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Best of the Week 2018-2019: Excellence in College Prep


This week in Mr. Shaun Kinley's Advertising and Design class, students welcomed Michael Laudi '07 to speak about his patented assistive medical devices and his career as an industrial designer for Step2, the largest American manufacturer of preschool and toddler toys and the world's largest rotational molder of plastics. Mr. Laudi, who originally went to college to pursue a degree in Business, changed the course of his career after realizing the business industry wasn't for him and that he desired a profession that would foster more creativity. As a recent graduate from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Mr. Laudi wanted to stay local and got his first big idea just by sitting in a Cleveland coffee shop, where he noticed a man suffering from arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), when a joint becomes permanently fixed in a bent or extended position, restricting the movement of the affected joint. From his observation, Mr. Laudi noticed that the man couldn't grip his cup of coffee and had to balance it on his wrist. This sparked Mr. Laudi's inspiration which led him to create the design for a wearable cup (with a flexible double-walled plastic handle and saucer base for stability) to assist those with motor skill issues. Mr. Laudi's cup design is now patented and will be used throughout University Hospitals in Cleveland.

From sketching and modeling to creating mockups and prototypes, Mr. Laudi thoroughly described the process of creating a design and seeing it through to become a product that will not only help others perform daily tasks, but will break social stigmas by focusing on emotional design aesthetics to make medical products more functional and innovative. "Don't be afraid to approach people. Don't be scared to start conversations. Don't just observe, but take action and capture the moment," says Mr. Laudi. "True inspiration comes from observing the world around you and seeing the everyday problems that need to be solved with your own eyes. Keep your eyes open and see how people live so you can empathize with them. My work starts by meeting a need, using my knowledge to help others and bringing unity among people through good designs."

After showing students his portfolio and many of his latest designs, Mr. Laudi wanted students to put pen to paper and learn how to draw a cube, using methods taught to him by one of his favorite CIA professors. From his instructions, students learned how to use perspective, shadow and light to create illusions that enhance their drawings from simple shapes to complex designs. Mr. Laudi stressed that knowing how to draw and how to create basic shapes not only has a huge impact in designing and engineering mass-produced products, but also serves as a universal language to easily communicate ideas to anyone.

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