This is not a fish tank. With one strangely specific visual aid we understand that designing the future is not only expensive, but also complicated and sometimes messy. Halt and Catch Fire, SE1_04. Created by C.Cantwell and C. Rogers, 2014–17.

By Deena Denaro

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 elevator, “1.3 million dollars (ding!) in twenty days and you just, you just understand?!?” As the doors open Lee Pace’s character, the charismatic project leader Joe McMillan is justifying his R&D expenditures to Senior VP of their fictional company John Bosworth, (played by Toby…


“D-Crit taught me to think of design writers and strategists as agents of change — or voices of reason — and I continue to carry that torch professionally every day.”

Derrick Mead (class of 2012), Director of Brand Communication at Siegel+Gale.

In these uncertain times, compelling writing, critical thinking, and careful research are essential tools that can help make sense of an increasingly complex world. No matter what life has in store for you (or what you have in store for life), the Master of Arts in Design Research, Writing, and Criticism equips you with lifelong skills that will…


Photo Credit: Nina Tantzen

MA Design Research social media editor Jenny Morris spoke with Shanghai-based writer and D-CRIT alum Sarah Cox (class of 2011) for our Alumni Spotlight series. Sarah launched and wrote for Curbed Detroit for many years and now publishes a newsletter, The XOXOCOX.

What drove you to apply to D-Crit in the first place?

I have an undergraduate degree in architecture, but I was really not a practicing architect for any period after that. I was interested in D-Crit for the writing experience. …


“My ability to diagnose an experience has improved dramatically. I’m also much faster with writing now, which is hugely valuable in the fast-paced context that I’m working in.”

— Class of 2016’s Ida Benedetto, Director of Dialogue Design and Community Engagement at the Rockefeller Foundation, on life after D-Crit.

Greetings from a snowy New York City!

As we engage in some cautious optimism that we’ll be able to return to in-person instruction this Fall, we’d like to once again highlight the brilliant work of our talented alums, who have continued to write, work, and grow over the course of this…


Photo Courtesy of Ida Benedetto

MA Design Research social media editor Jenny Morris spoke with NYC-based experience designer and D-CRIT alum Ida Benedetto (Class of 2016) for our Alumni Spotlight series. Ida is the co-founder of Sextantworks and the brainchild behind Patterns of Transformation: Designing Sex, Death, and Survival in the 21st Century. Ida recently joined the Rockefeller Foundation as their first Director of Dialogue Design and Community Engagement.

Tell us a bit about you.

I’m an experience designer, bringing together a background in game and adventure design. At SVA, I researched transformative social experiences, and since graduating I’ve applied that mostly to strategic gatherings—be…


Photo Courtesy of Michele Washington

MA Design Research social media editor Jenny Morris spoke with NYC-based writer, designer, researcher, strategist, educator, and D-CRIT alum Michele Y. Washington (Class of 2011) for our Alumni Spotlight series.

I’d love for you to identify yourself in your current moment.

I grew up on a barrier island in South Jersey. Going back three generations, my father’s family has, what is considered, one of the oldest Black-owned restaurants in Atlantic City. Growing up in a family where entrepreneurship was very important, you learn a lot about work ethic and the ability to tackle new challenges. I also have two uncles…


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?

Now take that single moment of video chat and multiply it by sixteen, each tiny square on the screen filled by a student hoping to mentally escape the 2020 pandemic. Norms need to be…


By Alyssa Banks

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 its underside, the woven band graduates into shades of ochre where it meets the wrist. Depending on which wrist it has met, it leaves behind a blotchy irritation that requires a topical salve before I clean the components as best I can, switch wrists, and repeat the inevitable process.

I received the FitBit as a gift a few years ago. I had moved back to Philly…


By Sarah Chieko Bonnickson

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 of my family and friends, restaurants, and businesses. Despite, or perhaps because of, their ubiquity, I can only recall them in sweeping categories and generalities — heavy doors, glass doors, windowed doors. Their specificity was lost in the brevity of moving through them.

But, regardless of how many other doors I would encounter, it was guaranteed that every day would start and end with passing…


Photo from Snøhetta’s website.

By Kate Long

This essay is a part of unMUTE, a collection of pieces written by participants in the 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Online.

Europe’s first underwater restaurant opened in Lindesnes, Norway, in March of 2019. Under (also meaning wonder in Norwegian) is nestled in the rocky coastline of the country’s southernmost point and partially submerged in the North Atlantic Ocean. Five years prior to the restaurant’s opening, its owners — brothers and fourth-generation hoteliers Stig and Gaute Ubostad — purchased the neighboring Havhotell to lodge Under’s future guests. Building this high-end restaurant has been cast as an expensive gamble (approximately $6.2 million) to attract more tourism to the small remote town. Oslo’s Snøhetta designed the structure, and carpenters at Norwegian…

SVA MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism

We’re a two-semester MA program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City dedicated to the study of design, its contexts and consequences. Aka DCrit. ✏️🔍💡

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