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How Design Schools are Coping during COVID-19

How Design Schools are Coping during COVID-19

Design education is a key component of WantedDesign’s programming, from our Schools Exhibitions at WantedDesign Brooklyn to Design Schools Workshop. As expected, our design school partners have been getting creative to cope with disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Online Classes

Across the world, design schools like ArtCenter College of Design in Southern California, our Design Schools Workshop partner, took their classes online.

Image via Instagram @artcenteredu

Class discussions via Zoom and other software quickly became the norm at universities around the world, including École Camondo in France:

A common challenge has been adapting typically hands-on instruction to a virtual format, without the usual access to studios, workshops and other facilities. In Mexico, at CENTRO university, instructors are teaching courses from drawing to pattern-making virtually, and using the hashtag #CENTROonLive to share the experience.

CENTRO professor Iván Trueta teaching drawing. Image via Instagram @centro_u
CENTRO instructor Maura Ireri teaching pattern-making and sewing. Image via Instagram @centro_u

Illustrating the Pandemic

As befits designers, many educators are looking at the situation as an opportunity for innovation and exploration. COVID-19 and the best ways to communicate about it became a theme for illustration students, including this image by School of Visual Arts BFA student Zhihan Wang:

In instructor Alejandro Magallane‘s Experimental Illustration class at CENTRO University, students had playful takes on the new normal:

Illustration by CENTRO student Sofia Orizaga via Instagram
Illustration by CENTRO professor Andrés Mario Ramirez Cuevas via Instagram

Sharing Inspiration from Alumni

ENSAD graduate Joseph Schiano di Lombo offered live piano concerts from his room via Instagram Live, while the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) spotlighted the ways that alumni are answering the call for more masks.


Online Design Challenges

Via Instagram @strateecoledesign

The Strate School of Design in France introduced a #DesigninQuarantine challenge on Instagram as a solidarity initiative open to all, aiming to bring out the designer in everyone. The themes for the first week included chairs for lounging, a flower pot, and jewelry.

Industrial design students at the Pratt Institute in NYC wholeheartedly embraced an online challenge to make tiny chairs out of everyday objects:

View this post on Instagram

Industrial Design Studio II answered the call from Spanish designer @maxenrich and @_sightunseen_ magazine for designers and non-designers alike to make small chairs out of the objects that surround them as they practice self-isolation. . The students’ chairs reflect the small things that surround us in our day-to-day lives. Items that might have been on their way to the rubbish bin—like fruit peels and packaging—play a prominent role in many of the seats. The small detritus that seems to mysteriously reproduce in junk drawers, such as batteries and sewing pins, are repurposed to support the potential users. Three generations of iPods/iPhones make up one stool, a sly comment on the way electronics inundate our lives. . Enrich’s project grew from an impulse to make a chair, the frustration he felt by having no supplies, and then the realization that anything could convey the “idea of a chair.” He posted his creation to Instagram and invited others to contribute. Currently, over 500 posts have been tagged with #isolationchair. . According to faculty member Amanda Huynh, “It's really a project about resourcefulness and taking another look at what we can achieve with what we have.” . Works by: Yu Wang, Yayi Li, Min Woo Park, Danielle Wilson, Martha Smith, Molly Roberts, Brenden Dimming, Sam Tavill, Josh Weinstein, Rosemary Yang, Sang Yoon Kim, Marvin Choi, Barkin Abali, Seok Hun You, Hannah Berkin-Harper, Yi Xi Li, DAwan Zeng, Sam Saheja, Kewei Zhang, Chris Kim, Amanda Huynh, Loan Ho, Ryan Wilde, Bob E. Kleinman, Dan Choi, Xain Fan Li, Rui Xin Xu. All students are BID '22 Faculty: Amanda Huynh, Kevin Walz, Hannah Berkin-Harper, Scott Lundberg, Willy Schwenzfeier, Molly Roberts . . . #Pratt #PrattInstitute #ArtSchool #DesignSchool #PrattAtHome #StayAtHome #SelfIsolation #IsolationChair #IsolationChairs #industiralDesign #designersofig #designersofinsta #industrialdesigner @Pratt_SoD @prattindustrial

A post shared by Pratt Institute (@prattinstitute) on


Thanking healthcare workers

Long-term friend of WantedDesign Tec de Monterrey, based in Monterrey, Mexico, put together a video to thank their university’s healthcare workers.


Extending Student Design Competitions

For their 4th Annual Healthier Design Innovation Contest, the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design have adjusted the requirements for entering. In lieu of finalized 3D models, they’re accepting in-process and digital models and/or any evidence that supports a final concept.

Design students can enter to win $1,000. The deadline is May 18th.


Looking ahead to graduation

Image via Allan Chochinov on Medium

Senior-year students have the additional challenge of finishing portfolios and final projects. Some schools have delayed graduate project exhibitions, while others have moved them online.

Allan Chochinov, founding chair of the multidisciplinary graduate program MFA in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, wrote an instructional post on Medium called “Don’t Cancel It: How to Hold a “Virtual Graduation Ceremony,” encouraging schools to use video and green screens for a creative solution.

How is your design school coping with the current situation? Let us know via Instagram @wanteddesign

Top image credit: Pratt Institute associate professor Andrea Katz giving a presentation to her fashion design students. Image via Instagram @prattinstitute