skip to Main Content
Seda Evis

Designer in Residence: Seda Evis

Designer in Residence: Seda Evis

Designer in Residence: Seda Evis

While Seda Evis participates as a Designer-in-Residence at UC San Diego with The Design Lab, and is VP of Strategy & Growth at FreshForm Interactive—an experience design and innovation consultancy—she also claims to have what she refers to as a superpower: her hybrid mind. 

Evis describes her mind as the combination of two worlds: the business side and the design side. She explains that business typically only laser-focuses on one solution, while design calls for “ambiguity exploration.” She explains that it involves “looking for divergence instead of convergence; and multiple solutions instead of just one; or finding that there isn’t one right answer.”

Evis credits the origin of her hybrid mind to being raised in a geographically, ethnically and culturally diverse part of the world.  “I grew up in Turkey, which strides between West and East. You’ll have all these dichotomies that you need to resolve, to live with, and to make sense of things. So I think I have that just naturally. ”

Evis attended the Middle East Technical University in Turkey,  where she earned her bachelors in City and Regional Planning–a set of expertise that still comes in handy in her work today. “I don’t plan cities in my current profession, but [I] definitely [use] the skills of working with diverse people from diverse industries or professions.” She explains that as an undergrad, “we did tons of group work, always looking at the larger context, but also zoomed into the neighborhood and street level experience of the city, so I tend to do that in my profession now  when looking at the problem I’m solving.” 

When it came time for graduate school, Evis made the leap from Turkey to the United Statesto study at the University of San Diego. While earning her MBA in Finance, Supply Chain Management, Seda recalls that the marketing component of her MBA was where she noticed the culture shock of moving to the United States. “You know Asia as: we’re very good at math and physics and those kinds of things. But we’re not very good at selling them; selling ideas or coming up with ideas,” she explains, “Marketing was very difficult for me. I would breeze through statistics, math, economics, and finance, all of that stuff, but marketing, where you really conceptualize an idea,–and not only that, but you communicate that idea–that was very difficult for me, and I think Americans excel at that.” 

Evis has made her mark in human-centered design, having successfully completed projects for global companies, including Facebook, CVS Health, GE, Nissan, Toyota and Amazon. She says she measures success in two ways. “I look at the product design or service design world, and one way to look at your success is to look at how many products or services come to life,” she explains. “Another way to look at it, I think, is the amount of ideas that you generated and then impacted the number of people without necessarily a product or service, but you helped change or start changing the culture around something important for humanity, like aging, work and purpose, health, human rights, racism..etc,..”

Given everything she has experienced, it is difficult for Evis to pinpoint which project has been her crowning achievement so far. One that she is most proud of, however, is a two-year long research and design project where she traveled around the United States and talked to people over the age of 65. “[We] really tried to understand what aging is like in the United States and really change our perspective about these old ideas about aging,” she said. “It was both a design and research project, but also very much a culture change project…[We] met hundreds of people and really learned about life and I think the best design projects are when you not only learn intellectually about your work, but also it affects how you live and evolves your own values.” The end result of the project was a Co-Design kit authored by Evis and the team at Birsel & Seck Design Studio and the start of Alive Venture Studio “to help entrepreneurs effect change or market products and services for this segment.” 

As a Designer-in-Residence at The Design Lab,  Evis enjoys working in an interdisciplinary setting, which she says enhances her existing skillset. “Academia tends to be quite separate from how the practice is done,” she explains. “I find ways of doing interdisciplinary work, as well as cross industry work, very important for innovation because that’s how you actually get seeds from different places.” As of now, most of Evis’s work at The Design Lab has been working with the Community Team on the now winning bid for the World Design Capital 2024 (WDC) designation. Her work dovetails with her role on the Board of  Directors for the Design Forward Alliance–a non-profit organization started by the Lab in partnership with the regional design community and one of the partners co-leading the HOME 2024 WDC efforts alongside the Design Lab, Burnham Center for Community Advancement, the City of San Diego and the City of Tijuana.   The designation puts the San Diego-Tijuana region in a prestigious international cohort recognized for the “effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural and environmental development.”  Even the proposal theme is significant, Evis says. “Home” not only refers to the immense and diverse communities of San Diego and Tijuana that form one, but also serves as an acronym for Human-centered, Open, Multi-disciplinary/Multi-cultural, and Experimental. For Evis, participating in HOME2024 signifies her career “coming full circle.” 

