George Tisten

Adjunct & ID Shop Assistant, Industrial Design


231 West Lake Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

ph: 574.862.0297



B.F.A., University of Notre Dame
M.F.A., University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Designer's Profile

George Tisten arrived at the University of Notre Dame in late summer of 1966 from his native Sweden shortly after having graduated from high school and following completion of compulsory military service in the army branch, having been stationed mostly up in the arctic regions of the country.

After initial intentions of entering the field of advertising, he soon became aware of the industrial design program, which suddenly seemed a much more natural fit, considering his already considerable exposure to art, wood and metalworking in high school, including all things mechanical, thanks to his father, a mechanical engineer who strongly encouraged summer internships in manufacturing and heavy equipment plants, including power-plants and shipyards.

While attending Notre Dame, George received several rewards and stipends from Ford Motor Company and General Motors, since his main area of interest and concentration became mainly focused on all aspects of transportation and vehicle design. He graduated in 1970 with a BFA degree in Industrial design.

Due to a sudden downturn in the automotive industry at the time, George decided to widen his experience further, and was accepted into the industrial design department at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. While there, he taught sketching to architecture students for three years, in addition to getting deeper immersed in the areas of consumer product and systems design and development. Before earning his MFA degree in design in 1973, he expanded his knowledge in areas of painting, ceramics, jewelry-design and silver-smithing.

Upon earning his second degree, he was invited back to Notre Dame to teach various courses in the design department for 12 years until 1986, when he left to pursue freelance design in many diverse areas. Some of the areas included toys, machinery and tools, recreational equipment, trade-show and exhibit design, luxury motorhomes, packaging, truck accessories, illustrations for ad-agencies, and scale models for various corporate displays. He spent three months in Buenos Aires, Argentina, helping to develop a successful new line of refrigerators for the RV industry.

When he managed to find extra time, George did many commissioned portraits, and illustrations of automobiles, of which quite a few found their home in other countries.

In fall of 1987 George was asked to join Utilimaster Corporation in Wakarusa, Indiana, a major manufacturer of delivery vehicles. At that time, Harley-Davidson Motor Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was the parent company of both Utilimaster Corporation and Holiday Rambler RV, a major recreational vehicle manufacturer, and George became director of design for both, and shared time between both companies where he was attached to R&D and Advanced Engineering for 20 years until spring of 2007. Major clients included UPS, Fed-Ex, U.S.Postal Service, Canada Paste, DHL, Cintas, FritoLay, and many others.

In autumn of 2009, George once more was asked to re-join the Notre Dame design department to offer assistance in several areas, such as design sketching, model making and general guidance in the shop. His greatest joy comes from seeing our students grow, make progress and ultimately make us proud.