Article By: Piper Hale
Published: Nov 22, 2011
Izac Ross, from Washington, D.C., earned his B.F.A. in service design from SCAD Savannah in 2011.
Izac Ross was among the first students to earn a B.F.A. in the service design program
. He already knew in high school that he wanted to work in interaction design and looked into a diverse set of related programs, ranging from engineering schools to business schools, for the degree that would be right for him. He finally decided on SCAD's industrial design program
. "I saw a program that was very different," he says. "It wasn't just about form, or cars, shoes, et cetera. It was about how people use products, how people think, feel, act around these products. That's what really mattered to me: How to create good things for people to use. That seemed way more progressive than any other school that I saw."
After Izac had spent a couple of years studying industrial design at SCAD, one of his professors began talking about starting a service design major, a program that would move beyond the design of individual products and focus instead on the systems behind those products. Izac was captivated by the idea; when he was told that at least eight students would be needed to begin a new major, he got busy recruiting his classmates.
The members of the resulting group formed the first service design class in the new major, and they plowed into exploring this largely unexplored field with enthusiasm. In each new class, they found themselves asking increasingly complex design questions. "SCAD is really ahead of the curve - really, it's on the bleeding edge, not the cutting edge," says Izac. "The stuff we are learning now is only going to get mainstreamed into design firms later."
The program has broken a great deal of ground since Izac and the other original students declared their new major. At a recent conference of service designers that Izac attended, he says he was surprised that "the same questions that we were facing, the same problems we were having with our projects, were the same problems that people in the industry were facing and talking about at the conference. That's pretty amazing. That says a lot about the program and about our teachers."
In his own explorations of the industry, Izac has worked on projects ranging from a financial education program for notoriously-in-the-red Generation Y to a community lending library program for common household items, like tools and rarely-used appliances. "We don't all need to own an iron; we don't all need to own a power drill," says Izac, describing his basis for creating this lending system, BorrowBox. He designed this service in just three days for the IXDA Interaction11 Student Competition, where it won second place.
Izac has also interned with user experience design company AptMedia, where he developed a kiosk-based curation system for a museum; at EightShapes, where he developed web applications and marketing websites for Fortune 500 companies; and at Moment Design, where he developed an app for chemotherapy patients to guide them through common problems and track their health status.
Recently, Izac completed his final quarter of coursework through SCAD eLearning while working for Philips Design's healthcare division. He has since taken a position at Moment Design.
Looking back on his college career, Izac says his decision two years ago to switch to a field he'd never heard of was the best choice he ever made. He feels like he is cresting the wave of a rising industry. "If you want a job that is more applicable to the future, and not the past, this is it," says Izac. "And SCAD is the only place in the U.S. where you can get an undergraduate degree in service design right now. Period. If you're interested in service design, this is the place to be."
Visit Izac's professional website.