Kristi Bartlett, S/IDSA, has been named the 2018 Gianninoto Industrial Design Graduate Scholarship winner. Like many industrial designers, Bartlett first heard about the profession while she was in the middle of her undergraduate degree.
After finishing her degree in civil engineering, Bartlett became frustrated with her personal experience with the design of medical equipment. “I started to feel like the medical area is neglected in terms of design, and I wanted to do something to change that. Getting a Master’s degree in industrial design seemed like a good complement to my engineering degree and an avenue to entering the field of product design.”
Growing up Bartlett took drawing and painting classes, but she also had a love for math and science. “In many ways, I see ID as halfway between art and engineering, so it seemed like a perfect fit for me,” said Bartlett. While studying ID at the University of Houston, she is exposed to a variety of hands-on skills that she loves but never would have experienced if she stayed with civil engineering.
Bartlett hopes her ID career will allow her to collaborate with people from different backgrounds and disciplines. “I hope to use design to create better products, services and experiences for people with health problems and their families and caregivers,” she stated. She also wants to be a mentor to other women in the field.
When Bartlett started her ID studies, she became involved with IDSA. In her first year, she attended an IDSA District Design Conference and a local chapter event. “These experiences were so beneficial for me as a new ID student, particularly the opportunity to hear from speakers who are working in all segments of the ID world, and getting portfolio feedback from working professionals,” she said.
She thinks future designers should know, “so many of the important skills in ID require a lot of practice to master… I would tell them not to be discouraged.”