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Student industrial designers thrive at Appalachian

BOONE—End-of-semester projects in the industrial design program at Appalachian State University have names like Flow, Sip and Sprout, Cinnaway and Hollo Band.

The work of senior students in the product design studio is a culmination of their experiences in the product design concentration within the Department of Applied Design’s industrial design program.

View larger imageSenior Sadie Whyte of Boone has designed and produced Hollo Band as part of a product design studio in the Department of Applied Design at Appalachian State University. The hollow plastic band can be filled with either sunscreen or insect repellent. Photo Credit: Marie FreemanView larger imageWork designed and created by students in the Department of Applied Design will be for sale Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union at Appalachian State University. Photo Credit: Marie FreemanView larger imageElvis Perez, a senior from Clemson, S.C., designed the Beer Bouy for a product design studio in the Department of Applied Design. The cork circles keep beverages afloat. Photo Credit: Marie FreemanView larger imageLooking for a new game to play out doors? Jackson Cate of Atlanta has created Parashoot, a game that combines aspects of a slingshot with a small parachute. The game is among the many student-designed and manufactured products that will be on sale Dec. 4 in Plemmons Student Union on campus. Photo Credit: Marie FreemanView larger imageSam McDade’s body rock is crafted from polyester resin and can be used for therapeutic massage. McDade is a senior from Jacksonville, Florida. Photo Credit: Marie Freeman

“Students in the design studio conceptualize a product, design it, produce 20 units with packaging, branding, point of purchase display and write a business plan as if they were going to launch a company based on the product,” said Richard Elaver, an associate professor in the department and program coordinator. “It takes everything they have been doing in industrial design and puts them into a production mindset where they also think about the cost implication of a design.”

The students’ products will be for sale at a “pop-up design store” in Plemmons Student Union Dec. 4. Some of the students have had their product selected for sale for two weeks in December in New York City thanks to a graduate of the program who works at Kikkerland Design, a company known for its quirky but functional products often found in museum and gift shops, Elaver said.

Students began their design project by first pitching products for “the outside experience,” Elaver said. Each student had to consider three different activities for which to design a product that would enhance the user experience. Activities ranged from birding, to paddle boarding to picnicking.

The students researched the activity, interviewed people who participated regularly in the activity, surveyed existing products and then identified opportunities to sell a new product.

The products include sunglasses made from cork that will float if dropped in a lake or river, an outdoor game called Parashoot that combines aspects of a slingshot with a small parachute, a backpack that converts into a picnic blanket and a rope-winding device to facilitate raising or lowering bird feeders, hanging plants or similar objects.

Other products are cinnamon infused chalk sticks to repel ants and other insects when out of doors, a squeezable flow device for a water hose, a body rock crafted from polyester resin to be used for massage therapy, and a urethane pad that attaches to the edge of a kayak to cushion the shoulder when the kayak is being carried and a beer buoy that slips over canned beverages to keep them afloat.

Brandon Stambough spent three weeks developing his product called Sip and Sprout, targeted for tea lovers who also are interested in urban micro gardening. He has produced tea bags that also contain either tomato or basil seeds. Once the tea is consumed, the bag can be cut open and planted in a container rather than thrown away.

Hollo Band created by Sadie Whyte is a hollow plastic band that can be filled with either sunscreen or insect repellent. Magnetic closures on each end of the band allow it to be worn as a bracelet or necklace while keeping contents in place until they are used.

Patrick Garnier was inspired by the popularity of hammocks found on many college campuses to create a bag that can be added to the inside of the hammock’s pouch to hold a cell phone, keys or other items. The pouch can also be clipped to camp chairs and other items.

Graduates in the product design concentration have gone on to careers with companies such as Toshiba, Vanity Fair, and the footwear and furniture industries. Most work in the design profession within the first year of graduating, Elaver said.

The students’ items will be on display and available for purchase Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union.

The industrial design program at Appalachian is comprised of 150 majors and seven full-time faculty. Students can choose from two areas of concentration: product design or furniture design. The concentrations focus on design inquiry, creative problem-solving, user research, social and environmental concerns, and manufacturing requirements.