Industrial Design Students Envision Life After Covid


What if you could design the future? What new realities would you address? What problems would you solve? And what if you didn’t have to do it alone? What if professional designers from across a wide range of areas worked alongside you, giving their guidance, insight and expertise?

That’s exactly what students in the Industrial Design program recently got to experience during the week-long 2021 Sprint Project.

The Sprint Project is a much-loved tradition in the industrial Design program. For one week each winter, graduate and undergraduate ID students form into cross-year teams to work on a specific opportunity. All classes in program are dedicated to the project. The work is fun, fast and rigorous—new friendships are formed and team members constantly find ways to make each other’s work better.

The design teams collaborated remotely throughout he week using a variety of tools including Miro and Gather. Shown is the ideation section of a typical team board.

The theme of this year’s Sprint Project was: “Post Corona: Life After the Virus”. Despite the pandemic, we at Jefferson believe there’s never been a better time to be and Industrial Designer. The world is now more open than ever before to thinking in new ways and doing things differently. So the student teams were tasked with designing for four areas of life that are undergoing profound change as a result of the pandemic:

WORKPLACE – What is the value of working and interacting with others? How can we keep that, and still know we’re safe?

RETAIL EXPERIENCE – How will buying things in stores change?  How can we capture value and fun in shopping again, and address the many problems of living life on Amazon?

RESTAURANTS AND ENTERTAINMENT – How might we confidently return to high density interaction without losing what makes it fun?

KIDS, LEISURE AND PETS – This year everyone made sourdough, started a garden, and then bought a fire pit. How might we hold on the closeness of having families and animals near, and address the issues that happen when kids and pets move into new contexts?

To assist students with the project, a wide array of Jefferson Industrial Design alumni returned to the program to provide their professional expertise and guidance through discussions, presentations and critiques. The teams benefitted immensely from the input of alums who now design for companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Converse, West Elm and Armstrong World Industries. The energy and real-world insight that these Jefferson-trained professionals bring is invaluable and is just one of the things that make the Sprint Project a truly unique experience.

At the end of the week, each team presented their work to an audience of the combined graduate and undergraduate programs as well as faculty and alumni critics. Strong design work across a wide range of product categories was on display. As a result, each student gained a rich project to include in their growing design portfolio. Special thanks go out to all our returning alumni and everyone who made this year’s Sprint Project a success!

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