Drawing Machine Exhibition / CCA Hubble Street Gallery


The Exhibition Drawing Machines, is a result of a course taught by Colin Owen and Martin Venezky and features the work of MFA Design Students: Ashley Adams, Sophie Feller, Yisha Dai, Buge Jiang, Kate Moore, Bo Peng, Rob


Exhibition Synopsis


This exhibition investigates assistive and autonomous tools for art making. These “drawing machines,” created by MFA Design students explore the collaborative, augmentative, and translational nature of the tool/hand relationship, building processes that veer between disciplined refinement and wild chaos. Bashing, hacking, disrupting, and refining have pushed both discourse and content into elegant working objects as well as aesthetic 2D output.

Society of Typographic Arts 100 Award Winners: Praree Kittidumkerng, Jiho Jung, and Bo Peng


Congratulations to recent CCA MFA Design graduate Praree Kittidumkerng, former student Jiho Jung, and current student Bo Peng, who were awarded the Society of Typographic Arts 100 Award for creating one of the top 100 graphic design projects of 2016.


Visual Braille Type – Senses, Sound Experience
Praree Kittidumkerng
Jiho Jung


The Legendary Debates of Graphic Design
Bo Peng

UFO: Unidentified Food Objects / MFA Thesis 2016

Praree_object photo-3_SMALL
The way we use cooking tools and eating utensils influences how we approach food culture both economically and socially. The traditional European table setting which include fork, knife and spoon are based on etiquette and table manners. Eating is a physical need, and meals are a social ritual, therefore we conform to unspoken rules.
However, when a tool is not an easily understood shape or a common form, is the experience of food altered?

Between art and everyday life a blurry boundary exists. I am investigating whether a new combination of objects’ forms can lead to new culinary objects that produce new uses. I created a design intervention that stimulates people’s curiosity about the objects and challenge users’ imagination in response to the objects’ forms.

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Course: Drawing Machines / Year One Topic Studio


In this course students will create, analyze, and deploy assistive and autonomous tools for art making. Discourse will focus on the collaborative, augmentative, and translational nature of the tool/hand relationship. Built processes will veer between disciplined refinement and wild chaos. Bashing, hacking, disrupting, and refining will push both discourse and content into elegant working objects as well as aesthetic 2D output. Projects will culminate in a final showcase of both made mark and a display of the machine.

Branch: What if Our Objects Were More Adapted to Our World? / MFA Thesis 2016

For my MFA thesis I decided to explore the intersection of the made world with the natural world.
New tools such as 3D scanning and 3D printing provide designers with new ways of working. I am interested in finding ways by which new tools can be used productively in the design process. Specifically, I am interested in developing strategies for designing objects that interact with natural organic forms.
I chose to focus on trees as a study case. Each tree is unique and beautifully complex, creating endless challenges and opportunities. I chose to design birdhouses, allowing me to explore different ways to capture the geometry of the tree and design a form that interfaces with a tree and a bird.
These birdhouses allow me to speculate on how new tools may be used to connect nature and culture.

Course: Advanced Typography / Year One


The Legendary Debates of Graphic Design

The debate as to whether design (or graphic design) can truly be classified as art in the literal sense has raged on for years. It’s a complex and rather convoluted argument to have, as both designers and artists create their own visual interpretations and compositions with the skills and knowledge set they have. Their reasons and motivations for engaging in those artistic acts, however, are total polar opposites.   


The Book features two styles to represents the voices of the debates: 1. “The Fake Voice”: As one of the victims of Nazi, Jan Tchichold spent the rest of his life trying to overthrow the modern typography system that he found. The Black Letter in red represents the voice of Nazi German, whose dictation greatly influenced Tchichold’s path of career and graphic design style. 2.The style of no style: Mass Production—the entropy of individuality while the production take off. The individual speciality loses its charm during the duplicating process of production. Each unit of the pages has the content, yet different types—weight, size, style. However, with the mask of duplication, they look indifferent, no matter how much energy the designer had vainly spent his time.

Course: Public Interactives / Year One Topic Studio

Future Grocery01_SMALL

Future Grocery Store
Sponsored Studio by Intel

In recent years, a lot of shopping has moved to on-line situations. This is great for some purposes. However, being in a well-designed physical space and holding tangible items on your hand could be a unique and unforgettable experience with the help of latest technologies. This project is to imagine the possibilities of future grocery stores using the Intel RealSense Camera.

Through the interviews and random talks with some shoppers in the grocery store, we found out that most customers are willing to know more about basic knowledge of the food including nutrition, preparation, selection and recipe, especially the unfamiliar food. They are also interested in the seasonal food concept since it’s healthier and tastier.

We come up with the idea to design a food information system “Eat In the Moment”.


