thesis 2

BFA CD 2017

week 16 | Endings and Beginnings

We’ll meet in our regular classroom (at 3.30!) to take a final look at your portfolios and thesis work. We’ll discuss the final week of celebrations and your thoughts on thesis. And have food. Make sure you submit your work as described by the end of the day.

Monday, May 15, 7:00pm
BFA Communication Design Book and Web Launch Party.
2 W. 13th, Main lobby by the SJDC Gallery.

Thursday, May 18, 1:30pm
BFA Communication Design graduation.
Tishman Auditorium, University Center

Friday, May 19, 11:30am
New School Graduation.
Arthur Ashe Stadium

Thank you for a great semester and year!


Monday, May 1
UL102 (Starr Foundation Hall)
2 Guest lectures: IP & Finance
Work on Portfolio in class

Monday, May 8
2 Guest lectures
Work on Portfolio in class

Monday, May 15 3.30pm (!)
Last day of thesis. We wrap up in our section. We will browse your online portfolios, debrief thesis, chat about future and enjoy food that we bring to our very last meeting.

Monday, May 15, 7:00pm
2 W. 13th, Main lobby by the SJDC Gallery.
BFA Communication Design Book and Web Launch Party. This is our big thesis celebration. Every student gets four books. Bring family and friends. Refreshments will be served. More info next Monday!

Thursday, May 18, 1:30pm
Tishman Auditorium, University Center
BFA Communication Design graduation. This is the ceremony where we call out your name and you get a diploma. You can have as many friends and family as you like. There are no tickets. Dress is festive, no cap and gown. There will be a reception afterwards in the lobby of 2 W. 13th.

Friday, May 19, 11:30am
Arthur Ashe Stadium
New School Graduation. This is the graduation for all New School graduates. Space is limited so there are tickets. Graduates wear cap and gown. All the info you need is here:

Here is what you need to submit on Monday 15. Upload everything digital to our shared google drive: Folder “05 FINAL THESIS”, combined into one folder with your name.

Your final thesis work
Printed or digital depending on your project. In many cases it might be sufficient to have a solid documentation in your research publication

Link to your portfolio website
This should also include a page with your thesis work in case this does not have its own digital home

Revisit the article of guest speaker Nicole Fenton: How to write an “About Me” page.

Your research publication
PDF or printed.
Make sure it includes all previous steps and documentation of the final work. In general you build upon what you created during thesis 1 and add a few pages with process of thesis 2 and final documentation. (If you have not been in my thesis 1 section we will discuss individually):

  1. Title Page
  2. Content Page
  3. You
    Your name, your program (BFA CD), A project title
  4. +++ thesis 1 +++
  5. Initial mind-map
  6. 10 spreads with 10 images inspired by Pecha Kucha
  7. Post-it feed back from Pecha Kucha (if available)
  8. Exploration of the physical (response)
  9. Exploration of the digital (response)
  10. Secondary research: Readings
  11. 20 sketches for experiment 1
  12. First Prototypes
    Show and explain sketches of the prototype(s) that you proposed
  14. +++ thesis 2 +++
  15. Additional prototypes
  16. Solid documentation of final project including photos & project description
  17. Reflection on thesis (optional)

Make sure all steps are included but you are free to to re-arrange. In some cases it might makes sense to start with the documentation of your final work.

week 13 | Lectures & Portfolio Workshop I

Schedule for Monday 4/25
55 W. 13th, Arnold Hall, Theresa Lang
12:10 How do I get a Job? / Juliette Cezzar
1:30 What’s in a Portfolio? / Evie Porwick

3-5:30 Resume and portfolio review

What to bring
Find a home for your portfolio. (Think about your own URL, squarespace, behance, … just make a decision – it does not have to be all up yet)

Collect all the work that you would like to have presented in your portfolio. It can be already online or just folders of images and files.

Look for 5 places that you would like to work for. This can include studios, agencies, publishing houses, organizations, non-profit, start-ups,… Bring a list of these five places to class.

Some portfolio links:

Xavier Bourdil Interactive Design + Art Direction

Almuni Robert Vinluan (now working for NYT)

Alumni Alex Lardaro (now working for HBO)

Guest Critic Kim Bost

week 11 | Mock-up Final Critique

We will meet in our usual classroom and mock-up the critique with external professionals. We have two groups on Monday. You have to come to the group you are assigned to and take on the role as an active “guest critic”. You are very welcome to also join for the other group but you do not have to:

12.10-2.40: Cheryl, Andy, Sachi, Natalia, Lika, Paula, Yuchen

3.00-5.40: Alice, Mariana, Megan, Kiki, Audrey, Michelle, Sherifa

Prepare a five min presentation that ends with a question. Upload a PDF of this presentation BEFORE class to the folder “FINAL PRESENTATION” in our google drive.

