Abstract: If writing is a process of thinking, why is it not a critical component of the design studio syllabus? This project was conceived and inspired by the difficulty undergraduate industrial design students experienced writing about their work. Their difficulty, and often fear, of writing revealed how rarely their design education engaged writing. In contrast, we discovered that these same students – all Millennials – amassed written content, not in the studio or classroom, but on their blogs, their Twitters, their texts, and hashtags.
This pedagogical project addresses the problem - opportunity above: can the design and writing processes, rather than antagonizing one another, engage each other into one dynamic practice for students. We looked at ways to integrate the two by considering writing in terms of tangible making and production: accumulation, curation, framing, publishing (as both broadcasting and sharing with peers). We tested these approaches with our design students during their final semester senior, thesis, studio (a course in the Industrial Design department with a long history).
Our work culminated into the working prototype we share with you here, The Thesis Grid: a collection of methods, exercises, and small assignments that generate, almost by default more.