See Video

Course: Wild Hybrids / Year One Topic Studio

Jacket project 

The Jacket project is a wearable interaction design in which people can play with their body temperatures. This artwork started from research I did on a mountain rescuer’s life where I viewed the high awareness they have for temperature and equipment related to it.

Jacket 1- 10 Pocket Jacket

When I researched peoples’ interactions with body temperature in daily life, I found that body temperature makes people feel close with each other but can also make them feel further apart. For example, when we touch a bus handle, we may have an unpleasant sensation when we feel the body temperature of a stranger who grabbed it and heated it up. It makes us weirdly too close to the stranger. On the other hand, when we use a hot pad in the winter, we want to be isolated and snuggle with it without anyone else heating us up. I designed a jacket with 10 pockets to demonstrate this social norm.

Jacket 2- 14 Stone Jacket

Electronic devices are good at controlling their heat. On the other hand, people often need more heat or cold. How can people circulate their body temperature from person to person like the heat system of electronic devices? How can people give/take their heat from each other? I designed a jacket with 14 stones put in each of the 14 pockets. The stones can save body temperature and then be delivered to people who need more heat.

Jacket 3- Rice Jacket

When our emotions change, our body temperature changes. For instance, when we are sad, our limbs get cold. When we feel happy or excited, our bodies get overheated. I designed a microwavable and freezable jacket filled with rice and lavender seeds for an individual to interact with his or her emotions and body temperature.


Course: Wild Hybrids / Year One Topic Studio

The 3rd Lung Mask (small)

Breathing Project

Inspired by Scuba diving devices, I designed a set of three objects which will serve human to live better in an air polluted environment, such as China.Nevertheless, the weirdness of the object behaviors will trigger the awareness that human should breath fresh air freely and healthily.


1. THE 3RD LUNG MASK-Evolution of outside lung

Masks have become a daily necessity for living. Humans need a third lungoutside of their body to filter the air before it enters the lungs. Because directly inhaling polluted air will create damage to the lungs.

H&M released a new mask that works like your third lung outside of your body. It will inflate while exhaling and deflate while inhaling. It is disposable and more efficient than other masks due to the foldable wavy structure.


2. PERSONAL LUNG TRAINER-Resist lung degradation

The polluted air injured people’s lungs and degraded their ability to breathe. It became a social problem.

Nike released a personal lung trainer that people can wear while working out in order to strengthen their lungs. The health conscious started a campaign of “Be aware, Be responsible.


3. OXYGEN CIGARETTE-luxury mental energy shots for women

People get depressed living in the polluted air environment. So they inhale oxygen cigarettes to relieve depression and improve mental health. Some people get addicted to it. Eventually oxygen cigarettes become a luxury item which not everyone can afford.

Issey Miyake released Oxygen Cigarette for women. The necklace holder can make women inhale oxygen in an elegant and convenient way.

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Course: GD Studio / Year Zero


Mapping Project

One morning, I pulled some of my hair from my head while taking a shower. I began to think about how hair is a piece of DNA that each of us can easily shed, change, or let go of…I began to ask people around me (school, neighborhood, work) if I could take a sample of their hair and record their age and origin. The data I began to collect inspired three types of media to express the journey of the hair being collected and analyzed into a social-spatial map of my environment within San Francisco.
The data suggests a kind of global-ness to an intimate space from which I was able to collect information. #demographic infographics.

The Video is a collage-montage of hair being cut, shaved, trimmed, pulled, brushed, and picked. This sequence projects a disruptive and invasive experience into the personal space of others. 1.55 minutes

The Library is the accumulation of the DNA samples that was collected from each owner in the video.
The library organizes the hair samples by age and origin of the owner of the DNA.

The Poster is the amalgamation of the data content. Using a high-resolution scanner, a relative geographic map proliferates from the origin of the DNA sample owners. This intergalactic interface extracts from our most intimate body parts and creates an impersonal projection of how we remove parts of ourselves, who is participating and how much we are willing to reveal or share…

See Video

Course: IxD Studio / Year Zero


LED Collar


This collar takes a distinctive and unique voice and translates it into a digital display, exploring how things that make us uniquely human can be transformed by technology.  Each wearer has their own color scheme and pattern, exploring new ways of displaying our senses.


See Video


Course: Wild Hybrids / Year One Topic Studio


This project began by choosing a specific “explorer” and deeply understanding one daily routine in the explorer’s life. The final project was to design a tool that related to a routine of that explorer. I picked Onnagata as my explorer and tried to understand their makeup. The Onnagata is a special Kabuki actor that only plays female roles in Kabuki dramas. After researching the subject, I begin to think about how people see others as their gender. Those actors see themselves as neither men nor women, they consider themselves as the third gender. How do machines or computers see us? What really matters with all the facial recognition software and surveillance cameras today? What is “makeup” to this software? Starting with this question, I did a serious experiments about how to trick facial recognition software. After experimenting with materials as well as patterns, I found out that this software sees us as lines and dots. Based on results from my experiments, I turned my assumptions into 3D objects that you can wear and change your identity everyday. The last version are facial masks that can make you into someone else. It can shift your gender, race, age, or, allow you to be unrecognizable to facial recognition software.

