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MIAD seniors design with empathy, connect with Wisconsin businesses

“It’s so important to design with empathy. You can help people with a simple sketch on a napkin. I can use my skills to benefit others,” said Lydia Kolinski, a  Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Product Design senior.

Kolinski used her skills to design her senior capstone project – an ergonomic seating system for tattoo artists. She designed the seating system to reduce the discomfort and pain tattoo artists experience during long client sessions.

She received input on her design from artists at Riverwest Tattoo Company in Milwaukee. Through the MIAD Innovation Center, she connected with Oconomowoc
Manufacturing Company, whose wheel casters she used in her final design. Now that she has a prototype, she’s hoping to develop the chair design further and take it to market.

Kolinski’s project is just one of nearly 160 student projects featured in the 2021 MIAD Senior Exhibition. The annual exhibition showcases the culminating
work of graduating seniors in MIAD’s Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, including Communication Design, Illustration, Interior Architecture and Design, New Studio Practice: Fine Arts, and Product Design. Many students use empathy to guide their designs and artwork.

Additional projects created by MIAD seniors include an animated short film celebrating the interconnectedness of humanity, a gender-neutral clothing brand, a kit of age-appropriate educational materials and comfort items for children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and a website with animated videos to help BIPOC teens learn about design careers and professionals who look like them.

The MIAD 2021 Senior Exhibition, which is generously sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, is on view virtually at seniorexhibition.