Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby smyoung » December 18th, 2012, 3:16 am


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@yo, thank you for your words. It's definitely enlightening to hear corporations and firm would love to hire female designers, yourself included 8) . Browsing through Amina's work well exemplifies her persistence in the field..something I really admire as a trait of character. Her work expands with so much variety and design interest. thanks for sending the link and also for sending this thread to your network of women in design. Looking forward to their thoughts!

@sarahsitz, Thanks for your thorough reply. It sounds like you're enrolled in a Master's program, judging by the fact that your classmates are from diverse backgrounds and yourself having another work experience. Very much enjoyed your reply!

@shuphrk88, I agree with your point of view that most girls may not have been exposed to activities and interests that boys had a chance to while growing up. It is still part of a social norm that influences ID in a certain way, and it will take few more decades to start seeing a big shift. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

@sanjyoo9, Ha! Funny how some things won't seem to change. I was originally planned to major in Interior Design at Pratt but all that shifted when it was noted 90% of students were female sparkling from head to toe on a daily basis . It did seem like (then) Interior Design students were opposing mirrored reflection of ID students. I did have an older brother growing up and didn't mind at all of locker room-esque ID shops, so perhaps that smeared a bit of influence...

@onepaisley, Wow, great to hear 90% graduating classmates from your school are still employed as IDers. I had some thoughts on this "tall, white, (maybe even good looking with a bit of charm) stereotyped male designer applicants...they certainly exist, and there are a good dominant number of them in the field. Charm and looks of an individual goes only so far in ID since most resumes are first filtered by software knowledge/skills/experience without a direct network contact.. Thanks for the link to pensole! I didn't know such program existed.

@jon_winebrenner, I do observe greater number of female UX designers working in the field, but it would be interesting to see what the actual number comes down to in other design fields as well. Perhaps Core77 can conduct such a survey. You're right on the point about ID being closer to quantitative opposed to qualitative...although, some ID companies are heavily dependent on research and they rely on their industrial designers to conduct studies. Interesting view regarding Baby Boomers population and previous generations.. On a side note, your presentation @NW IDSA Conference inspired me to(quote) "create the dots in design, with the ability to connect disparate piece in new creative ways"

@iab, thanks for your comment. I'll do some research on papers that relate to engineering field....Wow, 1 in 10 women are only considered for the position?? That just made my jaw drop to the floor... your ramblings are more than helpful :) Thank you for your input. I'm only inspired to work harder to be considered as the top 1% candidate among men & women applying to a prospective company.

@Holixx, I'm leaning heavily towards your comment about surrounding yourself with women is preferred in a workplace. I was the only female designer for two years until another female joined our team. I noticed now I no longer make frequent stops by the marketing group (all girls team) to chat about weekend plans and causally review restaurants and talk hair. It does relieve a bit of burden to not be the only one who doesn't get all the Star Wars movie reference jokes.....;)

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby smyoung » December 18th, 2012, 3:24 am


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Just thought I'd share an interesting contrast of article & an review on amazon.com

on FastCompany:
"Good products balance the needs of men and women for the benefit of both. They’re not male products masquerading as unisex or — worse — hiding under a coat of pink paint. They don’t alienate anyone with overt claims of being women-focused or women- friendly. They just are."
[source: http://www.fastcompany.com/1353548/forg ... -unleashed]


on Amazon.com
Image
A coworker of mine brought cupcakes to work in this carrier which she found in brown and it was just too cute to pass up, especially when I found it in PINK! ”
GardenofEdens | 1 reviewer made a similar statement

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby bngi » December 18th, 2012, 6:54 am

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During my studies we were 15 male, 15 Female. Level of work def not leaning one way or the other. Some very fresh insights were shared to both sides of the genders. All in all a great environment.

As i now work work with athletic clothing, i am a minority by 1/5, in the design dept. Albeit, im the only one from an ID background. Several colleagues have spoken up, wanting more males in the product dept. I'd like that as well, but for selfish reasons.
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Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby leezard » December 18th, 2012, 12:00 pm


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There's a 50/50 split among the industrial designers at my company (but there's only four of us and they just hired us two women this year, so we may not be a good sample).

