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The Design Partnership

The Design Partnership takes place during the second semester. Students partner with real clients for real projects for the entire semester. Students learn how to design for, present and interact with various client types across the Exhibition & Experience Design Industry. Projects and sponsoring companies are chosen for diversity and breadth giving students real world experiences working with a variety of clients and projects. Students conclude the second semester with professional design documentation for least three real world projects!

Past Design Partnership Projects have included:

National Museum of the American Indian
The Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian opened its design division to the students of Exhibition & Experience Design for a major exhibition project. The design of the institution’s changing gallery space located at the NYC Customs House, had students researching, developing, curating and designing exhibitions related to the ocean and river-based native and First Nations cultures. This untapped area of content had students examining how to bring these cultures—spanning the entirety of the Western hemisphere to audiences that at present might be unaware of aboriginal histories and their presence in the contemporary world.

Six Flags with Exploring Inc.
Each student designed an experience for haunted house in the Six Flags theme park in Dallas, TX.  The experience takes place in Gotham City home to the Marvel comic Batman & Robin. The students were able to interpret the comic series and either bring it into the future or focus on the historic comic venue as a backdrop for the location. The project was an ideal one to try out some new VR technology and combine it with hands on interactive visitor experiences. Many of the students used the very memorable character actors (Poison Ivy, Two Face, The Penguin) in scripting their visitor experience and design solutions. The students worked directly with the designers and project managers from Exploring Inc.

Wildlife Conservation Society
Students worked with the WCS Creative Directors to study visitor circulation and requirements to navigate the Bronx Zoo as well as branding and identification opportunities. They conducted a site survey and designed full graphic wayfinding and placemaking solutions for the entry experience as well as proposals for on-site WCS contribution kiosks. WCS requested that the students create solutions that promote awareness of the research and work that the WCS conducts as well as solve difficult circulation and wayfinding issues they face at the main entry. Throughout the semester students have conducted detailed site surveys and created, tested and evaluated prototypes on site with the Client.

Intrepid Air and Space Museum
Students worked with the Director of Exhibits, Director of Visitor Experience and Senior Designers to design an exhibition for the Apollo 11 anniversary.

Liberty Science Center
Students worked with the Director of Exhibits and Senior Designers to study visitor circulation and requirements to navigate the Science Center. They conducted a site survey and designed full graphic wayfinding and placemaking packages. Design Communications Ltd. (DCL) also worked with each of the students supplying fabrication and specification direction.

MG Design
Students worked with the Director of Creative and Senior Designers to design Spaced-Out a Space Adventure Experience that debuts at the VacaLUX 2017 luxury travel consumer show in Las Vegas.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Students worked with the Director of Exhibits and Senior Designers to reinterpret and design exhibits for the institution’s permanent collections.

Kingsmen Creatives Ltd in Singapore
Students worked with the Director of Creative to design a science, culture and industry pavilion for the PanAsia World Exposition.

The Wildlife Conservation Society
Students worked with the Director of Creative, Interpretive Specialists and Educators to design a complete interpretive signage and wayfinding design for the Queens Zoo.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame
Students were given the opportunity to design for a very specialized type of museum. Working with the Executive Director, students designed the institution's signature exhibition on two floors including the crafting of a new narrative experience. Attention was paid to the particular types of audiences that attend and the Hall of Fame's specialty collection.

Euroshop Tradefair
Leslie Ann Chiu wins the EDPA exclusive exhibit booth design competition. The Graduate Exhibition Design Department was engaged by the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association to design their exhibit for the Euroshop Convention in Düsseldorf, Germany. Leslie's design will be produced incorporating products from Octanorm and Fabric Images Inc. Leslie will travel to Germany to be presented to the design community accompanying her booth.

National Museum of the American Indian
Working with the Museum's Director of Exhibitions, Senior Exhibition Designer, and a representative from the National Park Service's Division of Exhibitions, students designed a signage and wayfinding program particular to the landmarked museum building. Deriving information from the Smithsonian Institution's graphic standard, the museums audience studies and exhibitions, students generated a system that would work to seamlessly integrate the needs of a directional experience within the decorative building.

Central Park Zoo
Students worked with the Zoo's Director of Visitor Services and Senior Designers in the completion of a signage and wayfinding project for the site. Particular emphasis was placed on understanding the nature of the visitor experience and creating a system that was implicit. Using the Zoo's mission, audience studies, graphics standards and plans, students generated a signage system that is a narrative experience, serving practical needs while supporting the very particular wayfinding needs of this unique site. Partnering on this special assignment was Precision Signs, providing the students with signage fabrication information so that production was a consideration from very the very onset.

Smithsonian National Museum of American History
As part of their Museums and Permanent Exhibition course, the students have created a project for a permanent exhibition space at the newly renovated museum in Washington DC. The entire class was invited to spend two days at the museum visiting with the Executive Director, Senior Exhibition Designer and Chief Architect for the building's renovation. Students went on a hard hat tour, received all of the specifications for their project, were given the audience and collections information, and then were sent off to generate original exhibition concepts for what they deem to be the milestones of American history.

The New York Botanic Garden
The students completed a graphics signage and wayfinding design competition for the Garden. They received an extensive tour and introduction to the site by the Director of Exhibitions, Manager of Visual Media, Associate Vice President for Children's and Public Education, and the Director of Visitor Services. As part of their Exhibition Graphic Design course, students completed extensive designs from which three were chosen as the strongest.

Procedes Chenel
The Paris-based exhibition paper design firm sponsors a FIT exclusive annual competition in showroom design to feature their specialty products. As part of their Exhibition Presentation Techniques course, students were introduced to the firm, its products, and the specifications for creating an actual design product. The winning design will send a student to Paris for an introduction to the firm's facility, tours of other exhibition firms and local museums and cultural sites. The student will then engage in the production process for the showroom they created.

Directed by Vice President, Creative, Derse, Inc, Russ Fowler in conjunction with their Presentation Techniques class, students were introduced to this top corporate exhibit design firm and were engaged in the creation of original expo designs for several clients including Moen, Earthbound Farms, and Amtrak. In these trade show projects, the students used authentic show specifications, audience studies, brand parameters and mission and visitor statements to create state-of-the-art designs.