Product Design Department: Chair – Marty Smith papers

Identity elements

Reference code

31-RG 31.01.01

Level of description



Product Design Department: Chair – Marty Smith papers


  • 1987-2006 (Creation)


3 linear feet (6 boxes)

Name of creator

Biographical history

Marty Smith was an Industrial Designer and Design Educator with over 35 years of experience in product development, design education and design management.

Smith returned to the Art Center College of Design, where he assumed a faculty position teaching Product and Transportation design students. Prior to rejoining Art Center Smith was Chair Professor of Industrial Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Before leaving for Hong Kong he was the first Chair of the Product Design Department at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He is past Chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America, and has been a judge of the IDSA/Business Week “IDEA” awards and the ID magazine Awards. Martin has lectured throughout Europe and Asia about design education and the strategic value of design in product development.

The independent research group, Design Intelligence surveyed professional designers in 2005,2006 and again in 2007 and ranked the undergraduate Product Design program at Art Center as #1 among all industrial design programs in the United States.

Smith conceived and created a study abroad program with INSEAD, one of Europe’s leading business schools. The program offers an opportunity for design students to study business issues in an MBA curriculum at INSEAD’s locations in Singapore and Paris.

While with Designworks USA he managed several major automotive design projects for Volvo, Mazda, General Motors, Chrysler and Subaru as well as others. As a consultant, he designed products for Avery-Dennison, Reebok, Salomon, Olympus Image Systems, Playtex, and Coca-Cola. He continues to consult for small to midsize companies that are sourcing manufacturing in China and travels frequently to Southeast Asia. He holds numerous U.S. and International Patents for his designs and inventions. Martin has licensed half a dozen products he created to major companies for manufacturing and distribution
Source: LinkedIn

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

These Product Design Department files consist of files created by C. Martin Smith, Product Design Department Chair from 1987.

The bulk of the collection is sponsored projects and student work files. The sponsored projects (later known as Funded Educational Projects) files document product design projects from 1994 to 2003. The student work files contain samples of sketches, product ideas and class projects.

There are a few administrative files, consisting mainly of lists of students in product design classes. The computer files (almost all of which are on compact disc) are mainly those created by students to support their class work and sponsored projects.

The videotape cassettes, mainly student presentations, have been individually cataloged (VID0303–VID0335) and added to the Product Design video collection. There are many photographs, slides, and transparencies which have been removed to the photograph files. Most are slides of sponsored projects and student work.

System of arrangement

The collection is divided into the following series:
Series 1: Administrative Files
Series 2: Sponsored Projects
Series 3: Student Work
Series 4: Computer Files

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright held by Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.)

Digital materials and catalog records are made available for educational and research purposes only and cannot be reproduced, distributed, or published without written permission from Art Center College of Design.

Languages of the material

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Notes element

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Accession area