Professor Smith has directed design and research projects for numerous clients including IBM, Martin Marietta Denver Aerospace, 3-M, Tupperware Brands, Mead Imaging, and NASA. In 2012, the Industrial Designers Society of America honored him for extreme volunteerism for founding the industrial design history website and for extraordinary contributions to protect and preserve the history of industrial design. In 2016 he was a guest editor for Innovation, the only peer reviewed journal of industrial design in the United States.
Visual timelines locate design and invention within the context of world events. A visual timeline also provides a way of seeing a designer’s impact across his or her entire career. Design solutions are often discussed in isolation based on how well a product met client requirements or how successful it was in the market or how well it solved a specific problem. All of these are valid, if somewhat conventional metrics. As such, they only provide a partial understanding. Designs exist in time and context. The visual timeline helps people access the social and historical context surrounding a design. When this is expanded to reflect the career of a specific designer, it also allows us to see the impact that one individual has on a profession over time.