Design Symposium Archive

Past Events

Aug. 26 | Marshall Vandruff

Marshall Vandruff began as a commercial illustrator, but quickly found a love for teaching. Marshall has been a teacher of art and storytelling for over 35 years. He’s worked at Fullerton College, Cal State Fullerton, and Laguna College of Art and Design, among others. He’s also been an instructor and speaker for clients like Blizzard, Rockstar, Sony Online Entertainment, MAD Magazine, Dark Horse Comics, Insomniac Games, etc.

Sep. 23 | ClayVon Lowe

ClayVon Lowe is Design Director at Greentouch Home and maintains an independent freelance studio, D Brand Designs. He has designed everything from infant developmental toys for Baby Einstein/Kids II to home decor products in lighting, kitchen/bath and the nationally acclaimed KOBALT tool brand for Lowe’s Home Improvement.

Oct. 14 | Daniel Wong

Daniel Wong is Professor of Web Design in the Communication Design Department at New York City College of Technology. Since 1999 Professor Wong has been working in the field of Medical Communications. He has worked as creative director of design and marketing in educational publishing, pharmaceutical marketing, and continuing medical education (CME). He has launched corporate products, directed design services, and created technology solutions for both established global companies and start-ups.

Oct. 28 | Rob Smigielski 

Robb Smigielski is Chief Design Officer, NA at VMLY&R. He leads the implementation of large-scale design and interactive platforms and integrated, digital marketing experiences for companies like Bentley, Virgin Active, PwC, Xbox, Premier League, Kashi, Microsoft, HSBC, Lenovo, Nintendo, Colgate, Bear Naked Granola and the House of Marley. 

Nov. 4 | Diana Markosian

Diana Markosian (born in Moscow, 1989) takes an intimate approach to her photography and video storytelling, in work that is both conceptual and documentary. Her projects have taken her to some of the remotest corners of the world, and have been featured in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue Magazine. Marksosian's exhibition Santa Barbara is currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Nov. 11 | Rodrigo Valenzuela

Rodrigo Valenzuela is a multimedia artist and professor at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. Valenzuela is an artist working in photography, video, painting, and installation. Using autobiographical threads to inform larger universal fields of experience, his work constructs narratives, scenes, and stories that point to the tensions found between the individual and communities. Much of his work deals with the experience of undocumented immigrants and laborers. 

Dec. 2 | Liz Jackson & Alex Haagaard

Liz Jackson and Alex Haagaard lead The Disabled List, a design collaborative and consultancy that engages in Disability as creative practice. They created Critical Axis, a community-driven project that collects and analyzes disability representation in media. 

Jan. 27 | Lea Stewart 

Industrial designer Lea Stewart has 20 years of working knowledge in many industries including consumer products, furniture, lighting, juvenile products, commercial products, medical products, packaging and display design. In her current role as senior manager, industrial design, at Newell Brands she leads a global team of designers and engineers to develop baby products for recognized brands like Graco, Century and Nuk that bring sanity, safety and joy to families. In January 2022, she assumed the role of Women in Design Central District Representative for the Industrial Designers Society of America. She is also on the Board of the Women in Industrial Design Chicago community group. 

Feb. 10 | Brian Stauffer 

Illustrator Brian Stauffer’s work bridges both traditional and digital realms through a combination of hand-drawn sketches, painted elements and scanned found objects. As a contributing artist to publications including Esquire, GQ, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, TIME Magazine and over 300 others worldwide, Stauffer’s illustrations are best known for their conceptual take on social issues. His images are in the permanent collections of the American Institute of Graphics Artists, the Art Directors Club of New York, the Museum of the Society of Illustrators in New York, the Newseum of Washington, D.C., and The Wolfsonian.

Feb. 24 | Stephen Hassard 

User experience designer Stephen Hassard has over 12 years of professional experience developing creative solutions through a human-centered approach to design. Using complementary qualitative and quantitative research methods, he works to create solutions-based interactions with technology that is humane and responsive to the needs and wants of users. Hassard is a UX research manager and senior user experience researcher at Google.

Mar. 24 | Jason Keenan 

Industrial designer Jason Keenan specializes in consumer products and automotive design. During his 20-plus year career, he has worked freelance, with consultancies and for in-house studios at both small companies and global corporations. He has been issued multiple utility patents and has created numerous award-winning products. His artwork has been featured in commercial art galleries and juried exhibitions. Keenan is currently a senior designer with Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan.

Apr. 7 | Tarrah Krajnak 

Tarrah Krajnak is a photographer and associate professor of art at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, where she is also the director of the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry. She produces and hosts “The Careful Photograph,” a podcast series highlighting Black, Indigenous and people of color voices in contemporary photography. Her work has been exhibited at Art Basel, Paris Photo, Houston Center for Photography, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Center for Photography Woodstock, SF Camerawork and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, among others. Her first monograph, “El Jardín De Senderos Que Se Bifurcan,” was published with DAIS books in May 2021. The book was shortlisted for the Aperture/Paris Photo First Book Award and named to the Museum of Modern Art's inaugural list of 10 photo books of 2021.

Apr. 21 | Yuko Shimizu 

Yuko Shimizu is a Japanese illustrator and educator based in New York. Her work has been featured on the pages of Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker, TIME and WIRED. She has created covers for DC Comics, Penguin and Scholastic as well as advertising projects for Apple, Hasbro, Intel, Microsoft, MTV, Nike, Paramount, SONY, Target and Universal Pictures. Additionally, she has collaborated with the Library of Congress, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum. In 2020, collaboration with Artechouse brought her drawings to large-scale interactive experiences. Yuko is a two-time Hugo Award nominee (2019, 2020) and has won more than 15 medals from the Society of Illustrators since 2004. In 2021, she was awarded the Caldecott Honor, one of the highest awards for picture books, for her work on the children’s book “The Cat Man of Aleppo” (Penguin, 2020). Shimizu was also chosen as one of the 100 Japanese People the World Respects by Newsweek Japan in 2009.