Graduating this spring from the Western Michigan University (WMU) Product Design Program, Lane Kempf is searching for a professional career opportunity to use his skills of leadership and design to create a positive impact on others. Lane is especially interested in outdoor and recreation design, given his passion for nature, but he hopes to use his design experience to create any products that will be for all types of people. Learn more about Lane and check out his design portfolio to see if he would be a good fit for your organization.
What is the best lesson you learned from your classes, an internship, an instructor, or a mentor?
Perspective. This can be applied to every aspect of design. I learned from Matt Dean my sophomore year about sketching in perspective and continued to apply that to my sketches. Perspective is brought up for who you’re designing for, who makes it, who sells it, who uses it, and who designs it. I learned how to gain perspective from experience and how to apply new techniques to my designs. Perspective ultimately helps me, or any designer understand who you’re designing for and its full purpose. I will always look for a new way of viewing a problem and how to design for all.
What is the strongest skill you bring to an employer?
I have previous leadership experience training and leading teams of people to complete a common task and goal. I strive to continue learning and applying that knowledge. I will always give my best and work at my highest level. I look forward to difficult challenges and I can adapt to each given situation asked of me. I continue to apply design principles to my work and broaden my skills.
What type of project or industry interests you?
I have camped and hiked for over a decade and have a huge passion for outdoor/recreation design. Designing for nature is the future and I want to create the best enjoyable experience for people experiencing the great outdoors. From my past experience living in the wilderness, I have learned how to adapt, and I am happy designing anything that has a positive impact on others. I value experience overall, and I can find purpose in designing for all.
What project in your portfolio are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my houseware project I completed my junior year. I designed a paper money embosser to assist the visually impaired in identifying the numerical value of each bill. The product is slim in length and can fit in a pocket. It has a slot to fit the width of a paper bill and braille numerical values 0, 1, 2, and 5 to emboss into the bill by applying pressure with your fingers over the designated number. I provided my best research and had opportunities to work and interview visually impaired students at WMU. My goal is to help with this common issue of identifying paper bills while remaining a cheaper option than audio scanners. I feel my final design best represents my collective research and is purposefully designed for those in need.
What/who is one person, place, or experience that had a positive impact on you during your time at Western Michigan University or in the Kalamazoo community?
WMU piqued my interest, and I am now a part of its first graduating class of Product Design and Innovation. WMU renovated a state-of-the-art design studio for students including a workshop and student design studio with personal desks and computers with drawing tablets. The studio space is open and encourages student interaction and cooperation which I’ve noticed resembles common work offices. The opportunity to grow as a designer with the school is a motivating experience and has provided me the opportunity to perform at my best.