Art Center College of Design Students Use Recycled Materials and Creative Energy to Redesign the Shopping Experience at Goodwill of Orange County's Retail Stores

Goodwill Plans to Implement Selected Designs in All 20 Retail Locations

Pasadena, California, UNITED STATES

PASADENA, Calif., Sept. 5, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fourteen bright and eco-minded students at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California accepted the challenge to redesign the spatial experience for Goodwill of Orange County's retail stores, and recently unveiled their final design concepts to Goodwill management and Art Center faculty advisors. The Re-purposed Shopping project, dubbed "Upcycle Lifestyle," was a vital collaboration between education, nonprofit and business, centered on themes of social responsibility, environmental awareness and making a positive impact on the community.

"Upcycling" is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. The student and faculty team took on the assignment of using recycled materials such as wood, computer parts, textiles and other industrial items found in Goodwill's stores, recycling, salvage and processing areas to create a whole new visual and tactile experience for shoppers at Goodwill retail stores, reflective of Goodwill's reuse and repurpose model. The project showcased the talents of students from the College's Environmental Design, Product Design, Graphic Design and Illustration departments.

Students came up with some colorful theme ideas to enhance the retail experience including rockabilly and surf motifs to reflect the local beach culture for coastal stores; billowing waves of upcycled fabrics that will not only direct customers within the store, but extend the experience beyond the store to the exterior; and mobile do-it-yourself workshops that fold out in to the store to offer hands on craft making experience. Several of the ideas are being considered for implementation at a future date.

Goodwill of Orange County recently rebranded their stores with the help of world-class Santa Monica design firm Geyrhalter & Company. The agency's principal, Fabian Geyrhalter, an Art Center alumnus and former instructor, made the match between the College and Goodwill.

The Goodwill project is a partnership with Designmatters, the College's social impact department. Designmatters engages students, faculty and alumni from across disciplines in an ongoing exploration of the role of art and design in effecting large-scale sustainable change through innovative partnerships locally and around the world.

"Once we saw the variety of interesting objects the students could work with from Goodwill, our creativity really kicked in and the whole team became engrossed in the project," said James Meraz, Art Center College of Design faculty member.  "We made several trips to Orange County and not only entrenched ourselves in an intense design experience, but also learned so much about the inspiring work of Goodwill.  Their mission was an important catalyst that drove our creative process forward."  

Throughout the three-month project, students gained experience in re-branding, upcycling budgeting, repurposing, practical design applications, and a deeper appreciation of Goodwill mission services.  

Students learned that Goodwill provides quality training and employment services to empower individuals with barriers to be more productive and independent. Goodwill stores, donation processing centers and donation sites also serve as training grounds to provide supportive work experience and on-the-job training that can then open doors and opportunities for higher paying jobs within the community.  These programs and services strengthen the community because they place fewer demands on public resources.

"When Goodwill approached us, we immediately knew the project would be a great fit," said David Mocarski, chair of the Environmental Design department.  "Goodwill's powerful work helping individuals lead successful lives is closely related to Art Center's mission of 'learn to create, influence change,' and the class gave the team a unique opportunity to do both."

Students interested in spatial experience, historic preservation and urban design were all drawn to the project and contributed a variety of perspectives and skill sets. "Their level of enthusiasm was electrifying," said Mocarski. "This was exactly the type of project we strive to expose our students to."

Following multiple visits to OC Goodwill stores, the students developed concept drawings and materials studies, culminating during the final class when students presented design boards, models, mock-ups and full-scale constructs.

"This partnership between an educational institution, a nonprofit business, and renowned business leaders demonstrates how collaboration can turn innovative student ideas into reality, while focusing on social responsibility, environmental awareness and having a positive impact on the community," said Corrine Allen, vice president, retail operations, for Goodwill of Orange County. "We are thrilled with the outcome and can't wait to start implementing these amazing design concepts into our stores.  We can't thank the students and faculty enough for offering an outside perspective, and breathing new life and creativity into our retail program."

To view photos and video of the Art Center College of Design project for Goodwill, please visit



Goodwill has stores throughout Orange County and their website, provides a convenient store locator. Fans can also subscribe to an e-newsletter that offers special promotions, information about new stores and discount offers, in addition to compelling stories about individuals they serve.

About Goodwill of Orange County

Goodwill of Orange County is a nonprofit organization with its main campus located at 410 North Fairview in Santa Ana. Now in its 88th year, Goodwill of Orange County has provided thousands of people with disabilities and other barriers the opportunity to achieve their highest levels of personal and economic independence through competitive employment. You can also shop from the comfort of your own home on Goodwill's online auction site, For more information on Goodwill of Orange County, please contact Katherine Ransom, Sr. Director, Marketing and Communications at (714) 547-6308 ext. 308 or Information can also be found at  

About Art Center College of Design

Art Center College of Design is a private college located in Pasadena, California, and was cited by BusinessWeek as one of the 60 best design schools in the world. The college's industrial design program is consistently ranked number one by both DesignIntelligence and U.S. News & World Report, and BusinessWeek regularly features Art Center among the world's top design schools. U.S. News also ranks Art Center's Art and Media Design programs among the top 20 graduate schools in the U.S.

The Art Center College of Design logo is available at

About Designmatters

Designmatters is Art Center College of Design's social impact department with the mission to utilize art and design education as a catalyst for change, imagining and building a more humane future for all.  Through Designmatters, students, faculty and alumni from across disciplines are engaged in an ongoing exploration of the role of art and design in effecting large-scale sustainable change through innovative partnerships locally and around the world.  It is through the impressive outcomes generated by Designmatters that the College became the first design school to receive the United Nations' Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. The award-winning and social innovation outcomes of Designmatters during the past decade are providing a key foundation for the framework of Media Design Matters, a new course of study in the College's Graduate Media Design program which focuses on communication design at the intersection of new technology and social engagement.

About Environmental Design

Art Center's Environmental Design program is focused on brand driven retail, hospitality, office, dining and exhibition design from a "spatial experience" point of view. The program looks at spatial experience as scenography, "the staging of spaces." Scenography enhances our ability to make meaningful connections in all that is designed. Working from compelling narrative content, designers shape total environmental experiences in multiple scales, which reflex, engage and interact with users. The design approach is human centered with a deep understanding of how to frame projects from the inside out. With a strong industry emphasis, environmental designers investigate projects with rich conceptual rigor linked to a keen awareness of materials and manufacturing standards. Practitioners use research to define the design potential and inform creative exploration. Through involvement with spatial experiences, these professionals become leaders in the design of furniture, lighting and interior components. Environmental designers aim to address the needs of a design driven future, rich in meaning, use and function.


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