In Chapter 4 of 18 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, interaction designer and researcher Lauren Serota shares who she came to choose Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD, for college. Interested in industrial design, Serota also considers another top school, the Rhode Island School of Design, or RISD. Ultimately, the curriculum, culture, and location inform her decision to stuy in Savannah. Serota is an interaction designer at frog design - http://frogdesign.com - and a professor at the Austin Center for Design - http://ac4d.com . She earned her bachelors degree in industrial design from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
Erik Michielsen: Why did you choose to study at the Savannah College of Art and Design instead of RISD?
Lauren Serota: So I found out about the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was in high school. I really liked making stuff. I was into sculpture. I had a fantastic art teacher who pretty much gave me my own – like she made my own class, so she’s like ‘we’re gonna make a 3D design II just for you, and you can go play with clay all day and build things out of wood. So she knew that I wanted – I knew that I wanted to build things or make things for a living, and she knew that I was probably going down that path as well, and so we had people from SCAD that came to my high school. And I knew that I wanted to go to art school.
I looked at like, you know, the local state schools like ASU, U of A, and then RISD was in the ranks, and then the SCAD people came, and I had never heard of the school prior to them. And I said ‘oh, this is kind of a cool option.’ They have this budding industrial design program. It seems it’s something I might be into. I’m gonna go visit colleges, so I’ll visit RISD and I’ll visit SCAD. So I went to RISD first, and, you know, it’s a beautiful campus. It’s in Providence. It’s hilly. They have this great program at Brown where you can go take classes at Brown. It was really compelling, but I just didn’t like the northeast. I never gelled with the people, and the industrial design program my perception then was that it was really more based on form giving and style and making things beautiful in the sculpture of product.
And when I went out to SCAD, first of all, I fell in love with the city. Savannah is beautiful, warm, with weird stuff going on, the Spanish moss, it’s kind of spooky, and so I loved that. And then the industrial design program was focused on process. So it was like ‘oh we have a problem that we’re solving by – you know, we’re going through this process to solve the problem, at the end of it is a product,’ and now I know that at the end of it is a product, a service, a reorganization, or nothing, but I really appreciated that there was this – the kind of regimented, scientific thing that they went through that made a lot of sense, and it started with the people.
So I started learning about the people, that were going to be using the thing that they’re making, and they explained it really well. And the program was growing, they were moving into a new building, and it just seemed like something I wanted to be a part of. It just seemed like the right fit.