What to present?
Show that you’re a thoughtful, present, and enthusiastic designer. Make sure your presentation is not longer than 5 min to have enough time for feedback and recommendations. This presentation should not focus on the process but on your final product/project and how you see it positioned in the world. Opening up these questions will allow crits to give helpful feedback.

You’ve already gotten a considerable amount of feedback from your faculty and your peers, and while you may still be working on polishing the presentation of your project, it’s done. So this is a moment of self-reflection, contextualization, and talking about how it can connect to what happens next. This is also an opportunity to focus on making sure that how you present the project really shows it in its best light.

Practice your presentation at home. Use a timer and speak out loud.

What do you think about this? Don’t get a Job, Make a Job – how to succeed as a creative graduate

week 8-9-10 | Thesis Catalog and Website

Upcoming schedule

3/20 Spring Break

3/27 Catalog Preselection

We will discuss—as a group—your pictures for the catalog.
Upload BEFORE CLASS to our shared google drive: folder “01 Catalog Preselection”
01 – Max. 10 images of final work
02 – Max. 10 images of process (sketches, maps, documentation of interviews, everything that explains your process)
03 – Introductory Paragraph
Details will be provided in an email.

4/3 Catalog Submission

Finalize catalog and website submission in class and upload before 6pm
01 – 5 print-quality images of final piece or pieces, at least one of them vertical
02 – 5 print-quality images of process
03 – Final introductory paragraph
04 – Urls for your portfolio and project
Details will be provided in an email.

4/10 In-class final reviews

4/17 Final Professional Critiques

4/24-5/15 Professional Practice

Visit the CDT Thesis Website and look at previous work to come up with a strategy how to display your work.

week 7 | Guest Speaker & New Iterations

Monday, March 13th from 12:10 – 1:30pm
University Center, UL105

Our Thesis Fireside Chat series continues next Monday, March 13th with Nicole Fenton, writer extraordinaire. She’ll be discussing/workshopping how to write about yourself and your work.

Bring a draft of your thesis project statement. It should be no more than 250 words. To get you started, some thoughts from Nicole:

“I’ve also come to see writing as a material in itself. Something we can play with and manipulate. Something that can change over time as questions come up in the design process or an idea evolves. Writing can be a tool for talking to ourselves when we’re still figuring things out. A sort of mirror or feedback system. A way to understand and articulate design.

When we put ideas down into words, we give them form and make them malleable. We bring them out into the light and make them visible to other people. And that’s super important, because we can’t read each other’s minds. We need to be able to examine what we think we know, question it as a group, and refine it. That’s the only way we can get closer to the truth together.”

After the workshop we meet in class. Make sure you bring the tools you need to work and your latest iteration. Two more meetings before submission after this class.

Well Spent by Alex Lardaro. A good example for describing a situation supported through facts (WHAT), defining the issue with that (SO WHAT) and creating a response as a designer (WHAT NOW). wellspent.

Private Documentation of a Public Archive by Caroline Newton. Another good example for short meaningful thesis writing.wellspent.

week 6 | Thesis Fair

Monday, March 6th, all sections will meet together for Thesis Fair reviews.

University Center
Starr Foundation Hall UL102

The more work you bring, the more feedback you get! Bring print-outs, your laptops, book dummies…whatever best showcases your work in progress.

Remember to bring a printed thesis fair sheet to take notes. After the fair, it is your homework to take a picture of each side and upload it to our shared google drive into the folder “02 Thesis Fair Documentation”.

After the fair, I am available for individual conversations in our class room.

After next Monday, we will only meet two more times before you have to submit your images for the catalog!

Why your thesis & research are meaningful more than ever: Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven) – Research and Destroy

week 5 | Short Presentations & Statement

Monday, February 20th
No class — Presidents’ Day

Due on Monday, February 20th:

— 1 — Keep documenting your process on Instagram — this is part of your attendance/participation. Add the tag #thesis2017almostthere to three images that show the most recent prototype.
— 2 — Copy and paste your recent thesis statement (100-250 words) into the document “Thesis Statement Process” below your name. You can find the doc on our shared google drive in the folder “01 Thesis Statements”.

Monday, February 27th
On Feb 27 we will kick off the class with short presentations. Each student has three minutes to present the most recent iteration and a production schedule: Print your assets or bring them on a digital device.

We will only meet four more times before you have to submit your images for the catalog!

