ArtCenter College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

Anastasia Hanan

Graduate Industrial Design

How/Why did you choose Art Center?
I was working in fashion as a design director and was visiting business schools like UCLA Anderson and USC Marshall. I did not know anything about industrial design. I loved my job. However, the business of fashion was really not in line with my long-term goals. It didn’t create much meaning, and it wasn’t kind to experienced designers.

I loved the Art Center at Night Classes I was taking. On a whim, I took Krystina Castella’s Invention Innovation course. My mind was completely blown. Business collided with design and suddenly something clicked. After some not so subtle nudging from Stan Kong, I went and interviewed with Graduate Industrial Design chair, Andy Ogden and afterwards I remember feeling like the luckiest person to have stumbled upon a program in own my backyard that was exactly what I had been looking for.  Human needs meeting design, technology, strategy and business.

I also had no idea at the time that eventually our program would offer an MBA (that I will now be a candidate for in the fall). It’s been a really interesting journey; and I am so grateful for this experience.

In what ways has Art Center helped you grow as an artist/designer?
The marriage of collaboration and design has been decoded by what I have learned in Grad ID and our constant use of team-based work. I appreciate the product that comes from a group of people that have completely different strengths or points of view. It is not by any means easy. But you get such a stronger result. I have made an effort to really encourage students to learn more about science and business as the collaborations there have so much potential.

How do you hope to change the world through your work?
Too often businesses leave out the “costs” that will obviously affect everything but may not have a “monetizable” metric. These “hidden” impacts like devaluation of brand, long term instability and environmental impact are seemingly intangible but are so interesting to me. Looking at value beyond growth and for all stakeholders involved is something that some companies have done really well  (Organic Valley is a great example)  and their bottom line is ultimately better for it.

What advice would you give to prospective Art Center students?
Join Art Center Student Government. It will give you access to a wonderful network of people that you will likely not meet otherwise. Always ask “why?” until you find a suitable response. Also, help is there. Go seek it out. Art Center has such a depth of resources that we are all too busy to use. But try anyway!

What are your most reliable and/or unlikely sources of inspiration?
People. Going out and talking to people. Anyone and Everyone. An hour of talking to people is often more informative and inspiring than week of internet searches.

What are some of the most unexpected/interesting aspects to your experience at Art Center outside the classroom?
I’m working on a project right now with a team from Caltech that is funded by the Gates Foundation. It’s incredibly rewarding and so great to be on such a diverse team of really inspiring people.


Photo by Katie Buntsma (Photo '13)

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