While Seda Evis participates as a Designer-in-Residence at UC San Diego with The Design Lab, and is VP of Strategy & Growth at FreshForm Interactive—an experience design and innovation consultancy—she also claims to have what she refers to as a superpower: her hybrid mind. 

Evis describes her mind as the combination of two worlds: the business side and the design side. She explains that business typically only laser-focuses on one solution, while design calls for “ambiguity exploration.” She explains that it involves “looking for divergence instead of convergence; and multiple solutions instead of just one; or finding that there isn’t one right answer.”

Evis credits the origin of her hybrid mind to being raised in a geographically, ethnically and culturally diverse part of the world.  “I grew up in Turkey, which strides between West and East. You’ll have all these dichotomies that you need to resolve, to live with, and to make sense of things. So I think I have that just naturally. ”

Evis attended the Middle East Technical University in Turkey,  where she earned her bachelors in City and Regional Planning–a set of expertise that still comes in handy in her work today. “I don’t plan cities in my current profession, but [I] definitely [use] the skills of working with diverse people from diverse industries or professions.” She explains that as an undergrad, “we did tons of group work, always looking at the larger context, but also zoomed into the neighborhood and street level experience of the city, so I tend to do that in my profession now  when looking at the problem I’m solving.” 

When it came time for graduate school, Evis made the leap from Turkey to the United Statesto study at the University of San Diego. While earning her MBA in Finance, Supply Chain Management, Seda recalls that the marketing component of her MBA was where she noticed the culture shock of moving to the United States. “You know Asia as: we’re very good at math and physics and those kinds of things. But we’re not very good at selling them; selling ideas or coming up with ideas,” she explains, “Marketing was very difficult for me. I would breeze through statistics, math, economics, and finance, all of that stuff, but marketing, where you really conceptualize an idea,–and not only that, but you communicate that idea–that was very difficult for me, and I think Americans excel at that.” 

Evis has made her mark in human-centered design, having successfully completed projects for global companies, including Facebook, CVS Health, GE, Nissan, Toyota and Amazon. She says she measures success in two ways. “I look at the product design or service design world, and one way to look at your success is to look at how many products or services come to life,” she explains. “Another way to look at it, I think, is the amount of ideas that you generated and then impacted the number of people without necessarily a product or service, but you helped change or start changing the culture around something important for humanity, like aging, work and purpose, health, human rights, racism..etc,..”

Given everything she has experienced, it is difficult for Evis to pinpoint which project has been her crowning achievement so far. One that she is most proud of, however, is a two-year long research and design project where she traveled around the United States and talked to people over the age of 65. “[We] really tried to understand what aging is like in the United States and really change our perspective about these old ideas about aging,” she said. “It was both a design and research project, but also very much a culture change project…[We] met hundreds of people and really learned about life and I think the best design projects are when you not only learn intellectually about your work, but also it affects how you live and evolves your own values.” The end result of the project was a Co-Design kit authored by Evis and the team at Birsel & Seck Design Studio and the start of Alive Venture Studio “to help entrepreneurs effect change or market products and services for this segment.” 

As a Designer-in-Residence at The Design Lab,  Evis enjoys working in an interdisciplinary setting, which she says enhances her existing skillset. “Academia tends to be quite separate from how the practice is done,” she explains. “I find ways of doing interdisciplinary work, as well as cross industry work, very important for innovation because that’s how you actually get seeds from different places.” As of now, most of Evis’s work at The Design Lab has been working with the Community Team on the now winning bid for the World Design Capital 2024 (WDC) designation. Her work dovetails with her role on the Board of  Directors for the Design Forward Alliance–a non-profit organization started by the Lab in partnership with the regional design community and one of the partners co-leading the HOME 2024 WDC efforts alongside the Design Lab, Burnham Center for Community Advancement, the City of San Diego and the City of Tijuana.   The designation puts the San Diego-Tijuana region in a prestigious international cohort recognized for the “effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural and environmental development.”  Even the proposal theme is significant, Evis says. “Home” not only refers to the immense and diverse communities of San Diego and Tijuana that form one, but also serves as an acronym for Human-centered, Open, Multi-disciplinary/Multi-cultural, and Experimental. For Evis, participating in HOME2024 signifies her career “coming full circle.” 

