A dozen faculty-selected Art, Design and Interactive Multimedia students recently attended an exclusive hands-on workshop titled, "Experience Design," led by Bryan Meszaros '00, a previous Professional-in-Residence in the College of Communication and the Arts and leading graphic and media designer.
Meszaros, the CEO of OpenEye Global, is a recognized leader in the field of experiential design and interactive media, earning distinctions from NJBIZ as one of the top 40 Under 40, and the 2018 SmartCEO Corporate Culture Award among many others. He recently lent his talents as a Professional-in-Residence in the College, teaching a semester-long class titled, "Digital Engagement in the Physical Space." Meszaros' company, OpenEye Global, was the digital effects team that helped create the "Ghostbusters Experience," at Madame Tussaud's wax museum in New York City.
During the day-long workshop, Mesazaros broke the students into small groups and lectured about the collaborative nature of design, and the specifics "experience design," a unique approach that focuses on connecting individuals to a space. "We know every environment is different, but the challenge for designers is taking the environment and creating an immersive feeling," said Meszaros. "Experience design takes the physical and transforms the space through telling a narrative. Designers are story-tellers and that's what I wanted the students to walk away with."
Throughout his discussion, Meszaros emphasized ways designers help individuals explore an environment and bring a space to life through simple concepts like placement, purpose and emotion. Folding together examples from his own firm, Meszaros embraced student questions and worked with the groups to understand how a project becomes both unique and inspirational.
Meszaros turns everyday experiences into industry lessons. For example, he showed a video he recorded earlier in the same week when he traveled to London. Students eyed the screen as Meszaros shared footage from a London train station hallway. As a passenger walked by, a digital projection detected the walking speed and announced that he needed to walk just a bit faster to catch the train. "Travelers walk in train stations every day, but this caught my eye my instantly as a teaching moment. A typical commute turned into a creative and interactive experience," noted Meszaros.
Post-discussion, students embarked on their own experience design project. Commissioned by College of Communication and the Arts' Dean Deirdre Yates, design students will create an art installation in Arts and Sciences Hall.
Following the site visit, students worked to brainstorm ideas for the installation and then presented their design approaches and discussed options. The final piece will be installed in April 2019.
The combined approach of Meszaros' teaching style and the new, informative content exposed students to design strategies they had not yet experienced. "The workshop was a definite eye-opening experience into a field of design that I haven't quite explored yet," commented Brittany Hull, a senior Art, Design and Interactive Media major. "Bryan's visual approach in teaching interactive digital design made me excited about the importance of digitalization and interaction in graphic design that we see around us every day. I look forward to applying the workshop with future projects."
Assistant Professor of Art and Design Christine Lhowe acknowledged the impact of Meszaros' professional work and helping students to construct their ideas for the art installation. "Students are looking forward to the execution of their concepts impacting future generations of the Communication and the Arts community," said Lhowe.