Tim Parsons Speculative Design Workshop


Workshop description:

How design can help communicate issues of climate change? Students will learn about the emerging approaches of critical and speculative design and understand how object design, storytelling and scenario-building contribute to the creation of compelling design fictions that help the public re-think important issues of our time.

Building on the recent Future Climate [Hi]stories project Tim Parsons completed with his wife Jessica Charlesworth, students will generate new future climate fictions based on existing climate science, and design and make objects or images that illustrate their narrative.

CCA MFA Design Presents Tim Parsons (Parsons & Charlesworth)


Tim Parsons is a designer, design writer and Associate Professor in Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A graduate of the Masters program in Design Products at London’s Royal College of Art, he has gone on to teach product design for fifteen years at universities in Britain and America. Tim is co-founder, with his wife Jessica Charlesworth, of the experimental and speculative design studio Parsons & Charlesworth. His design work has been exhibited widely, including at The Design Museum, London and MCA, Chicago. As a writer he has contributed articles and essays to publications including Blueprint, ICON, Crafts and Phaidon’s Design Classics and his book Thinking:Objects: Contemporary Approaches to Product Design was published in 2009 by AVA Academia.

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Image Credit: Char Dolly, by Parsons & Charlesworth
Artifact from Disegno Magazine 2°c Project Future Climate [Hi]stories
The Char Dolly is an artifact designed to accompany a story about a group of individuals dedicated to the task of sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is forms part of an on-going series of design fictions aimed at helping re-shape the narratives around climate change.

Course: ID Studio / Year Zero


Structured Ashtray

For this project, I was assigned a word and an object, with the task of designing the object based on a language derived from the word. My word and object was “Structured Ashtray.” I chose to define “structured” in reference to the highly organized, efficient, and logical organization of time and movement. With this design language identified, I eventually decided upon making a speculative design piece that comments on the duality of the freedom and structure inherent in smoking cigarettes. The ashtray sounds a chime and ejects a cigarette every hour on the hour from 7am to 10pm, giving the user 10 minutes to smoke each one to completion. And each minute of that 10 minutes, another chime indicates the opening of a hatch to allow ashing of the cigarette. Day to day, hour to hour, and minute to minute, the process of smoking is highly structured. The accompanying user manual serves to explain the concept to viewers. While this message has been told in many ways before, I hope to cast a different light on the subject with a unique, physically designed take on the subject matter.

MFA Design presents (as part of the Graduate Studies Lecture Series) : Experimental Jetset


Experimental Jetset is an Amsterdam-based graphic design studio founded in 1997 by Marieke Stolk, Erwin Brinkers and Danny van den Dungen. Focusing on printed matter and site-specific installations, Experimental Jetset have worked on projects for a wide variety of institutes, including Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Centre Pompidou, Dutch Post Group and Whitney Museum of American Art.

Their work has been featured in group exhibitions such as ‘Graphic Design: Now in Production’ (Walker Art Center, 2011) and ‘Ecstatic Alphabets / Heaps of Language’ (MoMA, 2012). Solo exhibitions include ‘Kelly 1:1’ (Casco Projects, 2002) and ‘Two or Three Things I Know About Provo’ (W139, 2011 / Moravian Gallery, 2012).

In 2007, a large selection of printed matter by Experimental Jetset was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Other institutes that have collected work by Experimental Jetset include Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), SFMOMA (San Francisco), Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago), Museum für Gestaltung (Zürich), Centre National des Arts Plastiques (Paris), and Cooper Hewitt (New York).

In 2015, Roma Publications (Amsterdam) released a monograph titled ‘Statement and Counter-Statement: Notes on Experimental Jetset’, featuring essays by Linda van Deursen, Mark Owens, Ian Svenonius and Jon Sueda.

Between 2000 and 2013, Experimental Jetset have been teaching at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. They are currently teaching at the Werkplaats Typografie and Artez (Arnhem).
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About the 2015-16 Graduate Studies Lecture Series

The 2015–16 Graduate Studies Lecture Series explores the many ways in which we undertake daily acts of both literal and implied translation, whether from ideas into actions or ideas into artworks, designs, films, or exhibitions; plans into buildings; or thought into the written and illustrated word.

In addition to exploring more general modes of translation, this series offers opportunities to consider specifically the challenges and opportunities of translating from one language, medium, or context to another.

Martin Venezky: Wallscapes


Come join us to celebrate MFA Design faculty member Martin Venezky’s selection as a new member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 2016!

