Article By: Piper Hale
Published: Nov 22, 2011
Corey Green, from Yates Center, Kansas, is working toward a B.F.A. in industrial design from SCAD Savannah.
When Corey Green originally decided to leave his hometown in Kansas to attend SCAD, it was because he wanted to make connections. "I heard that at SCAD you work with business clients and with people from the industry," says Corey, "and that the professors were actually people from the industry as well. So from day one of classes, you were already being exposed to more opportunities than at any other college or university that I looked at. I knew by coming here, I'd be able to get my name out there more than if I went to a local school back home in Kansas."
Leaving Kansas was a risky decision for Corey, since it meant that neither his parents nor the state would be helping him pay for school. However, through a combination of financial aid, government loans and long hours at his SCAD work study job as a tour guide, Corey has been able to put himself through school. "Paying for school myself has made me more appreciative," says Corey. "It's also motivated me to take all the opportunities that are available."
The opportunities Corey has seized range from networking at SCAD events with companies like Nike to his recent first-place award in the ShelterPop SCAD Design Challenge. The contest was jointly sponsored by SCAD's Working Class Studio
and home decorating resource ShelterPop, and called for design entries based on ShelterPop's motto "happy homes make happy people." For his winning entry, Corey designed an innovative vase that alerts plant lovers when it's time to water their flowers through the use of a colorful balloon that deflates as water evaporates. As the competition winner, Corey traveled to the New York International Gift Fair, where he displayed his vase; his design was also manufactured and sold beginning in June, and is already in its second production run.
"When I saw it for the first time … in Shop SCAD's window, it was the moment I realized that someone who I have never met and may never meet is looking at my product on a shelf somewhere," says Corey. "The fact that I'm having my designs produced before I even graduate is something I could not have imagined before I came here."
Corey partially attributes his successful designs to the program's equipment, from its 3-D printers to its vulcanizers. Without the limitations imposed by an ordinary lab, he says he can model any product he designs and constantly push the boundaries of his work. "Most schools can't say that," says Corey. "For example, when I was in New York City, showing my product, we had people from another school's program come through and ask, 'How did you make this?' And when I told them we used laser cutters and worked in Illustrator, they asked me what a laser cutter was. I couldn't believe it!"
Even more important than technology, Corey says, is the industrial design program's focus on a rigorous design process and innovative ideas. "The professors push you to think outside the box, to make sure you take an approach that may not have ever been explored before," says Corey. "And because SCAD is so international, students get feedback from people all over the world - others who may not have been exposed to something that is everyday to them. That variety of viewpoints leads to better designs. That fresh perspective is really valuable."
Corey's designs range from an easily-shipped, lightweight shovel to assist in Haiti relief to a set of kitchen appliances targeted toward young professional men setting up their first independent homes. After developing a proficiency in all kinds of product design, Corey has narrowed his preference to designing soft goods like small accessories and home décor. "I enjoy working with things that people interact with on a daily basis," Corey says. He even uses one of his own products, a banana-inspired backpack with peel-like zipper flaps, as his school book-bag.
Three years after he first arrived at SCAD, unaware that industrial design even existed, Corey is now preparing to graduate. He is leaving with hands-on experience from a successful internship and a portfolio packed with creative and functional designs under his belt.
He plans to complete an internship immediately after graduation before moving on to work at a design firm. His ultimate goal is to launch his own consumer goods design firm.
Visit Working Class Studio's online storefront to view Corey's award-winning vase.