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Degree candidates must successfully complete 60 credits, including all required courses, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. A residency of two academic years is required.

In the first year, students will be given advanced instruction in a variety of authoring skills, such as writing, editing, criticism, typography as a visual language, Film and new media directing, visual journalism and book and magazine publishing. Along with these skills-based classes, courses in marketing, research, advertising, promotion, publicity, intellectual property and networking will be offered. 



The goal of the second year is product-oriented. Participants are required to devise and develop a viable idea for a specialty market. Students will write and design a proposal for a product that will be presented to a panel of "guest faculty" who will decide whether it has enough merit to progress to the developmental stage. At the developmental stage, students will produce a prototype for backers, publishers, producers or distributors. Working individually, this final proposal, dummy or prototype will be professionally produced for presentation purposes.



First Year Requirements

DSG-5080 Paul Rand Lecture Series
DSG-5100 Design and Intentions
DSG-5130 Writing and Designing the Visual Book
DSG-5210 Can Design Touch Someone’s Heart?
DSG-5250 Thesis Introduction
DSG-5290 21st-Century Editorial Design
DSG-5310 Design Technology Workshop I
DSG-5340 Designing Interaction
DSG-5420 Embracing the Unknown
DSG-5450 Design Decisions
DSG-5470 Interaction Aesthetics: Designing Digital Products for the 21st Century
DSG-5480 Design and Branding
DSG-5660 Rapid Prototyping: Building Rome in a Day
DSG-5800 The Venture: From Theory to Reality

Second-Year Requirements

DSG-6030 Intellectual Property and the Law
DSG-6050/6052 Seminars I
DSG-6053/6055 Seminars II
DSG-6061 Thesis Matrix
DSG-6070 Thesis Consultation (preparation) 
DSG-6080 Thesis Consultation (research and development) 
DSG-6090 Thesis Consultation (production) 
DSG-6120 Thesis Consultation (pitch and presentation)
DSG-6130 Thesis Video and Media Launch
DSG-6310 Design Technology Workshop II
DSG-6430 Making Your Case: Business for Design Entrepreneurs

General Course Listing

DSG-5080
Paul Rand Lecture Series: A History of Graphic Design
Fall semester: no credit
These lectures address various aspects of the history of graphic design over the past 150 years, including movements, pioneers and icons, as well as issues and events. Lectures focus on 19th-century premodern practice, early and mid-20th century orthodox modernism, and the late 20th-century postmodern. Themes include racism and design, symbolism and the swastika, type and culture, politics and propaganda, modernism and Art Deco, and avant-garde magazines of the 20th century. Students will engage in critical and analytical discussions that relate design history to current communication practices.

DSG-5100
Design and Intentions
Fall semester: 1.5 credits

This course is structured to help students examine their assumptions about their own work. It begins with a restaurant project where many design considerations intersect, such as communication, service, interior spaces, lighting, color, and comfort. The course continues with a series of exercises that intends to disrupt

or support the students’ working methods. Ultimately, the objective is to develop an awareness of what they are already doing.

DSG-5130
Writing and Designing the Visual Book
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course combines design and literature to create integrated and meaningful expression. Students will develop their creative writing skills through a sequence of exercises in continuous writing, observational writing, titling objects and images, theatrical improvisation, storytelling, writing from different points of view, structuring a narrative and editing. Selected texts from exercises are then set into a variety of book formats, using any combination of book structures, typography, images and symbols. Emphasis is placed on discovering a visual form that emerges out of the meaning and shape of an original text. Historical and contemporary examples of “visual text” will be presented.

DSG-5210
Can Design Touch Someone’s Heart?
Fall semester: 3 credits
It is widely assumed that movies, literature and music get to our emotional core. It seems to be more difficult for design to achieve a similar effect. In this course, students will explore how to achieve this with three individual assignments.

DSG-5250
Thesis Introduction
Spring semester: 3 credits
This course will introduce students to faculty thesis consultants who will assign exercises that are designed to initiate R&D and jumpstart the conceptual process for the thesis project. By the end of the course, students will have identified at least two areas of interest to be further explored for the final thesis.

DSG-5290
21st-Century Editorial Design
Fall semester: 3 credits
For a designer, mastering page layout and typography seem to be a given. For design-entrepreneurs-in-training, working in editorial design can also help to develop the skills of storytelling, content curation and branding, as well as project planning and marketing. This course aims to provide a training ground to hone these skills, while becoming familiar with the technology used to present content in the modern media environment. Students will develop and design their own magazine brand, then curate and design an interactive, digital edition of its first issue and, lastly, prototype a bespoke, brand-supportive iPhone app. Through using the tools and technology involved in building these projects, students will gain familiarity with a range of interactive prototyping and presentation techniques. How to manage large projects, implement clean data practices and procure creative content will also be covered.

