The Life & Work of Industrial Designer Charles Harrison

NY Times: Design Gets More Diverse

The New York Times

School of the Art Institute

A recent New York Times article by Alice Rawsthorn featured three successful African-American designers and discussed diversity in design and talked about Chuck’s experience in comparison to today’s designers. Although many strides have been made since Chuck began working, there clearly is a great deal of work ahead to give creative young African Americans the knowledge, skills resources to succeed in the design world. Read the article here.

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A Conversation: Designer Charles Harrison and SAIC President Walter Massey

Date: Feb. 7, 2011
SAIC Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, IL

School of the Art Institute

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Chuck Harrison Visits the View-Master’s Birthplace

Date: Sept. 24-28, 2010
Oregon Caves Chateau, Cave Junction, OR

Oregon Caves

From September 24th to the 28th, Oregon Caves National Monument and the Oregon Caves Outfitters hosted Charles Harrison. Harrison redesigned the now classic View-Master, which was invented at Oregon Caves in 1938. The public was invited free of charge to hear his talk on the View-Master and his career.

More information about Oregon Caves

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Cal State Long Beach Industrial Design Visit

Date: Apr. 29, 2010
California State University, Long Beach, CA

Chuck visited the Indstrial Design department. “We very much enjoyed Chuck’s visit. My class talked to him for over two hours. Here are some pictures for you.” David Teubner

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Smithsonian Spotlight Celebrates National Design Awards

Date: Mar. 2, 2010
Smithsonian Channel

In celebration of the National Design Awards 10th Anniversary, Chuck Harrison was featured on the Smithsonian Channel’s Spotlight Program. The hour-long program included many of Chuck’s designs most well-known designs and included an interview with Chuck and Cooper-Hewitt Director of Education Carolyn Payson. This edition of Smithsonian Spotlight also showcased National Design Awards winners from several other disciplines including environmental design and fashion.

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Building a Creative Legacy

Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009, 11:30AM – 1:30PM
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ

Chuck is the guest speaker for The 8th Annual African Heritage Celebration Luncheon. Chuck graduated from Phoenix’s Carver High School in 1948 at age 16. He credits his Art Teacher, internationally recognized Artist Dr. J. Eugene Grigsby Jr., as key to his design career. This event will also mark the celebration of Dr. Grigsby’s 91st birthday.

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Make/Think: Becoming a Strong Designer

Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009, 9AM – 10:45AM
AIGA Design Conference, Memphis, TN

Chuck shared the Make/Think ( main stage with design student Ethan Bodnar to co-present on building their careers in an engaging and thoughtful look at the differences and similarities of these two uniquely successful designers.

Chuck during his presentation at AIGA Make/Think
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Change by Design: A New Paradigm for Designers

Special Event at NeoCon in Chicago
Date/Time: Tuesday, June 16, 20093:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn Mart Plaza – Sauganash Ballroom

Sponsored by Herman Miller
Presented by

From the designer’s mind to reality we conceive of environments, communications and products that essentially shape the world we live in. Chuck Harrison, industrial designer and educator will provide insight into how designers can impact change in the 21st century. The first Black design executive to work for a major corporation, Harrison improved the quality of life of millions through the breadth and innovation of his designs for more than three decades. He received the Cooper-Hewitt 2008 National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement. A book signing of his insightful memoir, A Life’s Design, will follow.

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Honorary Doctorate from the School of the Art Institute

Date/Time: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago

Chuck will receive an honorary doctorate from his undergraduate alma mater, present brief remarks during the commencement ceremony and participate in the dedication of the highly anticipated Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago’s.

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Intelligent Designer

Charles Harrison, former industrial designer at Sears, Roebuck and Company, created practical innovations that touched many lives

By Megan Gambino
Smithsonian magazine, January 2009

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt honors the prolific industrial designer with its Lifetime Achievement Award

In 1966, Charles "Chuck" Harrison, an industrial designer at Sears, Roebuck & Company, got rid of an everyday nuisance—the early-morning clanging of metal garbage cans—by creating the first-ever plastic garbage bin. "When that can hit the market, it did so with the biggest bang you never heard," wrote Harrison in his 2005 book, A Life’s Design. "Everyone was using it, but few people paid close attention to it."

Charles Harrison

Charles (Chuck) Harrison

Read Chuck’s Interview with Smithsonian
Read the Smithsonian article: Intelligent Design

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