Design Thinking Projects and News — Products of Design
The Latest in Design Thinking and Making
SVA’s master’s program in design thinking shows the latest projects from designers with multidisciplinary training.
See the latest design innovations from SVA’s Products of Design from Arduino-powered clouds to sexual health interventions for the CDC. We spotlight news from a multitude of disciplines including nontraditional areas for designers to make an impact.
Products of Design graduates Manako Tamura and Alexia Cohen have just won three awards in this year’s International Design Awards! All three of these projects were created as part of their Masters Thesis, and we’ve pasted links below for you to check them out!
On Friday, February 22nd, the MFA Products of Design department held its sixth annual Design:Match Job Fair event, where global and local firms and organizations met with students, shared work, and discussed employment, funding, and entrepreneurship. Below is a list of this year's attendees, along with some photos of the event!
We invite you to attend the Masters Thesis showcase presentations of the 2019 graduating class of the MFA in Products of Design program on Tuesday, May 14th at the SVA Theatre from 11am - 5:30pm. Twenty graduating masters students will each present their year-long thesis work, comprised of research, artifacts, services, experiences, and platforms.
HarborNYC connects people displaced by climate change with housing options, so that they can safely recover and rebuild. Using an immersive 360-video experience as part of its recruitment campaign, HarborNYC fosters empathy in viewers to incite people to open their homes to displaced individuals and families.
The idea for Swift came about while Smruti watched videos on the YouTube channel “AmputeeOT” by Christina Stephens, an occupational therapist and below-knee unilateral amputee. Smruti was especially struck by a video in which Stephens describes the annoyances of going to the bathroom or getting up for a glass of water in the middle of the night; Stephens mentions that she usually crawls on the floor to get to the bathroom or kitchen because putting on her prosthetic is so time-consuming.
Hark, a speculative project created by second year student Antya Waegemann, is proposed to be the first over-the-counter sexual assault forensic exam (or “rape kit”) available at any major pharmacy. Small and discreet, Hark is designed to be approachable and comforting for survivors of sexual assault.
Voices of Red Hook is a community feedback mechanism that polls and aggregates neighborhood-specific community concerns through physical murals and an augmented reality (AR) experience. This particular iteration is designed for residents of Red Hook, Brooklyn. With a smartphone, a user scans one of the many faces on a physical Voices of Red Hook mural, and watches the face and story of that resident come to life through augmented reality, then prompting them to react to the story through a poll in the app.
“Design is intrinsic to politics,” argue faculty Jennifer Rittner, Marc Dones, and Andrew Schlessinger. “In fact, the entire Democratic experiment is a product of design.” In the Products of Design program, an opportunity to investigate the direct relationship between design and politics occurs biennially with the U.S. elections. This year, it was all about the Midterm Elections—when politicians compete for seats in the U.S. Legislative branch (Congress), as well as in State and Local political races.
It’s been an incredible couple of days here at Products of Design, and we thought we might share some of the highlights, including a Guest Lecture by Debbie Millman, The kick-off of this year’s MoMA Partnered Project, a field trip to New Lab, and guest lectures from Blue Ridge Labs! Partnered Project. Check out the photos, ’cause in addition to these special events, the students were soldering up their Arduino projects, hosting visitors in the gallery, working in group projects, and cooking meals in the kitchen. Enjoy!
Fun fact: humans are more scared of public speaking that we are of death. Tapping into the near-universal experience of jitters before a class presentation, second-year student Eugenia Ramos Alonso designed Presenter’s Toolkit for an academic setting, to help students who struggle with public presentations become more confident communicators, and empower them to fully express and communicate their ideas.
NEDA is an interactive picture frame helps parents and grandparents, who may are have a hard time working with technology, to connect with their loved ones—regardless of where they live. Designer Pantea Parsa offers, “I was inspired by my own personal experience with contacting my grandmother, who lives in Iran. She’s not well-versed with technology, so I wanted to create a smart object that looked like a common picture frame, but helped her out in a couple significant ways.”
Glare is a longboard skateboard brand designed for the urban commuter. The core technology is the Uplight—a long-wavelength beam of light projected upward onto the rider which increases nighttime visibility and thereby reduces the risk of collision with cars. Designed by second-year students Qixuan Wang, Eugenia Ramos, Micah Lynn, and André Orta, the project brief was “to identify a subculture, design a product to suit a need or opportunity within that community, and then finally design a brand around that product.”
Nimbus is a CBD vaporizer designed for the home. Counter to the cigarette form factor present in most of the vape market, Nimbus speaks the same formal language as a beautiful houseware product. Designed by second-year students Phuong Anh Nguyen, Kevin Cook, Runshi Wei, and John Boran Jr., the project was created for the Product, Brand, and Experience 2nd-year course.
