Design Field Notes, Fall 2021

October 21, 2022 | 4:41 pm

Please join us in welcoming another exciting semester of Design Field Notes speakers. As part of our ongoing course DES INV 95, this speaker series invites a dynamic group of designers, artists, and academics in design-related fields to share their work and practice with our students and public.

This series will be held virtually for the Fall semester. Each talk is free and open to all students and members of the public. A Zoom account is required for login and access to this series. You can join each of the talks during its scheduled time using this link!

Talks will take place Tuesdays at 4 PM. 

August 31: Intro – No Speaker
Timothy Bardlavens September 7

Timothy Bardlavens / Product Design Manager, Facebook

Timothy Bardlavens is chaotic good in its purest form. He is a Gay, Black man from the Carolinas, the youngest son of a single mother and everything institutional trauma and oppression says you cannot be or become. He leads Community Relevance and Culture at Facebook, is a Cultural Strategist, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) specialist, a Co-Founder, a writer and an International Speaker & Facilitator on topics of design & tech culture, equity, white supremacy and systems of oppression.
Nicole Panditi September 14: The Right to Repair

Nicole Panditi / Design Technician, Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation

Nicole Panditi is an engineer, researcher and earth-geek based in Berkeley, California. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Sustainability from UC Berkeley. Her areas of expertise are plastics, fabrication, product design and prototyping, and sustainability analysis. For fun she likes to hug armfuls of 3D printing plastic and pretend they are hugging back. She has published research on lattice behavior in the journal of Composite Structures. She has given talks at Harvard, City College of San Francisco, and UC Berkeley about campus recycling infrastructures and 3D printing.
Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng September 21: Virtual Intimacy In The Physical Reality

Jiani Zeng / Principal Designer of Illusory Material & CPO of Butlr
Honghao Deng / CEO of Butlr

Jiani Zeng and Honghao Deng are designers and innovators focusing on creating tangible and responsive experiences. Their work exists on the boundary between the digital and physical realms, reinventing material expression and exploring new design opportunities with emerging technology such as AIoT, soft-robotics, and multi-material 3D printing.

Zeng and Deng graduated from MIT and Harvard, their work has been awarded with Red Dot Best of the Best, IF Design Award, Architizer A+, Core77 Design Award, IDEA Silver, A’Design Award Platinum and Gold, and featured by Fast Company, Dezeen, Financial Times, Domus, Dexigner, INNOVATION Magazine, FRAME, Marie Claire, and CBS. With their groundbreaking work “Illusory Material”, they are recognized as the “Next Generation 2021” designers by Wallpaper Magazine. They are co-founders of Butlr Technologies, an MIT Media Lab spin-off that builds the next-gen people-sensing platform.

James Tucker September 28: Intersections of Art, Craft, and Design

James Tucker / The Aesthetic Union

Founded by James Lewis Tucker in 2013, The Aesthetic Union is a celebration of the craft of letterpress printing. Keeping the human element front and center, we imbue soul into everything we make, revealing the human element in each hand-crafted and unique print. Borne of collaboration we provide a place to come together and create.
Neebinnaukzhik Southall October 5: For Our Peoples: Engaging in Intertribal Relationality as an Anishinaabe Creative

Neebinnaukzhik Southall, / Owner, Neebin Studios

Neebinnaukzhik Southall, a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, is a graphic designer, artist, photographer, and writer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they run their small creative business Neebin Studios ( They also maintain a list of Indigenous graphic designers at the Native Graphic Design Project ( Neebin is fundamentally concerned with representing Native peoples in a positive and empowering way through their work.
October 12: The Role of Storytelling in Your Career

Sara Cambridge / UX Research Consultant

Sara has been a UX researcher for 9 years, and before that worked as a graphic designer for over a decade. She has worked both in-house and as an external consultant, and has experience at Google, Verily, Airtable, and Patreon. She’s a graduate of Berkeley’s School of Information, where she currently teaches the “Storytelling for your UX Portfolio” class.
October 19: Discussion day – No Speaker
Sofia Brazzola October 26: Design Strategy for Technology Innovation – Future-Proofing an Engineering Company into a Learning Organization

Sofia Brazzola / Brand & Marketing Manager, Sennheiser

Sofia is a Design Strategist with experience ranging from User Experience and Human-Centric product innovation to currently Brand and Marketing in the audio technology industry. Currently, she is focused on building new ventures for the German audio champion Sennheiser, such as piloting its entry in the automotive industry. Ambassador of Design Strategy and user-centric development approaches in a strongly engineering-focused company, she will talk about the necessary engagements needed for such a corporate transformation and the tricks she learned along the way.
Jingyi Li November 2: Designing Tools for Visual Artists

Jingyi Li / PhD Candidate, Stanford University

Jingyi Li (they/them) is a 5th year PhD candidate in computer science with a focus in human-computer interaction at Stanford University. Their research investigates ways computation can better support expressive creative practices, particularly for digital artists. They are a UC Berkeley EECS alum (Go Bears!) and hold the many hours spent in Jacobs Hall dear. Outside of research, Jingyi enjoys drawing, sewing, going to concerts, and competitive Pokemon.
Drew McPherson November 9: Assistive Technology, Adapting to the Built Environment