Use the Presidents’ Day Weekend to watch ABSTRACT on NETFLIX. Obviously you want to watch the episodes with Paula Scher and Christoph Niemann but I strongly recommend Platon—Photography.

week 4 | Guest Speaker and Group Critiques

Monday, February 13th

12:10 – 1:30pm
University Center, UL105
Tracy Ma

Our Thesis Fireside Chat series continues this Monday with Tracy Ma, former Deputy Creative Director of Bloomberg Businessweek.

She’ll be sharing her thoughts on the creative process and life beyond graduation. Come prepared with questions and for a lively discussion!

2:00 – 5:50pm
Group Critiques in class

Bring your most recent prototype (or alternatives, options, iterations). This can be a few spreads of a book/magazine, screens of an app, aspects of a visual identity, wireframes,… Think about what you already defined and for which areas you still need feedback. You should be able to put something on the table — printed or on your laptop/ipad — that people can explore.

If your thesis has a printed component you should consider a short trip to Brooklyn. Take the L-Train to Graham Street and you’ll find Talas after a ten minute walk. Recommended by Lika. Thank you!

No, this is not a face. It points you to the hidden entrance!

week 3 | Individuals

Monday, February 6
I will meet you individually in our classroom. Make sure you bring your next iteration/prototype — if it is supposed to be printed, print it!

12:10-12:30 Cheryl
12:30-12:50 Andy
12:50-1:10 Sachi
1:10-1:30 Paula
1:30-1:50 Mariana
1:50-2:10 BREAK
2:10-2:30 Megan
2:30-2:50 Natalia
2:50-3:10 Sherifa
3:10-3:30 Kiki
3:30-3:50 Lika
3:50-4:10 BREAK
4:10-4:30 Audrey
4.30-4.50 Yuchen
4.50-5.10 Michelle
5.10-5.30 Alice

Keep using your Instagram account. The posts do not have to be polished design compositions. Simply document your process by taking a picture every day of prototypes, experiments, your visit to a paper store or library, …

Reading Design is an online archive of critical writing about design. The idea is to embrace the whole of design, from architecture and urbanism to product, fashion, graphics and beyond. The texts featured date from the nineteenth century right up to the present moment but each one contains something which remains relevant, surprising or interesting to us today.

Here are some archives I recommend to check regularly. You can follow them on social media!

week 2 | Iteration, Iteration & Iteration

Monday, January 30
Studio work from 12.10-5.50pm: We will work in class and you can take a break whenever you want to. However, each student has to update me individually about progress during this time.

We have two group discussions:
3pm: Update to the class – each student has 60 sec to summerize new steps & ideas, show a prototype, announce activities or invite participation
5pm: The additional class assignment for today is to write/design a response to the article posted last week: Ghosts of designbots yet to come. Reflect on how artificial intelligence and machine learning could have a (positive) impact on your thesis project. Post an image, a very short text or both to your Instagram account.

Monday, February 6
I will meet you individually in our classroom for 20 min. Schedule will be online soon.

It is time to revisit your thesis statement. I uploaded two readings to our folder – On Writing Well by William Zinsser: 1. Words, 2. Methods. (Consider getting a copy of the book) Those might be familiar to you from the previous semester but this is a good moment to read them again. I recommend you re-write your persuasive text every other day for the next two weeks (max 250 words). Post a version (picture or text) to your Instagram account before Monday, Feb 6.

BFA CD Thesis Website 2013-2016


TED Explore ideas worth spreading
How cultures around the world make decisions
Be critical reading this: Is the American obsession with individual freedom really such a great idea? What other cultures know about how to make good choices. This article is about acknowledging alternative systems/concepts. How could your thesis project be translated into a different context?

week 1 | Welcome & Welcome back!

Thesis 2 will be a weekly studio session in U 503 from 12.10-5.50pm. Bring the tools you need to work in class to make best use of our time. There will be presentations and group work to test prototypes which will be announced on this website.

Prepare for February 1:

Upload a PDF of your schedule to the shared google drive folder “00 Thesis Project Schedule”. Besides the syllabus this is our contract for the coming weeks.

Next Iteration: Bring the next functional prototype – paper prototype, spreads of your book or magazine, object, interactive PDF, website – to allow testing. Also consider card sorting if you are not sure about the information architecture of your project – no matter if it is digital or not.

Process & Documentation
Create a new instagram feed or use your existing to publish one image per day. Follow your class members and comment at least on one entries each day.

BFA CD Thesis Website 2013-2016


eye magazine:
Ghosts of designbots yet to come
Automated graphic design and the rise of robot creatives – Francisco Laranjo files a critical report from the perspective of Christmas 2025