Brooklyn, NY — The side aisles were lined with students and there wasn’t an empty seat in the house at interactive design pioneer Edwin Schlossberg’s November 15, 2005, seminar at New York City College of Technology. Schlossberg spoke and took questions for 90 minutes as part of the Department of Advertising Design & Graphic Arts’ Seminar Series, an educational initiative that has brought some of the country’s top communications field professionals to City Tech’s Downtown Brooklyn campus. The series is coordinated by Professor John McVicker.
Brooklyn and City Tech are no strangers to Schlossberg. He began his award-winning career here nearly 30 years ago with his groundbreaking work for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. The museum’s acclaimed Learning Environment broke the mold of artifact-based exhibits used in other museums and created a fun-filled, hands-on laboratory where children discovered their relationship to the natural world through interaction with the exhibits.
In the ensuing years, Schlossberg and his design team at ESI Design in Manhattan have continued to redefine the meaning of interactivity in a range of educational and recreational settings. Among the team’s most recent projects is the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island, which enables visitors to search for information, in person or online, about their ancestors’ arrival in the United States in a database of 22 million passenger records. The center’s website is one of the most visited in the history of the Internet.
In his November 15 City Tech presentation, “Thinking About Design,” Schlossberg discussed the critical components of good design and the skill sets required to produce good design in an increasingly interactive environment. “The individual designer is largely a thing of the past,” he told an attentive audience. “Today, design is a collaborative creative process that makes it absolutely necessary to be able to function effectively as a member of a team.”
Schlossberg stressed the vital importance of effective communication skills in today’s design environment. “It is no longer enough to be a good designer. You have to be an outstanding communicator with the ability to clearly and concisely express your viewpoint both visually and by means of oral and written communications. They are as much a part of selling your concept as are the most exciting sketches.”
A student of the late American visionary, designer, architect, inventor and prolific writer R. Buckminster Fuller, Schlossberg pioneered the concepts of experiential and interactive design for museums, public spaces, retail environments and business communication systems. He holds a PhD in science and literature from Columbia University and is the author of 11 books and numerous articles, including Interactive Excellence: Defining and Developing New Standards for the Twenty-first Century.
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