While Seda Evis participates as a Designer-in-Residence at UC San Diego with The Design Lab, and is VP of Strategy & Growth at FreshForm Interactive—an experience design and innovation consultancy—she also claims to have what she refers to as a superpower: her hybrid mind. 

Evis describes her mind as the combination of two worlds: the business side and the design side. She explains that business typically only laser-focuses on one solution, while design calls for “ambiguity exploration.” She explains that it involves “looking for divergence instead of convergence; and multiple solutions instead of just one; or finding that there isn’t one right answer.”

Evis credits the origin of her hybrid mind to being raised in a geographically, ethnically and culturally diverse part of the world.  “I grew up in Turkey, which strides between West and East. You’ll have all these dichotomies that you need to resolve, to live with, and to make sense of things. So I think I have that just naturally. ”

Evis attended the Middle East Technical University in Turkey,  where she earned her bachelors in City and Regional Planning–a set of expertise that still comes in handy in her work today. “I don’t plan cities in my current profession, but [I] definitely [use] the skills of working with diverse people from diverse industries or professions.” She explains that as an undergrad, “we did tons of group work, always looking at the larger context, but also zoomed into the neighborhood and street level experience of the city, so I tend to do that in my profession now  when looking at the problem I’m solving.” 

When it came time for graduate school, Evis made the leap from Turkey to the United Statesto study at the University of San Diego. While earning her MBA in Finance, Supply Chain Management, Seda recalls that the marketing component of her MBA was where she noticed the culture shock of moving to the United States. “You know Asia as: we’re very good at math and physics and those kinds of things. But we’re not very good at selling them; selling ideas or coming up with ideas,” she explains, “Marketing was very difficult for me. I would breeze through statistics, math, economics, and finance, all of that stuff, but marketing, where you really conceptualize an idea,–and not only that, but you communicate that idea–that was very difficult for me, and I think Americans excel at that.” 

Evis has made her mark in human-centered design, having successfully completed projects for global companies, including Facebook, CVS Health, GE, Nissan, Toyota and Amazon. She says she measures success in two ways. “I look at the product design or service design world, and one way to look at your success is to look at how many products or services come to life,” she explains. “Another way to look at it, I think, is the amount of ideas that you generated and then impacted the number of people without necessarily a product or service, but you helped change or start changing the culture around something important for humanity, like aging, work and purpose, health, human rights, racism..etc,..”

Given everything she has experienced, it is difficult for Evis to pinpoint which project has been her crowning achievement so far. One that she is most proud of, however, is a two-year long research and design project where she traveled around the United States and talked to people over the age of 65. “[We] really tried to understand what aging is like in the United States and really change our perspective about these old ideas about aging,” she said. “It was both a design and research project, but also very much a culture change project…[We] met hundreds of people and really learned about life and I think the best design projects are when you not only learn intellectually about your work, but also it affects how you live and evolves your own values.” The end result of the project was a Co-Design kit authored by Evis and the team at Birsel & Seck Design Studio and the start of Alive Venture Studio “to help entrepreneurs effect change or market products and services for this segment.” 

