This is How it’s Done

Author: School of Design
March 29, 2024

Design MA alumnus Stephanie Mufson welcomes industrial design students to her workshop in Mission Bay

Dragon design and float for Alaska Airlines

Dragon design and float for Alaska Airlines. Chinese New Year parade, San Francisco, 2024.

This Spring, both sessions of DES.310 Product Design 1 had the opportunity to visit The Parade Guys, where, owner and principal designer, Stephanie Mufson (MA class of 2023), showed the floats created and produced for the 2024 San Francisco Chinese New Year’s parade.

Students in both Prof. Fernando Carvalho’s and Prof. Natalia Porter’s classes learned about the design and fabrication processes, as well as the business aspects of Mrs. Mufson’s work, while enjoying a beautiful waterfront view of the Bay.

Dragon Design process

Dragon design process and final product for Lucky supermarkets. Chinese New Year parade, San Francisco, 2024.

The Parade Guys are a parade float and fabrication studio serving the Bay Area and beyond. We offer design, fabrication and installation services for a wide array of clients and environments, from parades and live events, to decor for corporate spaces, to miniature golf courses, and public art displays. We are a diverse team of creatives with backgrounds in fine art, mural painting, construction, film and theater crew, graphic design, and industrial design. We love building long lasting partnerships with our clients, and we love a challenge.

Stephanie Mufson

Stephanie Mufson

Stephanie Mufson has spent more than 15 years in the arts and entertainment industries as an artist, designer, and fabricator working throughout California and beyond. She is the owner of The Parade Guys, a fabrication company specializing in parade floats, props, and decor. Through her design work, she exercises her passion for adding moments of beauty and fun into everyday spaces, from the permanent to the ephemeral.  Stephanie uses her background in fine art and commercial design to understand and deliver the right look and feel to her diverse portfolio of clients. From clean and commercial, to artistic and fanciful, the through line in Stephanie's work is her joie de vivre, found in her use of color, composition, and form. As a business owner and creative director, she has lead teams as large as fifty people, overseeing hundreds of projects within the span of weeks or months. Her client list includes international brands such as Alaska Airlines, Hyundai, Meta, and Salesforce, as well as notable public figures including Mayor London Breed, JoJo Siwa, and Steph Curry. Stephanie holds a BFA in Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art (2003), and an MA in Industrial Design from San Francisco State University (2023).


Stephanie at SFSU

I enrolled in the MA design program at San Francisco State University in 2020 to expand my digital literacy and understanding of mechanized fabrication techniques. I absolutely got what I came for, and a whole lot extra. Despite already operating within a professional design space, I learned a lot about design methodologies I had not encountered before. These practices have improved the efficiency and quality of my business offerings, and my confidence when speaking with other designers. I loved the community I found there, and have had the pleasure of hiring a handful of the undergraduates from the ID department, some of whom have now worked with me for a few years, and have been able to contribute to the design and fabrication projects using things they learned at SFSU.

“The world needs imaginative thinking and compassionate design solutions more than ever- be bold and believe in yourself!”