On this occasion we have installed an exhibition of Martin’s recent work in our MFA Design Studio titled Martin Venezky: Wallscapes, and will hold a reception and Conversation between Martin Venezky and Faculty members Megan Lynch and Brett MacFadden. Please join us!

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Martin Venezky: Wallscapes  
CCA MFA Design Studio
Reception: Thursday, Jan 28th,
at 6:30pm followed by Conversation at 7:15 pm
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Exhibition on view: Jan 25-Feb 5
If you are not a CCA Student, Faculty, or Staff,
please email jsueda@cca.edu to make appointment
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Course: Form Studio / Year One


A Tool for Making _____________

This project challenges you to create a design tool you’ve all probably used before but most likely taken for granted, the Template. This investigation aims to explore and complicate a conventional tool of the design trade in both a physical and conceptual sense. By creating a physical mark-making tool, you build a new model for creating form, language, communication, and storytelling. These tools should also be accessible to other designer/makers and facilitate them building on the language you create. This project will combine the cold logic of systems design and the pleasure and idiosyncrasies of hand work. This project will cross all disciplines in that you will be responsible for a 3-Dimentional form, that interacts with multiple users, to make 2 Dimensional marks. This assignment will address these multiple areas and ask you to address several methodologies.

Course: Light Studio / Year One Topic Studio


Light Studio will center on the ethereal and physical character of light, as a source of inspiration and provocation. Light(ing) is one of the basic constituents of our built environment. The last fifteen years has witnessed a radical shift in how we consider light, primarily because of new technologies for the creation and simulation of “pervasive emissive surfaces”. The studio will explore new lighting strategies/technologies with the intention of manifesting results in built forms. Various methods for engagement will be explored (e.g., slice of time, word/place prompts, design precedence, etc.). There will be three distinct projects, coupled by a framework created by each student according to their own interests. Work will track according to independently defined exploration areas, with reviews and milestones coordinated as a class. The Studio will move through three contiguous phases of work, exploration/research, definition/validation and execution/refinement. Students will learn 3D modeling tools, how to move from digital information to physical output, prototyping techniques, how to collaborate with people from relevant disciplines and translate design strategies into tangible, realized concepts. Outside critics will be introduced as appropriate to the subject.
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William J. Bottini
Dashiell Corvin-Brittin
Sanchit Gupta (video)
Nicholas F. Hansen
Maya Kremien
Lingjiang Lai
Aaron Levine
Li Lin
Robert Sieg
Yunwen Tu
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Course: Year One / Form Studio


Form Studio offers students a strong foundation in the making, assessing, and critiquing of visual materials and begins a discussion that will reverberate through the rest of their studies. Students learn the use and structure of materials and media, and the development of a rigorous and disciplined process through which they can create and analyze what they are creating.
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Rasha Alamoudi
Xuefei Bai
Yisha Dai
Sophie Feller
Peixin Fu
Jitpanan Jaturuntawanichya
Bo Peng
Veena Ramachandran
Hanzi Shao
Rob Sieg
Kelly Steben
Tracy Tsutsumoto
Shihan Zhang
Siyao Zhu
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In the Making / Fall Faculty Presentations: Josh Nimoy, Chris Hamamoto, and Laurel Schwulst


IN THE MAKING is a new student-run faculty lecture series. This series aims to explore the grad school experience… how faculty members developed of a personal way of working in school, including relevant challenges, influences, and transition to their current practice.
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The Fall Series included:
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Josh Nimoy / Friday, Oct 16th, 3pm
Josh Nimoy is a multifaceted software artist with a design and new media arts education. He makes a heavy use of computer programming to produce a lot of his work, and allows the world of code to inspire both is process and his aesthetic. Josh is interested in producing interactive work which “addicts” the audience, through use of synaesthesia and simple game design fundamentals.Josh has spent the last half decade writing simulations and custom generators in Hollywood for use in Film and Television, most notably the hologram elements in TRON:Legacy. 

Josh attended undergraduate school at UCLA Design | Media Arts until 2002, and got a Masters in Professional Studies from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in 2004.
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Chris Hamamoto / Friday, Nov 20th, 3pm
Chris Hamamoto is a San Francisco based graphic designer currently working with Landscape in the Lower Haight. He most recently worked with Flipboard after completing his MFA at RISD. Prior to graduate school, Chris worked at FontShop, Studio Kudos, RISD Museum, and taught at RISD. He now teaches at CCA and co-designs, develops, and writes for Typographica and Type Review.
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Laurel Schwulst / Friday, Dec 4th, 3pm
Laurel Schwulst is a designer and artist. She is currently Designer in Residence at California College of the Arts for the Fall 2015 semester. She is owner of Beautiful Company. Previously she worked at the design studio Linked by Air and lectured at Yale University. She is interested in the intersection of art, nature, and the internet.