DSG-5310
Design Technology Workshop I
Fall semester: no credit
These courses are a deep dive into the technological tools of the design professional. Student will be exposed to principles of information technology as they relate to the designers. Topics will include computer optimization, networking in the studio environment, alternative workflows for new media, online resources for license-free media and digital cinema. The spring semester will focus on the world beyond the design studio. Topics will include mobile applications for designers, social media and blogging, online security and DRM (digital rights management), digital publishing tools, networking on the web and file sharing.

DSG-5290
21st-Century Editorial Design
Fall semester: 3 credits
For a designer, mastering page layout and typography seem to be a given. For design-entrepreneurs-in-training, working in editorial design can also help to develop the skills of storytelling, content curation and branding, as well as project planning and marketing. This course aims to provide a training ground to hone these skills, while becoming familiar with the technology used to present content in the modern media environment. Students will develop and design their own magazine brand, then curate and design an interactive, digital edition of its first issue and, lastly, prototype a bespoke, brand-supportive iPhone app. Through using the tools and technology involved in building these projects, students will gain familiarity with a range of interactive prototyping and presentation techniques. How to manage large projects, implement clean data practices and procure creative content will also be covered.

DSG-5340
Designing Interaction
Fall semester: 1.5 credits
This intensive, project-based course seeks to nurture the capacity for designing system using digital and non-digital components. The core of the class is to master three crucial skills: narrative, structure and flow. Students will produce projects with increasing complexity, leveraging design precedents, user insights, information architecture, media integration and future developments.

DSG-5420
Embracing the Unknown
Spring semester: 3 credits
This 
course will introduce students to the design sprint process and how it can help designers quickly form hypotheses and test them. With an emphasis on iterative and collaborative design thinking we can use simple tools to get our best ideas into testable forms quickly with results that can deliver critical business insights.

DSG-5450
Design Decisions
Spring semester: 1.5 credits
Design Decisions is a course on design thinking and design making. It acknowledges that designers deal with scale and, as a result, are capable of creating powerful design gestures that multiply out into powerful design consequence. The course is hands-on; students will build prototypes and create sketches each week, exploring design through various design lenses and personal points of view.

DSG-5470
Interaction Aesthetics: Designing Digital Products for the 21st Century
Spring semester: 3 credits
User-centered interactive design is the focus of this course. It will examine how to put users at the heart of the experience, and explore the fundamental building blocks of all successful interactive products. Students will work on a semester-long project that will address the core phases of creating a successful digital product. All projects must consider how the product will adapt to specific platforms, including desktop, mobile, tablet, wearables, and the Internet of things. Guest speakers will share their insights of creating and working in the interactive realm.

DSG-5480
Design and Branding
Fall semester: 3 credits
In this course students will develop a comprehensive brand identity that reinforces the narrative of a chosen business or service. Our theoretical readings will be complemented with historical competitive audits to identify and leverage unique opportunities to develop the brand’s story. Critical thinking, iterative design methodology, and a synthesis of research, design production and presentation will be emphasized. 

DSG-5450
Design Decisions
Spring semester: 1.5 credits
Design Decisions is a course on design thinking and design making. It acknowledges that designers deal with scale and, as a result, are capable of creating powerful design gestures that multiply out into powerful design consequence. The course is hands-on; students will build prototypes and create sketches each week, exploring design through various design lenses and personal points of view.

DSG-5660
Rapid Prototyping: Building Rome in a Day
Spring semester: 1.5 credits
As a jumpstart to the thesis process, this course will examine students’ ideas of how to connect with your audience and quickly translate those ideas into tangible models. We’ll also explore how critical thinking and analysis can evolve rough ideas into a viable product. By the end of the course, students will have solved how to take concept to completion rapidly, and then refine and evolve it over time.

DSG-5800
The Venture: From Theory to Reality
Spring semester: 3 credits
In this course students will explore thesis concepts to be fully developed in the second year. This will be like thesis “boot camp” where students will take a disciplined process of idea generation that balances a personal passion with a practical, market-driven opportunity. During this process we will focus on your core skills and base of knowledge that can best support your thesis and insure an outstanding result. The goal is to prepare you to enter the second year with a strong conceptual foundation to further develop your venture. This will not be the final thesis but a direction that has been tested for its fundamental viability in advance of further refinement.

