Designers to Watch

Here are two students making noise in the design world

We here at i+s have had the honor of meeting so many wonderful and talented designers over the years, and now we’d like to return the favor. Every month, we will be introducing design students recognized by their institution for going above and beyond. Today they’re stunning their professors in the classrooms; tomorrow they’ll be stunning the world.

At its heart, human-centered design involves empathizing with the needs of end users and developing strategies and solutions to solve these particular needs. Two San Francisco State University (SFSU) students, in particular, have excelled in their pursuit of human-centered design, and have been nominated by Professor and Graduate Coordinator Hsiao-Yun Chu as our Designers to Watch this month.  

“We are very proud of our students’ abilities to understand and empathize with the needs of a broad range of people, not all necessarily like themselves,” said Chu. “In addition to better preparing students for the real world, where clients and projects come in all shapes and sizes, it also reminds them to keep an open mind throughout the design process and not to make assumptions or snap judgments about why people do the things they do. This is not only a good design lesson, but also a lesson in humanity.”

Ryssa Marquez. As a recent bachelor of architecture graduate from Cal Poly Pomona, a first-year SFSU graduate student, and recipient of the Hearth Homes Inclusive Design Scholarship, Ryssa Marquez developed an innovative hybrid of the walker, stroller, and shopping cart, called the Anker trolley that incorporates many features that solve issues of security on both the emotional and physical level. From the walker, Marquez took the aspect that focuses on weight support as well as the braking system, and adapted the concept of partial collapsibility and mobility from a stroller. Lastly, a robust storage compartment takes its cues from a shopping cart.

“In my current standing, I exist in a constant threshold/dichotomy of architecture and product design,” said Marquez. “This inevitably fuels my curiosity in trying to understand how the built environment can improve quality of life for all. This program opened my mind to understanding that the foundation of successful design is embedding human factors and scale is within the design process.”

Trevor Meyers. Meyers' capstone graduate project explored the frustration of eye dropping dispensers—specifically for people whose opthalmic conditions required them to administer multiple eye drops multiple times per day—in order to design an eye dropper that would be easier to use, more sanitary, and easier to identify than the conventional eye drop packages on the market.

Using universal design principles, phone interviews, user observation, iterative proto-typing, and user testing, Meyers identified numerous pain points throughout the process of having to use eye drops. Using this information and research gathered from scholarly articles, a complete prototype of an easier to use and identify cap, bottle and its packaging were created.

Meyers earned first place in the CSU Graduate Research Competition in the Creative Arts and Design Category for the quality and depth of his research project on accessible eye drops. Before pursuing an MAIA in the Department of Design & Industry at SFSU, Trevor earned a BA in art from the Conceptual/Information Arts program in the SFSU art department, working with the late Steve Wilson.