College for Creative Studies: Product Design
Jeff Hontz finds ways to implement innovative design at extreme altitudes. He is a senior industrial designer at B/E Aerospace’s Design Studio in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
“Our process is similar to the method used by architects,” said Hontz. “We do everything from creating sketches and 3D models to brainstorming with engineers. Collaboration is essential—not only to protect the design, but also to make sure the airline’s needs are not overlooked. The design of aircraft interiors is influenced by several factors: the airline's brand and management, the latest design developments in other industries and the latest customer research.”
Hontz’s latest designs on premium business and economy class debuted at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. His contribution to the design of United's new international business class and has been recognized by Condé Nast Traveler's Innovation and Design Award and IDSA's International Design Excellence Award.
Over the past year, Hontz has traveled to B/E's facilities in California, Kansas, England and The Netherlands.
“The design of aircraft interiors is truly a global industry,” said Hontz. “This gives us as designers an opportunity to adjust our approach to fit each project. An airline in the Middle East will have a much different cultural design perspective from one in Japan. It keeps us on our toes, and keeps things interesting on how our concepts are perceived.
“Harmonizing all of the aircraft interior products will be key in the coming years. Not only does it add a more attractive, consistent look and feel, but it also allows greater collaboration between products further gaining competitive advantages, like reducing weight, cost of ownership and maximizing each passenger's space.”
Prior to launching a successful career at B/E, Hontz studied product design as part of the industrial design program at CCS.
“The College’s focus on real world design scenarios and its faculty of talented instructors, most of whom had experience as professional designers, really made a difference.”
“The projects energized students while polishing their talents...
“Being involved with CCS's work study and student government programs helped me see the different sides of design. Some of these activities were just as beneficial as a major design class and shaped my understanding of the design industry.”