The work of industrial designer and educator Josh Owen is at once simple, practical, and creative. Typologies that Owen creates are commonly described as refined, iconic, or minimalist. He defines function in humanistic terms, combining clarity of purpose and functional efficacy with emotive and tactile qualities chosen to align strategically with industry. Owen is the president of Josh Owen LLC and is professor and chair of the Department of Industrial Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His projects are produced by major manufacturers and have won many awards. Owen's work is included in the permanent design collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal, the Denver Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Chicago Athenaeum, and the National Museum of American Jewish History. His work has been featured in major exhibitions, numerous books on design, and is regularly included in critical design discourse.
Owen was a dual degree student at Cornell and took advantage of leveraging the social sciences by wrapping them around his visual arts education. The addition of anthropology and related coursework to his fine arts curriculum created a depth of understanding about human behavior which gave context to his contributions to the built environment. While studying at AAP, Professor Roberto Bertoia unquestionably had the most effect on his education and career path, with a passion for history, materiality, form-giving, and technique that extended far beyond his area of specialty into architecture, engineering, and design. Owen was the recipient of a Cornell Council for the Arts grant and the David R. Beane Prize in Fine Arts, which enabled him to study abroad in Rome.
In June of 2020, Owen was named the director of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies and the Massimo and Lella Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design at RIT.