Graduation/Design Research

I have been getting very interested in the new field of ID called design research. I have heard of companies like Gravity Tank, Sonic Rim, Jump that all do this. I’m going to graduate with a BS in ID and I’m thinking about staying for grad school in Psychology to go into design research. Does anyone know of any other well known firms that I could contact or have any suggestions if this is the right path to get into Design Research.

Thanks a lot.

Lextant, that’s what they’re all about:

Bigger corporations, like Motorola for example, hire design researchers as part of their design teams as well…

great thanx, would staying for Grad school in Psychology be the best approach to get into this field tho?

I know they tend to look for people with an understanding of how to conduct and analyze behavioral research and a lot of those working in the profession have a background in one or more of the social sciences…Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Cognitive Science…so I think you’re on the right track!

I would suggest getting in touch with some of those firms to see what they look for in design research candidates. It’s not really my area of expertise…


Does anyone else know of any other Design research firms that I can contact? I seem to be having a hard time finding a listing.

you might also look at current job openings, or call firms that utilize researchers in their process. recently i’ve seen openings at Ziba Design (Portland) and Worrell (Minneapolis). they often have a good description of the type of backgrounds they are looking for.

i would recommend doing informational interviews with people in firms/consultancies you think you would like to work for.

You might also check out IDIIT and Ohio State for their ID grad programs, in which you can focus on research, and contact some of the professors.

what is idiit?

design continuum has a design strategy group.

Institute for Design at the Illinois Institute for Technology. – Definitely check their program out, they are one of the most progressive programs out there, and have a major focus on research and strategy.

My advice, is don’t stay in Blacksburg for another degree. VT’s psych department will not give you the background you need for user-centered design research unless you know how to steer it-- it’s a more traditional psych program. Get out and experience the world, work in design for a few years, and you will have a sharpened view of what you want to do with a graduate degree.

I realize that it might be a good idea to get out into the design world for a few years before grad school, but the job market looks horrible right now, and I’m pretty sure that I want to get into research rather than actual design. Research is where the innovative ideas come from.

If anyone could tell me schools with good programs to get into this and/or companies to contact it would be appreciated.

Hi GKaye,

I have some knowledge of the Institute of Design’s graduate programs and how they can relate to your desire to work with firms like Gravity Tank (one of the principals is Chris Conley, the head of the Product Design track at ID) and Jump (again, they have three or four ID grads there), Sonic Rim (also hires from ID)

Start with checking out the RecruitID page through ID’s main website, their placement program for jobs and internships and also their AWF conference in late October may be a way for you to evaluate wether you’d like design research as a field. The entire conference is about research and it’s role in design. Upcoming Events | Institute of Design

There’s an open house around the same time as well. This way you can talk to current students,alums and faculty members on your areas of interest.

The job market is not horrible at all right now-- I’ve found quite the opposite-- it’s the hottest it’s been in at least 5 years.

Not sure I agree with your comment, “Research is where the innovative ideas come from.”. Research is where the needs are recognized, the synthesis of effective research and design is where the innovation is born. You sound like a candidate for IIT. Check em out.

I guess I have a different view of the “real world” than you guys who are already out there. All we know is the rumors we hear. I’m sure you know, it’s senior year, not ready for the real world yet, not sure if our skills are good enough. There’s just this uncertainty that exists as you realize how close graduation is and wondering if you made the right decision and if you’ll be able to survive.

Thanks for all the advice you guys have given thus far, any more would be amazing.

Hey u people ;

I am applying for an MDES degree in human centred product design at IIT.What would u say abt the college and its course ; profs ; housing and facilities.

How is the neighbourhood and also the financial aid.?

If u can help me here i would be grateful i am applying for spring 2006

I’ve talked to a few professionals in the design research field and they suggest an ID masters with a focus on research/marketing/psychology. Does anyone have any suggestions for schools with a good program that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?


good education costs money.

a network of professionals in the field costs money.

a placement program to reach said professionals costs money.

brand value.

OK, money aside, does anyone know anything or have any opinions on IIT, Georgia Tech, NC State, Auburn, or any other school where you can obtain an MID from a program that is research focused?

Thanks again for everyone’s help thus far.