Thesis as Examination of Design Practice = Prepared Design Leaders: Designing Thesis to Design Practice
Scott Lundberg, Fashion Institute of Technology SUNY
In many disciplines thesis is where professional self-examination is learned. Design Thesis, a big
self-selected studio project demonstrating design artistry, avoids professional reflection. At FIT
we have deliberately made thesis an examination of design practice and a demonstration of
artistry. Focusing the thesis onto design practice instead of just practicing design the student
learns to become part of design’s dialogue.
This is achieved by using the work practices of design instead of those from academia. Design
practice has been honed through centuries of innovating new realities. These traditions too, are
constantly revising to meet new opportunity. To facilitate this renewal Design Thesis should
introduce professional self-examination by using the design process to evolve design practice.
This paper will demonstrate how to apply the design process to creating a thesis. I will also
describe some methods I use: Peer-2-Peer Workshops, Merry-Go-Roundtable and Lab Groups.
First I compare an academic thesis to a design thesis and argue why theory is important for
doers. Then how studio traditions demonstrate that design is the best way to educate designers.