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The Past & Future of Product Design: Panel Discussion

Wed, Feb 24, 2016 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Hampden Hall
Englewood Civic Center, 2nd floor
Englewood, CO 80110

Denver Mixer Group Panel Discussion

What it means to be a product designer is constantly changing, but it often involves creativity in a range of disciplines, from engineering and industrial design to graphic design. We've gathered together some of the most legendary product designers in Colorado who will discuss the current and future state of product design and how it's evolved.

Through this panel discussion, we'll first highlight how processes, communications and prototyping methodologies have evolved. Then we'll address the future: new technologies, smart products, new smart materials, integration of software and hardware, self driving and autonomous products, reintroduction of craft into products, interface with product, sustainable products, 3d printing and local manufacturing.


Hampden Hall at the Englewood Civic Center.  The Center has free covered parking.  The light rail stops right in front of the building.  


Bob Blaich

Dr. Robert Blaich FIDSA, has expanded the influence of the design profession throughout his 65 year professional career As the Head of Design at Herman Miller, where he worked with Design Icons, Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Alexander Girard and others, and as the Global head of Design at Royal Philips Electronics in the Netherlands, where he introduced advanced design strategies and integrated engineering, marketing and design and built a new corporate image of global design., and later as the Chairman of Teague Design. Blaich is a past President of ICSID ( the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design)a fellow of IDSA and in 1991 was Knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands.

Bob has achieved many prestigious awards such as: Doctor Honoris Causa, Syracuse University - 1992; Order of Orange Nassau, Netherlands Knighthood - 1991; IDSA Personal Recognition Award - 2006; American Center for Design, Award - 1994.

John Ciciora

John earned his BS in Industrial Design from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology and completed his graduate work at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) in Ulm, Germany, studying under a fellowship from the German government. He went on to work in the aerospace industry, working on the Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs as well as conceptual work on future Lunar and Mars programs. He now serves on the faculty of the Art Institute of Colorado as Associate Professor in the Design and Technical Graphics Department. He has transitioned the department from an Associates Program to a fully accredited Bachelors Degree program.

Michael McCoy 

Michael McCoy is the first recipient, with Katherine McCoy, of the Smithsonian's Design Minds National Design Award for having, in the words of the museum "affected a paradigm shift in design thinking". His designs for Knoll, Humanscale, Arconas, Philips Electronics, Formica, Steelcase and others have received many international awards including the Red Dot Award and the IDSA Gold Award and are in the permanent design collections of New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Denver Art Museum, The Kirkland Museum and the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. He is the former Director of 3D Design for the influential Cranbrook Academy of Art and holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Kansas City Art Institute. 

Jeff Samson

Is he an inventor, an industrial designer, a visionary or an encyclopedia of material and processes? Jeff is known to his team and his clients as all of the above. When asked about his accomplishments he says "Solving life’s most unusual challenges is a blast!" This is 39 years after he started down his career path in design and engineering. 31 years leading Samson Design and 8 years corporate R&D experience in high speed transit vehicles and security systems. Somehow he sandwiched in teaching at five universities.

First and foremost, Jeff is the founder and president of Samson Design Associates Inc., an independent design and engineering firm in the Rocky Mountain Region that focuses on high impact innovation. Since 1984, Samson Design has accelerated the creation of innovative business solutions and product systems including electro surgical and imaging equipment, automated pharmaceutical systems, alternative fuel power generation and high technology systems for commercial production.

Jeff currently serves as a board member of CSU’s Bioscience & Medical Engineering School. He served as Vice President of IDSA, chairman of the board for Metropolitan State University’s Design program, and Art Institute of Colorado’s Design program. Jeff is a DaVinci Senior Fellow, a program that recognizes professionals who think in the future. He is an adviser, speaker and consultant to universities and corporations from General Electric to Colorado Bioscience Association, speaking on the dynamics and drivers of innovation drawn from his hands on experience and insights.

Jeff has won a government salute award, 3 international awards, national design innovation awards, and a Medical Design Excellence Award.

Jeff graduated from Cranbrook Academy of Art and completed the Executive Design Leadership program at Harvard University.

Moderated by

Jason Belaire, IDSA

Jason has 20 years of experience as a product designer, industrial designer, product developer, product manager, and product photographer for high-profile global clients in the outdoor industry. His specialties include industrial design services, product management, graphic design, packaging design, marketing collateral development, marketing collateral management, product management, and lifestyle photography. He has designed, managed, and led national and international product development efforts for innovative and award-winning sleeping bags, backpacks, tents, outdoor furniture, and lighting.

Jason has designed, developed, and led product management efforts for outdoor product lines produced by Columbia, Zen Postures, GoLite, Nature’s Lodge, Cotopaxi, Lafuma Groupe, BlueBird, Sierra Designs, Ultimate Direction, Kelty, Slumberjack, Wenger Swiss Army, Mountainsmith, Browning Camping, and Cabela's. Products he has designed have won Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards, Camping Life Editors’ Choice Awards, Explore Magazine’s Best Gear Awards, and Urban Climber Gear Guide Awards. The Kelty Kids Carrier 3.0 backpack he designed was profiled on the TODAY Show.


Denver Mixer Group is an inter-disciplinary design consortium sponsored by IDSA, SEGD, DAF and AIGA Colorado.

Denver Mixer Group sponsors

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