Made and Sold By Design: Recap of the 2023 Design Winter Market Event
On the cold and clear morning of December 6, 2023, on the edge of Ohio State’s Oval, the front steps of Hayes Hall were abuzz as Urban Arts Space hosted the Sixth Annual Design Winter Market. This event, a magnet for current and prospective design students, their parents, university colleagues, and the central Ohio design community, celebrated the fusion of design, sustainability, and commerce.
Educational Foundation: A highlight of the market was the Home Goods Shoppe, featuring eight unique products developed by industrial design students in their third-year Autumn studio course taught by Asst. Prof. William Nickley. This course, focusing on sustainable design practices, encouraged students to explore and create products viable for commercial sale, instilling in them a balance of creativity, market awareness, and sustainability.
When asked about the pedagogical function of Winter Market, industrial design major program coordinator and Department of Design faculty member Dr. Sébastien Proulx shared, “The Winter Market is an important event and component of the Industrial Design curriculum. While it serves learning objectives, the event also supports the development of students' soft skills as it provides them with evidence of their capacity to "deliver". This can be a great confidence booster, which is essential to be able to take risks in the design studios and make the most of their design education.”
Learning continues for students during the Winter Market event; the dual role of the Winter Market event as art exhibition and marketplace forces students to see their design work - and role as a designer in society - through different lenses. Students selling their goods must hone their product “pitch” in the hope of communicating their product’s value proposition to a potential customer.
Additional Market Features: Circular Bodies, a pioneer in sustainable home and body wellness, was featured in the market’s Design Ventures Showcase. Its founder, Dominique Flaksberg, is a current graduate student in the Department of Design. Her business’s commitment to circular economy principles and use of organic, earth-friendly ingredients exemplify the type of innovative thinking nurtured at Ohio State.
Students enrolled in the Design Foundations program ran the market’s Greeting Card Station, offering guests unique, hand-crafted cards and a peek at first-year design students’ developing skills and knowledge.
The 2023 market also featured work from two special guest student organizations: Student League of Independent Ceramicists (SLIC) and Glass Club. While the Winter Market has historically highlighted “design” work, organizers have seen the potential mutual benefit of including work from other folks in the Arts.
Engagement, Impact, and Future Outlook: The market provided a platform for well over 100 attendees to interact with the next generation of designers, crafters and makers, gaining insights into the creative process and the importance of sustainability in not only what we make but how we make it. Department of Design Chairperson Fabienne Munch shared, “Winter Market 2023 confirmed this year again the astuteness of Ohio State Design students in materializing their ideas into real products. They demonstrated understanding of relevance, and learned the difficult challenge of adjusting fabrication means and choices, to ever pressing requests for speed.”
The event was not just a display of creativity but also a successful fundraiser, with proceeds from sales raising $2,595 to benefit student design organizations, including student chapters of Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), Columbus Society of Communicating Arts (CSCA), and International Interior Design Association (IIDA). This success underscores the event's role in shaping the future of design, emphasizing sustainability and innovation.
The Sixth Annual Design Winter Market at Ohio State stands as a testament to the bright future of design, combining creativity with a conscience. It continues to inspire and attract attention, promising even greater achievements in sustainable design. Individuals and groups interested in becoming involved with next year’s event can contact Asst. Prof. William Nickley directly.
For a closer look at the 2023 market offerings, visit the online exhibition for the Sixth Annual Design Winter Market, curated by Urban Arts Space.
William Nickley co-authored this article with ChatGPT 4.0, editing assistance from Gabe Tippery.
All photos used with permission from Natalie Kittle, who happens to be a Design Foundations student.