At Pratt, we see communications design as a close alignment of thinking and making. Our curriculum pairs critical, cultural observation with emerging technologies and tools to help you form your own design process.
Our multifaceted and interdisciplinary Communications Design courses happen within a studio culture that invites exchange of individual perspectives, critique, visual literacy, media fluency, experiential learning, and innovative formal outcomes. You’ll explore meaningful visual forms through research, historical and contemporary contexts, experimentation, audience, technology, and play. The Illustration emphasis includes studio courses in advanced storytelling, socio-political commentary, and authorship. Electives include graphic novels, animation and 3D modeling, independent publishing, production design and character design.
The design studio is at the core of your educational experience at Pratt. It is a creative space and a community in microcosm, from which we connect to the larger community. We believe education takes place in the studio and the classroom and that the work in the studio benefits the student’s growth through an exchange of ideas, skills, and aspirations. Working with your peers in the studio deepens knowledge of the opportunities inherent in form-making and design exploration.
Maker Spaces and Labs
Sustainability and material exploration drive our passion for making. We are hands-on and immersive; using our many production labs, any communication design student can discover, iterate and refine their investigations across different media. Learn more
By the end of your senior year, you’ll complete a thesis that reflects and shapes your future practice. Your thesis is presented at the annual design show, a public event attended by industry leaders and potential employers. Pratt Shows 2023.
Immersing yourself in another culture is an incredible experience that can extend the boundaries of creativity. Study abroad programs are an integral part of the college experience, and Pratt has deep connections with university partners around the world. See where you can go.
We develop disciplinary fluency in our program of study and we celebrate the interdisciplinary nature of design critical to address the plurality and complexity of the environments in which we operate. Learn about resources.
Pratt’s distinguished faculty of outstanding creative professionals and scholars share a common desire to fully develop each student’s individual potential and creativity. The faculty come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds representing the breadth of Fashion Design’s complexity. This multiplicity of views and experiences provide for a tailored graduate education that is as unique as each of the students. See all Communications Design faculty and administrators.
Communication designers are leading thriving careers, addressing critical challenges, and creating innovative work that reimagines our world, at a diverse selection of companies and institutions. They also go on to become entrepreneurs and principals leading their own studios and businesses.
Please join us for a book launch and conversation between authors Peter Hall and Patricio Dávila with Lize Mogel,
celebrating the publication of "Critical Visualization: Rethinking the representation of data."
Pratt Institute, Higgins Hall
61 St. James Pl, Brooklyn, NY
Friday, March 31, 2023
6–7:30pm, doors open at 5:30pm
Eventbrite registration, link in bio
🎉Our second speaker of the Undergraduate Communications Design Lecture Series will be Matthew Forsythe. Born in Canada and raised in London, Matthew Forsythe was the lead designer on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time 🗡 and has done work on Netflix's The Midnight Gospel. His first picture book Pokkoo and the Drum was Publisher’s Weekly and NPR Book of the Year and won a Boston Globe Horn Book Honor and Charlotte Zolotow Honor. His illustrations have captured the imaginations of so many and he continues to inspire. Please join us if you can, this event is open to the public.
The event will be held at Memorial Hall this Friday March 3rd doors open at 5:30PM and the event starts at 6:00pm
Lovely poster done by @doodledana
The following exhibition comes from our student Apollo Rios Lomba and writes a beautiful statement.
"Midnight Man will be a celebration of Black trans presence. Having intersecting identities, our Blackness and Transness is under constant policing. This body of work exhibits during Black history month, specifically Valentine's day is a celebration of our divine nature. Black Trans bodies radiate defiance and freedom. With my art I hope to convey a fraction of that beauty. I'll be showing photography, illustration and design work centered around this theme."
Once again thank you Apollo Rios Lomba for such a powerful body of work.
🎉We have been quiet for some time but we have some news!!!! The first speaker of the Undergraduate Communications Design Lecture Series will be Bráulio Amado on Thursday February 16th at Memorial Hall doors at 5:30pm. If you are unfamiliar with his skills take a moment and see the covers he has done for artist like Robyn or Frank Ocean. Bráulio Amado is a graphic designer and illustrator originally from Portugal but currently living in NYC. He has worked at Pentagram, Businessweek and Wieden Kennedy. He now runs his own studio BAD STUDIOS .
Once again the event will be held at Memorial Hall on Thursday February 16th doors open at 5:30PM.
Video done by: @lzs.studio
Thank you to the faculty @cairolexicon & @sthurer for organizing this together with their student committee. 💪
Please join us in welcoming Source Type, represented by Ben Schwartz and Laurenz Brunner, as our third guests in this year’s UG COMD Lecture Series! Thursday December 8th in Memorial Hall. Doors open at 5:30pm, lecture starts at 6:00pm.
Source Type is a platform for typographic research and visual literacy. The website, launched earlier this year, has been an ongoing outlet for editorial content, typefaces, and index entries grounded in pressing cultural matters and strange fascinations. Amidst continued online output the team looks forward to exploring offline collaborations as well as investigating the role of visual culture in critical issues we face today.
Poster designed by @lyn.stupidgraphics
Please join us in welcoming Lisk Feng as our second guest in this year’s UG COMD Lecture Series! Friday December 2ne in Memorial Hall. Doors open at 5:30pm.
