A message from our Dean
IIT Institute of Design (ID) graduate design school students join a very special community of design thinkers and practitioners dedicated to shaping what design is, and how it can affect the world around us. Although relatively small in scale — graduating around 50 Master of Design (MDes) and Master of Design Methods (MDM) students a year — ID has played an outsized role in the history of design. Since our founding as the New Bauhaus in 1937, ID has been blessed with great curricular DNA. This has helped us constantly adjust to the times while staying true on to our founder László Moholy-Nagy’s assertion that “people, not the product” are “the end in mind” for design.
This DNA has also enabled two other critical ingredients to remain consistently strong over the last 80 years:
- Our world-class faculty — both full-time and adjunct — represent a wide range of design theorists, methodologists, and practitioners. ID stands on the shoulders of the founders, leaders, directors, and faculty members who left their mark on the school.
- Our great students. ID’s over 2400 alumni all over the world have had amazing impact across a broad range of fields. We are management consultants and entrepreneurs, systems designers and design strategists, social innovators and Wall Street leaders. We are anywhere design can make significant, strategic impact on business, government, and non-profit organizations.
I joined as ID’s dean one-and-a-half years ago with a charter to lead this 80-year-old institution to its next phase. We, the faculty, spent the 2017-2018 academic year planning what we’re calling “NextID”. At the level of the “Why”, today our original purpose — defined by László Moholy-Nagy as “ensuring society’s access to the maximum use of constructive abilities to solve its problems” — is more relevant than ever.
In the face of growing complexity and politics driven by fear, the world needs new ways forward, filled with optimism and confidence that will embolden leaders, organizations, and communities to pursue new opportunities to drive change. We believe that design — and particularly the kind of design we teach and practice at ID — can provide those new mindsets and ways of acting. This philosophy, based on three core design tenets, instills the courage necessary to discard stagnant thinking and take action that changes systems, surfaces opportunities, and solves complex challenges:
- Human-centered design is what drives our optimism. It is humanist and future oriented. We are now moving beyond just empathy to human advocacy – including using emerging technologies for just, sensible, and equitable solutions.
- Systems-based design is our complexity buster. By understanding systems, we find entry points for interventions that have the highest leverage to drive change. By shifting our mindset from design process to co-producing interventions, we will also drive systems change.
- Integrative design hearkens back to the original role of the designer that Moholy-Nagy outlined – designers as integrators of art, commerce, science and technology. This is crucial, as designers must rely on and bring together communities, stakeholders, and experts to synthesize viable solutions.
At ID we believe design connects and enhances every aspect of life and the ID community — students, alumni, faculty and staff stand ready to deliver on this. We invite you to join our community of emboldened optimists in the ever-higher and more critical use of design to drive opportunities and solve our most important challenges.”
—Dean Denis Weil, MDes 2001