As a Designer-in-Residence at The Design Lab,  Evis enjoys working in an interdisciplinary setting, which she says enhances her existing skillset. “Academia tends to be quite separate from how the practice is done,” she explains. “I find ways of doing interdisciplinary work, as well as cross industry work, very important for innovation because that’s how you actually get seeds from different places.” As of now, most of Evis’s work at The Design Lab has been working with the Community Team on the now winning bid for the World Design Capital 2024 (WDC) designation. Her work dovetails with her role on the Board of  Directors for the Design Forward Alliance–a non-profit organization started by the Lab in partnership with the regional design community and one of the partners co-leading the HOME 2024 WDC efforts alongside the Design Lab, Burnham Center for Community Advancement, the City of San Diego and the City of Tijuana.   The designation puts the San Diego-Tijuana region in a prestigious international cohort recognized for the “effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural and environmental development.”  Even the proposal theme is significant, Evis says. “Home” not only refers to the immense and diverse communities of San Diego and Tijuana that form one, but also serves as an acronym for Human-centered, Open, Multi-disciplinary/Multi-cultural, and Experimental. For Evis, participating in HOME2024 signifies her career “coming full circle.” 

Read Next

Don Norman speaks on The Future of Design at the New School of Architecture

A crowd gathers as Don Norman prepares to speak on the Future of Design at the…

Indigenous knowledge and advocacy is now seen as vital to the fight against climate change

As nations develop strategies to combat climate change, they're beginning to turn to solutions from the indigenous communities that have been on the front lines of the efforts to protect the planet.

A 2021 report from the indigenous rights organization, the ICCA, details just how much the rest of the world depends on indigenous communities for preserving planetary health.

"In Latin America and the Caribbean, Indigenous and tribal peoples manage between 330 and 380 million hectares of forest," the ICCA report said. "Those forests store more than one-eighth of all the carbon in the world’s tropical forests and house a large portion of the world’s endangered animal and plant species. Almost half (45 per cent) of the large ‘wilderness’ areas in the Amazon Basin are in Indigenous territories and several studies have found that Indigenous peoples’ territories have lower rates of deforestation and lower risk of wildfires than state protected areas."
Healthcare Biases

Researchers Receive $2.8 Million Grant to Study Hidden Biases in Healthcare

“The project seeks to use social signal processing (SSP), a computational approach that detects subtle cues in behavior that are typically invisible. For example, talk time, interruptions and body movements from health care providers might differ based on a patient’s race, gender or socioeconomic status.” - Nadir Weibel, Design Lab Faculty

Individuals have their own inherent biases. Most are harmless – preferred foods, favorite cars, go-to streaming services. However, biases tied to race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status have serious consequences.

This is particularly true in medicine. Unintentional, hidden, biases may perpetuate healthcare disparities. While providers are not acting out of malice, these attitudes could have significant impacts on patient care.
Design Lab Michele Morris Design Forward Summit Xconomy Uc San Diego

Lab Focused on Human-Centered Design Moves to Put San Diego on Map

Xconomy Article
For Michèle Morris, the big question hanging over organizers as they laid the groundwork last year for the first Design Forward Summit was whether the innovation community in San Diego understood the value of design.

“We didn’t know who was going to show up—and 600 people showed up,” said Morris, who is associate director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego and a founder of the Design Forward Summit.

Now, with the second Design Forward Summit set to begin Wednesday on San Diego’s downtown waterfront (and Thursday in Liberty Station), Morris said the question to be answered this year is “What’s next?”
Ucsd San Diego

Civic Design – DSGN 160: Open Enrollment

This studio course explores how to design products, services, and policies for complex socio-technical systems. The class will follow a human-centered design process that includes user research, concept generation, prototyping, pitching, and alliance building. Students will work in teams to design solutions to civic challenges affecting people in the San Diego region. This will be a good course for intermediate to advanced design students who want to build up their portfolio and to practice their skills with sketching, storyboarding, prototyping, and evaluating services for real-world problems.

As part of this class, teams will enter the Design for San Diego 2020 challenge (D4SD.org) and interact with other innovators, experts, and mentors throughout the city to address problems related to Mobility, Health, Environment, and Housing. Top teams will have an opportunity to present their work and win prizes at events in downtown San Diego!
Philip Guo

Philip Guo on Storytelling in Design | Design Chats

Philip Guo, Design Lab member and Associate Professor in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, speaks on the importance of capturing stories during the design process.

Design Chats is a video series where we sit down with design practitioners to answer questions about how they utilize human-centered design.

View our Design Chats playlist on the Design Lab YouTube Channel
Back To Top