Drew McPherson / PhD Student and AbilityHacks Co-Founder

Drew McPherson is a mechanical engineer with an interest in assistive technology (AT), mechatronics, human-centered product design, and rapid prototyping. Drew is a co-founder and board chair of, a local nonprofit bringing together local and international people with disabilities to develop open-source AT to address unmet needs. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in the EDG lab at UC Berkeley focusing on hand augmentation and grasping for folks with hand impairment. Drew has worked on many hardware design projects, and co-taught a course on Prosthetic Hand Design in the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation at UC Berkeley. He earned a M.S. & B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley during which he co-founded EnableTech, bringing students together with community members with disabilities to create prototypes to address daily challenges they face. He also served as a TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers) fellow attending, facilitating, and mentoring at international and local makeathons of assistive technology for people with disabilities.
James Song November 16: The Future of Design is Invisible

James Song / Director of Design, Facebook

James is a seasoned design executive with over 15 years of experience building teams, products and brands for some of the best companies in the world. He’s currently the Head of Design for Facebook AI Research, and was previously Director of Product Design at Uber running the Platform Design and Research team. As a Creative Director at frog design, James was responsible for leading teams to create experiences at the intersection of design, technology and brand for the enterprise and early-stage startups. Prior to joining frog, he co-founded the independent digital studio JVST with clients such as Intel, Capitol Records, HBO, Activision, Nike, Sony Playstation, LVMH and Nintendo.
Amir Elabbady November 23: UX Research Isn’t As Scary As You Think

Amir Elabbady / UX Design Lead, Accenture

Amir Elabbady was born and raised in Minneapolis, and attended the University of Minnesota, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Design Studies, Applied Business, and Management. Amir currently is a UX Design Lead in consulting, where he helps improve product interactions, interfaces, and experiences to create user-centered products. Specializing in information architecture and user research, Amir has spent more than 400 hours giving design lectures and workshops. Amir has also worked with over fifteen Fortune 500 companies to help implement the effective user-centered design principles to ensure the emotional desires, needs, and goals of their customers are discovered and understood while meeting the business requirements and the context in which these coalesce.
Jasmine Kent November 30: Design – My Personal Journey

Jasmine Kent / Innovation Designer I, Target

Jasmine Kent is an Industrial & Apparel Designer with a passion for innovation that targets sports, celebrates black culture, and ignites an inclusive way of life. She is currently an Innovation Designer at Target, designing Bras and Seamless Apparel for Target’s newest athletic brand, All In Motion, as well as spearheading their Apparel Innovation team. With a background in Industrial Design, Visual Communication, and Architecture, Jasmine brings a unique perspective to design through the ability to design at multiple scales and through various mediums. Her strength lies in the foundational use of sketching and prototyping in an effort to emphasize co-creation in her design process.

Jasmine is passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, so she is an active member of the IDSA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. She is a Board Member for Advanced Design, a non-profit design organization that tackles the issues of mental health, education, politics, as well as the different avenues of design through thoughtful discourse and decolonized education. Jasmine received IDSA’s 20/20 Recognition for stepping up to help others, speaking out on important issues, keeping her community connected through virtual programming, and accomplishing a great deal under unprecedented circumstances.

In her free time, she works as a Community Strategist for Hue Collective, a non-profit organization that hosts an annual Design Summit with the mantra that “Color Creates Community”. Jasmine is also a certified doula (@the_doulady) passionate about empowering women through their entry to motherhood. Jasmine also enjoys crafting (specifically woodworking and sewing), music, binge watching, traveling, and trying new foods.

December 7: Final Discussion – No Speaker


Previous Speakers:

  • Mike Buffington, Industrial-, Graphic-, and Musical Instrument-Designer
  • Matthew Sibigtroth, UX prototyper, Google
  • Bernice Wong, Senior Experience Designer, Zynga
  • Shruti Grover, Founder, Pattern Project
  • Joon Shin, Director of Design, Joon Care
  • Nelly Ben Hayoun, Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios
  • Jieting (Tina) Chen, Product designer, Ro
  • Eun hee (Sally) Jo, Industrial Designer, Google
  • Audrey Gaulard, The Polyfloss Factory
  • Paul Sohi, Designer and Product Marketer, Autodesk
  • Rodrigo Garcia, CoCEO and Founder, Notpla
  • Timothy Bardlavens, Product Design Manager, Facebook
  • Nicole Panditi, Design Technician, Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation
  • Jiani Zeng, Principal Designer of Illusary Material/CPO of Butlr & Honghao Deng, CEO of Butlr
  • James Tucker, The Aesthetic Union
  • Neebinnaukzhik Southall, Owner of Neebin Studios
  • Sara Cambridge, UX Research Consultant
  • Sofia Brazzola, Brand & Marketing Manager, Sennheiser
  • Jingyi Li, Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford University
  • Drew McPherson, Ph.D. Student and AbilityHacks Co-Founder
  • James Song, Director of Design, Facebook
  • Jasmine Kent, Innovation Designer, Target