Marianne Grisdale

Innovation requires a new way of looking at things. Fifty-one years ago, TEAMS founder, German designer Dr. Hans Erich Slany, proposed that Bosch Power Tools be made out of plastic. Today all power tools are made out of plastic. Companies need ideas for new and improved products. To ensure their goods are consistent with public demands and expectations, they often seek the expertise of knowledgeable industrial designers.

Marianne Grisdale works as a creative manager at TEAMS, a small global industrial design firm with offices in Hamburg, Esslingen, Serbia, China, and Chicago. She assists with hiring decisions, scheduling, client interaction/sales, writing proposals, interior design, product design, 3-D modeling, creating presentations, designing research programs as well as other aspects of program development and planning.

“I love the variety that my job offers,” said Grisdale. “Every day is different. I’m not doing one task all of the time. I still do some design but I also watch all the financials and make sure the client is happy. Currently I'm working on a line of seven kitchenware items for a US-based company and construction measuring tools for a German company.”
Prior to accepting a position at TEAMS, Grisdale worked as a senior industrial designer and project manager for Herbst LaZar Bell (HLB), a design strategy and development consultancy in Chicago. There she gained extensive experience designing houseware, personal care and electronic products. She has led and been involved with projects for many large organizations including SC Johnson, Unilever, Whirlpool, Werner Ladder, Carrier Corporation, Abbott Laboratories, Dell, Johnson Controls, Gillette, Motorola, and Agilent among others.


“I’ve worked on a broad spectrum of accounts,” Grisdale explained. “Some have been fun, smaller projects that just involved a little more styling. But I’ve also worked with clients interested in doing tremendous amounts of research. For example, I traveled the world to study parents’ diapering patterns as part of one of my accounts …

“In the end, you usually feel proud to see your product out in the marketplace—especially if you worked hard on it and it looks good. But there are times when clients forego the full design process or simply try to imitate their competitors without conducting research. When this happens, there’s often no where for the product to go—no future for it. It’s times like these when you sort of cringe.”

In addition to her work with TEAMS, Grisdale has been an active participant in the Chicago chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). She is running for national secretary/treasurer of IDSA this fall (2008) and will make a brief campaign speech during the organization’s national conference. Previously she has served terms as vice chairperson and chairperson. While Grisdale was acting as chair, her peers nominated her to serve on a national committee to revise the organization’s bylaws. She has also worked with national IDSA staff to organize student portfolio reviews at national conferences.

“Through IDSA and on my own, I have welcomed opportunities to mentor students,” said Grisdale. “This is important to me. Over the past few years, I’ve come across so many students who lack the skills they need to be functional in the industry. I can’t emphasize enough the need for students to take advantage of internship experiences. As a student, I interned at Kohler and still keep in touch with many of the people I met there 15 years ago.
“I also recognize how valuable it can be to have the opportunity to seek guidance from someone familiar with the industry. While I was studying industrial design at CCS, I was fortunate to have instructors, who also happened to be working professionals, mentoring me through the program. I was prepared for the environment I encountered after graduation because of the skills I learned from them. Mentoring others is my way of repaying those who mentored me.”

  • Graduation Year: 1990
  • Major: Product Design
  • Employer: Teams Design USA
  • Title: Creative Manager

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