Center for Design Thinking

The goal of MICA's Center for Design Thinking is to develop and publish original research on graphic design while providing opportunities for MICA faculty and students to create and publicly disseminate their visual and written work. The Center uses profits from its commercial publishing projects to fund special research and to provide grants to graduate students to develop design and content.

2011: Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming This book explores a variety of techniques—from quick, seat-of-the-pants approaches to more formal research methods—for stimulating fresh thinking and solving design problems. Brainstorming techniques are grouped around the three main phases of the design process: defining problems, getting ideas, and creating form. Visual demonstrations and case studies show the design processes and solutions at work. The book was written, designed, and produced with GD MFA students and faculty.

Editor: Ellen Lupton
Publisher: Maryland Institute College of Art and Princeton Architectural Press 
Release date: Summer 2011 
Graduate Design Fellowship: Ann Liu and Lauren Adams, GD MFA 2011
Cover design: Lauren Adams, GD MFA 2011

2010: Exploring Materials: A Hands-On Guide to Product Design An action-oriented guide to design thinking, this book uses student exercises and inspiring examples from the world of contemporary product design to show readers how to use materials as tools for thinking and making. The book examines materials from several points of view, including traditional uses, experimental uses, techniques and directions for prototyping with everyday objects, and environmental implications. This book is a collaboration with MICA's Environmental Design program.

Authors: Inna Alesina and Ellen Lupton 
Publisher: Maryland Institute College of Art and Princeton Architectural Press 
Release date: Spring 2010 
Graduate Design Fellowship: Justin Kropp, GD MFA 2010
Cover design: Julia Kostreva, GD BFA 2010

2009: Greener GroceriesMICA was one of six schools selected to display student work at the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in New York City. Our project, created by GD MFA students and Environmental Design students, proposes new ways to package and deliver food. What if people ordered their groceries online and had them delivered directly to their homes and neighborhoods? What if we started seeing packaging as a beautiful and valuable resource rather than as trash? What if we could customize package labels to meet our own needs? What if vacant lots and abandoned big box stores were reborn as local farms?

Exhibition: May 2009, New York City 
Curators: Inna Alesina, Faculty, Environmental Design; Ellen Lupton, Director, GD MFA

2009: Type + CodeAfter completing their MFA degrees at MICA, Yeohyun Ahn and Viviana Cordova worked to refine their thesis research on code-based typography into a book, Type + Code: Processing for Designers. MICA published the book using print-on-demand technology in 2009.

Authors: Yeohyun Ahn, GD MFA 2007, and Viviana Cordova, GD MFA 2008 
Book design: John Corrigan, GD MFA 2008 
Publisher: MICA 
Release date: Spring 2009 
Graduate Design Fellowship: Yeohyun Ahn

2009: Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field This is the first-ever publication initiated by the Center for Design Thinking to be authored and designed solely by a GD MFA student. The book was conceived, written, designed, and produced by Helen Armstrong (GD MFA, 2009). The Center for Design Thinking helped Helen create a viable book proposal and helped her present the proposal to Princeton Architectural Press. GD MFA faculty provided guidance to Helen throughout the process of creating the book and the associated website, which serve as her thesis work. 

Editor: Helen Armstrong, GD MFA 2009 
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press 
Release date: Spring 2009
Graduate Design Fellowship: Helen Armstrong, GD MFA 2009
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Exploring Studio MaterialsThe Center for Design Thinking seeks to assist faculty from outside the GD MFA program in developing book proposals. We were approached by Mary Hafeli, director of MICA’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, to help her create a book proposal. The Center designed a format for the book, two sample chapters, front matter, and cover for Professor Hafeli’s book. She is using these sample materials to approach various publishers in her field. 

Author: Mary Hafeli Publisher: to be determined 
Release date: to be determined 
Graduate Design Fellowship: Tony Venne, GD MFA 2009 

2008: Social Studies: Educating Designers in a Connected World MICA hosted a national conference for design educators on campus, October 17, 18, and 19, 2008. The conference was sponsored by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and Adobe Systems. Leading educators from around the U.S. presented their ideas. Numerous MICA faculty are involved as presenters and moderators. GD MFA students designed the event, website, conference materials, and more. 

Date: October 17, 18, 19 
Conference Abstracts: Book designed with guest artist Mike Perry 

2009: Indie Publishing How to Design and Produce Your Own Book: A team of graphic design MFA students at MICA, under the direction of Ellen Lupton, produced a practical guide to publishing, directed at people from all walks of life who want to create and distribute their own content at various scales of endeavor, from personal projects that use traditional bookmaking techniques to larger projects employing industrial production methods. We address the business aspects of independent publishing, from how to get an ISBN number (and why you might need one) to using the Internet to market your work. The book also addresses the visual design of books, taking the reader step-by-step through the process of planning and designing a book that has personal style as well as visual coherence and authority. 

Editor: Ellen Lupton 
Publisher: Maryland Institute College of Art and Princeton Architectural Press 
Release date: Fall 2009 
Graduate Design Fellowships: Joseph Galbreath and Lindsey Muir, GD MFA 2009
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2008 Science Zine with Mike Perry: In Spring 2008, illustrator and graphic designer Mike Perry visited MICA to do a design and publishing workshop with GD MFA students. The result of the workshop was “Science,” a collaborative zine created by all sixteen students working in concert

Release date: July 2008 
Distribution: informal

2008: Graphic Design: The New Basics: This book represents the collaborative efforts of faculty and students across MICA’s graduate and undergraduate design programs, under the leadership of Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips. The book revisits Bauhaus ideas from the perspective of twentieth-century technology and global society. Marketed as “the new basics,” the book has become a must-have text for designers and educators around the world, integrating formal design thinking with digital technology and contemporary media theory. 

Authors: Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips 
Publisher: Maryland Institute College of Art and Princeton Architectural Press 
Release date: May 2008 
International rights: Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese Complex, Chinese Simplified 
Graduate Design Fellowship: Viviana Cordova, GD MFA 2008 
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2007: D.I.Y. Project Cards: As a spin-off from the D.I.Y. book, Princeton Architectural Press and Chronicle Books invited MICA to produce a boxed set of project cards. The cards were designed and produced by Alissa Faden, alum of the GD MFA program, who was contracted directly by Chronicle Books. Ellen Lupton is co-author

Authors: Alissa Faden (GD MFA 2006) and Ellen Lupton Publisher: Chronicle Books 
Release date: Fall 2007 Graduate Design Fellowship: Alissa Faden 
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2006: D.I.Y. Design It Yourself: This is the project that started it all. In Spring 2006, the Princeton Architectural Press published D.I.Y. Do It Yourself, a design handbook edited by Ellen Lupton and written and designed with MFA students and faculty. The book has had a significant impact on design thinking and culture, selling over 40,000 copies. An bestseller in the design category, it has been one of the few books on design that has had a significant cross-over into popular culture.

Editor: Ellen Lupton Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press Release date: January 2006 
International editions: German, Korean, Chinese (Taiwan) 
Graduate Design Fellowships: Katherine Cornelius, Kim Bost, Kristen Spilman, and Mike Weikert, GD MFA 2006; Nancy Froehlich, GD MFA 2007
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