Barrett Outstanding Graduate designs for problem-solving, community service at ASU

Photo of Lindsey Brannen

Lindsey Brannen


Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.

Throughout her undergraduate career in The Design School at the Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Lindsey Brannen combined great creativity with a knack for problem-solving to come up with innovative solutions.

Brannen, also a student in Barrett, The Honors College, graduates in May with a Bachelor of Science in industrial design with honors. She has been named Barrett’s Outstanding Graduate for Creativity.

“Lindsey’s design work in her studio courses has demonstrated her creativity and drive to solve problems that improve the well-being of society and people,” said Dosun Shin, professor of industrial design and honors faculty advisor in Barrett who nominated Brannen for the award.

“She researched and designed innovative solutions to appeal to user needs, including a smart lockbox to prevent porch piracy; an IoT device to promote safety, independence and well-being for school children; and a redesigned ice cream machine to create a more accessible and human-centered experience while preparing food. Her creative works were completed with in-depth research insights and high-level technical design skills,” Shin added.

Brannen received three Design Excellence Awards for her industrial design studio projects — in fall 2021, spring 2022 and fall 2022. At the end of each industrial design studio, faculty and external reviewers nominate student projects, with the best ones receiving the award.

In addition to awards for excellence in design, Brannen received the Katherine K Herberger Design Scholarship, William F. Koenig Scholarship, Eirene Peggy Lamb Scholarship and Dwight L Busby Family Scholarship.

Outside of the classroom, Brannen was involved with the Industrial Designers Society of America ASU student chapter, serving as the organization’s president, treasurer, graphics and marketing officer and student representative. She planned hands-on skill-building workshops, arranged for professional IDSA groups and alumni to connect with students, managed and delegated tasks to officers, defined a visual brand to promote the club and secured funding for the organization.

She used her design skills to create ASU’s Industrial Design showcase website for this year’s graduating class and in an internship at NOCO, a car battery accessory company in Chandler, Arizona.

Brannen took time out to reflect on her time as an ASU undergraduate. She shared these thoughts.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: Growing up, my favorite part of class projects would always be when we got to be creative, such as constructing models or designing posters. I knew I wanted to do something in the design field and ultimately landed on industrial design for its versatility and the ability to use creativity to solve problems.  
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Something I learned at ASU that changed how I view design is the importance of designing for accessibility. Designing something targeted toward a specific audience not only allows that group to have an easy experience using the product, but it could also be appreciated by the general population. An example of this is OXO Good Grips kitchen tools, which were designed to help people with arthritis but also makes cooking more comfortable for everyone.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I knew I wanted to go to ASU after I toured The Design School as a junior in high school. The design students had their project posters hung up in the Design South gallery, and I felt inspired to create something like that myself. One of the students gave me a tour of the industrial design studio, and the feeling of community within The Design School and the type of work they did confirmed my decision to attend ASU.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I have been very lucky to have so many great professors guide me on my path to becoming a designer throughout my college career. One professor that inspires me to have a sustainable-driven mindset is Professor Charlotte McCurdy. Her work in the sustainability field showed me the possibilities to push boundaries and use design to make change in the world.  

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to students?

A: My best piece of advice for current students is to put your work and self out there. It can be through club involvement, attending mock interviews and career fairs, getting to know your classmates and professors, or going to social events at school. You never know what opportunities might present themselves there.  

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus is the Design and the Arts Library located in The Design School. It’s the perfect place for studying, taking a break, or sketching some new ideas for a project. Right outside is Charlie’s Cafe, where you can get a quick snack and coffee between classes. I’m always running into my friends, classmates and professors there.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, my plan is to work as a product and brand designer at NOCO! I’ve been interning there since May last year, and the work environment and people are awesome.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Something I would like to tackle is designing for walkability in Phoenix. This would be through creating a well-developed public transportation system and designing safer and more enjoyable sidewalks, bike paths and related structures. 

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