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Products of Design transforms designers, educating head, heart and hands to reinvent systems, create new types of value and catalyze positive change through the business of making.

  • An optimistic re-imagining of the artifacts of design, reconciling the challenges of production and consumption, systems and consequence
  • Students use a hands-on, making-driven approach to master strategic, technical and narrative skills
  • Industry leaders, interdisciplinary practitioners, passionate iconoclasts and savvy entrepreneurs comprise the faculty

Design has transformed the world. Now the world is demanding the transformation of designers. What we consider the “products of design” must go beyond the mass-produced object to include artifacts and expressions that are purposeful, sustainable and systems-aware. The products of design can manifest themselves in many forms—from sets of instructions to object-mediated social interventions, from DIY projects to limited-edition runs, from manufacture-on-demand to mass-manufactured, and from speculative objects to design art. Whatever their expression, designed objects should emerge from a combination of intent and context, celebrating life in addition to solving problems.

The Products of Design program at SVA is itself a “product of design”: It responds to the current explosion of creative investigation around making, meaning and the role of objects in our culture. It acknowledges the radical shifts taking place in the classic profession of industrial design itself: progressive changes in the processes of product design—from specialized ethnographic research to strategic business consulting. We see new urgencies in the need to reconcile the material, energy, environmental and cultural consequences of design inherent in the imperatives of production and consumption. We see a wonderful expansion in the participants of design—from anthropologists and behavioral psychologists to materials experts and systems specialists. And finally, we see great interest from both the mainstream as well as business press around the power of design—to fix problems, to create value, to reinvent businesses and to address vital social and environmental challenges.

The program’s mission and curriculum are direct responses to these changes, forging ways to live up to design’s potential as a constructive force in an ever-changing world. The department welcomes students who are passionate about this potential, and puts them in the heart of one of the world’s epicenters of thought leadership, cross-pollinating ideas with creative specialists in New York’s vast ecosystem of creative enterprise.

Design is well recognized as is a collaborative endeavor now, and it is designers who are uniquely equipped to provide the connective tissue that can make great things happen. Designers translate between stakeholders. They reframe problems and reveal opportunities. They make the invisible visible and catalyze change through a combination of research, innovation and storytelling, and just a little bit of magic.

The MFA program in Products of Design prepares exceptional practitioners for the shifting terrain of design. Graduates will emerge with the skills and fluency to become leaders who create consequence through design—equipped with the confidence, experience and network to fill senior positions at top design firms and progressive organizations, to create ingenious enterprises of their own and to become lifelong advocates for the power of design.

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  • Saturday, November 22, 2014

    Cooper Hewitt 1-Day Hackathon: Stewarding The Pen

    Cooper Hewitt 1-Day Hackathon: Stewarding The Pen

    On October 27th, the entire student body of the MFA Products of Design engaged with the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum to create design interventions around The Pen—the much-anticipated...

  • Friday, November 21, 2014

    Watch the 2014 Open House Videos Now!

    Watch the 2014 Open House Videos Now!

    On Saturday, November 8th, the MFA in Products of Design department held its 2014 Open House and Information Session. Following a review of the program pedagogy and founding principles by Chair...

  • Monday, November 17, 2014

    Reimagining the Alcohol Wipe: H&M Health Lab + Patterns, by Adem Önalan

    Reimagining the Alcohol Wipe: H&M Health Lab + Patterns, by Adem Önalan

    Designed by Class of 2016 student Adem Önalan, H&M Health Lab is a speculative design project created in the 7-week Affirming Artifacts course. Envisioned as a collaboration between H&M and...

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