Meet the Alumni: Class of 2014
Damon believes in a holistic design approach, working within the physical and digital spaces to create better end solutions and experiences. He is currently a product designer at Motivate defining the future of bike share for New York City's Citi Bike system, as well as a multitude of other bike share programs around the world. As an interaction designer at frog, he worked with a diverse list of forward-thinking clients to tackle big challenges through research, strategy and design. Damon's work spans a number of industries including finance, health care, transportation and consumer products. With over a decade of experience, he has helped define opportunities from startups to Fortune 500 clients like Google, Starbucks, Verizon and BNY Mellon. Damon's portfolio is split between client and self-proposed projects, creating a unique perspective for purposeful design. He has been the recipient of numerous accolades and has been recognized by Red Dot Design Awards, Core77, IDSA, The Design Museum of London, The Verge, The Guardian and Fast Company.
A jack of all trades, Matthew’s studies and professional endeavors have spread across a range of discipline. Matthew holds undergraduate degrees in Economics and Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He began his professional career in advertising before transitioning to working in the fine art world. For the last five years, Matthew has acted as studio manager for the artist duo Faile in addition to running an online print shop called Paper Monster.
Born in Washington D.C., raised in Ankara, Turkey, Rona Binay is a multidisciplinary designer and an artist based in New York. Prior receiving her MFA from SVA, Products of Design, her education includes Interior Architecture and Environmental Design also Illustration and Storytelling. She had the pleasure of designing for design and architecture studios, art galleries, magazines, designers and artists including Pentagram—Natasha Jen, Natalie Jeremijenko, Birsel+Seck, Adidas Originals, Nissan Future Lab, Benjamin Critton and Ana Kraš. Currently, Rona works as a graphic designer at media design firm, Local Projects, focusing on interactive experience design for museums and public spaces as well as continuing to proceed her own projects.
Willy is a New York City-based designer who recently earned a BFA in product design from Parsons The New School for Design. Having interest in both human-centered and environmentally aware design, the majority of Willie’s work takes the form of practical products that solve design problems, rather than conceptual pieces. Willy hopes to alter the way people perceive the artifacts around them: these are not just as “products” but “living” objects with tremendous value.
Richard is the Founder and Creative Director at Richard Clarkson Studio, LLC., a innovative art and design studio based in Brooklyn, New York with clients including Google, IBM, Coca-Cola and Miley Cyrus. During his studies at the Products of Design program Richard realized and developed a strong passion for physical computing and business management. Utilizing these and other key skill sets Richard launched his studio with flagship product: The Smart Cloud. The studio has since continued to grow reaching international buyers and press with an ever evolving set of projects and products. Evident in his work and methodology is a unique collision of Richard's New Zealand, Industrial Design background and his more recent experiences of the vibrance and culture of New York City.
Mansi has studied Economics and Computer Science at Bryn Mawr. After dabbling in the technology industry for about a year as she worked for Google Apps in Silicon Valley, she spent several months interning for fashion accessory companies in London and New York to learn more about the essence of design in the fashion field. Design and its roles have always intrigued Mansi across various industries. She is especially interested in exploring it in the fields of fashion, technology, business models and social entrepreneurship and finding a way to merge these together through design.
Charlotte graduated with a Products of Design MFA at School of Visual Arts in New York in 2014. Her academic pursuits include a BFA in Industrial design from Lund University, Sweden in 2011, which launched her into a career as an Furniture Designer at Claesson Koivisto Rune Architect and Design office in Stockholm, Sweden. Her subsequent work won Elle Interior awards domestically and abroad—exhibiting in Stockholm, Milan and New York. Charlotte was a repeated recipient of the Estrid Ericsson Design Scholarship three consecutive years from 2010 onwards, and in 2012 she decided to pursuit a Masters Degree—shifting focus towards strategy and systems design. Charlotte enrolled in the inaugural Products of Design class of 2014, and upon graduation freelanced for several non-profits with social innovation focus. In the fall of 2014, she joined PSFK Labs as a Strategy Consultant and Designer combination role, where she currently is working on developing product and service offerings and strategies for major clients such as Nike, IBM Watson, Staples and Google. Charlotte is originally from Stockholm, Sweden but currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Clay studied Architectural Studies and Studio Art at the University of Pittsburgh. The repetitive process of mechanical drafting influenced his artistic approach. Though focused on traditional 2D media such as printmaking and painting, Clay became interested in implementing his artwork in the built environment. After graduating, he worked for Fisher ARCHitecture, a Pittsburgh based firm, where he assisted with detailing, drafting, 3D modeling and rendering.
He is eager to get involved with digital fabrication, especially in regard to re-purposing discarded material. He is also curious about public transit, solar powered vehicles and optics.
