Where are you now and what kind of work/projects are you currently working on?
I recently started as Production Manager at UncommonGoods, a leading design, housewares, and jewelry retailer. I’ll be working with artists, craftspeople, and manufacturers to bring a wide range of new products to market.
How did SAIC prepare you for where you are today? What particular classes/projects/approaches to subjects influenced you?
More than anything, my course work at AIADO taught me how to take a design idea and make it real. I learned about the role designed objects play in our lives, the relationship between form and function, and how to go from a prototype of one to a production run of ten thousand.
What career advice do you have for current students, looking at how you see your field evolving, what is critical for the future practitioner?
Especially in the industrial design field, I would balance conceptual design with solid technical skills. Your ability to think about design problems will be what makes you eventually successful, but technical abilities are what will get you in the door. It’s valuable to pursue conceptual design projects, but find a way to use these projects as a platform to also showcase your sketching, 3D modeling, prototyping, and understanding of manufacturing.
With whom did you study at SAIC or who influenced you?
I studied with a range of fantastic professors including, but not limited to, Bruce Tharp, Doug Pancoast, Jim TerMeer, Lisa Norton, Anders Nereim, and Carl Ray Miller. I am grateful to them for challenging me to think about the role objects play in our lives while also building my technical abilities.
Daniel Sommer is an industrial designer, maker, and product manager. He has helped companies including Google, MakerBot and Motivate (CitiBike) design, manage, manufacture, and launch new products. While at Google, his team worked with artist Jeff Koons to launch a limited edition line of interactive phone cases. At Motivate, Daniel managed the design and manufacturing for several key components of the CitiBike bike share expansion in New York CIty. Before that, he managed development for several products at the 3D printing pioneer MakerBot. He has also started his own company, Scargo Cycling, to produce a line of crash protective bicycle clothing and has sold the crash protective shirts through retail stores and online.