MFA Design Lecture: Valkyrie Savage


Presentation Synopsis:
As 3D printers increase in quality and in accessibility, we see them moving out of industrial design labs and into maker spaces, libraries, museums, and homes. Even those without physical access to 3D printers can order custom 3D prints from services like Shapeways to be mailed to their homes. But what can people make with these machines, and how can they design those objects? There is a large skill gap between expert modelers and novices; this translates to differences in the types of objects they produce. We want to aid novice makers in moving away from plastic trinkets towards functional objects with embedded electrical and mechanical components. I’ll discuss two projects in this space: one tool allows makers to author geometry using clay and stickers, and the other helps makers create internal pipes.
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Valkyrie is a PhD student working with Bjoern Hartmann in the (UC) Berkeley Institute of Design. Her research focuses on design tools for 3D printing, specifically for creating interactive objects like video game controllers. She is broadly interested in technologies to encourage interest and participation in STEAM.
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Expanding Field Guides Exhibition

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CCA MFA Design / AICAD Symposium
November 6th, 6-10 pm
Organized by Sara Dean
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The field guide is a designed item, an collection of a place, and a tool for exploration. Using the Marin Headlands as their starting point, these guides explore the roles that collection, field work, measure, and nature can take in design. The projects are cross-disciplinary collaborations, combining students of from Graphic, Industrial, and Interaction Design.

Design Lab NightLife / Featuring CCA Design


CCA MFA Design / California Academy of Sciences
November 5th, 6-10 pm
Organized by Leslie Roberts, JD Beltran, and Scott Minneman
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In keeping with CCA’s annual partnership exhibition with the California Academy of Sciences, Design Lab explores and illuminates the parallels between the processes of design and the processes of science — identifying a question/problem, researching the field/discipline, proposing theories. developing and experimenting with methods of testing and prototyping, and innovating a solution. Exhibits and projects should illuminate these processes and ideally, engage your audience in thinking about, participating in and learning about these processes, as well.

MFA Design Program Retreat and Workshop


CCA MFA Design / Headlands Center for the Arts
Oct 30th, 9 am – 5 pm
Organized by Sara Dean
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This was a one-day retreat for students and faculty at the Headlands Center for the Arts. MFA Design Faculty member Sara Dean organized a series of designer/artist presentations and student charette under the theme of “Field Guides.”

We exhibited the results of the projects at CCA, during the opening of the AICAD Art + Science symposium, the following Friday. (See Expanding Filed Guides Exhibitions)
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Featured Speakers: Megan Prelinger, Jenny Odell, Jason Groves, and Amy Balkin

Rapid Craft 3: Not Your Average Bean Bag!!!


Friday, October 9th, 4-7:30pm
(@ hybrid lab)
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Not Your Average Bean Bag!!!, learn to sew and make some not so average bean bags for our studio space.
Workshop by Phumelele Mthimunye
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Workshop Brief:

Participants will be broken up into groups of 3 and work together to design a bean bag pattern shape, then sew and stuff the beanbags. I will provide a large pattern of 1 possible bean bag shape circular/square and then participants can modify and design to their hearts desires.

It’s about having fun in learning to sew, getting your hands dirty and creating something for your local environment while cultivating a skill and craft. Your don’t need to be good at making things or sewing. Bags will be made out of canvas.

MFA Design Lecture: Monica Martinez

08_MartinezMonica (1)

Monica Martinez is an artist, educator and entrepreneur whose creative work explores ideas about food production and economics. In 2011 she launched Don Bugito, the first startup food business in the country with a full menu based on edible insects, and placing her at the forefront of the sustainable foods movement. Monica is a native of Mexico City, receiving her MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design 2009. Monica’s artworks have been exhibited internationally and she is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony as well as Sculpture Space in New York. Her work and ideas has been featured on Nova, PBS, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, PRI’s The World, and validated by the United Nations FAO report on Food Security. Monica resides in San Francisco, California.
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MFA Design Lecture: Sara Teasley / Design in global context, and what history has to say about it.

Presentation Synopsis:
The summer of 2015 saw the United States and Europe preoccupied, yet again, with global migration, as American presidential candidates sought strong positions in party leadership campaigns and refugees fleeing war, poverty and oppressive regimes arrived on European shores. At the same time, Chinese stock market and currency fluctuations have sent analysts into overdrive, seeking to forecast the effects on global and national economies alike.

What does this have to do with design? Everything, global design historians would argue. In this talk, Sarah Teasley, Head of Programme for History of Design at the Royal College of Art in the UK, outlines the questions, methods and perspectives that she and colleagues bring to understanding global historical conditions and shifts through design and material culture, and argues for design history practice that engages directly and overtly with contemporary issues and practice today.
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Dr. Sarah Teasley is joint head of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA/PhD at the Royal College of Art in London.

