Design is the practice-based discipline raising important questions about—and providing significant answers to—how we live. Designers are needed when we don’t know what is needed. Designers propose alternative futures and create new choices using design principles and processes to create, compose and construct meaning in diverse knowledge fields. We provide broad understanding of the principles and systems of perception, action and communication. We offer concentrations in the design practices of graphic and information design, interaction design and experience design.
Graphic design makes messages and meaning using visual form and the integration of text and image. It often has a persuasive intention and uses rules of visual composition, form and pattern to enable storytelling or create attention and an ambience for consideration. Information design focuses on visualizing concepts and data to enhance human understanding of complex and vital knowledge. Interaction design focuses on the creation of navigable interfaces and systems that allow audiences to achieve meaningful goals, connecting people to people and people to information and environments. Experience design is a holistic systems approach to human and natural environments for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It seeks to improve the various human contexts in which we eat, sleep, travel, work, play, operate, recuperate, cooperate and enjoy life. As intensive studio programs, these curricula balance design history and theory with studio projects in dynamic, static, virtual and actual media. As active participants in the interpretation and production of information and experience, you have the opportunity to integrate many facets of your university liberal arts education.
This major is offered as BFA in Design with concentration in Graphic and Information Design, BFA in Design with concentration in Interaction Design, BFA in Design with concentration in Experience Design.
Co-op Divisions are YA and ZA.
CAMD Advising strongly recommends that you start the process by meeting with a faculty mentor in your new major to talk about your interests and goals for the major to make sure it’s the right choice for you. Once you’re ready to make the change, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with your new Academic Advisor to make the change official and start planning for your next semester and beyond.
Any prerequisites should be taken before registering for 2000 level courses and above.
Design general learning outcomes
- Apply iterative design processes to create, revise, evaluate, and develop effective prototypes and innovative solutions.
- Engage human-centered design research methods and systems thinking to identify and understand values, goals, motivations of intended audiences as a mode of inquiry, question framing and guide to action.
- Develop a high level of craft and technical skills in a relevant range of media and tools and effectively weigh applicability for intended audiences and outcomes.
- Develop and realize intent, concept, and content with awareness of context and consequence.
- Implement visual patterns incorporating text, image, and diagram including temporal and spatial representations, to recognize, categorize, and articulate significant form and meaning
- Employ and embody ethical practices, team and cross-disciplinary collaboration, and effective communication and presentation skills.
- Apply relevant communication theories and principles and appreciate the pervasive and long-term impact of design decisions on people and societies.
Interaction Design concentration learning outcomes
- Develop personas, scenarios, wireframes, information architecture, navigation patterns and extensibility plans to create affordances and interfaces that invite interaction and allow end-users to achieve goals.
- Apply evaluative usability and efficacy testing methods to determine interface usefulness, desirability and/or feasibility.
- Demonstrate basic fluency in programming, code development patterns and analytical thinking associated with input and retrieval of data and support of dynamic interfaces.
Tyler Mitchell, AMD’16
Department of Art + Design’s new offering for this program is BFA in Design with Concentration in Interaction Design.
When Tyler Mitchell, AMD ’16 first arrived at Northeastern, he had every intention of becoming an architect or businessman. But the moment a friend pointed out Mitchell’s talent in graphic design, he switched his major and embarked on the path to majoring in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. At first, Mitchell had little experience in graphic design beyond creating desktop backgrounds and advertisements for his amusement. Now he’s about to start his second co-op at Tank Design in Cambridge as part of the design team, in a position that the company created after being so thoroughly impressed by his resume.
This past September, following a recommendation from Northeastern professor Tom Starr, Mitchell served as a fellow for Design Exchange Boston (DxB), a two-day design and innovation conference dedicated to celebrating the impact of design. As one of eight fellows, Mitchell worked with DxB on creating a scholarship opportunity for students to encourage further involvement in the design community. Mitchell’s leadership does not end there, however, as he has worked as part of Northeastern’s Advancement Innovations team to update the Office of Advancement’s website and performs the role of Vice President for Northeastern Create, a group which focuses on helping students build mobile applications for the University.
Despite his enormous accomplishments and involvement in the Northeastern community, Mitchell believes his work isn’t done until he can use the knowledge he’s gained from his major to help others. Alongside his former boss from his first co-op at Paypal, Mitchell has help to spearhead Resilient Coders, a free, volunteer-based program focused on making web technologies more available to adolescents who may not otherwise be exposed to them. Mitchell’s goal is to teach underprivileged youth how to code; a skill, which he believes, will open up future job opportunities for them in an environment that isn’t as formal as the classroom.
After graduation Mitchell plans to return to his native California to be closer to family and to begin his career in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. Regardless of where he may end, Mitchell has big plans for the future, hoping to embrace new technology and start design interfaces for walls and even chairs. When asked what advice he would give to students studying or hope to study Graphic Design and Interactive Media, Mitchell’s feedback was simple and straightforward: “Be looking out for any opportunity you can take to get better. There’s always an opportunity to get better and find out what you’re really into.”
By Connor Doherty