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UW Design Students visit the Emily Carr University of Art and Design

June 30, 2010

By Christopher Ozubko

Above: The students at Rivera Design Group LTD, the firm that designed the emblem for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Elena (center) gave us a presentation on Saturday morning which was a great opportunity to learn a little more about the art of branding.

On Friday 07 May 2010, our group of six students and two faculty left early from the University of Washington and headed north to Vancouver, British Columbia, for our arranged appointment with faculty and students of Emily Carr University of Art + Design on Granville Island. Luckily, we passed through the border without any problems, had no traffic issues, and arrived around 11:30 am, having one hour to peruse the famous Granville Market, get a snack, and visit a number of shops on the island before our meeting at 1:00 pm.

We were happily greeted at Emily Carr by students and lead to the conference room where students enjoyed a wonderful lunch, arranged by Professor Louise St. Pierre. For the first two hours, students discussed their academic experiences, some of the projects they were working on, and their concerns of what is to come after graduation with job pursuits and graduate school applications. Following this discussion, we then proceeded to the extensive Graduation Exhibition, where students from Emily Carr gave individual presentations about the projects that were installed in the thesis show. There was clearly great interest of both parties in discussing the projects, as well as suggestions and further opportunities that students might explore. Students from the Univeristy of Washington were taking copious notes and with the final summation, invited their Canadian counterparts to the Design Exposition at the University of Washington opening on Tuesday 08 June 2010.

We then proceeded to the industrial design firm, White Box Design, where founder Greg Corrigan took two hours of his time to discuss his circuitous route to becoming an industrial designer, and surviving as an industrial designer in a city possessing little manufacturing. Students were very impressed with the firm’s work, which specialized primarily with telephonics, and especially the recently designed WiFi router for Sprint USA, which we were able to test. He gave students tips on preparation for getting into the industrial design career, as well as being adaptable and flexible in this particular job climate. All in all, it was a great way to end our first professional part of the day.

We then went back to the hotel and checked in. We then walked from the Granville Bridge to Robson Street, where we found a nice Japanese restaurant, had some snacks, then walked over to the Olympic Flame site, took a lot of pictures, re-enacted some Olympic feats, and walked into Gas Town, where we avoided the crowds that were intently watching the Vancouver Canuck game in every bar in the city. This was an eye-opener for many of the American students on how passionate Canadians are about their hockey. One remarked, “It’s even scarier than the Italians and their soccer!” We then walked back to the hotel and called it a night.

The next morning we headed over to visit the office of Elena Rivera, only a few blocks away, where she kindly met us on Saturday morning and took two hours of her time to relay her story about how her design was accepted as the Olympic logo. It was a fascinating story to hear about the selection process and how it effected her business and professional life when propelled into a world showcase, and all the pros and cons that entailed.

I want to thank you for working to get the grant for us to visit Vancouver. I thought it was a great experience; learning the similarities and difference between the different design worlds, and even the differences between the design education at Emily Carr vs. UW. Seeing their show really sparked a few ideas of my own for our show!—Kelsey Boyce, senior, Design Studies

By this time, we were quite hungry, so we headed back to the hotel, checked out, did some sight-seeing through the downtown area and Stanley Park. We stopped at Vista Point and checked out the Lion’s Gate Bridge and the spectacular view.

At the suggestion of Professor Ahn, we went to a wonderful Korean restaurant where we ate traditional Korean food. The students remarked on how internationally diverse Vancouver is. Numerous languages were being spoken everywhere. After lunch, we proceeded to Point Grey and University of British Columbia, where students discovered and explored the wonders of Arthur Erickson’s Museum of Anthropology. That was a terrific way to end our trip as we headed back to Seattle, and got back into town around 8:30 pm.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada.

Christopher Ozubko is the Director of the School of Art and Professor of Design. He recently took six students in the School of Art’s Design Studies program, accompanied by Assistant Professor Sang-gyeun Ahn, to visit the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia.