Graduate Industrial Design
About the Program
Ultimately, design is about human beings, individually and collectively, supplying propulsion to idealistic, aesthetic, and practical ideas, and the passion of creating, understanding, and sharing the work we do.
Pratt’s Master’s program in Industrial Design (ID), consistently ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report and DesignIntelligence, is open to candidates holding bachelor’s degrees in any area, including science, humanities, engineering, business, architecture, fine arts, design, and liberal arts—with or without design experience. The result is a student body that represents a wide range of educational backgrounds. This rich tapestry of influences—coupled with grounding in traditional design skills, conceptualization, research, and design processes—prepares our graduates to become leaders who question, explore, and expand the relevance and excitement of this discipline. Our students are a select group who understand that creativity is a serious business. They come to Pratt ready to work hard, to prepare themselves for a field where the designer must be able to provide innovative professional design solutions. They become leaders and entrepreneurs in industrial design as they confront the impact of technology and innovation, and explore the relationship of design ethics and sustainable strategies within contemporary culture.
The faculty is composed of practicing design professionals whose areas of expertise include furniture, lighting, architecture, exhibition, products, graphics, tabletop, video, automotive, medical equipment, packaging, and surface design. While each faculty member within the program has his or her particular path, there is a growing understanding that, in the design profession, disciplines often cross lines. The faculty’s diversity, combined with that of the student body, creates a vibrant community of visual researchers re-defining the role of industrial design in society.
At Pratt, Industrial Design students and faculty share a common goal: to encourage individual growth to its highest potential. The many courses offered at Pratt enable students to fully develop their interests
and talents. Students choose core studio courses—focusing on product, furniture, strategy, exhibition, and tabletop design—to develop a clear understanding of aesthetics, creating objects and experiences of enduring value and meaning that embody respect and sensitivity for people and their environment. Our mission is to teach aesthetic value through abstraction and form development as well as pragmatism, focusing on the principles of accessibility, responsibility, and creativity. Design projects and problems—including those that focus on social responsibility, universal accessibility, marketing, production, cultural heritage, and aesthetic content—represent the varied texture of Pratt’s New York City location. Pratt also maintains strong ties to industry through corporate-supported programs. Fortune 500 companies are regular sponsors of Pratt ID competitions and studios, offering subjects from re-thinking the user experience to business strategy, bringing essential industry knowledge into the classroom. Internships in design consultancies and corporate offices are encouraged, and have proved to be valuable learning experiences that cannot be duplicated in a purely academic setting.
GID: Global Innovation Design
Beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, a select group of ID graduate students will be offered the opportunity to spend their entire second year abroad for full credit: the fall semester at Keio University in Tokyo and spring semester at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London, as part of the new Global Innovation Design (GID) program. This groundbreaking international study partnership will also allow students from London and Tokyo to spend a semester at Pratt. At Keio, studies will be devoted to media design and culture, utilizing the school’s advanced facili- ties, including prototyping and robotics.
In London, the curriculum will focus on engineering and invention. The Pratt com- ponent will emphasize the core principles of industrial design. The Pratt students will then return to New York to complete their final two semesters of thesis work and required courses. In addition to their local studies, students at each location will collaborate globally on a large-scale project. By capitalizing on the expertise of each participating school and the distinct cultures of the three locations, the GID program will give students a unique perspective on global design and entrepreneurship.
A minimum of 48 credits of study (typically five semesters) is required for the Master of Industrial Design. Additional coursework is required for applicants whose undergraduate backgrounds need strengthening in industrial design; students without prior degrees in industrial design are required to take up to 11 additional credits of coursework with the notation QUAL, which will extend the length of the program (to six semesters). The industrial design program's first year provides a full range of structured courses, while later study is a blend of structured courses, elective study in areas of specialized interest, research, internship, and a culminating master's thesis. Degree requirements can be found here.
The thesis provides the greatest possible freedom and opportunity for pursuit of a selected topic and is done under the direction of the faculty. Students choose courses and studios typically focusing on product, furniture, exhibition, and tabletop design. Candidates are expected to demonstrate the full range of design skills, including drawing, rendering, computer modeling, 3-D modeling, color, user evaluation, and design methodology in their thesis projects. Subjects range from consumer products and packaging to transportation and exhibition design, from design curricula for developing nations to the impact of emerging philosophies, materials, and technologies on our world cultures. Students register for six credits of thesis over one year, which culminates in a formal defense of work accomplished. All work for the degree must be completed within seven calendar years after initial registration as a graduate student.
Take a look at the Industrial Design Department's first viewbook, celebrating the classic tradition of end-of-term presentations and sharing the range of projects produced in the department, and some of the results of teh hard work of amazing students and professors.
Established in 1934 by the designer and teacher Donald Dohner, Pratt's Industrial Design department is the second oldest in the US. The graduate program in Industrial Design, founded in 1975, is the oldest and largest in the country. With the aid of Alexander Kostellow and his wife, Rowena Reed Kostellow, the department became a pioneer in developing the techniques of design education and its attendant vocabulary. Each educator brought their distinct perspectives on design to the program. Dohner focused the practical, Kostellow on the philosophical and Reed Kostellow on the aesthetic. Their principles act as the foundation of the program to this day.
The program's objective, according to Alexander Kostellow, who became chair of the program in 1944, was to ‘'supply students with an organized approach to the mechanics of design, to develop an understanding of the elements of design, of structure, of the organizational forces which control them, and an ability to apply this knowledge to a variety of situations in designing for self-expression or for industry.'' Rowena Reed Kostellow described the department's goal as "the training of a designer so familiar with the principles of abstraction that he automatically thinks of a visual problem in terms of organized relationships and then feels free to study other aspects of the problem or to confer with specialists in related fields. He is a designer who can visually cross boundaries and suggest new forms for new materials or new techniques."
That incisive training has produced a history of designers with extraordinary influence in the arts and industry. Alumni of the program have created such iconic designs as the Tucker automobile, the Western Electric Trimline phone, the Pollock chair, General Motors Corvette C5, and the Cuisinart.
The distinguished history of the program provides a solid foundation for innovative and forward-thinking design. Shaping their own legacy for the future, Pratt designers continue to break new ground in their chosen fields. The work of contemporary Pratt Alumni includes the Oxo Goodgrips, IKEA's Kila Lamp, Kawaski MK9 motorcycle, as well as Core77 and Design Glut blogs.
Notable alumni of the department include:
- Norman Anderson
- Ralph Appelbaum
- Harry Allen
- Charles Pollack
- Peter Ragonetti
- Bruce Hannah, Knoll Furniture Systems
- GI Ho Rim, Design Director at Fila, Korea
- Dylan Schibanoff, Designer at Reebok
- Adam Krent, Design Director, Lifetime Brands, KitchenAid Products
- Lisa Smith, furniture design for Steelcase, Copper Canyon Collection for Nambé
- Linda Celantano, Nambé
- Lucia DeRespinis, Dunkin Donuts color identity, Turbine and Eye Clocks for George Nelson
- Ted Muehling, jewelry and objects
- Tucker Viemiester, OXO Good Grips
- Mark Harrison, Original Cuisinart Food Processor
- Harry Allen, Ikea Kila Lamp
- Don Gennaro, Trimline Phone
- Andrew Serbinski, Product Development at MachineArt ID, Kawsaki MK9
- John Cafaro, Corvette C5, Director at General Motors
Industrial Design Office
Pratt Studios, Fourth Floor
200 Willoughby Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
email@example.com: for general department information
firstname.lastname@example.org: for department admissions inquiries
Assistant Department Chairperson
718.399.4225 :: 718.636.3631
Assistant to the Chair of ID