Brian Gulassa

Brian Gulassa profile image


Brian Gulassa has had the unique fortune of knowing he wanted to work in the arts since he was a young child. Where other kids had posters in their rooms of sports teams or rock bands, Gulassa had typography charts and David Lance Goines and Milton Glaser posters.

His book collection included illustrators, artists, and designers. He started art school in the fourth grade attending The Art School in Oakland, California, through 12th grade, graduating in 1980.

Gulassa went on to attend California College of Arts (and Crafts), graduating in 1984 with a bachelor of arts in Illustration (and a minor in Graphic Design).


Gulassa worked at a graphic design studio from age 14 through college. After graduation, he went to work for a toy company and there realized his true passion was product design.

He went back to CCA and took the very first Industrial Design course offered in 1988.

Gulassa founded his own design studio in 1990, Brian Gulassa Design, and has worked for over 50 toy, sports, and consumer goods companies and has several hundred products go to market.

He has won several design awards -- including the Best of 2016 award at the New York Toy Fair -- and achieved several patents.


In addition to teaching, Gulussa splits his time between his three main clients: Green Toys, a sustainable toy company; Anki Drive, a startup specializing in artificial  intelligence in consumer products; and his new startup, Thoughtfull Toys, which successfully launched its first product on Kickstarter called Modarri cars -- now available in stores.


Brian's focus: where design meets play. Whether it's sporting goods, toys, or games -- from infants through adults -- we all take our play seriously.

“For kids, toys are props for priming play; for adults toys are props that enable play.”

Brian believes designing great products requires an understanding of the product’s purpose and personal design point of view.  His goal is to create honest products that tell their own stories.


Brian is passionate about teaching and enjoys coming up with new ways to instruct and projects to inspire students. He teaches the timeless foundation of the creative process that can be applied to any profession, then he adds 21st century skills.

“With fast-paced changes in technology, it is very important not to rehash lessons from the past, but design lessons based on how we currently work.”

Brian has been teaching at CCA for over 25 years: Design Drawing; Design Communication; Measured Drawings; ID1, ID3,  ID 4; Creative Immersion; Play Culture; Toy Design; Kids Play as well as lecturing outside of school and both attending and running innovation brainstorm sessions for major clients.



Senior Adjunct Professor, Industrial Design