Her research uses case studies in the history design and manufacturing to offer perspectives on issues in design, society and technology today. She is particularly concerned with policy implementation and its impact on everyday experience, and in how design mediates, shapes and reflects our relationships with technology. Her current research explores relationships between state organisations, furniture manufacturing communities and designers who mediated between them in twentieth century Japan.

Teasley is an active advocate for history’s contributions to design practice and policy-making. She consults for public and private organisations and runs workshops on public-facing, practice-based history through design and material culture. Her publications include the books Global Design History (Routledge, 2011) as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is Associate Editor of the journalDesign and Culture.

Teasley holds degrees from Princeton University, Musashino Art University and the University of Tokyo, and taught previously at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Northwestern University. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from organisations including the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Association of Asian Studies and the Design History Society.

Teasley portrait Jul14

Course: Year One Topic Studio


Visual Braille Type – Senses, Sound Experience

When individuals lose their sight, they unconsciously develop their touch and hearing senses in order to replace the missed abilities. However, for one who has five sense completeness, how does audition and touch differ from vision? The “Visual Braille” is designed by combining two senses, sight and touch. All information is readable by blind and sighted people. It indicates a path to explore the aesthetics of braille, establishing a closer connection in a literal way
between both readers.

How can we bring that same meaning evoked through music, to the act of touching, scratching, for the enhanced-hearing visually impaired? What does touching, scratching, sound like?

The “Senses Turntable” is a medium that gives you a choice to experience a special dimension of sound by using your sense of touch and hearing with the Visual Braille. When fingers touch each letters on the vinyl, the scratching sound start and our sense of hearing arises. At the same time, while we are slowly moving our fingers, as a pencil draws a line of sound waves. From then, this creation led to the emergence of new imagination. When the energy of the sound move to our ears, we are then covered by the spiritual experience of this sound methodology.

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Rapid Craft #2: Making A Chair Really Fast, or . . .


Results from CCA Grad Design’s RAPID CRAFT #2 (AKA Skillshare Fridays) on February 20th, organized by Rafi Ajl. Titled: Making A Chair Really Fast, or an exercise in quick decision making and following an idea through to the end

The program will provide each participant with three (3) 8′ foot 2″x4″ pieces of standard construction wood. I will give a very short lecture about chairs (in some nominal way), and they we will all go upstairs to the shop. The project is, using all 24′ feet of the wood (no more and no less), to make a chair of your own design. It doesn’t need to be useable, beautiful, or even interesting. It needs only to have some arguable relationship to the idea of “chair”. You can attach the wood to itself in any way you want – screws, glue, nails, magic, rubber bands, string etc. etc. etc..


MFA Design is an open site for the investigation of contemporary design practice. Built on a firm foundation of technical skills, pushing the limits of cutting-edge tools and technologies alongside traditional craft-based techniques, MFA Design students work to reimagine the methods, modes, and meanings of design in contemporary culture. Whether intended to be commercial, civically minded, personal, experimental, or all of these, work here is challenged to be technically sophisticated, culturally engaged, and even socially disruptive. It is research driven and richly informed based on a thorough examination of users and contexts. It is also both formally and conceptually inventive. MFA Design provides its students with foundational technical, formal, and conceptual skills alongside contextual understanding. It prepares its students for a range of personal, private, and public careers in design, including advanced work in creative leadership, whether in commercial, civic, and curatorial arenas. Grounded in personal exploration, MFA Design is educating a new generation of design leaders.

The History of CCA MFA Design

The program was launched in 2000 under the leadership of the San Francisco graphic design icon Lucille Tenazas. It called itself strictly a graphic design program at first, but even then it was attempting to broaden those definitions a little, looking into and leaning toward so-called art-making practices.

A shift came in 2007 with the hiring of Brenda Laurel as chair, whose emphasis on transdisciplinarity, design research, and entrepreneurship led the program toward a different approach, where students take an emphasis in graphic, industrial, or interaction design, but they all work and learn together under one curriculum in a single workspace.

Then Leslie Carol Roberts, who served as chair from 2012–14, brought the lens of a writer to the program, strengthening our critical culture even further.


About the Design Program Today
Contemporary design is a cross-disciplinary landscape. Today, a single firm or practitioner can explore terrain outside their field and produce work that expands the parameters of a given discipline.

Our dynamic curriculum encourages students to interrogate disciplinary boundaries and create a range of work, from pragmatic solutions for real-world problems to speculative projects dealing with emerging technologies.

We aim to encourage intersection, hybridity, and reconfiguration.

To fuel the making of work, we value design history, theory, research, and all forms of critical discourse. We’ve developed a vertical track within the program called Design in Context, which is a series of courses dedicated to exploring contemporary design practice on a discursive level.

We want to expose students to essential texts and different types of historical, theoretical, and contemporary writing about design and encourage an ongoing discourse about our ever-changing practice.


