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Product Design Department photographs

The images in the Product Design Department photographs highlight the curriculum and student work, and also provide insight into American material culture. Although the student designs may not have ever been commercially produced, the designs nevertheless reflect general changes in the types of products being designed and sold in American markets after the end of World War II, and globally by the mid 1980s.

The collection contains many images of faculty giving critiques to classes of students, as well as advising individual students as they work on drawings or models. Students are documented as they work on all phases of their assignments, from drawings, to clay models, to plaster molds, to fabrication of the fully completed models. A fair number of images highlight students working outside, but most take place in model shops and in classrooms at the Third Street and Pasadena campuses. The product designs are wide ranging and include such items as kitchen appliances, clocks, parking meters, boats, and office equipment. John Coleman, Joseph Thompson, and Theodore Youngkin are the most often pictured faculty.

Sponsored projects make up a large number of images that document industry relationships with Art Center. The first sponsored project to be assigned to Art Center students by an outside company was the General Electric Space Capsule project in 1960. This well-documented project includes images of George Beck of GE assigning the project, student drawings, students working on the model, John Coleman advising students, and the final presentation to General Electric representatives.

Another well-documented sponsored project of note is the Catalina Project which the Industrial Designers Society of America assigned in 1961. The project was to create small water craft, and then present the designs to IDSA conference attendees. The images document five different solutions designed by groups of students, and show students working on their models from start to finish, faculty John Coleman and Joe Farrer working with the students, students testing their designs at Paradise Cove, and then the final presentations at Catalina Island.

Product Design Department

Illustration Department photographs

The majority of the Illustration Department images depict groups of students drawing or painting under the direction of an instructor, or a teacher doing a critique; but there are also images of individual students focusing on their own work, and faculty working one-on-one with students. The students are shown working in a variety of classroom settings, usually working from art models. There are significantly more images of classes in the courtyard and in front of the Third Street campus than outside at the Pasadena site, and none of them outside the Seventh street campus.

Of special note are images that document the technical illustration courses designed during World War II with the California Institute of Technology in response to a need for easily understood equipment manuals. Although the images date from about 1950 to 1952, the photographs still highlight this temporary, but important, change in the curriculum.

Large-scale workshops given by fashion illustrators in the 1980s arranged by Department Chair Phil Hays are well-documented, including the 1983 and 1985 workshops by Antonio Lopez, and the 1987 workshop given by George Stavrinos.

The bulk of the Illustration student work photographs dates from the 1950s to the 1970s. Many include the student posed with the finished work. Individual student illustrations are of course wide ranging in subject and style, but there are some repeating types across the 35-year span: fashion illustrations, figure and head sketches.

Illustration Department

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