Jim Arnold, IDSA

Industrial Design

Lead Industrial Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Portland

Jim Arnold

Learn to love solving everyday problems. Jim Arnold, IDSA , Lead Industrial Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Portland

What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

Beginning courses in design while attending college.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

I have designed and managed the design activity for numerous successful products in the recreation, automotive, and healthcare industries. I have been a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America since 1997. My skills include design sketching, computer-aided industrial design, design research, human factors, and fabrication of plastic, metal, and outdoor performance fabric-based products. Areas of expertise include teaching, educational administration, curriculum development, product concept development, design for production, team management. I teach courses such as Computer-aided Design, Human Factors, Design Sketching, Portfolio, Senior Research and Concept Development, History of Industrial Design, and various product design studios. I oversee and plan the curriculum, advise students, advise other industrial design faculty, help students plan their education, and perform other administrative functions for the industrial design program.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I typically take a constructivist approach to teaching studio courses. I demonstrate relevant skills typically used in industry, lecture on related principles students must understand to be successful in the course and push them to develop their own expertise through rigorous practice and application in the form of various design projects that typically take the form of a mass produced product concept. I have found this approach prepares my student for professional practice.

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

Collaboration on a design project with other students on a design team in class helps my students learn how to work as part of a product development team. This is an essential ability in the world of professional industrial design.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

Develop a passion for finding and solving problems. Design is at its best when real problems are identified and real people are helped because of your efforts. While creativity is important, it's worthless unless you can effectively communicate the merits of your work to your client or audience.