Undergraduate Industrial Design
About the Program
What is industrial design? There's no one answer, but that hasn't stopped us from asking the question. Some faculty members recently answered this way:
- "Design is everything that engineers can't do and artists can, parents won't buy but museums will, industry loves but says, ‘Not now,' archaeologists find and say, ‘Oh, wow!'"
- "The best designers are people anxious for any opportunity to challenge the status quo, and design is the result of some sort of problem getting in the way of the designer."
- "Design is the expression of culture in objects."
- "Design is the application of the belief that we are responsible for our own environment."
Industrial Design is a field of artists, designers, and inventors who create the objects we live with every day-from toothbrushes to jumbo jets, from cameras to computers. At Pratt, abstraction and pragmatism coexist. Common design abstractions include line, plane, color, form, structure, and volume. To these we add the principles of accessibility, responsibility, and enlightenment. Accessibility underscores everyone's right to access everything all the time. In this carefully balanced environment, tempered by reality and vision, students are encouraged to design the everyday forms of the next century.
Our students arrive with a wide range of talents: in math and science, in drawing and painting, in model making and sculpture. All find a home in Industrial Design. Pratt ID develops students' individual talents. Faculty members are demanding; all are professionals, many are principals at world-renowned firms, and several are recipients of prestigious design awards. Together, teachers and students at Pratt explore, challenge, and redefine the forms and inventions with which we live. Both team and individual assignments revolve around problem solving. Students learn to design and execute just as their professional counterparts do-from presentation sketches to finished models-ensuring a practical understanding of the entire industrial design process.
With its magnificent collection of top-flight museums, libraries, and galleries, New York City is the world's center for design. Students learn from both the richness of past culture and the cutting edge of contemporary design. Seniors take a full year of portfolio and professional practices in preparation for career entry. The senior show is an annual showcase celebration for the next generation of Pratt designers.
Pratt's Industrial Design Department, ranked fifth by Design Intelligence, maintains strong ties to industry through corporate-supported programs and internships. Fortune 500 companies are regular sponsors of Pratt ID competitions and studios. It is an education that opens career possibilities that are as unique and as broad as our student body.
Pratt ID alumni are designers, artists, craftsmen, educators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and corporate leaders. This diversity comes from a program of study that allows freedom of choice. Within the Bachelor of Industrial Design, six studio paths are offered:
- Product: hand tools to future technologies
- Furniture: chairs to office systems
- Transportation: hovercraft to hybrid cars
- Exhibit/Experience: museums to restaurants
- Tabletop: teapots to teaspoons
- General: a combination of the above
Students study with faculty professionals with varied backgrounds. They take core courses in the freshman and sophomore years, which provide grounding in drawing, color, 3-D, and problem solving. Junior and senior year students choose studios as their talents dictate. Industrial Design Department counselors assist each student with choices. Pratt/ID offers study-abroad exchanges and summer programs in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Students complete two to four semesters of computer studies in high-end workstations, 3-D modeling, and animation CAD programs. Elective computer courses are available for students who wish to specialize in the electronic medium. Students who wish to major in industrial design will be reviewed at the end of the freshman year for acceptance by the department.
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 Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
email@example.com: for general department information
firstname.lastname@example.org: for department admissions inquiries
Acting Assistant Department Chairperson
Graduate Admissions Coordinator
Assistant to the Chair of ID