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Design-conference book a
must-have for leading U.S. design houses
Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
photo to enlarge
by L. Brian Stauffer
design professor Deana McDonagh is the editor of "IMPACT,"
a limited-edition, illustrated book documenting an
industrial design conference held last spring at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
— Academic conference proceedings aren’t typically regarded
as must-read page-turners. But “IMPACT,” a limited-edition,
illustrated book documenting an industrial design conference held last
spring at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is reportedly
turning heads in the design world.
“We’ve had fantastic feedback,” said U. of I. industrial
design professor Deana McDonagh, the book’s editor. “All
the top design houses in the United States have contacted us (seeking
The book recaps discussions that took place during “IMPACT: The
Synergy of Design, Business and Technology,” a three-day regional
conference of the Industrial Design Society of America, hosted by U.
of I. faculty and students last April. McDonagh said the book, designed
by U. of I. art and
design professors Nan Goggin and Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud, was created
“to capture the Zeitgeist of that unique event.”
Contents include edited conference presentations by such noted design
practitioners and observers as Larry Bell, Cat Chow, Bruce Nussbaum,
Karim Rashid and Tucker Viemeister; contributions by the conference’s
student organizers, Mona Haggag and Danielle Moorman; essays on design
education and research by McDonagh and colleagues Benjamin Grosser,
Alexander Fekete and Rob Lopez; and a bonus essay by U. of I. alumnus
and motorcycle-fairing designer Craig Vetter.
“We really had some of the leading designers of our time here
– people who have shaped the material landscape that you and I
navigate everyday,” said McDonagh, who was convinced that what
the conference participants had to say was worth repeating. And because
the subject was design, the resulting publication needed to be “engaging
and tactile, and had to sizzle with passion,” she said.
One reviewer who felt the passion was blogger Don Lehman, who recently
lauded the book on the “industrial design supersite” Core77:
“All encompassing content, good clean layout, and a point of view
make ‘IMPACT’ a book you would want to put on your design
bookshelf,” Lehman wrote. “We can only hope that more industrial
designers are inspired to create works like this.”
One thousand individually embossed editions were printed, with funding
provided by Richard Herman, the chancellor of the Urbana campus; Charles
Zukoski, vice chancellor for research; and Kathleen Conlin, the dean
of the College of Fine and Applied
Numbered copies of “IMPACT” can be obtained by contacting
McDonagh by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or by sending a $25 check addressed to her in care of the School of
Art and Design, University of Illinois, 28 Art and Design Building,
408 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL 61820.