SVA MA Design Research

SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism1 is a one-year graduate program2
devoted to the study of design, its contexts & consequences.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue research-related careers in publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, entrepreneurship, & more.3

  1. Formerly known as D-Crit
  2. About the program
  3. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. All successful candidates awarded a significant scholarship!
SVA MA Design Research

136 W 21st St, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10011





(212) 592-2228

Excerpt – Research Types – SVA MA Design Research


Excerpt, Resource

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe sets up his new home in a cave on a desert island and finds that by means of a chair and table, some shelves and hooks his situation looks a lot brighter.

Excerpt, Thesis Research

Brand Politic: Contextualizing Design’s Superpowers in Emergent States

Using first-person interviews with graphic designers and project managers in South Sudan, Anne Quito recounts the challenges and opportunities of creating a national corporate identity suite, and explores the politics, aesthetics, and pragmatics of representation at a national scale.

Excerpt, Thesis Research

Exhibiting Fashion: Between Culture and Commerce

Sandra Nuut considers innovative instances of fashion curation and demonstrates the ways in which new critical approaches might provide inspiration and exemplars for museums seeking to escape commercial constraints.

Excerpt, Thesis Research

Designing for Repair: Things Can Be Fixed

Derrick Mead analyzes themes in critical design such as designing for repair, designing for failure, and designing for “cradle-to-cradle” type life cycles.

Excerpt, Thesis Research

Main Street, USA and the Power of Myth

Ann Weiser explores the disconnect between the reality and idealized fantasy of Main Street, from the financially privileged communities of old New England towns and New Urbanist Greenfield developments, to the crumbling sidewalks of Main Streets ravaged by the methamphetamine epidemic.

Excerpt, Thesis Research

Untangling the Naps: The Afro Talks Back

Michele Washington illustrates the ways in which the Afro has been used as a significant graphic element in the black vernacular narrative.

Excerpt, Thesis Research

Alvorada: How Social Change is Shaping Brazilian Design and Creating Brazil’s Own Design Model

On a research trip to Brazil, Frederico Duarte discovers that Marcel Rosenblum, with his massively popular “Lar Doce Lar” (Home Sweet Home) TV show, a local “Extreme Makeover” in which he and host Luciano Huck go around the country redecorating—and often rebuilding—poor families’ homes, exerts a more real and powerful influence on Brazilian culture than such celebrated design exports as the Campana brothers.

Excerpt, Resource


Hallucinating, in death throes from cancer and kidney failure, an old man sees the walls around him begin to collapse, as he returns in his mind to his impoverished childhood in the backwoods of Maine.