Examples of Inspiring, Thoughtful, and Visually Stimulating Design Thesis Projects

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THE CLEAR RX MEDICATION SYSTEM

The story of the ClearRx begins in the frail hands of a grandmother who misunderstood the labeling on a pill bottle and took the wrong dosage of prescription medication. That mistake made her ill and inspired her granddaughter—then a master’s candidate at the School of Visual Arts (SVA)—to ask simple, yet powerful questions about what had been taken for granted as the acceptable way to store and distribute medicine.

Deborah Adler—the granddaughter/grad student—identified several problems with existing pill bottle designs. Why were so many different styles of labels used? Why did information about the drug provider so often trump information about the drug itself? Why was the type so tiny? Why were so many factors unwittingly conspiring to increase the risks associated with taking prescribed drugs?

When Adler completed her SVA thesis in May 2002, she had arrived at a solution that changed a long-neglected form factor and fundamentally overhauled the communication design of the pill bottle. She produced a compelling prototype that offered a safer, more usable means of storing and distributing medicine.

Adler’s original Safe Rx design raised almost as many questions as it sought to answer. Would it satisfy all of the mandates laid out by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? How would it change the workflow of the average pharmacist? Could any single company effectively deploy the design as a business solution?

Target, of course, chose to become that company, and it has been rewarded pretty handsomely. Since the ClearRx launched in 2005, Target’s pharmacy business has experienced double-digit sales increases. That return followed an investment in design—and a very thoughtful commitment to the design process.


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Willy Chan's SFWOI (Soap From Waste Oil Initiative) is a both a beautifully designed and made wooden cart and a opportunity to teach the public about the improper disposal of waste cooking oil. Used cooking oil is supposed to be collected for use as biodiesel, but a huge quantity of it just gets poured into sewers or dumped directly into our waterways. The cart is a rolling soap factory, where the user makes fine, scented soaps from the oil in public--raising awareness of waste oil's useful alter ego, and the tragedy of its improper disposal and waste.

Read and see more: Green Design Highlights from Parsons’ BFA Product Design Thesis Exhibition



PANDA LANDALanda

 

Academy of Art MFA Graphic Design candidate Yun Lin’s thesis project enlists a game-centered approach and envisions a nonprofit foundation to help rescue a treasured animal—the giant panda—from extinction in the wild.


MONYO+MOJI

by Chiharu Tanaka, Academy of Art University in San Francisco, involved designing new decorative typefaces that fused Japanese ornamentation with the Roman alphabet. The process involved researching Eastern and Western design principles, aesthetics and traditions and exploring the various ways that these two realms could interact and balance with each other. The “MONYO+MOJI” book showcases the rich variety of Japanese ornamentation and patterns with a new approach to design."


This MFA thesis project by Chiharu Tanaka, Academy of Art University in San Francisco, involved designing new decorative typefaces that fused Japanese ornamentation with the Roman alphabet. The process involved researching Eastern and Western design principles, aesthetics and traditions and exploring the various ways that these two realms could interact and balance with each other. The “MONYO+MOJI” book showcases the rich variety of Japanese ornamentation and patterns with a new approach to design.

RISD GRAPHIC DESIGN MFA THESIS SHOW