For Sophomore Communications Studio, each student is asked to research a number of possibilities before choosing their ultimate “Design Hero.”


They then write a long-form essay about their hero and why she/he is important to them personally. They also develop a timeline; gather a library of work images, portraits, video clips and other assets; and build mood boards and a kit of parts containing colors, typography and diagram styles relevant to their subject. All of this is used to make a host of deliverables including a large-scale informational poster; a 16-page, self-cover booklet; a mobile experience; a video; and a website. So along with making, the students are also able to learn some Design History as well as develop their skills as storytellers. The students work to make all five projects as cohesive as possible.


At its most basic level, Communication Design conveys ideas and translates concepts into visual form. This form needs to be such that an audience will want to look, engage and (hopefully) learn. But as designers, we can’t stop there. Everything we design is an opportunity to make work that is compelling, memorable and moving. 

To get there, students need to develop their process. Their own unique path. This is not easily done. It’s also not prescriptive. There isn’t one defined straight path. It’s more like a wild and crazy zig-zag. A goal of this course is for the students to give themselves permission to wander beyond the areas they’re comfortable with—to not be afraid of stretching beyond where they think they may be capable. 

Throughout the semester, they are expected to act—and live—as communication designers. This involves being both an interpreter and a translator. It also requires them to think, be curious, seek, question, critique, iterate, reiterate, tell stories, define, redefine, clarify, change their mind, false-start, act, not act, get feedback, make mistakes, build, start over, move forward, report back and try their best to enjoy the process. Their process

The work on this site is a selection from the past two years. My thanks to Andrew Twigg and to our Teaching Assistants: Jaclyn Saik, Hannah Cai, Serina Liu and Mason Young-Shor.


Brett Yasko