Day 12. Materialists, It’s Time to Shine!


Getting To Know Your Brand!

Diane Diane Chiang Brand: Under Armour Overarching Story: As Team Under Armour, we were tasked as a team to develop footwear for Under Armour. For our project, we want to move Under Armour towards extreme action outdoor sports that fit their brand. Our persona is the American hero: someone who puts their life on the line for something they believe in or just because. For the next two weeks, I will be working seamlessly with my team to establish Under Armour’s new brand direction. Today’s Photo Caption: Picking Under Armour footwear developer Craig’s brain for research. 10247373_10201979511711174_251283141917992696_n Reflection: To stay relevant in the CMF field, it’s great to learn about the industry’s most up-to-date advances in material innovation. Suzette and her vendors generously donates their time to come and speak to us. Tinayi   Brand: Columbia COLUMBIA INSPIRATION BOARDSReflection: I definitely absorbed more of Suzette’s two day materials/colors/finishes blitzkrieg this time around. Last year when I participated in Pensole as a footwear designer I remember coming out of Suzette’s class with a jumbled brain full of new vocabulary. This time around, I felt like I had a foundation to build upon. I feel much more confident in helping my team develop strong color, material, and finish stories that will bring their concepts to life.   NIckNick Sharma Brand: Adidas Our team is covering a signature line of shoes for the Trail Blazer’s Damian Lillard. Under the Adidas banner, our focus is starting from scratch. Lillard had a hard time growing up in Oakland, when he moved to Utah for college he had to prove himself to be accepted into the NBA lottery. And when he finally joined the Blazer’s it was his motivation and work mentality that kept him going. This image was from his home in Oakland, it was where he learned to hone his craft. Not only is this milk carton a key moment in Lillard’s life, but it shows the dedication he had to make it through all the way to the NBA, that dedication is what Adidas looks for in their athletes, and what we are hoping to achieve during this project. Damian started out honing his skills playing basketball by shooting over tree branches. When the tree was trimmed, his uncle nailed a board and hollowed out milk crate to the tree to use as a basket. I used the diamond grate pattern from that milk crate to tie each line of footwear to each other. It is the perfect reminder that even Damian started out from scratch.10335693_767626013267741_1074092057_n Reflection: While it was overwhelming to cover such a expansive topic in just a day, it helped motivate me to dig into research on materials, and find the answers for topics that were just touched on during the presentations. The single most defining moment of yesterday’s presentations was the talk on translucent aluminum. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend how that technology came about, and pushed me more than ever. margertt   Margaret Frye Brand: Nike

Statement: Nike Rise is a new brand under the Nike umbrella that we created in order to elevate up and coming athletes in emerging sports. will-gadd-bozeman-ice-festival
Reflection: It was great to hear insights from veteran industry professionals. I came to Pensole thinking that I already knew a fair amount about materials and processes. Although I was able to contribute to the conversation, I was still humbled by the experience and information presented by our guest lectured and inspired to explore further.
Kelly Kim
Brand: Vans
Our group is developing different types of sustainability that could create positive social and environmental change for Vans. The main idea is the beast and our story will be about the life of the beast, starting from living day by day, trying to change the old habits to new one, renovating its entire traits, and lastly, being born as a new person.
Refection: Suzette’s two day materials/colors/finishes was totally a new experience to me. Almost more than half of the information was full of wonderland, but by looking and touching a variety of real materials and finishes it was an exciting moment. I think this expereience should be at Art Center and it should provide this great opportunity for other people.

Material Design Matters Day 01






What a day for materials; Textiles and Composites! Today was the first of three days of complete material knowledge. Suzette started the day with creating an overview of what specifically the Materialist’s role in the teams. Suzette told us stories about her resume and track record, and still designers would still not understand what her job was. There seems to be a large disconnect to what a true Materialist’s role is.

Going through the day, golden nuggets were dropped in Suzette’s lecture. Things from finding inspiration, knowing timelines for innovation and technology, understanding your hero, understanding your consumer and market, knowing the price and volume, color palette and color blocking, being in a creative team and triad, and footprint.

By understanding the overall the importance of these qualities, the Materialist and designers soaked in material knowledge and now was the time to balance your process. With balance understanding how to grow through materials. Material designers have to grow though understanding light and dark, finishes, vendors, networks, consumer, and your own brand.

