DS4 Syllabus

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Your final semester in the four-phase Design Studio program is a pivotal moment, one that moves you away from a beginner’s view and onto firmer land. In DS1–3, you were introduced to an array of questions that positioned you within various graphic design territories. By approaching from multiple directions we began to see the plurality of design methodologies and philosophies that make up the graphic design landscape.

In DS4, we will encourage you to consider your own voice and identity as a graphic designer. This is a search that certainly does not end here; our goal is to equip you with strategic tools for looking, thinking and making that continue to evolve well into your future. As we approach your senior year, we’ll encourage you to test your own design interests and values by applying them to projects that sketch out your new creative practice.

Ambiguity, experimentation, discovery and play were celebrated in DS3 and this spirit of open inquiry continues in DS4. But there are differences: new ideas and techniques are added to the mix to increase the depth and character of your exploration, like design development, refinement, collaboration, negotiation, surprise and design authorship. Throughout this semester, the emphasis will be on developing your own questions and lines of inquiry, and to confront the challenge of designing design. This culminates, of course, in next year’s degree project, and DS4 will directly prepare you for that experience.

DS4 has been designed with a structure that provides longer views and deeper dives. Two major projects split the semester in half, with an ongoing, semester-long reflective unit that runs in parallel—to provide space for critical awareness and insight. Think of this unit as an inward-facing extension of your practice that dynamically bridges learning with experience and reflection.

In addition to the four units, we will offer workshops throughout the semester to supplement unit ideas and experiences, taught by the individual DS4 instructors or guests, and experienced collectively by all four sections.


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