Meet Alberto Rigau
Alberto Rigau, Masters student in Graphic Design, earned the first place award in the Humanities and Design category at the 2009 Graduate Student Research Symposium with his poster entitled, “In what ways can design address consumption induced behaviors and provide a set of tools to help consumers manage, control, and personalize fiscal activities?”
However, Rigau took many forks in the road before entering the Graphic Design program at NC State. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he grew up in a family of an architect with design-oriented friends. That environment led him to his studies and interest in Graphic Design.
After receiving undergraduate degrees in Graphic Design and Anthropology at Syracuse University, Rigau returned to Puerto Rico. There, he started the design studio Estudio Interlínea and the book publisher Editorial Revés.
Two years in practice sparked a desire and need for a deeper understanding of the discipline, which developed into an interest in graduate school. According to Rigau, “Choosing NC State’s College of Design was an easy decision. The program’s focus, areas of research, reputation, and current faculty tied in well with my academic and professional goals.”
Rigau’s graduate research reflects his interest in “...understanding some of the ways in which design can have an impact on how people behave”. His project looks at how design can help people understand more about the decisions they make, particularly those related to money and economics.
While Rigau does not consider his research unique, he is building on the work of scholars who pioneered the ideas of ‘experience and service design.’ What is particular about his research, however, is that he is applying those ideas to a targeted area of human behavior. The research focuses on the consumer’s relationship to credit card use in its broader sense—in its ecology—to evaluate ways in which design can address consumption-induced behaviors through tools that help manage, control, and personalize fiscal activities.
Rigau identified and explored three specific areas. System defaults reiterated the importance of interface metaphors in a consumer’s understanding of numerical information. Choice revealed some of the problems associated with abstracting a consumer’s relationship to money. Feedback demonstrated the possibilities of an interactive system in managing personal behavior. “As a whole, the investigation explored moments, opportunities and conditions for a design intervention to bring about reflective thought about spending habits,” said Rigau.
As a graphic designer, Rigau is experienced in creating poster presentations. The Symposium poster was a bit different, however, since he “. . . had not necessarily created a poster with the intention of showing off research in such a succinct manner before.”
What words of advice would Rigau give to his fellow graduate students? Simple this: ‘Remain curious.’
And when he takes a break from his graduate studies, Rigau enjoys sketching, water skiing, playing basketball, and a variety of beach activities.
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