About the Student Culture
We have a diverse range of students from all over the world who come to CCA with the desire to be in residency, making work alongside other like-minded designers.

Our students have created an inclusive and rich studio community where they work together, share skills, and participate in workshops, discussion groups, and impromptu critiques in the wee hours of the night.

CCA has a range of art, design, architecture, and writing programs, so on any given day you can walk through the building and run into fine arts students installing work, architects building robotic drawing machines, or fashion students conducting a critique.

We have dedicated studio space for our students, and the facilities on campus include 3D printers, laser cutters, a woodshop, computer labs with a range of printers, and a new Hybrid Lab, which is a space for students from various programs to work with electronics, sensors, and digital media.

Of course we hold classes and give assignments, but we also encourage students to make work independently that is fueled by what they are learning in the classroom.

Recently we initiated the Overprint Project, a student group that is creating silkscreen and risograph posters for all our lectures and events. And we are looking to develop a similar group revolving around learning “code” and developing that skill across disciplines.


Careers for Alumni
Our students land in a wide range of places and spaces: everything from large companies like Google and frog, to arts institutions such as SFMOMA, to smaller design studios and artist residencies. Some go into teaching. Some initiate their own studios, collectives, or other initiatives.

The practice of a designer today can be quite expansive, and there are many opportunities that involve fluid crossover between design and connected fields.


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Current Students

  • Year Two
  • Ashley Adams
  • Rasha Alamoudi
  • Emil Alex
  • Xuefei Bai
  • William Bottini
  • Dashiell Corvin-Brittin
  • Yisha Dai
  • Tian Fei
  • Sophie Feller
  • Peixin Fu
  • Sanchit Gupta
  • Nicholas Hansen
  • Hongru Hou
  • Shuo-Ling Huang
  • Jitpanan Jaturuntawanichya
  • Hee Min Jee
  • Buge Jiang
  • Kyu Hee Keogh
  • Lingjiang Lai
  • Aaron Levine
  • Li Lin
  • Katelyn Moore
  • Bo Peng
  • Veena Ramachandran
  • Hanzi Shao
  • Robert Sieg
  • Krishna Sistla
  • Kelly Steben
  • Lucy Sweeney
  • Tracy Tsutsumoto
  • Yunwen Tu
  • Xueting Wang
  • John Wegner
  • Linzi Wu
  • Ruiwen Xu
  • Hui Yang
  • Dafnee Zambrano
  • Shihan Zhang
  • Chunhe Zhou
  • Siyao Zhu
  • . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  • Year One
  • Hsiao-Chien Chen
  • Caroline Crandall
  • Zachary Garfield
  • Qianying Guo
  • Raquel Kalil
  • Rou Qu
  • Ethan Nonomura
  • Erin Reagan
  • Louisa Savage
  • Emily Scheffler-Jones
  • Li Song
  • Samuel Stowe
  • Sarah Weitzman
  • Victor Wilkens
  • Lei Xiang
  • Lai Xu
  • Jieyu Yang
  • Lan Zhao
  • Chuofan Zheng
  • Xin Zhong
  • Yanhongrui Zhuang
  • . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  • Year Zero
  • Julie Ip
  • Kirati Amin
  • Max Devore
  • Katherine Foster
  • Xinyu Li
  • Kennis Chow
  • Mo Zhou
  • Zheyuan Zhang
  • Pinthip Bauer Huynh
  • Qi Zhou
  • Yangifan Dong
  • Jiahui Zhang
  • Shiyu Zhang
  • Hao Sui
  • Alexander Kane
  • Alexander Kozachek
  • Siyu Zhang
  • Benner Boswell
  • Dan Qian
  • Xiaodong Ma
  • Jeffery Stone
  • Jonathan Simmons
  • Yan Yan
  • Ziwei Liu
  • Fei Wang
  • David Walden
  • Rosie Wakely
  • Yi Wang
  • Nino Panes
  • Shuyan Yuan
  • Heba Flemban
  • Rujia Tang
  • Di Wang
  • Ruijin Zhang
  • Wei Wang


Sourcebook Class of 2015: The World, The Collective, The Secrets


The World, The Collective, The Secrets is a publication of the 2015 MFA in Design program at California College of the Arts. It is an archive that looks past individual inquiries in favor of a collective voice. It is a zeitgeist – a cumulation of topics addressing the current state of design. These topics include: the relationship between analog and digital, the cost of higher education, tech-industry buzz words and the media’s greater effect.

A Range of Indeterminate Results: MFA Thesis Show 2015


The Graduate Program in Design is proud to present the 2015 MFA Thesis Exhibition: A Range of Indeterminate Results.

The exhibition will feature individual and collaborative works of graphic, interaction, and industrial design from more than 40 degree candidates who have completed CCA’s prestigious transdisciplinary graduate curriculum.

