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Session Description

Alain Sylvain

CEO, Sylvain Labs


Track 1 - 12:30pm EDT

Presentation: Design for Collective Post-Trauma

As we look to brands and companies more than our own governments, how do they navigate not just our changing values and demands, but our trauma?


Fear can be overwhelming, but it has a purpose. Fear is a powerful human emotion and physical response. When we feel the fear creeping in, we’re perceiving a threat that’s cracked our sense of safety. Evolutionarily speaking, it’s what’s kept the human species alive and thriving. The physiological effects on our bodies are largely the same, but the emotional response is highly individual. When we’re taken by fear and confronted with what to do next, we weigh the risks and make decisions based on self-interest. But when we can’t fully understand the risks, our fears can lead to irrational thought and action. 


Amid gobal crises—in this moment, the COVID-19 pandemic and killing of George Floyd—there’s yet another layer of fear to unpack. We’re all paying attention, and we’re on high alert. Suddenly, our society’s collective ego shifts. In a frenzy of observations, interests and instincts, our shared state of consciousness has become one of unrest. And as we face a global recession, this begs the question: How will companies, corporations, governments and even individuals navigate the collective trauma that comes after?


In this talk, Alain Sylvain, Founder & CEO of Sylvain Labs, will explore the science of fear on the human psyche and the power of the collective ego, and what happens when society's state of mind overtakes individual experiences. He’ll argue that the collective trauma the COVID crisis and the killing of George Floyd have left behind will be the most powerful determinant of our ability to get back to work. And finally, drawing from science, psychology, historical and cultural examples, Alain will identify the ways in which brands, businesses and people alike can begin to navigate our collective trauma, and changing sense of self and of each other, as we begin to heal.

Mia Cinelli

Assistant Professor of Art Studio and Digital Design, University of Kentucky


Track 1 - 1:00pm EDT

Presentation: Speculative Characters for Visual Inflection

In the age of emojis, type and image work in tandem to bolster our typographic voices, conveying our wide range of emotions. What if, in lieu of relying on smiley-faces and eggplants to make our point, new punctuation could formally articulate the meaning of a message as conveyed through facial expressions, gestures, and metaphors? Engaging with design as a medium for inquiry, these speculative characters aim to supplement our existing typefaces, attempting to make the rich complexities of conversation visible. Introducing these characters while citing and celebrating their historic predecessors, this presentation prompts a larger discussion: what is the role of speculative design in typography, and how do these pursuits advance communication?

Demetrius Romanos

SVP of Design & Development at Ergobaby


Track 1 - 1:30pm EDT

Presentation: Design is DNA

Design at its surface provides recognizability and differentiation for a brand to the outside world and the people that it impacts. But the root of design is based on communicating an authentic, purpose-driven view to a brand’s soul, and that is far more complex but much more meaningful. How that soul is defined and shaped, and what the resulting impact is to the teams and companies that create it, is what we’ll dive into in “Design is DNA.”

Jason Belaire, IDSA

Founder/Principal, Belworld Creative, Inc.

Stephan Clambaneva, IDSA

Founder/Principal, iD8trs


Track 1 - 2:00pm EDT

Panel Discussion: Sustainable/Circular Design - Building Bridges into the Unknown

IDSA Board members Jason P. Belaire and Stephan Clambaneva will be revisiting the key points gleaned from this year’s wildly successful and inaugural IDSA Sustainability Deep Dive, with over 600 people tuning in from all over the world. The organizers will share their deep knowledge base across many different IDSA Special Interest Sections in which Industrial Designers have vested interest. They will reveal their strategic attempts to share with the world how IDSA is taking a stance on the importance of the triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit); how this will become a greater theme for IDSA; overarching initiatives; and how to continue with the Deep Dive format to discuss sustainable and circular design (virtual, in-person or a hybrid) each year until it is no longer needed.


Kevin Bethune

Founder and Chief Creative Officer, dreams • design + life

Dara Dotz

CTO & Co-Founder, Worldchanging Ventures

Joel Delman, IDSA

Industrial Design Consultant & Design Expert Witness, Informed Innovation, Inc.


Track 1 - 2:00pm EDT

Workshop: Legal Contracts for Designers: (Almost) Everything you Need to Know

Prior to Delman’s 26 years as a design consultant, he was a corporate lawyer. He has drafted and negotiated hundreds of NDAs, Service Agreements and Licensing/Royalty deals with clients ranging from Fortune 100s to tech startups. He knows the pitfalls and gotchas to watch out for, and the best practices to push for. 


Over the years Delman has frequently been asked to assist friends and colleagues with their contract issues and knows how many designers are making potentially costly—very costly—mistakes in their legal relationships with clients daily. This workshop will help to ensure that you not only understand what's at stake but know how to negotiate smart agreements going forward.

Karim Merchant

Creative Specialist, Luxion



Track 1 - 2:00pm EDT

Workshop: KeyShot Essentials (sponsored content)

A wide look at KeyShot’s powerful visualizing capabilities, from basic lighting to advanced material applications. This hour-long session will introduce you to the Material Graph, advanced materials such as multilayered optics, RealCloth and Fuzz, as well as lighting solutions and the incredibly useful KeyShot Cloud Library.

Spencer Nugent

Designer / Founder,



Track 1 - 2:00pm EDT

Workshop: Your Product Story: Sketching to Communicate

Join Spencer Nugent and learn to enhance your product storytelling techniques using a few simple approaches to breaking down complex stories and product experiences into bite-sized chunks that can be easily visualized. Spencer will show examples of his prior work as well as techniques working digitally and on paper to capture and communicate key moments in your product experience.

Jiani Zeng

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Track 1 - 2:45pm EDT

2020 Graduate Student Merit Award Winner

Jiani Zeng is an industrial designer, engineer, and researcher working at the intersection of consumer product design and technology. Her work explores new design opportunities beyond the current manufacturing methods and materials such as soft robotics and multi-material 3D printing.  

Jiani's work has been recognized by top international design awards programs like IDEA and Red Dot. Her designs have been featured in ARTS THREAD, CHI, and Milan Design Week. She holds a BEng in Product Design and Manufacturing and is a current student in the Integrated Design and Management (IDM) program at MIT.

Ralf Grone

VP Design Windows & Devices, Microsoft


Track 1 - 3:00pm EDT

Keynote Presentation: Insanely Human

Ralf Groene leads the Devices and Windows Design Team at Microsoft. Ralf and his team practice design as a conversation between makers and users through the form of materials, objects, symbols, and interfaces.

Including a view beyond the object is one of the core principles of the Microsoft Design Team. They create products for over a billion users around the globe and are obsessed with the idea of empowering humans through the things they make.

Ralf’s talk is a journey through the culture, the making process, and the people of the Microsoft Design Team.

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