After being soaked with how to balance yourself through materials, your creative team, and triad, Suzette introduced how you could grow as a material designer. With CMF, the material designer is set in a good place for success when they are equipped with a great set of tools to speak to different vendors, designers, or developers.SONY DSC SONY DSCGreg Diharce, a guest speaker from Tiong Liong Corporation, gave us some great insights on the industry, as well as some ideas for our projects. We got a look at some CMF innovations including composite materials for 2016, PU skin applications, and rapid prototyping. He also, very generously, brought along some samples for our material library.

Time to go HUNTING Materialists!


Sunday was a day off for all the Materialists. All the Materialists were tasked with hunting inspiration for their team’s brand.

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I spent yesterday strolling around Portland gathering color palettes, materials and textures. Portland has so many great palettes and imagery to offer!

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“Sunday was my opportunity to hunt for color, material, and texture inspiration for team Columbia. Macleay Park provided a cornucopia of inspiration to bring back to the studio.” – Tianyi Sun


“I spent some time investigating products in other categories to jump start material ideas for my team’s footwear line. This rappelling rope struck me as something I might be able to reference in an interesting way for one of the shoes designed for competitive ice climbers.” – Margaret Frye

Hi, my name is Tuan and I will be serving you with yummy inspirations.



Day 03

Hi, my name is Tuan Nguyen and I’m currently Suzette’s T.A. Being “hand picked” from the best material designer in the world, I had a very unique opportunity to learn and soak knowledge like a sponge. Now that it is day 3, my responsibilities are to keep the blog up to date, help the Materialist in any way shape or form, help Suzette with everything, and work on my Pantone project.

My goals for the blog are to keep everyone up to date with our Materialists’ process and goals. The blog is here to be transparent to the material design world. The MLAB team is here to show what Material Designers are capable of and to extend the boundaries of material design.

My goals with each Materialists and Suzette is to help them in any way shape or form.

With my Pantone project, Suzette gave me the challenge of mounting Pantone postcards on the MLAB wall.  My brain started to tick and I asked if I could put a spin to the project. I believe that the MLAB represents more than just learning about colors, materials, and finishes; MLAB is a place where we, as a family, can grow and experience CMF in different ways. I ran the idea by Suzette to allow the Materialists and Footwear Designers to leave their mark by sketching their final designs on the Pantone cards. Here are my process photos of my project!


Pensole MLAB Students Expectations


Day 02

How did you find out about MLAB?
What are your expectations?

Day Two of MLAB was very busy for each individual Materialist. Leading a team of Nike, Adidas, Columbia, Vans, and Under Armour, each Materialist had an opportunity to listen to each designer’s story and be inspired by their findings. Each Materialist’s vision of the overall arching brand will be given to each designer and incorporated into each individual project.

Meet Pensole’s Materialists

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Day 01

Order of appearance:


Tianyi Sun

Diane Chiang

Margaret Frye

Kelly Kim

Nick Sharma




Started in spring of 2014, MLAB and Art Center College of Design combined their efforts to create a materials lead team named The Materialists.

The Materialists were created to lead designers through Color, Materials, and Finishes.

Our mantra is; hunt, gather, and create.

The major disciplines The Materialists are learning are to create;

Concept + Innovate

Story+ Inspire

Research + Development

Communication + Share

Lead + Innovate

Validate + Network

As a Materialist, we will be the team material designer within a group of 4 designers. The Materialists are responsible to have ownership of the team’s over arching inspirationinfluence the designers, build confidence, painting the vision for the final presentation, and to create a toolbox to take away by the end of the program.

Each team will collaborate with their Materialist and execute through understanding ; consumer, inspiration, brand, retailer, price, performance, CMF, legend, and packaging.

The Materialists will also be responsible for creating a palette for each individual footwear project. The Materialists will work closely in creating stories and feeling through CMF. The palette will consist of; branding, consumer, CMF, and balance.

The main brief for the Materialists is to create; a DNA + Design the language, natural attributes, aesthetics, performance, price point, consumer, retail, manufacture, vendor, and execution.

By the end of the program, each Materialist will be stronger and more confident in their ability to hunt, gather, and create.