Cardinal is a smart navigation gloves “for life in the fast lane on two wheels.” Designed by second-year students Evie Cheung, Ellen Rose, Antya Waegemann, and Yangying Ye as part of their Product, Brand, and Experience class, the gloves are specifically designed with the female urban motorcyclist in mind. “They provide an easy and safe navigation system for women who don’t want to compromise on style and protection,” offers the team. “Users can sync their Cardinal gloves to Google Maps or Waze with the built-in Bluetooth, and the OLED screen in the glove can then provide a visual signal—indicating where riders need to turn—while a progress bar indicates distance from the turn.
Tongue is a carbon bike saddle with a deployable fender meant to defeat rear-wheel bike spray on command. The fender slides inside a track on the saddle's shell, underneath a thin layer of gel—all designed to allow bike messengers to ride for long hours in comfort and with convenience. Tongue was designed by second-year students Benjamin Bartlett, Gustav Dyrhauge, Zihan Chen and Tzu-Chin.
AFTER is a disaster training program for high schoolers, disguised as an AR (Augmented Reality) app and game. Through playing the game, teens in Red Hook (the most highly-impacted NYC neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy) learn where to go for help, and where to find relevant resources in their neighborhood in case of natural disaster.
Moxie is the first roller derby garment that integrates shoulder protection and makes you “game-day ready.” Roller derby is an intense, physical sport. Derby athletes have grit, tenacity, and a professional ethic that remains unacknowledged by outsiders. Moxie reimagines how the roller derby uniform can create a unique silhouette for roller derby at its highest level; one that will allow it to be recognized by the rest of the world.
We're excited to share this year's Open House and Information Session videos and photos, which took place on November 14, 20178. It was standing-room-only as students, alumni, faculty, and Museum of Modern Art’s Gabrielle Zola came to the mic to present projects and pedagogy. We even flew in our Open House Competition from Omaha! If you’re a prospective student but couldn't make it to the event or the livestream, check out the videos from the day below! Be sure to contact us if you'd like to arrange a visit to the department, to sit in on a class, or just ask a question! We’d love to hear from you.
First-year student Yuko Kanai designed Piggy Bank—an Arduino-powered IoT lamp that tracks your progress as you train for a half marathon, while also depositing money into a savings fund. “Keeping up a consistent running habit has always been a challenge for me, so I designed this device to create a visual reminder for my progress. I know that I respond well to rewards, so I added an incentive as well,” she shared.
This past summer, SVA Products of Design and the Omidyar Network collaborated on a four-weeks project around the topic of Interdependence, examining how design might address one of society’s most pressing challenges of the moment: our increasingly polarized personal and political landscape.
Prompted by current headlines about developments in the Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic and Political sphere, the SVA Orientation Class of 2020 developed narrative visions of the resulting futures and designed “provotypes” (provocative prototypes) to explore how we might re-capture the pleasure of an intimate conversation that can provide a comforting and nourishing escape from surveillance, reconnecting us with a friend, family member, colleague or perhaps even ourselves. The workshop was led by alumni Steve Hamilton with Brandon Washington and Alexia Cohen.
The #MeToo Awareness Campaign was designed by student Eugenia Ramos Alonso for Making Studio. She wanted to highlight the frequency of the hashtag #MeToo and raise awareness of how common acts of sexual assault take place.
Join us at this year's Open House and Information Session, taking place on Wednesday, November 14th, 2017—from 6-8:30pm! Attendees will be able to meet faculty, alumni, and current students, see projects, learn about the program, tour the studio, classroom spaces, and Visible Futures Lab, and ask questions about life at Products of Design. Delicious refreshments will be shared throughout the session.
BabyGym is a speculative, tongue-in-cheek product that casts a critical but constructive eye on fatherhood. Through his thesis work, GENTLEmen: Challenging Adults to Raise Feminine Boys, Andrew Schlesinger investigates the restrictive nature we place on men to conform to a masculine ideal that can be destructive to themselves and to those around them. The overarching initiative of his thesis is to challenge the influential adults in boys’ lives to rethink the stereotypes they project onto boys, and, instead, encourage traditionally feminine traits.
Daniel Perlin believes in listening closely as a strategy for design. He is currently the founder of Make_Good_, an experience design studio dedicated to bettering lives and the planet. As a designer, he has produced a wide range of works, from screen-based experiences to objects to installations and spaces. Check out this interview with Daniel as he prepares to teach the new Virtual Realities course here at Products of Design!