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NEIA Partners with Loft Design & Rollerblade — 12th-Graders Visit Providence

"These partnerships deliver on the promise to give our students experiences in the real world. These students are getting a totally life-changing opportunity to work with actual clients and professional design studios," John Turner said.

Today, our 12th-graders traveled to Loft Design in Providence, Rhode Island, to work with three members of their design team. This project, organized by Innovation Studio’s John Turner and NEIA Collaborations’ Melissa Remley, is part of an exciting collaboration with Rollerblade, where NEIA 12th-graders design and pitch rollerskates to their client—the company that brought in-line skating to the United States.

This is the perfect team to teach a project on designing for Rollerblade. Loft’s Gregor started his career working for Rollerblade, designing their most successful skates. John Turner, NEIA’s Director of Branding, designed Rollerblade’s current logo. With their guidance, NEIA’s Class of 2024 is getting a real-world look at how designs are conceived, executed, and iterated.

“These partnerships deliver on the promise to give our students experiences in the real world. These students are getting a totally life-changing opportunity to work with actual clients and professional design studios,” John Turner said.

Led by Loft’s talented designers (Gregor, T.J., and Saloni), Innovators got right to work on problem-solving and brain-storming. The goal of this first session was to help our Innovators set the foundations for their projects and answer important questions: What does Rollerblade’s mission and vision mean? What obstacles does Rollerblade face in achieving its mission and vision?

“Not even R.I.S.D [Rhode Island School of Design] uses real-life clients in their classes,” Gregor said to start the day. “I hope you appreciate how special this is.”

During their time at Loft, the 12th-graders saw the same ideation processes and equipment used in NEIA classrooms and maker spaces being utilized in a professional office space.

They will visit Loft Design three more times throughout the year. They will also visit a skate shop to meet the users they’re designing for, they will consult with representatives from Rollerblade, and then they will start designing a product that creates value.

“I think it’s really nice,” 12th-grader Darshan said, “because even though we are independent and have a lot of freedom, we have these experts behind us who are in it, who are actually in the field.”

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