Lisk Feng is an award-winning freelance illustrator from China, now based in New York. She graduated with an MFA in Illustration Practice from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2014. Her work has appeared around the world through clients such as The New Yorker, Apple, Penguin, Airbnb, The New York Times, Chanel, etc. Meanwhile, her illustrations have received awards and recognitions like the Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts Excellence Award, 3X3 Silver Medal, American Illustration winner, etc. She has also published several childrens' books with Flying Eye Books, Abrams and Kids Can Press. She was awarded one of the Art Directors Club 15 young gun artists among all artists from all fields worldwide in 2017.
Poster designed by @sthurer
COMD 460 - 03 Emerging Practices: Visualizing Power
M (3:00 PM - 7:20 PM) C. Lee
This course studies precedents from a variety of disciplines, ranging from architecture, journalism, graphic design, activism, the social sciences, as well as informal, “non-disciplinary” practices in order to explore practices of visualizing power. We will adopt an investigative gaze towards financial/technological power as it is located and manifested in New York City—particularly around topics that have evaded visibility, or whose visibility has been under-scrutinized. Students’ findings will be directed towards those that have been designated as the “subaltern”—the colonized and the oppressed. The studio component of this course emphasizes research design. The primary framework of critical reflection on student work is not the achievement of an established standard or best practices (these do not exist), but rather the coherent alignment of the student’s research tools (their gaze), the marks they collect and their translation to an intended, subaltern audience, scrutinized by the collective intelligence of the class.
In other words, through local field work, bibliographic and studio-based research, and a studio-seminar format that entails readings, discussions, as well as creative responses, students will explore research design processes that seek, sort, analyze and prepare for transmission (when/where/whom) their findings on a topic of their choice which is related to financial/technological power in New York City. The course will be structured into a series of units marked by discrete exercises exploring research design aimed at what the anthropologist Laura Nader calls “studying up.” Along with the output of the various exercises and explorations, each student will also propose and undertake one long-term research project and presentation built upon these.
COMD 460 - 01 Emerging Practices: Screen Fatigue
F (9:00AM - 1:20 PM) I. Besler
For all of the doom scrolling and descents down Wikipedia rabbit holes that characterize our experience of the world today—in the amorphous, constantly shifting, but always overlapping territory bridging “real life” with digital existence—it’s striking how much design discourse remains stubbornly, myopically insistent on the value of seamless, efficient, intuitive experiences.
COMD-460 Emerging Practices: Screen Fatigue explores user experiences at the limits of perception. This studio works to amplify the “slow” in digital creative practices and contemporary online experiences.
The studio uses interaction design as a site of exploration to propose a series of critical and speculative projects that deal with time, waiting, anticipation, and expectation: These will include websites, apps, and social media platforms that take time, waste time, make time, and break time. Technical exercises in HTML and P5 will include loading animations, screensavers, buffering states, and standby screens. (No prior experience in coding is required).
The goal of the studio is to critically analyze screen time: How long can we stretch a second? And how short can we collapse a day?
COMD 460 - 02 Emerging Practices: Ancestral Knowledges
TH (9:00 AM - 1:20 PM) N. Abdullah
Modeled on frameworks of pluralism this class will prompt inquiry around ancestral knowledges as interconnected forms of being and making. We will interrogate our personal relationships to ancestral narratives as complex places of learning and practice. The course will make space for discussion of histories and investigate the tensions and implications of form-giving within these contexts. How do we connect with ourselves and with each other? Inquiries will prompt us to deepen our relationships to personal knowledge systems as potential sites for visual language and as potential methodologies for learning. Inquiries may manifest as performance, object, ritual, collection; these will be dependent on the explorations undertaken. Classes gatherings will be a combination of guest lectures, workshops, making, exchange and practices we develop together. This course will be framed by decolonial pedagogies: foregrounding time for reflection and restoration; inviting collective contribution towards class goals, assignments and assessment; and nurturing generosity and reciprocity.
The Communications Design curriculum embraces the multifaceted and interdisciplinary nature of communication design practice. Our courses and projects promote the rich exchange embodied in a studio culture that values the development of individual perspectives, critique, visual literacy, media fluency, experiential learning, and innovative formal outcomes.
Second-year coursework introduces fundamental theories, methodologies, and skills central to communication design. Courses prompt students to define and explore a design process that engages research, historical and contemporary contexts, experimentation, audience, technology, and play in the construction of meaningful visual forms.
Upper-level studio courses prompt students to engage in increasingly complex projects that introduce time-based media, visual systems, branding, and installations. Beginning in the third year, students develop an individual focus or set of interests inside the larger discipline through courses in their chosen area of emphasis: graphic design or illustration. Electives both inside the department and throughout the Institute expand the core curriculum, allowing students to explore ways of thinking and making throughout the visual arts.
Emphasis in Illustration
Students who select the Illustration Emphasis take a series of upper-level studio courses that explore topics particularly relevant to image-based communication, such as advanced storytelling, socio-political commentary, and authorship. Upper-level courses related to the illustration emphasis encourage experimentation with multiple technologies, platforms, and techniques. Electives provide opportunities to explore a wide spectrum of contemporary illustration practice, including graphic novels, animation and 3D modeling, independent publishing, production design and character design
In the Communications Design BFA program students will undertake a course of study where they will work towards:
Developing a professional, responsive and interdisciplinary perspective on the role of design and the designer and their relationship to economic, social, ecological, historical and political systems
Engaging with form, systems, experiences and interactions as intersecting modes of knowing, thinking, making and being, and the implications on people, communities and environments across scale
Situating making practices, research and theory in response to the legacies of design history and to global, local and personal narratives
Demonstrating fluency in challenging the use of tools, technologies and materials across media in consideration to the value systems they embody
Practicing exploration and experimentation of the interplay between thinking and making towards developing a diverse body of work