I think it's mostly personality, and ID people have more of a tough "manly" personality than other design fields. From what I've experienced in school and in the real world, successful female industrial designers seem to be more of the "tomboy" type who aren't afraid to get dirty in a machine shop making prototypes who have a tough outer shell holding their ground defending their design decisions and remaining composed and open to criticism when their designs get torn to shreds in critiques. This type is a minority of women in general, and then you take a fraction of that minority that decides to go into ID and that's why there are fewer women in ID, in my opinion.

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby jon_winebrenner » December 18th, 2012, 2:12 pm

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smyoung wrote:...although, some ID companies are heavily dependent on research and they rely on their industrial designers to conduct studies.


I was going to go further in my original reply to comment on this. The grey area of this discussion is that Industrial Design becoming a remix. I am seeing ID firms taking on more strategy design processes as well as UX firms taking on more ID processes. The "traditional" ID firm is kinda going the way of the Dodo. Someone with an ID degree can become a model maker, CAD jockey, render monkey, brand strategist, UX Designer, entrepreneur, .... the list is pretty endless. It speaks a bit to the Boomer comment also, in that good work is what will be the discussion in the future, not gender or race or [insert bias here].

smyoung wrote:On a side note, your presentation @NW IDSA Conference inspired me to(quote) "create the dots in design, with the ability to connect disparate piece in new creative ways"


Cool. I am glad it spoke to you in some manner.

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby iab » December 18th, 2012, 2:30 pm


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smyoung wrote:@iab, thanks for your comment. I'll do some research on papers that relate to engineering field....Wow, 1 in 10 women are only considered for the position?? That just made my jaw drop to the floor... your ramblings are more than helpful :) Thank you for your input. I'm only inspired to work harder to be considered as the top 1% candidate among men & women applying to a prospective company.


I just want to be perfectly clear as my post was likely poorly written. Of all the candidates, only 1 in 10 were women (purely based on their names). Same with the people I interviewed, 1 in 10 were women.

To be fair, of all the resumes we received, only 1 in 10 men were considered for the positions too. I can't interview everyone who sends me a resume. I think that is pretty typical in that only about 10% of the people responding to an ad actually fit the description in the ad.

Good luck with your career.

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby yo » December 18th, 2012, 2:43 pm

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smyoung wrote:@yo, thank you for your words. It's definitely enlightening to hear corporations and firm would love to hire female designers, yourself included 8) . Browsing through Amina's work well exemplifies her persistence in the field..something I really admire as a trait of character. Her work expands with so much variety and design interest. thanks for sending the link and also for sending this thread to your network of women in design. Looking forward to their thoughts!


No problem. A few other women in industrial design whose work I really admire.

Kimberly Wu: wish I was this good!
http://www.notcot.com/archives/2008/09/ ... wus-jo.php
http://www.kwudesign.com

kimjoy.jpg
kimjoy.jpg (126.56 KiB) Viewed 4625 times


Nancy Wu, Kimberly's sister:
http://hypebeast.com/2008/12/nike-re-mi ... y-nancy-wu
http://www.building--block.com

Amy Arandia:
http://www.coroflot.com/amyarandia

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby sarahsitz » December 18th, 2012, 4:27 pm


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smyoung wrote:@sarahsitz, Thanks for your thorough reply. It sounds like you're enrolled in a Master's program, judging by the fact that your classmates are from diverse backgrounds and yourself having another work experience. Very much enjoyed your reply!


Thank you! I'm actually in undergrad, but I talk to our grad students daily. As for diversity of students, my university (Auburn) is a state school with a rather decent engineering college, so many non-engineering majors have former engineering students in them.
Myself, however, I am a 20-something married adult who went back to school after working in the "real world" for several years. I've had several people confuse me with being a graduate student ;)

I enjoy feminist studies and writing, and when I saw this topic, I knew it would be fascinating to hear other people's thoughts on the subject. Honestly, thank you for posting it!

Yo -- Thank you so much for linking to Kimberly Wu's work! Honestly, I am not interested in cars really at all (which is crazy for this field), but those are just lovely. Nancy Wu and Amy Arandia's as well, thank you, I am adding these to my bookmarks of designers :)

jon_winebrenner wrote:It speaks a bit to the Boomer comment also, in that good work is what will be the discussion in the future, not gender or race or [insert bias here].


