Industrial Design Graduates Talk Rookie Awards and Beyond
Industrial Design graduates from SCAD share their insights on why they participated in The Rookie Awards, what aspiring designers should consider, and the valuable lessons they've learned during their studies.
We had the privilege of chatting with Bradley Scott Wagman, Diana Li Sam, and Vincent Lee, recent graduates from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). They shared their insights on why they participated in The Rookie Awards, what aspiring designers should consider, and the valuable lessons they've learned during their studies. In this article we celebrate this group of industrial design graduates, their experiences, and the exciting opportunities that have opened up for them post-Rookie Awards.
Why did you enter The Rookie Awards and what were you hoping to achieve?
Bradley Scott Wagman: I entered the rookie awards to be a part of the industrial design community. Even though the context of the competition was more about the visuals and rendering software, there were still interesting design directions and products that were submitted. It was a great opportunity to compete with other designers and get some of my work out there.
Diana Li Sam: Our school, especially our professors, are always encouraging us to put our projects out and gain experience with feedback/presentation/networking. (Diana)
Vincent Lee: SCAD students consistently dedicate a tremendous amount of time and effort to our projects. We always aim to put ourselves in the forefront to receive feedback from the public, striving to continually improve ourselves.
What advice do you have for other students looking to enter next year?
Bradley: Create a story and tell it with your visual assets. Your product should give the viewer a visceral reaction. The hardest part is getting those little details to come across how you want them too, without writing a paragraph. Weave those details into an engaging visual story and the viewer will have an easier time digesting it.
Diana: Not be afraid to put themselves out there. Their work is good and what’s the worst thing that can happen if they share it with the world?
Vincent: SCAD students are one of the best groups of artists/designers and they may have no idea. Echoing Diana, share your team's creations with the world, and you'll be surprised at what you can produce!
What would you tell others about pursuing a creative career?
Bradley: It really is what you make of it. I am still a student, so I do not have a ton of experience in the professional field, but from the experience I do have it is an incredibly collaborative process full of people who are passionate. If you are passionate about what you do, then you are in the right place.
Vincent: When you dive into a creative career, it's really all about the journey. At school like SCAD, you'll meet incredibly passionate individuals from diverse creative fields. It offers the opportunity to see how different creative elements come together. So, if you're someone who enjoys these experiences, then you are in the right place.
Bre Judge: When considering pursuing a creative career, I think it’s important to know what makes you happy and what inspires you. I feel far too often people get caught up in having a big job in the creative industry, but often find it unsatisfying and not as exciting as they would have hoped. So going into a creative career requires someone who is willing to look for business opportunities that align with their personal goals and values in order to be truly inspired and confident in their career decision.
Tell us more about the skills you have developed during your studies and why you think they'll be useful on your journey?
Bradley: From technical skills to soft skills, they all have a place, but I think the most useful skill I learned is the ability to go further into what I am working on. Once I feel like I found the idea for the end product, I stop myself and keep exploring. It always ends up better.
Vincent: Exploring solutions through varied perspectives, our approach to mitigating food waste adopts different perspectives. Unlike most projects that seek resolutions from the consumer's perspective, we decided to tackle it starting from the distribution side, from farm to table, with our project Frux. This strategic choice has unveiled a substantial opportunity to curtail food waste, aligning closer to its fundamental origins. In defining this solution direction, our team has embraced openness and passion throughout our research journey. I believe that adopting diverse perspectives during teamwork is invariably the key, both academically and in real-world scenarios.
What is the most valuable lesson learned at SCAD?
Bradley: Honestly, it’s simple but communication. I have always been the type of person who likes to work alone on things. A team can be capable of so much more through collaboration, whether that is the end product or just efficiency in general. It sounds silly but it is okay to lean on others sometimes. That was hard for me to do at first.
Diana: Collaboration and stakeholder management. You’ll work with a lot of different people with different backgrounds, perspectives, work ethics, and processes. That's something you’ll have to deal with in real life, especially as a creative.
Vincent: Similar to Diana's point, we had the opportunity to work with various majors and individuals from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. This provided us with ample experience in receiving feedback from different domains, which I believe is the most valuable lesson we learned from SCAD.
What would you say to students looking to start there?
Bradley: I would tell them to work hard and pay attention to what intrigues them. Industrial design is a vast field. Get inspired by something and pursue it.
Vincent: Students can explore their interests in the first year at SCAD before choosing a major, so just have fun and delve into different areas during your initial year. Additionally, students have the flexibility to change their major along the way, so don't be afraid to try various things!
Bre: I feel like SCAD is so different from normal universities, especially in the way you are able to collaborate with so many different creatives and like-minded people in different majors on a variety of projects.
SCAD truly offers an inspiring environment with tons of opportunities to explore different aspects of the creative industry, so there's truly a place for everyone to be involved with something they are passionate about.
What opportunities have presented themselves to you after entering The Rookie Awards?
Bradley: SCAD reached out and wrote an article about me and my work. It was a surreal experience to be interviewed by a journalist and obviously, now I am writing for The Rookies which again is very surreal! The award will also be a nice touch to my resume when applying for jobs in the near future as well.
Vincent: Our team graduated, each with honors and now we’re pursuing our creative careers in tech, finance, etc. We’ve also won other design awards.
How did you land your current position?
Bre: By working at a brewery for a while and noticed the lack of care involved with their social media presence and just wanting to improve their media. From there I presented what could be done to improve it and a new position was made for me.
Diana: I’m a Product Designer for a tech company in NYC. I interned there last summer and came back this year as a full time employee. It was hard work, especially being in the middle of massive layoffs but I had lots of support from my mentors, peers, professors and family.
What are your next steps?
Bradley: I will be applying to master’s programs in the fall at Carnegie Mellon MIIPS, Harvard’s design engineer program, and networking for jobs! Either way, I will keep pushing my capabilities as a designer and ultimately, pursue a career in medical products.
Bre: To continue running and improving the social media of the brewery and then eventually take over other aspects of their branding. Along with continuing my education with SCAD in Atlanta to improve my skills and find more opportunities to do the things I love.
Diana: I’m also continuing my career in design. I’ve been exploring other interests in the creative field such as ceramics, floral design, and watercolour. Eventually, I’d like to open my own businesses using UX design as a base to my business model.
Reach out to this talented group of design graduates via their Rookies profiles here and here.