KICKSTARTER’S ROLE IN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN EDUCATION
Editor: Guy Bingham, Darren Southee, John McCardle, Ahmed Kovacevic, Erik Bohemia, Brian Parkinson
Author: Bryan Howell (1), David Morgan (1), Camilla Stark (1), Aaron Puglisi (2)
Institution: 1Brigham Young University, 2Tessel Supply
This paper provides a basic explanation of the Kickstarter platform and reports on the findings from five
interviews conducted with design students who openly shared what they have learned from their
experiences with Kickstarter projects. It also summarizes a successful design student Kickstarter project,
the Tessel Jet Pack Backpack.
The results of this research indicate that design students are primarily motivated to engage in Kickstarter
projects to validate themselves as designers. Secondarily, students found these projects exposed them to
new learning in marketing, finance, manufacturing, product delivery, and the complete “start to finish”
framework of a product development process. Surprisingly, they also indicated that the experience only
reinforced their pre-existing design training and did not significantly add to it.
Despite the student learning that occurs throughout a Kickstarter project, we do not recommend that
Kickstarter supplement or supersede design education because of the inherent real-world consequences.
However, professors should consider how intrinsically-motivated, self-determined projects that build
young designers’ self-esteem can be used to enhance current design studio courses.