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Award-winning experience designer to speak Feb. 12 at ISU College of Design

February 05, 2015

Brett Renfer, director of experience design at Collins in New York City
"SALT" by Brett Renfer with Shobun Baile
"The Archive" by LAB at Rockwell Group


AMES, Iowa — Brett Renfer, the director of experience design at Collins in New York City, will share his work in a lecture Thursday, Feb. 12, at Iowa State University.

In "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Technology," Renfer will describe his role as an experience designer, demonstrate ways that graphic design and technology interrelate in the development of user experience and show examples of the interactive interventions and installations he creates.

Renfer's presentation will be from noon to 1 p.m. in room 305 Carver Hall. Part of the Spring 2015 Graphic Design Speaker Series sponsored by the ISU Department of Graphic Design, the talk is free and open to the public.

In addition to the lecture, Renfer will offer a workshop for graphic design students from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb 12, and 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Feb. 13, in Gallery 181, College of Design. They will work with motion and projections in space, said Alex Braidwood, assistant professor of graphic design, who is organizing Renfer’s visit.

The public is invited to stop by during the workshop and to attend the final presentation of student projects at 11 a.m. Feb. 13 in the gallery.

Renfer's work bridges a variety of media and ranges from writing code that results in printed materials to producing interactive video projections at an architectural scale. Prior to joining Collins, he was a senior technologist at the LAB at Rockwell Group, where he was recognized with honors including a 2011 Core77 Design Award, Professional Notable in the Interactive/Web/Mobile category; a 2012 IxDA Interaction Award and a 2013 EventTech Awards Finalist.

Renfer has built immersive experiences for Google, Intel, JetBlue, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Whitney Museum of Art, ZER01 and the National Building Museum. These projects include "Plug-In-Play," an 18-story interactive projection for the 2010 01SJ Biennial (winner of the Core77 award) and the dramatic West Lobby Columns for the Cosmopolitan as well as the design of the Type Directors Club's 60th Annual Call for Entries campaign and the Archive, which translates the Google Cultural Institute's collection of five million digitized artifacts into a collaborative, architectural-scale interactive experience.

Renfer's "SALT" is a physical, digital and sonic sculpture that is gradually destroyed by direct and indirect human interaction, with the goal of making global-scale ecological concerns compelling and accessible to a wide audience.

Renfer regularly leads workshops and hackathons and is an instructor at the New School and New York University. He holds a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design with a focus on interaction design from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit.

Alex Braidwood, Graphic Design, (313) 595-3155,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,