For Nike designer, inspiration comes along family lines

Scott Wilson ’91 (industrial design) is hoping by design to appeal to the needs of urban mommies and daddies everywhere.

Wilson has designed everything from halogen lamps to food trays to Nike sports watches worn by the likes of cycling legend Lance Armstrong. When Wilson and his wife, Nicole, began preparing for the birth of their daughter two years ago, he came up with a concept for his own line of baby furniture and products.

“I felt there was little differentiation in the market and current offerings lacked many insights in functionality and neglected what urban parents were looking for,” Wilson explains. “There was simply nothing on the market that aligned with the sensibilities of the modern home. All my friends and family members warned me that I would start designing baby products once I experienced them because I would be so frustrated.”

The family man’s frustration gave birth to OOBA, a brand marketing “modern objects for young life.” OOBA bassinettes and rockers are several of the furniture pieces that became available in time for this year’s holiday season. Wilson designed the rocking chair with broad arms to hold those necessities like burp cloths and baby bottles.

Launching OOBA is not Wilson’s full-time job. He’s the global creative director for Nike Explore Group. He started at Nike in 2001. “I said I would never work for another corporation again, but I was drawn to the fact that it’s a very design-centric company that promotes innovation,” says Wilson. “It’s like working at a college campus with young, energetic people. And Nike encourages us to seek creative outlets outside of work.”

Two of the Nike franchise products created by Wilson are the Oregon Series Watch Collection and the Presto Digital Bracelet. “It’s the ultimate test in design because the athlete/consumer may like how it performs, but not how it looks. If they don’t like how it looks, they won’t wear it. So working for Nike and designing things people wear on their bodies and ultimately define their identity adds an extra dimension.”

An athlete himself, Wilson traveled from his home in Portland,Ore., to RIT in September to pitch in the alumni baseball game. “RIT was great. I chose to go there because it had a good balance. I went there to study design and play baseball. No other university had the balance of both.”

Life is a balancing act these days for the husband, father, entrepreneur and industrial designer. What’s the key to Wilson’s success? “I’m addicted to design. It’s a competitive field. Passion is the key. You have to be passionate about what you are doing.”

More information about OOBA is on the Web at www.ooba.com. Scott Wilson’s Web site is www.studiomod.com.

The University Magazine, Winter 2005