An Artistic Approach To Academics

A creative conference for designers at Kean

An Artistic Approach To Academics

Lead product designer of Vine: Rich Arnold 
Photo Credit: Michael Dumaine

Creativity stems from the imaginative, inventive, and artistic soul of a human being. The ability to create or design based off imagination is a true talent. Several of the smartest humans in history were said to be known as creative geniuses such as Michelangelo, Isaac Newton, and Galileo. In modern day, people who find themselves with a thirst for creativity can use these skills for careers in the multiple fields of design and architecture.

Kean University has decided to acknowledge the importance of creativity in the work place by offering several design oriented degrees amongst curriculums. As a part of these degrees, students were offered a truly memorable opportunity to have exposure to the professional side of design. This opportunity was spread over two days consisting of the Thinking Creatively Conference as well as “Let’s Charrette” by the Gruskin Group.

Thursday, April 16, 2015, was the “Let’s Charrette” conference. The event was held on the fifth and sixth floors of the Green Lane Academic Building (GLAB) and was hosted by the famous architecture firm Gruskin Group, who is known for designing GLAB years prior. Over 100 students arrived for registration, which took place on floor five. After an individual signed in they were placed into a group based off of majors, creating an equal balance of industrial designers, graphic designers, and interior designers. This allowed for a nice flow of work—having the benefits of different designers coming together for a single purpose. After groups were made, everyone headed upstairs for a sales pitch on a particular new franchise. After the pitch, groups headed back downstairs and had 3 ½ hours to design an idea for a noodle restaurant franchise. The groups had to design the floorplans for the building, as well as the infrastructure, overall layout, graphic logo, and whatever else the group chose.

The event really gave an impression of what life was going to be like post-graduation for design students. Bryan Granato, industrial design student, said, “I can’t wait to be done school so I can do this every day!” What made the event so special was the team work and opportunity to bounce ideas off others for one goal in competitive spirt. When the allotted time was up, everyone had to stop what they were doing and head upstairs again to present their creation to fellow students, a board of professional designers and architects,. The presenting concluded the day and consisted of the overall business plans, pitch, and ability to visualize and layout the design patterns. Alex Deroy, junior industrial designer major exclaimed, “The Charrette was so much fun, I’m definitely doing it next year!”

The day after the “Let’s Charrette” the Thinking Creatively conference was held in the University Center (UC). On this day, Kean University provided networking and access to some of the top professionals in the design field. Some of those professionals included the Lead Product Designer of Vine Mobile app Rich Arnold, , industrial designer of Smart Design NYC John Traub-, and Founder and Director of Pilot-Projects Scott Francisco.

Arnold is an alumni of Kean University and gave a compelling speech of his experience on being in the design world. He spoke of the importance of networking and the differences in how the field is portrayed and how it is in reality. During his speech, he made a bold statement deciphering a common question in the field. Arnold asserted, “Design is the ability to improve the way people’s lives work. Design is better than art in the sense the art is about me, and design is about you.”

With these two events, the university has shown true commitment to its design students. The overall experience is one to not miss out on for those who are in the field. Don’t miss out next year!

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