Pandemic or no, Design at Cornish continues to be on the leading edge of design education in digital communications design, game arts, and user experience, while continuing to offer students the “off-computer” enrichment of printmaking, book arts, and illustration media. 

Cornish Design is looking forward to the Cornish campus reopening! Your instructors spent six weeks after last semester in intensive professional and curricular development work to prepare your fall curriculum. Along with the entire campus community, Design is working to ensure your health and safety, and planning on returning to hybrid work in studio and online this fall.

This fall, Design rolls out its new degree paths in Illustration and Animation, and its two new emphases in Game Arts and Experience Design. You may notice that there are now three prefixes in Compass: DE, IL and AN. These designate courses that are part of the three degree paths. All students in the Design Department can take these courses, no matter what the course’s designation.

Please browse the FAQs below for more information about what learning will look like in Design this fall.

Don’t see the answer to your question? Contact the Provost’s Office for more information.


Frequently Asked Questions

What will courses and instruction be like this fall? Will there be hands-on instruction?

We currently plan to teach hybrid classes with online and face-to-face elements. Face-to-face classes will meet in groups of five or fewer: an instructor and four students. But, depending on the safety requirements of the moment, we’re ready to go all-online if need be. When we’re meeting face-to-face, small class size, materials cleansing, and appropriate physical distancing will provide a safe learning environment for both students and faculty.  

Your instructors will provide information about course meeting times, format, and opportunities for small group work, as well as for one-on-one feedback, whether we’re all working in-person or remotely. If we go to all-online instruction, assignments will be adjusted accordingly. 

What will fall classes look like?

Here are a few classes we’re offering fall semester, and the ways in which they will be taught:

One Design class we are offering is Design for Social Activism, a communication design course for fourth-year students, which gives them an opportunity to use their design skills to support causes they value. We will examine the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election through media manipulation in politics, and we’ll use COVID-19 to our advantage. Exploring the virus’s impositions on the ways we work creates an opportunity for us to examine the cracks in cultural systems that COVID has made clear. As we work individually and in small, nimble groups of no more than three or four, we’ll find our subject matter within these cracks. Students will continue to develop the individual and collaborative making-skills they have practiced in former studios, rotating among major creative roles: designer, illustrator, researcher, editor and developer.

In Illustration, we’re offering a class open to students from all departments. Introduction to Illustration starts where you are. The instructor will not expect you to have any previous knowledge of the tools of illustration. This semester, the class will be taught as a hybrid class, meeting in groups of 4 for about half the class sessions of the Semester, and meeting online for the other half of the class sessions. This course explores the concept of “stylization,” or an original approach to visual forms, as the most important concept in commercial illustration. The course challenges students to discover new possibilities for their own  visual expression and does not require any previous knowledge of classical drawing, painting or digital tools. 

For Juniors and Seniors, Illustration Media is a course coming in fall that introduces the practical application of a range of illustration materials and media types. This year, this course will be taught online, using Zoom and Panopto. Online teaching in response to the virus has had an unexpected benefit. It allows us to tap top illustrators  from far-away places this semester. Through demonstrations, in-class exercises and comparative assignments, students will build their technical skills and increase their knowledge of a variety of media including watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, inks and markers. They’ll also be translating media into digital layers for further refinement.

Digital Tools for Motion is a hybrid course this year, and it introduces students to current software for filmmakers, video editors, motion designers and animators working in projected and screen media. Meeting in small groups and meeting online, students will have in-class and online demonstrations, lectures, professional guests and projects, and will learn the best practices in motion design production. Students will be introduced to Adobe Creative Tools including Audition, Premiere and After Effects

In Character Design + 3D Animation this Semester, students will be introduced to the basics of designing a character for a game environment. A hybrid course, students will meet with the instructor in groups of 3-4 and also meet online, learning the basics of 3D modeling and rigging techniques for game characters. One of the projects this semester  is  animating a basic walk cycle for the character. Students will use current production software to model and integrate their rigs into a game production pipeline.

How many people will be able to be in a studio at one time? 

Each studio and classroom will have a sign posted detailing the capacity of that room. Studio spaces and labs will be open to students on a sign-up basis. Standards of use (hygiene, cleaning, and sanitizing) will be in place. We are working to establish the guidelines and procedures for each of the unique spaces on campus, and to bring in additional sanitization and custodial services.

What about exhibitions on campus for my work?

Design is very excited to be reopening the newly redesigned 9th Avenue Gallery this fall, previously known as the Beebe Gallery. This improved space supports programming for students across the campus. Additional planning is underway to ensure safe access to this space and that it meets the local, state, and federal requirements for physical distancing. Other campus gallery spaces, such as the President’s Gallery (7th floor MCC) and the Alumni Gallery (3rd Floor MCC), will continue to be available, including other spaces across campus.

To what kinds of spaces will Design students have access?

As the College reopens this fall, Design’s goal is to provide students with access to a range of specialized spaces and facilities in order to ensure that they can engage fully in their design practices. In addition to studios, classrooms and other spaces across the College, Design students will have access to specialized spaces such as the 4th floor Print Center, Printmaking Lab, Bookmaking Lab, Equipment Library and MCC studio spaces. Additionally, your departmental chairs and coordinators will be available in the MCC 5th floor Visual Arts Offices to support the everyday space needs students may encounter during the fall.

How will my work this fall prepare me for a career in Design?

Design industries have not slowed, and in many areas have increased in speed, since the entire national population is currently using online tools daily. Now is the time to gain valuable skill of learning to work well with other people–remotely. Many companies will continue working off-site indefinitely, even after COVID, so learning to be an effective participant in online groups will be essential skills going forward.

What kind of instructional technology will be available to support me with my online work and course management this fall? 

When the pandemic hit, Cornish began investigating arts and design-focused instructional tools that will better support your work in virtual environments. This fall the College will be launching Zoom, Panopto, and GoReact. The Canvas platform has also been enhanced, so you’ll notice newer, easier communication and more tools on that platform.

Students in animation and character design classes will be able to use the computers and iPads in MCC 208. Students will be able to print assignments and projects in the 4th floor Print Center. The Center features a color printer and a large format printer, and is supported by the Visual Arts IT Coordinator.

How often will we meet if a Design class is listed as hybrid?

It’s up to each instructor, but generally,  50% of the class time will be held in person, and 50% online, which is a hybrid teaching format. Instructors will meet with groups of 4 or fewer for shorter amounts of in-person time if class sizes are large. Other instructors are planning to meet their classes in open air, public spaces. Check with your instructor at the beginning of the semester.

How will we share materials and tools? 

Shared materials and tools will be sanitized between users.

Cornish administrators are creating a safety protocol for labs (printmaking labs, photo labs, the computer lab) and for shared activity spaces. These protocols will be shared at the beginning of the semester for the plan for that class..

How will we manage critiques?

It is up to the instructor,  but we now have the capability to hold live-stream critiques on Panopto, our new video management system.

Will classes be using Google Meet again?

No. We’ll be moving to Zoom for online classes. But we’ll be using Canvas as the class management tool, as usual.

Will we be gathering in Notions for C&CS?

No. For safety’s sake, design history will be all on-line, both in Sophomore and Junior years.