Original Design from a Student Perspective: A Day at RISD

“Our school does a great job at teaching us how to design a product, but…” is a common statement we hear from our fellows each year during the Be Original Americas Student Design Fellowship. So when the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) invited us to participate in their Internship Connect fair, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak one-on-one with students looking to further their education in the world of design.

Table covering: Pixel by Designtex

Up-and-coming designers from all disciplines are looking to gain knowledge they can’t learn in school. The fellowship gives hands-on experiences that go beyond the curriculum and prepare them for the next steps in their careers. Professors do an impeccable job at teaching their students how to design, but budgeting, marketing, mass manufacturing, distribution, and promotion are often topics that can only be taught in “real-life” settings — it is this setting that students crave, and which Be Original Americas creates.

Students today seem very aware of the prominent problems surrounding counterfeits: economic decline, environmental threats, unsafe working conditions, etc. They want to have thriving careers in design, and to go the extra mile to make certain that they are part of the solution. So, we asked: how do you ensure originality in your designs?  We got some great responses:

“I think of themes rather than products – when you look at photos, you narrow your creativity by putting yourself into a box.”

“In my experience with textiles, people want to be different to stand out from our peers. Finding inspiration from my own personality guarantees my product’s originality.”

“A lot of research – creating mood boards, taking inspiration from all around and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It’s hard, but it comes down to knowing what’s out there and creating something inspired yet your own.”

Looking back on that day at RISD, it was clear that these students’ enthusiasm and passion for authentic design would take them far. The key would be providing them with extra skills to tie their drive and education together.

If you’d like to be notified with 2018 fellowship updates, or if you’re part of a member company that would like to take part in next summer’s program, feel free to fill out this form.

Thank you to RISD for the support and the opportunity to get inspired by your wonderful students. We look forward to receiving your applications!


TIP: If you or your company is looking for fresh-eyed designers, students (and recent graduates) are using their school’s career portals, Indeed, theCreativeloft, and Behance to search for opportunities.

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