While it would be nice to speak only to good work in all fields, unintentional/institutionalized discrimination is kind of norm.
Years of telling children that it's good to be "colorblind" has had more ill effects than good. I would gander that the same applies to gender, as well. Some degree of discussion about gender and race and class are necessary, if we want to be inclusive and sensitive to the wider world around us.

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby jon_winebrenner » December 18th, 2012, 4:59 pm

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sarahsitz wrote:Years of telling children that it's good to be "colorblind" has had more ill effects than good. I would gander that the same applies to gender, as well. Some degree of discussion about gender and race and class are necessary, if we want to be inclusive and sensitive to the wider world around us.


This could very quickly turn this into a different conversation than originally intended...I'll try to keep it in context....

We disagree here.....well, maybe. The issue for me is typically behavioral (cultural) vs. racial (skin color/gender, etc.). There are plenty of white dudes that are all "gangsta" as much as any other skin color. It is the behavior of the gangsta mentality that I believe is what should be discussed, not whether they have a certain skin color.

Similar to this conversation, I see a man and woman walking through the door should be judged on their behavior/skills not the orientation of their dangly bits.

Now, there is the whole issue of gender roles in society. From the 60's on, women have been asking for "equality" in the work place. Equal pay, equal opportunity to rise to the top of the food chain, etc. But they also want months (year long) maternity, and flex time to be able to take care of kids, etc. The wants and realities don't jive. I fall under the opinion that having children is a personal choice and not one that is the responsibility of an employer to bear. If you disappear for a year and someone comes in that is better and faster than you...is that the employer's fault? I know...controversial, but something that needs to be discussed far more.

In the context of this discussion, a part of it that isn't discussed is that there's a LOT of research out there that shows that women are far more competitive when it comes to other women than anyone wants to admit. Studies have shown that women will be inclined to stake claim to their corporate territory and are more likely to discourage other female hires into potentially competitive roles.

Also, consider it from the other angle. The boss (male) needs to hire for a role of someone that has to be working side to side with him for 40 hours+ a week. The top candidate is a VERY talented female...she also happens to be VERY attractive. I can promise you, more times than not, the man will second guess this hire because he knows the kind of grief he's going to get at home from his wife.

This discussion is a sociological onion.

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby Ujay » December 19th, 2012, 11:22 am


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Although I haven't seen as many females as males in the workplaces I've been, I think managers may see females as an opportunity to provide additional perspectives to their design group. One example is the consultancy Smart Design. They have formed the group Femme Den, which focuses on the female consumer. To no one's surprise, there are a lot of female consumers.

When I would help the freshman 3D labs I would listen to the teacher ask what major they wanted to go into. Overall, many people didn't know what industrial design was (not surprising) and out of those, most girls were saying they might go into graphic design. I wonder if there are a large group of females, who go into Art & Design school already with a mind set on other arts & design. With portfolios and majors being competitive, they put a ton of effort into these fields and may miss on the opportunity of learning more about industrial design. These are just some thoughts I have wondered based off of my own school experience.

My class graduated in 2011 with 50/50 gender ratio. Since then 8 females and 6 males have found jobs as industrial designers in either a corporation or consultancy. 3 females are freelancing in various types of design work. Other classmates have found jobs in other design fields, the arts or other fields of interest.

We have been discussing females in corporations and consultancies but what about females who are freelancing. How many females are working as freelancers in industrial design?

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby yssagul » December 19th, 2012, 9:15 pm

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Adding to the yo's list of superb female designers: Eva Zeisel,

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Hella Jongerius: Image

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby yo » December 20th, 2012, 12:26 pm

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Good call, Eva Zeisel, how could I miss her!

I do think it is important to have role models out there. In recent years I think we have downplayed role models culturally due to a little bit of cynicism out there. I do think they are important for kids and teens, and even us older types to point the way like a beacon of possibility.

