good sign. Don't forget, warned Rita Sue, "No meeting with anybody, in the course of getting a job, is a casual meeting. It's a business meeting!"

Bruce Claxton explained the finer details of portfolio design and layout with really helpful examples. While he made too many good points to be included in this article, a few stood out:
Portofolio should be no smaller than 11" x 14". You may have to show it to a large group. Have excellent photos of your models. Select a grid for the graphic layout. Think about your font size, not all 14 point fonts have equal x-heights. Plan your portfolio according to skill sets you want to display; you may base that on IDSA surveys of designer skills. Taylor yor portoflio according to the job you are applying for. Remove the bad stuff. Don't waste time building a portfolio container, buy one, problem solved.

The session was wrapped up with a staged portfolio interview of a design graduate from the audience that was a fascinating experience. Certainly, your reported learnt a lot. More schools should do this kind of thing!

A tele-conference with professionals at work in the Far East was the structure of the session entitled "Designing In Greater China: The Complexities, The Challenges, A Conversation." Lawrence Weng reported that the middle class in China are increasingly happy with consumer products that have an explicit design component. Another development has been the Chinese government crack-down on counterfeit products and pirating, although barriers remain in the form of different cultural perspectives in, for example, software piracy. A parallel development, that has something to do with the 2008 Olympics, has been the growth of local designed products and branded models for the local market.

Michael Young spoke of a proliferation of consumer design magazines in Japan in the last 10 years, where once there were none. Michael also described a phenomenon where buyers representing Western firms work to drive down prices from their Chinese suppliers, in turn, forcing out higher quality Chinese manufacturers and, in his opinion, further putting the squeeze on the wages and prospects for Chinese working families. A fascinating insight.

Back to ID education with "Growing Design Programs: Get Big or Die?" This session got lively as educators debated whether design programs should stay at about 100 students average, or should they grow into the behemoths like the Politecnico Milano with 700 ID students."

Was that 700 in total, or per year?" wondered your reporter. "I will take the side, we should be smaller" declared Andy Ogden. Edward j. Zagorski, IDSA Fellow, used the metaphor of a steam engine that was constructed to be twice more powerful than any before. True story apparently. So they built everything twice as large, or two of everything, only problem was that it became so big and heavy. It didn't move. "To make a machine twice as powerful they needed to build it 25 times bigger." The steam engine apparently rests in a museum. "How did they get it into the museum, did they use a steam engine?" wondered your reporter. But slowly the pendulum of opinion swung in the other direction. "In Asian countries we need to be big" said Eun-Sook Kwon. Referring to her prospective students "It's a natural thing, we can't stop their passions." The question is "How can we broaden the area of ID and let [our graduates]

expand into that?" asked one. "We are all fooling ourselves that our students are going to become ID professionals" added another.

From conference session to portfolio review to more sessions to more networking. Your reporter was loosing track of time. "Toto, I've a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore..." was the apt title of another education session that touched on similar issues. David Weightman attempted to shine a light on what designers do. He mentioned Daniel Pink of Wired Magazine's three A's: Abundance, Asia and automation. Mary Beth Privitera gave fascinating and honest account of the design program at the University of Cincinnati, where teams of engineers, industrial designers and specialists work in an authentically interdiscipinary manner to develop medical devices.

What about the "Live General Session: The Global Element" you ask? According to the program, Gordon Bruce, Bruce Ancona, Elaine Ann, Sang-Yeon Lee, De Liu, James Miho, Yao Yingjia, Xuan Yu, will be answering questions like: "How can we maximise the power of "design" and enhance our contribution to a global economy?" By the sporadic applause coming from the hall next door, it seems to be a success, but your faithful reporter can't be there, because he is writing this.

Alex Velasco

"The "Beast." ID-One's entrant for the IBM sponsored "Ultimate Derby".

Graduated student gets the treatment at a mock interview session in the IDSA Portfolio and Interviewing seminar.

It's lunch time for hungry minds.

It's lunch time for hungry minds.

IDSA 2006 National Conference Day 2:
IDSA 2006 National Conference Day 3:
IDSA 2006 National Conference Day 4:
IDSA 2006 National Conference:


  • 6,296 impressions, 63,881 clicks