Student work created in the ACX Kids class Inventors
Detail of student work created in the ACX Kids class Inventors' Workshop.

feature / artcenter-extension / faculty / alumni / product-design
September 28, 2020
By Solvej Schou
Images courtesy of Nas Oh


Think of three ways to brush your teeth without using your hands, sketch those ideas, and then turn them into products.

That’s a prompt alumnus Nas Oh (BFA 11 Illustration), a production designer for movies, music videos and commercials, uses in his ACX Kids class Inventors’ Workshop. In the class, students learn how to develop concepts, boost their visualization skills and create products. ACX Kids is ArtCenter’s extension program for students in grades 4 through 8.

“Creativity doesn't just help designers and artists,” Oh says. “Once you know how to brainstorm and creatively solve problems, you can use those skills in your everyday life.”

With Fall 2020 ACX Kids classes being taught remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oh has focused Inventors’ Workshop on industrial drawing techniques and problem solving, using sketchbooks, a ruler and Prismacolor pencils. Students are shown video and photo examples of existing products and are asked to critique them as both a designer and a consumer. Then, they redesign those products according to what they think they could improve.

One past student who liked cooking wanted to forgo using two different spatulas (a soft spatula and a hard spatula) when cooking fried eggs and meat. To solve this problem, he created a jointed spatula, whose stiffness could be mechanically adjusted from loose to tight using “+” and “–” buttons. “It was a very cute idea based on his personal experience,” says Oh.

Oh also prepares his students for working in the real world by teaching them how to speak with future clients and negotiate peaceful resolutions.

“Working on different types of productions, there are always issues that you never think will be a problem,” Oh points out. “You must figure out how to solve the problem you’re facing within a very short period of time. In my mind, there’s always a way for everything.”

ACX Kids faculty member Nas Oh.
ACX Kids faculty member Nas Oh.