DSG-6030
Intellectual Property and the Law
Fall semester: 1.5 credits
The general concepts of law and intellectual property law as they apply to the practice of design will be examined, including basic legal issues of contract and property law, within the creative context. Among the topics explored will be the work-for-hire agreement, the consignment agreement and the agency agreement. The law of copyright, trademark and patents will also be explored. Issues such as registering a copyright, copyright infringement, registering a trademark and trade dress infringement and patents (in particular, design patents) will be examined from the perspective of the professional designer. In addition, design and information issues presented by new technology, such as the web, will be included throughout the course.

DSG-6050 through DSG-6055
Seminars I and II
Two semesters: 1 credit per seminar section
To enliven the program and bring students into contact with a significant number of working professionals, a series of workshops will be scheduled each semester. Seminar topics will change from year to year based on student interest and shifts in the overall field.

DSG-6061
Thesis Matrix
Fall semester: 1.5 credits
This course is the starting point for thesis preparation and development, offering an overview of the thesis process. Guidelines for the form of each student’s original idea will be given. The various components of the thesis process will be addressed.

DSG-6070
Thesis Consultation (preparation)
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course will prepare students to identify a product suitable for full-scale development for the audience they aim to target. It will help students identify concepts that matter to them, and then expand those concepts into design. The semester is divided into four sections: developing a market research survey, writing a comprehensive business plan, e-commerce and e-ideas. In addition, there will be seminars on the theory and practice of design and fabrication. Throughout the semester students will learn how to produce viable thesis projects with marketable potential.

DSG-6080
Thesis Consultation (research and development)
Fall semester: 3 credits
Building upon the skills acquired in the first year, this course will assist students in the preparatory market and audience research needed to identify a product suitable for long-term development. The semester is divided into three sections: proposal writing and editing, material research and development, design and media exploration. Students will apply their design, planning, writing and presentation skills to the concept that drives their theses. The outcome is a written, edited and designed proposal and pitch book.

DSG-6090
Thesis Consultation (production)
Spring semester: 3 credits
In this, the third semester of thesis classes, students will complete the development of their viable thesis project resulting in a well designed, fabricated product prototype ready to be marketed. With the input of thesis advisors, students will also demonstrate viability, market research and business capability. A final presentation to the Thesis Review Committee is required. The MFA degree will not be conferred without approval by the Committee.

DSG-6120
Thesis Consultation (pitch and presentation)
Spring semester: 6 credits
In this intensive course, students will develop a viable and professional pitch book to use as a tool to bring their thesis product to potential producers, investors and the market. In addition, they will be given tutorials on how to deliver a verbal pitch to potential backers and clients.

DSG-6130
Thesis Video and Media Launch
Spring semester: 3 credits
The video that you create in this course will define the essential need for your product, what it does, and how it will be viable. The resulting spot (30 seconds to two minutes) will become a cornerstone of your marketing and fundraising plan. This course is divided into conception and production sections. Students will develop narratives through storyboards and scripts. Shooting, lighting, sound, editing and authoring skills and software programs will be covered. In addition, collaborative class projects are dedicated to concept, design and production of branding and packaging for the Thesis Forum.

DSG-6430

Making Your Case: Business for Design Entrepreneurs
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course will provide students with tools to build a business case into their theses. Through a series interactive workshops, students will develop strategies to win support for their projects. By interpreting and deepening their summer research, students will articulate value created for targeted user segments and define the markets those segments represent. Exercises in discovery-driven planning will familiarize students with income statements and help to develop roadmaps for iterative learning. Students will outline pricing and create tools for understanding revenue and cost calculations. In addition, the course will cover fundraising basics, team building and techniques for business storytelling.

DSG-6310
Design Technology Workshop II
Spring semester: 0 credit
T
his course is a continuation of DSG-5310, Design Technology Workshop I, and will focus on the world beyond the design studio. Topics will include mobile applications for designers, social media and blogging, online security and DRM (digital rights management), digital publishing tools, networking on the web and file sharing.

DSG-6632
Thesis Extension
One semester: 3 credits
This course is designed for students who have not met the unanimous approval of the Thesis Committee, or who need an additional semester to complete their projects. Students will have full access to all facilities, participate in an appropriate critique course and continue to work with their thesis advisor.

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587