Curatorial StatementWe are shaped by the spaces and things we create. We are simultaneously orchestrators and participants in the transformation of ideas from concept to thing. Hierarchies and understandings of social relations and norms are in deep flux.

Our insides have become our outsides, our intimacies public, we socialize in the private space of solitary interfaces. The ground we stand on is rapidly moving, but there are moments in this shifting landscape to lead by example in the advocacy of resiliency, purposeful translation of human thought, and creation of joy.

The California College of the Arts Graduate Program in Design class of 2015 invites you to walk in and among the overlapping fields of our work, practices, and lives in A Range of Indeterminate Results.
Please join us in congratulating the graduating class of 2015.

Opening Reception: Thurs., May 14, 6-10 p.m.*
Exhibition hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
More information: Estee Eliasoph at eeliasoph@cca.edu

* Note: The exhibition opens to the public May 14 at 6 p.m.

Sound Horizons: Designing for Perspective, Connection, and Reflection / MFA Thesis 2015


Some days technology really wrecks me. I wake up and the first thing I do is reach for my phone to switch off my alarm. Without thinking, I make my way through text notifications, email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the Weather app. I wake up, and I don’t look out through my window.

When I think about our relationship with technology, there is a lot to be grateful for. But experience also reminds us that access and ease are only part of what goes into a meaningful life. How are we spending our minutes, our hours, and our days? What will we remember when we look back?

My work is a meditation on our relationship with mobile, networked technology. Using sound as a tool, both in the process of designing and within the designed, I am exploring ways to disrupt habitual, automatic behavior. My goal is to broaden the conversation interaction designers have when considering the whole complexity of the human experience for which we are designing.
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The Block The Beast The Tower / MFA Thesis 2015


Lawrence’s work examines the role of competing mythologies in the formulation of ideas of place. Lawrence calls the friction between societal-level myths and personally held ideologies ‘myth tectonics’. It is in the space of these ‘myth tectonics’ that Lawrence creates graphic design to respond and contribute to understandings of place, myth, community, and politics. Lawrence has been working specifically with the Bison Paddock of Golden Gate Park, Sutro Tower, and the Mission Neighborhood near 24th and Folsom Streets for his thesis.

Variability & Play In The Third Place / MFA Thesis 2015


This thesis focuses on our relationship to the urban environments we inhabit as well as the people who we share them with. We are constantly navigating a sea of people, usually strangers, but we don’t realize the impact those people have on our perception of our surroundings, their impact on our wellbeing, and our own ability to positively affect another person’s life. Throughout this exploration I play with different modes of intervention in public space as a way to disrupt the environment, people’s lives and the way we relate to each other. The work looks to provoke momentary connections between people in the public realm, which means: getting strangers to interact in unexpected yet delightful ways, as a reminder of the importance of human connection outside of our private contexts.The ultimate goal of this thesis is to infuse the urban landscape with variability, play and most importantly, kindness.

Endless Constructions / MFA Thesis 2015


Rules, habits and definitions arise from agreements that humans have made to construct a reality that we can all understand. These parameters create order within ourselves and our environment, allowing this world to function. However, I wonder whether an excess of automated behavior restricts our ability to experiment with new ways of making and delight in the unexpected.

Due to my graphic design background and my lack of knowledge of 3d software, I am interested in exploring how to construct physical objects using graphic design tools. Through this process, objects turn into unexpected forms between the 2d and 3d realm, the known and the unknown, leaving space for endless interpretations.

All methods used share the ability to distort, which, Jacques Aumont suggests in the book The Image, is an effect directly related to innovation. Most of the time, for a work to show what Aumont calls “formal freshness,” it must pay the cost of appearing distorted. Such distortion can only happen to a legitimate form.

Influenced by artistic movements and techniques that manipulate and distort vision, perspective and form, such as Cubism, Defamiliarization, Anamorphosis, and Multistability, I am interested in presenting ordinary objects in unusual ways. In doing this, I seek to raise questions about perception and enable viewers to experience more than simply the pure functionality of objects.

Ecological Imagination / MFA Thesis, 2015


Cristina Gaitán’s thesis focuses on enabling a sense of ecological imagination in the urban population of San Francisco. She examines water systems as a typology of natural systems, seeking to make massive scales and systems legible at human scale. The body of work is a collection of discrete performative objects, deployed as interventions into public and private urban space. By designing disjunctive moments of noticing, the work asks people to investigate their relationship, understanding and connection to the natural networks that surround them.

Our perception has myopically evolved to perceive only a limited scope of the scales of time and space, creating dissonance in matters of interpreting ideas of larger terrestrial and celestial systems. We have created technologies that reach far beyond our narrow existential understanding of the world, and how things are interconnected. The ambition of Ecological Imaginations is the development of processes to (re)connect people to the earth, one another, and the self.