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Design, BFA

Concentrations in design practices are graphic and information design, interaction design, and experience design.

  • Academics
  • Experiences
  • Interests

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. Designers seek a broad understanding of principles and systems of perception, communication, and action. Concentrations in design practices are 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 to 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 approach that utilizes investigation into human environments in specific situations to improve quality. Given an understanding of goals, needs, and desires, it seeks to improve the various contexts by identifying and studying events and how they can be turned into beneficial practices.

As intensive studio programs, the curricula balance theory and design history and theory with studio projects in all media. As a design analyst, inventor, interpreter, curator, and producer of information, interaction, and experience, students can integrate many facets of university and liberal arts education.

DESIGN LEARNING OUTCOMES
1. Apply iterative design processes to create, revise, evaluate, and develop effective prototypes and innovative solutions.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Develop and realize intent, concept and content with awareness of context and consequence.
5. Implement visual patterns incorporating text, image, diagram including temporal and spatial representations to recognize, categorize, and articulate significant form and meaning
6. Employ and embody ethical practices, team and cross-disciplinary collaboration, and effective communication and presentation skills.
7. Apply relevant communication theories and principles and appreciate the pervasive and long-term impact of design decisions on people and societies.

Graphic and Information Design concentration learning outcomes

1. Integrate verbal and visual content in a way that is complementary, not redundant, to construct complex visual/verbal messages.
2. Utilize information and nomenclature systems, organizational grids, hierarchy, and sequence to offer audiences access to complex topics and sense making.
3. Discern the ethical implications of subjective vs. objective design, and demonstrate ability to construct content along the persuasive/informative continuum according to the needs of an audience, expectations of a client, or self-initiative.

Experience Design concentration learning outcomes

1. Explore participatory methods of research ethnographic, shadowing and co-creation to better understand values, goals and intentions of diverse audiences.
2. Synthesize research findings and model existing conditions, relationships, system components, and interactions through visualization, mapping, and prototyping methods to understand and make evident patterns and opportunities.
3. Propose design solutions in response to research that envision future conditions, encompassing a broad range of design possibilities from innovative objects and spaces to processes, services, interactions, and collaborations.

Interaction Design concentration learning outcomes

1. 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.
2. Apply evaluative usability and efficacy testing methods to determine interface usefulness, desirability and/or feasibility.
3. Demonstrate basic fluency in programming, code development patterns and analytical thinking associated with input and retrieval of data and support of dynamic interfaces.

View University Course Catalog

Interests of Design, BFA Students

  • arts
  • Branding
  • creative coding
  • creativity
  • data
  • data analysis
  • design
  • digital design
  • information design
  • interactive media
  • research
  • visualization

Co-op Opportunities

  • Philips Research (HealthTech and Lighting)
    Cambridge, MA
  • Thomson Reuters
    Cambridge, MA
  • MIT facilities
    Cambridge, MA
  • The Broad Institute
    Cambridge, MA
View all co-ops for Art + Design

Career Opportunities

  • Multidisciplinary Skills
    • Visual communication: information design, semiotics, typography, graphic design
    • Technical skills: data analysis, programming visual interfaces and visualizations, interactive techniques
    • Research: history and theory of information design, design resarch
    • Programming
    • Scripting
    • User mapping
    • User stories
    • User observation
    • Personas
    • Human factors
    • 3D modeling
    • User testing
  • Careers of Tomorrow
    • Experience Designer
    • Interaction Designer
    • Entrepreneur
    • Designer

Program Coordinators:

Ann McDonald

Associate Professor

a.mcdonald@northeastern.edu
617-373-2662

Department Chair:

Tad Hirsch

Department Chair, Professor

tad.hirsch@northeastern.edu

Administrators:

Nhora Delgado

Administrative Assistant

n.delgado@northeastern.edu
617-373-4340

Zohreh Firouzabadian

Academic Manager

z.firouzabadian@northeastern.edu
617-373-8296

Dara-Lynn Pelechatz

Administrative Officer

d.pelechatz@northeastern.edu
617-373-5242

Academic Advisors:

Jocelyn Faber

Academic Advisor

j.faber@northeastern.edu
617-373-3701

Greg Zuch

Academic Advisor

g.zuch@northeastern.edu
617-373-7942

Co-op Advisors:

Dori Peleg Mazor

Co-op Coordinator

d.mazor@northeastern.edu
617-373-3439

Michelle Hagopian

Co-op Coordinator

m.hagopian@northeastern.edu
617-373-6908

Kellianne Murphy

Senior Co-op Coordinator

k.murphy@northeastern.edu
617-373-3412

View Art + Design faculty and staff