Design Thesis Summer Work 2019

Preparing for Thesis & Exhibition A and B
Designers: Register for Section 3 or 4

The Thesis course guides you in identifying your particular approach as a designer and in making work from your own interests. Some things to know about this course:

Build time into your Fall and Spring schedules. The course demands independent, self-directed work. It will require at least 10 hours per week of dedicated work outside of class time. Block out time in your schedule to work on Thesis each week.

Design Thesis is iterative. Don’t worry about seeking out a specific project idea just yet. Your work will develop throughout the Fall semester, by making a series of experimental projects. You’ll examine each project critically, and use something from each project as a jumping off point for the next. This intense exploration will yield work for the exhibition in the Spring.

Think and write about what’s important to you. Instead of a specific project idea, you are seeking a topic that interests you and that you can explore with design. Spend time over the summer, assessing your preoccupations and tendencies, as a designer and as a person. What excites you? What are you confused about? What do you want to know more about? What makes you tick? How might design methods interact with these interests of yours. Your answers will help drive your work. How you connect your varied concerns will make your work unique.

Start recording ideas and making work. The summer assignments below will get you started for next year. Use these assignments to keep your creativity flowing and to begin the school year with ideas percolating.

Please feel free to contact us at any point, with any questions or thoughts along the way.



Design Thesis Summer 2019 Assignments

Dropbox Paper

Set up an account at Dropbox Paper.

Use Paper to store your writing, images, references, project development — all in one place and shareable. Create a folder for Thesis, and create a separate document for the Precedents and Readings assignments below. Share your folder with Jackie before the first day of classes, September 3.


Over the course of the summer, compile a list of ten makers in whose work you find something significant that touches your own interests and approach. Include designers and if desired artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians etc.

Record your Precedents in one DropBox Paper document. For each person, write a few sentences about how their work relates to your interests, approach and/or aspirations. Include one or more images of their work and write a caption for each. Some suggestions for where to find these makers:


Read one book and two articles on a subject that fascinates you. This could be a subject within or outside of design. These readings could be about any subject matter. Write a one-paragraph summary of each reading.


  1. Select two of your existing works, from previous class assignments. Select one aspect of each, and combine to create a prompt for a new project. You could choose a format or working method from one project and some content from another project, for example. Design something entirely new in response to the resulting prompt.
  2. Start with a specific idea from one of your Readings (see above). Create work that delivers this idea to an audience of your choice. Can take any form, e.g. book, poster, website, mobile app concept, projection, animation, video, typeface, package design etc etc.


See visual work on display in museums, galleries and public spaces. In New York City, check out these: The Cooper Hewitt focuses on design in particular. The New Museum, eyebeam at various locations and Type Directors Club host relevant shows. The MoMA Bookstore, Printed Matter, and Gagosian Shop are great places to see books and how they are displayed. Poster House is a new poster museum opening June 20.

Past Thesis Shows:

2020 Déjà Rêvé
2019 Glass Elevator
2018 Throwing Stones
2017 Wabi Sabi
2014 No Prose No Cons
2013 but no, yeah | New Brunswick, NJ