We are excited to share student projects, department news, event information, and photos from the MFA in Products of Design program. Check back frequently for updates.

Masters Thesis: The End. By Matthew Barber

Masters Thesis: The End. By Matthew Barber

Products of Design MFA student Matthew Barber’s thesis, entitled “The End.” looks at the shifting landscape of death and dying in today’s society, and the consequences of living an increasingly digital life. Matthew chose to tackle this subject after observing the effects of his grandmother’s passing from dementia. “I think this thesis really began back in 2011,” he reflects, “I saw my family struggling with my grandmother’s passing and thought that there must be a better way. I wanted to understand why this was so hard on us.”

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Instead of looking at traditional patient-driven solutions, Matt began by looking into design solutions based on the patient’s extended family and friends. He saw an opportunity to investigate the terminally ill, but more specifically, the things and the people that they leave behind.

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Masters Thesis: The Teacher’s Lounge, by Joseph Weissgold

Masters Thesis: The Teacher’s Lounge, by Joseph Weissgold

Products of Design MFA student Joseph Weissgold has spent the past year exposing the similarities he’s seen between his two background disciplines: Education and Design. Both these disciplines, he argues, are in a state of transformation, shifting from industries focused on optimizing efficiency through mass-produced offerings, to industries focused on experiences that are flexible enough to be personally relevant to their intended audiences—whether users or students.

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Masters Thesis: In the Running: Human Mobility in a Sedentary World, by Emi Yasaka

Masters Thesis: In the Running: Human Mobility in a Sedentary World, by Emi Yasaka

Products of Design MFA student Emi Yasaka’s thesis, entitled “In The Running,” examines the barriers to physical fitness in contemporary life. The project was inspired by her own running journey, as well as her experience with a local community running program catering to underserved. Developed through environmental, cultural and social lenses, as well as through perceived motivational factors, inner-city youth, the thesis resulted in three principal offerings.

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Masters Thesis: Around: Drawing out Relief and Engagement in the Urban Environment, by Samantha Moore

Masters Thesis: Around: Drawing out Relief and Engagement in the Urban Environment, by Samantha Moore

Products of Design MFA student Samantha Moore’s thesis, entitled “Around: Drawing out Relief and Engagement in the Urban Environment,” explores overcoming everyday frustrations in New York City. The thesis began as a personal journey for relief but was soon reframed and applied to a larger audience.

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Initial research led to examining relief in the form of escape, diagnosis and prescription. Inspired by Ray Oldenburg’s book The Great Good Place, Moore thought about the “third place,”—a place of refuge between home and work—and how this idea could apply to the on-the-go lifestyle of New Yorkers by creating a speculative portable room-scape that people can take with them.

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Masters Thesis: SUPER. Moments of Remarkable, by Richard Clarkson

Masters Thesis: SUPER. Moments of Remarkable, by Richard Clarkson

The objective of Richard Clarkson’s Products of Design Thesis, entitled “Super: Moments of Remarkable,” was to help people feel powerful by allowing them to realize their true potential in the face of seemingly impossible obstacles in life. Richard explored this challenge through experience design and positive-cognitive psychology. Inspired by both a childhood fascination with Superheroes and using cartoons as a an outlet to deal with stress of over-exposure to information as an adult, Richard’s initial research focused on trying to identify and define what Superpowers really are. As the research moved into cognitive psychology, the thesis shifted in perspective from a collection of objects to a platform of experience. This culminated in a one-night event at a Manhattan-based gallery space, which took participants on a journey through seven different Superpower simulations.

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