Information architecture is important to design because it provides the structural underpinning that makes clarity possible. Without thinking about structure, designers can make missteps that lead to things that look good, but aren’t actually good.
After five years of living with a back injury, Alexa Forney made a startling realization: her life with chronic pain was actually better than it had been before. Even more shockingly, her research made it clear that she was not alone.
In her thesis Digital Natives, Gahee explores designing technologies for children. She uses as her point of departure the notion that young children today "lack analog activities," as they spend most of their time using tablets and cellphones. She argues that existing products in the market are designed to be addictive—creating passive behaviors in children.
"What Is Design, Now" is a series of no-nonsense primers defining and describing a breadth of contemporary design fundamentals. Written by faculty and friends of the MFA in Products of Design department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, the series attempts to demystify and make more accessible the essential toolkit and vocabulary of current design pursuits. Check back often for new additions to the series.
It's not as difficult as it may seem to build functional prototypes of high-tech product designs, once you learn basic electronics and microcontroller prototyping. It’s like sketching, but with hardware. Every product designer should learn a bit of circuit design, wiring, soldering, and programming in order to better understand the increasingly connected devices in our lives.
To start off the day for the fourth annual MFA Products of Design Thesis Presentations, program chair Allan Chochinov welcomes guests, families, and simulcast viewers, discusses the contemporary urgencies of design, and how design can be a "fourth force" for change in the world. Enjoy the opening remarks below, and be sure to check out all the thesis projects that follow here!
Xumeng Mou considers herself lucky to have been born a daydreamer. Growing up in an environment that valued so-called rationality and objectivity over fantasy and creativity placed her natural inclinations at odds with outside expectations. This inner conflict led her to explore the human mind and to examine whether daydreams should rightfully be considered “barriers to success.”
Arjun Kalyanpur’s master’s thesis, Invisible Tethers, posits that people are connected to one another through time via shared experiences and history with objects and places. Initially driven by a personal fascination with time, it was not until a trip to California that his thesis began to take shape.
As part of her semester project in Design for Sustainability and Resilience, first-year student Sowmya Iyer chose to re-design the packaging and promotional strategy for a local, farm-based business in Upstate New York called Saratoga Apple. Her goals were to use design to help the business educate its customers around the topic of local farming practices, along with enhancing the user experience for customers visiting its tasting room.
Graphic design is an umbrella term for a number of interrelated disciplines that involve the application of text and image in compositions on paper and screen to communicate messages. Graphic design is also the armature for storytelling in its broadest form and for various outcomes from advertising to editorial, from packaging to data.
Josh Corn’s master thesis, Awe and Astonishment: Wonder in the Age of Democratized Magic, aims to inspire wonder and awe through the design of products, services, and experiences. Josh asserts that the door to people’s curiosity and wonder is closing due to the evolution of technology. Josh states, “science pushes on to understand the world around us and as technology continues to innovate, we have seen a diminishment in the value we place on the unknown and the mysteries around us.”
Jenna Witzleben’s Master’s thesis, Finding the Wild: A Visceral Approach to Sustainability, explores an alternative future trajectory—“rewilding”—and how physical and emotional reconnection with our natural environments can inspire lifestyles of environmental stewardship.
Design for social impact is the practice of interrogating systems—institutional, economic, social, political, interpersonal—in order to define opportunities for change that give voice to those who has been disenfranchised or marginalized by design. In essence, this field of study provides a methodology for examining domains of power through Socratic inquiry, structural and systems-based design thinking, and solutions-based design making.
Eye Posture is a striking photographic series – created by student Chris Rand, to raise awareness of the ill posture that New York City commuters maintain habitually while looking at their cell phones. This series emphasizes the risks of the behavior that people willingly participate in for an average of 2.8 hours per day during their daily commute.
This year, the students of the MFA Products of Design took home 2 honors in this year's Core77 Design Awards! The recognized work spanned multiple categories—from Service Design to Design for Social Impact to Strategy and Research. Interaction Design and Service Design to Furniture and Lighting. Check them out below, and click to see the complete projects on Core77!
On Sunday, the MFA Products of Design helped out the amazing grass-roots organization Racket by providing space for one of their epic "packaging" sessions. In only three hours, a cadre of volunteers met at the department and packed kits of over 25,000 products—a record according to Racket founders Margo Seibert and Caroline Angell.
Students of SVA’s MFA in Products of Design present TRIAGE, an interactive exhibition that reframes contemporary urgencies through the lens of design. The work is part of the city-wide NYCxDesign celebration. We live in uncertain times, faced with a political climate where institutions that offer solutions to complex challenges are under threat, systematically undermined, and dismantled. TRIAGE consists of six roving design interactions that assess the socio-political priorities of visitors to the design festival. At the start of the exhibition, visitors receive a TRIAGE CARD that tracks and gradually compiles their unique profile.
Correlation. Causation. Coincidence. Designers have the power to change the world, but where they situate their work in time and in place often determines the impact more than the designed artifacts themselves. In Coincident Times, the graduate students of the MFA in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts explore speculative pasts and futures to produce fifteen product proposals for the present day— each a 3-dimensional manifestation of their year-long thesis, and each attempting to reconcile their points of view with their imagined, preferred states.