New AND Past IDer: Ed Koizumi

by New Idiom


Please quickly introduce yourself in a sentence or two. Where are you from? When did you graduate from ID and which program?

I am Edward S. Koizumi. I was born in a small mountain village in Japan and emigrated to the US with my family in 1955. I attended Chicago Public Schools and went to Lane Tech High School. From there, I was lucky to have received a full year drafting scholarship to IIT and I chose the ID without hesitation. I concentrated on product design, but also took courses in visual design and photography. I attended at Crown Hall between 1968 and 1972. Graduated in 1980 on the basic 12-year plan.

Married? Yes, for 29 years to wife, Carol.
Children? Our dear Kevin died in 2001 at the age of 20. He loved the workshop, travel and the outdoors.
Politics? Rather liberal, socially but fiscally conservative. I wish that for our branches of government.
Religion? My family is Buddhist, Carol’s is Catholic.

In which ways and dimensions do you think ID changed your career?

In so many different ways, it seems. I had always loved to build things with my hands and to make things work. The ID engaged my eyes for 2D and 3D form and photography and taught me to think of process and ergonomics. I engaged in business with colleagues from the ID from sharing office space and a retail store, shooting photo assignments, and later, I provided special effects and models for a TV production company, headed by a former ID student. Today, I make models and prototypes and find myself managing the ID shop part time. My career has totally been shaped by the ID. If it were not for the IIT scholarship and the 2-S deferment, I might very well have been shipped to Vietnam as that war was raging.

What are the skills learned at ID that you use the most in your current practice?

Seeing, thinking and executing skills are important but so is the art of presentation. One learns that it is not just you showing something but also yourself. You need to understand what it is that the client needs and how they might benefit from your solution and to instill confidence that you are the one to pull it off in the time and budget available.

What hard times did you have at ID while a student, and what got you through them?

I think the hard parts are the immediate problems and calamities. Having a difficult time completing an assignment seems so hard if you are a serious student. Looking back at my time in school, I was lucky to have a stable home life and good friends and fellow students who bonded together to get through Critique Week, often working late into the night and watching the sun come up the next day. I have found that a hard problem can often be remedied by a deep breath and a step back to clear the mind and a good night’s sleep.

Now that you’re back as part of the staff, has anything surprised you about ID? Have you noticed anything that is the same or different from your time here?

The atmosphere is more downtown corporate office and less art school studio, but I am sensing the same youthful energy and optimism. When I was going to school, the computer class consisted of punching paper cards. Hundreds of them to plot a simple function and feeding them through a reader only to find a day or two later that one hole was mispunched. I’m so glad that computers are now smarter and the Mac rules.

What other advice do you have for current and/or future ID students?

My wife suggests that people need to stay flexible in these changing times. It would be good to stay interested and learn new things and consider the opportunities that open to you. The term “re-inventing oneself” seems like too much work to me though often it just happens. A psychologist friend once said that blind dumb luck had much to do with shaping his career. I’m sure that one’s life is a unique mix of all that.

If you are to choose a life mate, choose someone who is kind to all, not afraid of work, smart but also wise, and who can make you laugh.

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