There are lots of different types of male designer role models, from corporate leaders like Dieter Rams (Braun), Jay Mays (VW nor Ford), John Hoke (Nike), Tinker Hatfield (Nike), and Eliot Noyes (IBM), Jonathan Ive (Apple) and Peter Schreyer (Audi now Kia) to the founders of consulting groups like Hartmut Esslinger (frog), Gianfranco Zaccai (Continuum), Loewy, Teague, Dreyfus, Giorgetto Giugiaro (ItalDesign), to the international stars like Stark, Rashid, Newson, to the crop of relatively younger designer like Scott Wilson and Yves Behar... plus all of the more boutique designer.... anyway you get the idea.

My point is that I hope there are some in this generation of female industrial designers with en eye on working hard enough to become a role model for others. I think there already are in research, interaction, and strategy, and it would be fantastic to have more in product design.

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby jon_winebrenner » December 20th, 2012, 12:57 pm

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yo wrote:I do think it is important to have role models out there. In recent years I think we have downplayed role models culturally due to a little bit of cynicism out there. I do think they are important for kids and teens, and even us older types to point the way like a beacon of possibility.


I too feel role models are necessary. I tend to think the downplay you're commenting on is based on how our society treats our heroes. There's no privacy anymore. Heroes aren't allowed to be human. If they make a mistake, it's in the media in a blink.

There's an unattainable level of perfectionism that is expected from heroes anymore.

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby slippyfish » December 20th, 2012, 1:15 pm

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A good friend of mine - a woman - was until recently design director of a respected and fun exhibit/museum design/build group in the Seattle area. She finally gave it up because her husband was making coin at MS and they had a kid, so it didn't make sense for her to stay with the company, even part time. Maybe its some pre-cognition of this eventual state of affairs that dissuades a portion of the women from staying in the field? Super wide generalization, I know... on the other hand she, and other female designers I know, have taken their skills and experiences and branched out to apply it either toward their own art or craft, or to support their own companies (e.g. coffee shop with furniture, interior, artwork all designed or curated by the ex-designer).

I think it was in a book by Nick Harkaway, called Gone-Away World, where he presents the idea that if you want to make a really really excellent nuclear weapon that can kill tons of people and do lots of damage, you hire a bunch of males. If you want to have a discussion or negotiation on whether you should use that weapon, you should have some (or all) females making that decision. Harkaway is black humor cyberpunk SF so I don't mean this literally. But some part of the sentiment feels true, that of having a larger POV.

Re: Women in Industrial Design

Postby Spongy Orange » December 21st, 2012, 11:03 am


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Greetings from MassArt. We are about 50/50 right now.

At least at my school, ID is one of the most intense degree concentrations that is humanly possible. By the last year of study, a lot of people drop out to pursue less time-intensive degrees in sculpture or painting or the like.

Personal musings:

As a really young Spongy Orange, I was enamored with the construction workers and carpenters who came to work on my parent's now beautiful but at the time crappy home. A lot of my ID folks have related similar experiences but it seems to be more common among men. All of us are at MassArt because someone, probably whomever decided to feed and clothe us, encouraged creativity at an early age. Here it seems that creativity at a young age for the gentlemen was through building and using tools. For the ladies, it was encouraged in crafting or painting.Ultimately, I think both are about finding design solutions but it just so happens that the creativity that many of the women in my department feel an affinity with is craft-based. Their interests fit in ID but fit better elsewhere in some cases. It's even visible in material choices. On a recent project, the women of the department produced an amazing amount of beautiful work composed of a variety of materials but drawing a lot of inspiration from soft goods whereas the men produced a lot of hard-lined metal and wood stuff.

Culture-wise, there's a lot of unintentional "manliness" that occurs in the department. Power tools, wood dust, Bondo; it sounds like an episode of Home Improvement. Our collective self-flagellation and conscious decision to partially isolate and ignore society on the basis of more/better work also plays into that "manliness". Tough it out, brag about it later- you're a design machine. Art historically, I sometimes feel like a Symbolist painter withdrawing from society to drag the deepest creativity out of myself possible. It's a shared feeling.

I believe that the women of my department are producing work that is just as important as the fellows. I also believe that, in a perfect world, companies are looking to hire the most-qualified designers that theoretically will add to the bottom line to the greatest degree independent of race, gender, blah blah blah. If all this is true, then it follows that something is occurring early on in the life of young women designers that change their predilections JUST ENOUGH to push them out of ID. What is this mystery stimulus?

Tune in next week.

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