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

e.

designresearch@sva.edu

t.

@dcrit

p.

(212) 592-2228

Home – SVA MA Design Research

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Excerpt, Thesis Abstract, Thesis Research

Painting SoHo: A Study on the Appropriation of Urban Space

  Abstract In early June 2020, hundreds of artists descended on SoHo in New York City to paint plywood boards nailed to the neighborhood’s storefronts with images reflective of the tumultuous times the city was attempting to navigate. Some stores had been boarded up after the state-mandated closing of non-essential businesses at the beginning of […]

unMute

unMute: The 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Publication

Take a moment to think about how strange a video chat is. You can see and hear someone, but all the nuance of body language is lost—flattened into two dimensions and reduced in resolution. Conversation starts and stops, unaided by technology cuts and lags. How do you even know when someone is about to speak? […]

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time as a professional, cemented for me after leaving D-Crit, it’s that extensive research informs the best work, and can lead you down pathways you never thought of. Having research as a tool in my arsenal has made me a better designer and, probably, a more engaged person.”

–Erin M. Routson, Class of 2012

Essay, unMute

B-F-FitBit

This essay is a part of unMUTE, a collection of pieces written by participants in the 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Online. Faded from use, and pigmented in such an of-the-moment lavender that the color’s prominence in the zeitgeist seems particularly notable merely for its omission from one of Pantone’s yearly lists. On […]

Essay, unMute

Permeable Barriers

This essay is a part of unMUTE, a collection of pieces written by participants in the 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Online. Only a few months ago, when my movement was not constricted by quarantine, my days were punctuated by passage through many doors: openings that marked entry into work, school, the homes […]

Essay, unMute

An Ethical Dilemma of Faux-mage

This essay is a part of unMUTE, a collection of pieces written by participants in the 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Online. When I made the decision to go vegan in 2008, figuring out replacements for foods I’d miss was a challenge. While I was never a huge lover of cheese, I found […]

Essay, unMute

Walking America’s Factory Floors with Chris Payne

This essay is a part of unMUTE, a collection of pieces written by participants in the 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Online. Not too many people’s day jobs put them at the top of a rocket-launch platform on a Tuesday and on the factory floor of America’s oldest hat manufacturer on a Friday. […]

Essay, unMute

In Appreciation of the Bobby Pin

This essay is a part of unMUTE, a collection of pieces written by participants in the 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Online. I should have gotten a haircut before the quarantine began. But who anticipated how long it would last or that my hair would grow so long? It’s not a big deal—certainly […]

Essay, unMute

Engineered Nature

This essay is a part of unMUTE, a collection of pieces written by participants in the 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Online. The Nelson chair has no parts. No confusing assembly instructions with cartoon drawings of androgynous stick figures wielding hammers and screwdrivers. In fact, there are no nails, screws, adhesives, or joinery […]

Essay, unMute

Natasha Jen: Craving Diversity—A Messy Process

This essay is a part of unMUTE, a collection of pieces written by participants in the 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Online. “I arrived a little early.” Graphic designer Natasha Jen appears on our Zoom via video. Distinct and respectful, she is not only ahead of time but also directing the discipline of […]

Thesis Research

Experimental Aesthetics in Tabletop Games

This is an excerpt from Joseph Nally’s larger thesis portfolio titled “Post-Elegance: Experimental Aesthetics in Tabletop Game Design.” It is a part of the Class of 2020’s graduate thesis presentation “Statements from Isolation.” Nineteen eighty-six was an important year in the development of games. Two obscure things happened: the mass publication of Heimlich & Co. by […]

Thesis Research

We Call It Freedom Village: Brooklyn, Illinois’s Radical Tactics of Black Place-Making

This is an excerpt from Alicia Olushola Ajayi’s larger thesis portfolio titled “We Call It Freedom Village: Brooklyn, Illinois’ Radical Tactics of Black Place-making.” It is a part of the Class of 2020’s graduate thesis presentation “Statements from Isolation.” Introduction Brooklyn, Illinois, sits directly across from St. Louis, Missouri, on the east bank of the Mississippi […]

Thesis Research

Tha: From Preserving Sites to Self

This is an excerpt from Ridhima Sharma’s larger thesis portfolio titled “Tha: From Preserving Sites to Self.” It is a part of the Class of 2020’s graduate thesis presentation “Statements from Isolation.” What is this India, apart from her physical and geographical aspects? [. . . ]How did she lose that old strength, and has she […]

Thesis Research

The Space of In-Between: A formal design analysis of the car as a social space

This is an excerpt from Galina Yordanov’s larger thesis portfolio titled “Driving Through Division: The Car as Actor in Lebanese Society.” It is a part of the Class of 2020’s graduate thesis presentation “Statements from Isolation.” The Intimate Space The average passenger vehicle fits four or five people, and is furnished to accomodate the needs […]

Thesis Research

The Rise of the Design Procedural: Why Rogers and Cantwell Didn’t Want to Write Another Show About Police or Doctors

This is an excerpt from Deena Denaro’s larger thesis portfolio titled “The Rise of the Design Procedural: Exploring Design’s Narrative Agency in Serial Television.” It is a part of the Class of 2020’s graduate thesis presentation “Statements from Isolation.” Is that a fish tank?  A distressed Texas twang is punctuated by the well-timed bell of an […]

Thesis Research

While the Doors Are Closed: The Art Self(ie) at Home

This is an excerpt from Polly Adams’s larger thesis portfolio titled “Enter Through the Gift Shop: Designed Objects, Images, and Identity in New York City’s Art Museums.” It is a part of the Class of 2020’s graduate thesis presentation “Statements from Isolation.” A Brave New World While most of the world has screeched to a halt […]

Essay

Why I Teach What I Teach

To answer the question, why I teach, I must return to why I design, why I art direct, why I write, and why I helped found this program. It’s a simple evolution. I stumbled into graphic design while pursuing a job as a cartoonist and illustrator for an underground newspaper. I loved to draw, although […]

Essay

Overlooked/Underappreciated

These pieces were written for Rob Walker’s Narrative Strategies for Objects project as part of the 2019 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive. They are published in Overlooked/Underappreciated, an examination of the minutiae of quotidian life.