Search
News
View full story dorm.jpg

Story: Aug 27, 2014

New residence hall welcomes first-year students in comfort, ...

View details 2014 Faculty Exhibition

CIA Exhibition: Aug 28, 2014

2014 Faculty Exhibition

View full story brittanylockwood1.jpg

Story: Aug 18, 2014

2014 grad to design whimsical playgrounds for Colorado compa...

View details Lunch On Fridays: Kasumi

Events: Sep 05, 2014

Lunch On Fridays: Kasumi

View Link

Social: 3 days ago via Facebook

We love to hear the excited reactions from our incoming class, who are the first to live in CIA's new Uptown Residence Hall. One student, Emily Linville, sai...

View full story liberal-artscma.jpg

Story: Aug 18, 2014

CIA again named to "Best in the Midwest" list

View details Mizoguchi's Greatest Decade

Events: Sep 06, 2014

Mizoguchi's Greatest Decade

View full story emilyhromi-stillforscreen.jpg

Story: Aug 13, 2014

Biomedical grad wins award for animation on stuttering

View details Filmmaker and author John Waters to present one-man show

Events: Sep 27, 2014

Filmmaker and author John Waters to present one-man show

View details picresized1407629035horsesofgod2.jpg

Blog: Aug 26, 2014

8/28-31: Finding Vivian Maier, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors & more!

View full story cnswithlabelsfullscreen.jpg

Story: Aug 11, 2014

Student-designed app teaches embryology, improves scores

View details Fall 2014 Open House

Events: Nov 15, 2014

Fall 2014 Open House

News . Feature Stories . Industrial design grad gives TEDx talk on creative play

News

December 02, 2013

Industrial design grad gives TEDx talk on creative play

NERF designer Aaron Mead '01 demonstrates the power of tangible concepts

Industrial design grad gives TEDx talk on creative play

Most kids think being an adult must be pretty boring. But when CIA grad Aaron Mead gives tours of Hasbro’s headquarters in Rhode Island, where he has been designing NERF toys for more than ten years, kids are amazed to discover that grownups like him “get to play all day” on the job.

Of course there’s also a lot of hard work involved in designing products for one of the largest toy makers in the world—where Mead has worked on the Littlest Pet Shop and G.I. Joe product lines in addition to his role as Senior NERF Armorer (as his business card reads).

“Every day I use what I learned at CIA—especially communication skills, drawing, rendering, presentation,” said Mead. “I do a ton of sketch modeling when we present to our marketing and engineering groups. They want to know the look of the product, the play, how it fits into the marketplace and strategy... and physical sketching helps communicate those ideas.”

Last month, Mead demonstrated his approach to designing for creative play at TEDxChemungRiver in Corning, New York. TEDx is a nationwide series of events at which speakers and small groups gather to share and discuss ideas. A nonprofit organization, TED started with a 1984 conference on technology, entertainment, and design.

The theme of this year’s Chemung River event was “It Connects Us.” Mead used his talk, titled “Build your way through creative play,” to explain the importance of making ideas tangible. In both his childhood and his professional life, Mead has relied on physical sketching—building idea prototypes out of simple materials—to tell stories and convey ideas.

“There I am as a bored kid with all these great materials—cardboard, paper, tape, glue, and two very creative parents who were trying to keep me at bay,” Mead said in his talk. “I physically built what was in my imagination... and when I was done playing, I knew I could build a bigger, faster, stronger rocket ship next time.”

The endless hours he spent crafting and improving his childhood toys paid off as he worked his way through high school art classes, the Industrial Design program at CIA, and now his career at Hasbro. “Even today I will not go into a presentation without something physical in my hand to tell the story of what we’re talking about,” said Mead.

When it’s time to set the stage for collaboration and creativity, he said, “I’m going to do what comes naturally. I’m going to build.”

Mead’s TEDx talk can be viewed on YouTube or via ted.com.

Above: Aaron Mead has serious fun in his career as a toy designer. Photo courtesy of Mead.

YouTube Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Flickr Pinterest Instagram

Social Feed

Tonight: attend the opening reception of CIA's Faculty Exhibition (6-8pm) to view work by our accomplished faculty: http://t.co/O7vvP6xTt5

4 days ago via Twitter

Sign up for our alumni + friends newsletter

Arrow

Questions?

For more information about this or other CIA news, contact us here.

Read More

Community Works

Visiting artists, exhibitions, conference and symposia exploring socially engaged art.

Read More

Support CIA

Show the world creativity matters: make a gift to the annual fund.

Read More

Cores + Connections

Learn more about CIA's proven method for academic and professional excellence.