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Industrial Design Student Wins IDSA Central District Student Merit Award

Posted June 22, 2016 in StudentAlumniNews BitesIndustrial Design

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) Industrial Design student Patrick Shields was recently named the winner of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Central District Student Merit Award.

Industrial Design alumnus Patrick ShieldsPatrick Shields

Shields, who graduated this spring, was first named KCAD’s IDSA Student Merit Award winner at the institutional level before moving on to win the award at the district level through a competition at the IDSA Central District Conference, held this past April in Pittsburgh, PA. There, Shields and other institutional Student Merit Award winners from the IDSA’s Central District each gave a presentation to conference attendees and officials that explored their process and design portfolio.

Shields’ portfolio presentation included Sherpa, a small, handheld multipurpose tool for bicycle commuters that can be used to repair and inflate bike tires. After developing the design concept in class, Shields took it to Grand Rapids-based entrepreneurial incubator Start Garden, where he earned seed funding to move his idea forward. He is continuing to develop the Sherpa on his own in the hopes of having it manufactured.

work by alumnus Patrick ShieldsConcept renderings of Shields' Sherpa product design (image courtesy of Patrick Shields)

“It’s what got me into utility and looking at how to apply systems thinking to a very simple tool,” Shields says of Sherpa. “It doesn’t have to be a huge system. This type of thinking can exist in something compact.”

Shields also presented a 3-in-1 stair-cleaning tool he helped design for Bissell during a yearlong internship with the company in 2013. He developed the design with guidance from his internship manager and worked with a team consisting of an engineer, marketers, and other project managers to bring it to market. Shields’ work earned him the design patent for the tool, which is now being sold alongside other Bissell products online and in stores across the nation.

work by alumnus Patrick ShieldsRedering of the 3-in-1 stair tool Shields helped design as a Bissel intern (image courtesy of Patrick Shields)

Also presented was an independent project involving the integration of craft and design. Inspired by his love of ceramics, Shields was able to connect with Tethon, a 3D ceramic printing company based in Nebraska. Using their technology, he designed HEX, a 3D printed line of cups and mugs that can handle hot beverages without the need for a handle, thanks to a double-walled design.

work by alumnus Patrick ShieldsHex, Shields' 3D printed line of cups and mugs (image courtesy of Patrick Shields)

Shields’ senior thesis project, a full hiker location system that takes into account the methods and operations of emergency responders to allow them to find lost or injured hikers in a more efficient and cost-effective way, was also a part of his presentation.

“When you just design a singular object, if the market is skewed or faulty, it won’t do anything,” says Shields of the hiker location system. “This project involves designing and looking at the entire system and how the market’s influence causes problems. The market wasn’t considering these search and rescue roles. I dove deep into the physical objects, but really it’s more a proposal for a system in which these objects are used. It isn’t just an emergency GPS beacon; it’s a business proposal for how that system would work.”

work by alumnus Patrick ShieldsConcept rendering of HLS, a full hiker location system Shields designed as part of his senior thesis project (image courtesy of Patrick Shields)

Central District Design Conference Chair Jeevak Badve commented after Shields’s win, “Pat showed very special characteristics through variation and application. His work ranged from technical and utilitarian with his bicycle repair tool, to the beautifully crafted cups, considering everything including drinking experience. These are very fundamental and much needed traits for an Industrial Designer in our time.”

Shields is the first KCAD student to win the IDSA Student Merit Award at the district level.

“Pat is a talented, passionate designer who has worked hard and executed at the highest level to develop his portfolio of work and make the most of his educational experience,” says Associate Professor and Industrial Design Program Chair Jon Moroney. “Pat's work will inspire creativity and drive in other students who want to realize the same potential.  As students like Pat continue to raise the bar, we will respond with unique and challenging opportunities that help our students showcase their artistic talents, critical thought process, and creative ideas."

Shields is looking forward to attending the IDSA International Conference in Detroit this August, where he will be competing against four other district winners for the national Student Merit Award.

“I feel really great that I can represent KCAD and bring more attention to this excellent program here,” he says. “On a personal level, it feels awesome to know that people understand what I’m saying, and they appreciate my opinions and respect the type of working that I’m putting out. I’m flattered and feel honored to represent KCAD.”


Learn more about KCAD’s Industrial Design program at kcad.edu/industrial

Learn more about the IDSA at idsa.org