WWU Design Days Features Student Work, Professional Speakers

May 16, 2016

The Western Washington University Department of Design has released the schedule for its annual Design Days, which takes place May 16-19 this year and is free and open to the public.

The opening presentation at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 16 will be a panel discussion by three notable WWU Design alumni in Academic West 204. The closing keynote at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, also in AW 204, will be delivered by Kirk James, COO/principal of the Portland-based design firm Cinco.

The complete schedule for the week is available at wwu.edu/design.

James is a brand leader with 25 years of experience guiding global design and identity programs. A graduate of the University of Arizona, he began his career as a designer at Jager Di Paola Kemp in Burlington, Vermont, and in-house at Nike in Beaverton, Oregon. James founded Cinco in 1998. The firm now employs more than 60 people, and is a collection of strategic brand, product, and environmental designers “making marketing strategy tangible” and “bringing brand experiences to life.” James has helped shaped popular brands such as Nixon, Smith, Microsoft, and Gogor0. The approach at Cinco is holistic, and uses story, product, service, and brand culture to shape identity.

Alumni Peter Anderson, Brandon Ramirez, and Fumi Watanabe will discuss their careers and give insight into the Seattle design industry at the opening event on May 16. Anderson (2000 graduate) is the design director at Hornall Anderson; Brandon Ramirez (2003) is the principal/creative director at Mystery Made; and Fumi Watanabe (2001) is a design director at Starbucks. Each represent three unique career paths; working at an agency, running a design firm, and working in-house.

Anderson began his career with the firm GRIP. During his 11 years with Hornall Anderson, Anderson has worked closely with PepsiCo, Ruffles, Frito-Lay, Microsoft, Widmer Brothers, K2, Amgen, 4Culture, University of Washington, and Progresso. He has been recognized with a wide range of industry awards.

Ramirez has spent the last 13 years designing graphics for the action sports industry. After spending 8 years in-house at K2 Sports with Ride Snowboards, Ramirez, with partners Cory Cote and Mark Fankhauser, established their Seattle-based design agency, Mystery Made. Building on their established network in action sports, Mystery Made has worked with a variety of notable brands including Outdoor Research, Billabong, Coleman, DC Snowboards, Hyperlite Wakeboards, and Stance Socks.

Watanabe leads cross-functional creative development of retail experience and branding for Teavana. In her 15 years at Starbucks, she has managed design for global consumer products, global in-store art, merchandise collections, card program, Starbucks food, packaging design for Evolution Fresh juice, and various branding projects including Starbucks, Starbucks Reserve, Tazo and Teavana.

All Design Days events are free and open to the public. Free parking after 4:30 p.m. is available in the C Lots on South Campus. For business hours visits and disability accommodations, please call 360650-2829 or go to cfpa.wwu.edu/visiting for more information.