Graphic design thesis projects exhibit a student's expert creativity and resourcefulness in design as an art and business. Some universities push the creative side more than the business side and vice-versa. Student projects can range from wholly artistic endeavors -- like designing a whole line of recyclable dinner plates with intricate logos -- to an academic study of typography in a particular movie title sequence. While schools and universities vary in their approach to the thesis project, in general graphic design theses include both a creative and critical component and a punchy artist statement.
Choosing an Argument
Graphic design thesis ideas challenge your personal ideas about graphic design and offer a glimpse into other perspectives. Graphic design theses form an argument about a topic in the field. As the writer, you offer conflicting ideas, alternatives, and pros and cons regarding the craft. For instance, in a graphic design thesis on websites, a writer might question the practical use and implications of interactive Web 2.0 features like Twitter, instant messaging and user-generated content.
To create the art and design component of the thesis, majors tend to go with their strengths. If you excel at logos, branding and print media, consider designing an entire line of innovative business cards, stationery and ads for a real or fictitious startup company. Because graphic design majors usually have an interest in immediately joining the graphic design profession post graduation, students incorporate the art component of their thesis into a project they may sell or continue as a business. For instance, 2010 graphic design MFA students at Rhode Island School of Design created a website to market and sell their thesis projects online for profit.
Programs that require a critical writing thesis component tend to leave the parameters fairly wide. Students can choose to write an essay about a topic that informs their work and lifestyle, such as the latest technology and computer systems, or write critically about cultural implications regarding international graphic design campaigns. Folding research and personal observations into a piece adds color and finesse to a paper.
Artist statements range from a personal anecdote which inspired the project to brief biographical summaries. However, the artist statement is, in general, considered an integral part of the thesis in how it exhibits the artist's personality and flair to an audience. The writing should be flawless, creative and vivacious. After writing a few drafts, send the statement to other artists and non-artists to comment on and edit. Extend a voice and a personality that complements the thesis but does not overwhelm it. The work should speak for itself, but a thoughtful and inviting statement lets a viewer know there is a heartbeat behind the project.
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