From Sea to See
When he first started his education, Parker Kuncl (Visual Communication '03) couldn't have envisioned just where he would find success. Originally a student in the geological oceanography program at the University of Rhode Island, he realized a year in that he wasn't really excited about his field of study-but he had enjoyed an Introduction to Photoshop class.
"I'd heard about Villa Julie College and wanted to go for an associate's degree but [Chair and Professor of Art] Amanda Hostalka and [Professor of Art] Lori Rubeling got me really passionate about design, so I went for my bachelor's in - stead."
Kuncl credits Hostalka and Rubeling for making it clear that he'd chosen well. "They opened my eyes to a world that I really didn't know existed. I got a D on a project first year because I didn't know what I was doing, but they really turned me around. It was a great program." After graduation, Kuncl earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Media Design Program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.
Since then, he has worked as an art director and graphic designer for design and advertising firms, including his own, Pdot Republic, and then was employed at T-Mobile's !CreationCenter. There, he applied his interests in interactive objects and spaces as well as taking interaction off the screen and turning it into physically tangible experiences and future technology.
For example, he was the creative lead on T-Mobile's Bobsled application, which hit more than a million users in early May 2012. The app-which is free to down - load and use-offers free calling and text messaging around the world to any U.S. number, regardless of device, carrier, or op - erating system. "I used it overseas recently and it sounds as good as Skype," Kuncl says. "It also turns your iPad into a phone for free."
Today, Kuncl works at Samsung Elec - tronic's Innovation Lab in San Jose, Calif., in a similar role to the one he held at T-Mobile. "I'm a designer who conceptu - alizes and then designs the future vision of products and services, such as, 'What is the future of television in three to five years?'" he explains. "We come up with advanced concepts to meet our custom - ers' needs, and we envision the future of all our products. We also look at nascent technology and then propose next-genera - tion user experiences."
Kuncl has filed for several patents for his inventions, one of which is for a device- adjacent displayed image. "If you have your phone down on a surface and you get a notification, it can actually project a second screen around the phone," he says. "If your hands are dirty or you're busy, you don't have to pick up the phone-you can just touch the surface and interact with the projected notification."
His ability to visualize and then produce new design technologies stemmed from his VJC education, Kuncl says. "We learned the nitty-gritty of production. It was not just producing something beautiful; we learned how to get an idea from concept to realization. Design firms really like that because not all graduates are prepared for production or productization. I've really taken that knowledge through my whole career and now that I'm doing more tech - nical work, I really use it to come up with a product and make it become reality."