Kathryn is a Design Lead and UX Designer for IBM Watson, designing with the world's most advanced cognitive system in Austin, Texas. At her core, Kathryn is a maker, and is passionate about near-future technology and building electronics and smart objects. She has published tutorials and articles about her projects in Make Magazine and Timeout New York, and she regularly speaks about Design Thinking and User Experience Design. In her spare time, Kathryn volunteers to get girls interested in STEM fields by speaking at schools, after school events, and on career panels. She also plays many instruments; draws, paints, and shoots photography; sells Super Corgi stickers on Etsy; and bakes elaborate desserts.
Since 2007, Cassandra has been working at Bassett & Partners—a design thinking and brand strategy company that specializes in extracting insights that are used to inspire and inform influential designers and marketers. She has led over 50 domestic and global assignments for companies such as Nike, PepsiCo, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, SonoSite, MNML, Incase, Microsoft, Dell, and Converse. In 2011, she launched the New York City office of B&P. Cassandra also founded Make & Do LLC in partnership with two of her sisters. Make & Do’s first work-in-progress is Chalo! Let’s Go!—a documentary film about sustainable fashion design.
Samantha is a design strategist at the NYC based Product Design and Brand Strategy firm Aruliden. Her diverse design background spanning product, graphic, interior and experience design allows Samantha to understand the business and design needs of clients including Verizon, Bose, Google and Staples. She also works to introduce students to design thinking as a tool for real world problem solving through partnerships with schools and the New York Public Library. Prior to her transition to strategy, Samantha leveraged her interior design education from Drexel University as a commercial interior designer and residential design consultant in Philadelphia, and as an exhibition designer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Her personal design work has been featured on Fast Company, HGTV, Make Magazine, Grid Magazine, and Refinery29.
Gaïa Orain is a public interest designer based in New York City. She is currently the design strategist at Fair Care Labs, the innovation arm of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), one of the country’s most dynamic and successful social change organizations. Prior to attending Products of Design, Gaïa earned a BFA in Design from Concordia in Montreal.
David is an artist and designer based in New York City. He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is currently at work navigating the line between art object and product design. His interest in industrial design began in his early teenage years, upon discovery of ID Magazine. After bouncing between disciplines, David settled on the field of Discursive Design, or the creation of utilitarian objects aiming to convey a particular concept or idea.
Zena Verda Pesta (b.1983) is an artist/designer, life long learner, and facilitator in Brooklyn, NewYork. She currently collaborates with Beam Center and Beam Camp to bring fresh new perspective to the work of Artist and Designers sharing their practice with kids. Prior to her graduate studies in design at Products of Design she worked as a mad scientist of sorts, utilizing the material of clay in her studio practice and her position as an instructor at The Pratt Institute. Due to her experiences and passion for education, creating, and learning, Zena focuses on physically making together, to enrich and create value around community and process. She firmly believes in listening to youth and nurturing intergenerational environments, and continues to seek out opportunities which allow her to utilize flexibility, intuition, and collaboration. Her heros include but are not limited to; Jacque Tati, Barbarella, Charles J.B. Snyder, Mr Rogers, and her Mam-maw Verda. You can find Zena on the farm at Brooklyn Grange or doing ceramics covered in dirt, in the kitchen cookin' up some chicken n' dumplins, or roller dancing on a Friday night.
Joseph is an interdisciplinary designer with a focus on middle- and high-school education. For the past four years he's taught digital fabrication and physical computing at day-camps and after-school programs for teens, and professional development workshops for teachers. He's worked with the Institute of Play, The Makerbot Foundation, and several NYC museums including The American Museum of Natural History, The Jewish Museum, and the Guggenheim. Over that period he also earned his master's degree at the School of Visual Arts where he focused on the intersection of Design and Education, developing his own lesson design framework for leveraging creative tools through project- and game-based-learning. Joseph is now full-time at The Future Project, an education non-profit that works in public high-schools in seven cities across America, coaching students to realize their purpose and passions and manifest them as Future Projects. He is currently developing their training model and building tools to support the team in their work with students.
Emi is a US-based, Japanese born designer with a passion for creating meaningful experience through environmental and product design. She has traveled a great deal, and growing up, she combined her love of all things visual with design. She currently is a lead designer at Manifold agency in San Francisco. (Clients include GE, Intuit, LinkedIn, Product Hunt, Target, Westfield Labs, Nike, AT&T, Adidas, and Prana.) Prior to joining Manifold, she worked at Twenty Four 7, Inc. in Portland, Stephen Burks Studio, and Lippincott in NYC. Her focus has ranged from toys to graphic design, and from environmental design to social design. She believes in the importance of community involvement and philanthropy. When she is not designing, she is an ambassador for local running groups and helps others achieve their goals through distance running. Emi was a female champion for the MUT open division of USA Track & Field Minnesota in 2012 and competed in the National Snowshoe Championship race.