Cranbrook Academy of Art

“AT CRANBROOK, PRODUCT DESIGN IS USED TO EXPLORE IDEAS ABOUT THE CONTEMPORARY HUMAN CONDITION. PRODUCTS BECOME A LANGUAGE THROUGH WHICH WE CAN DISCUSS WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD, OR BETTER YET, PROPOSE WORLDS WE’D LIKE TO SEE. LIKE LITERATURE AND ART, PRODUCT PROPOSALS PUT FORWARD ATTITUDES AND VIEWPOINTS AS CHOICES FOR INTERPRETING THE WORLD, WHILE ALSO SERVING AS ONE OF OUR FEW PUBLIC FORUMS FOR DISCUSSING OUR COLLECTIVE TECHNOLOGICAL FUTURE. IF PRODUCTS CAN MANIFEST THE LINKS BETWEEN CONSUMER IDENTITY, THE MARKET, TECHNOLOGY, MEDIA AND CULTURE, THEN THEY’VE BECOME IDEAL VEHICLES FOR REFLECTING ON A WIDE VARIETY OF RELEVANT CONTEMPORARY QUESTIONS:

• HOW ARE SOCIAL MYTHS CONSTRUCTED, DISEMMINATED AND LEGITIMIZED?
• HOW DO TECHNOLOGIES SHAPE OUR IDENTITIES AND PERCEPTIONS?
• HOW DO WE EXPRESS OURSELVES THROUGH CONSUMPTION?
• HOW DO PRODUCTS SUPPORT PARTICULAR CULTURAL VALUES LIKE SUSTAINABILITY, PARTICIPATION, PRIVACY, OR ON THE OTHER HAND – CONTROL, EXPLOITATION AND ALIENATION?
TO FULLY EXAMINE THE POTENTIAL OF PRODUCT COMMUNICATION, THE PROGRAM ELECTS TO OPERATE WITH A DEGREE OF AUTONOMY, OUTSIDE THE COMMERCIAL DICTATES OF INDUSTRY. WHILE PRODUCT INDUSTRIES DELIVER ENCHANTED VISIONS OF A TECHNOLOGICALLY MEDIATED FUTURE, CRANBROOK DESIGNERS OFTEN LOOK CRITICALLY AT TECHNOLOGY TO IMAGINE CREATIVE MISUSES OF BOTH HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE THAT CHALLENGE THE ROUTINE SOCIAL ORDER AND ENVISION POLEMIC PROPS FOR DIVERSE, COMPLEX, UNCHARTED FUTURES.

TO ACHIEVE THIS, THEORIES AND STRATEGIES FROM RELATED DISCIPLINES INCLUDING LITERARY THEORY, PSYCHOLOGY, SOCIAL SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY HAVE BECOME ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR EXPANDING THE PARAMETERS OF DESIGN THINKING. THROUGH THE PROCESS OF QUESTIONING, MAKING AND DISCUSSING, OUR GRADUATES DEVELOP A BROAD CRITICAL FRAMEWORK FOR EVALUATING DESIGN AS THEY MOVE TOWARD THE CULTURAL MATURITY AND CREATIVE VISION REQUIRED TO LEAD THE EMERGING DESIGN PROFESSIONS.

THE 3D DESIGN PROGRAM ATTRACTS CREATIVES FROM A WIDE RANGE OF DISCIPLINES INCLUDING INDUSTRIAL DESIGN, INTERIOR DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE, INTERACTION DESIGN, AND THE CRAFTS. THE IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR THE PROGRAM COMES WITH SOME PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD OF DESIGN, A STRONG TWO-YEAR AGENDA, THE SKILLS AND DRIVE TO PURSUE A PERSONAL BODY OF WORK, AN INTEREST IN ARTISTIC DISCOURSE AND THE SPIRIT OF EXPERIMENTAL INQUIRY.” -Cranbrook

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