Thesis 2018



The RISD Masters thesis is a year long investigation that forces students to explore designers role in a rapidly changing world. Students choose a topic of interest and pursue research projects ranging from the creation of new forms of bioplastic, to advocating for accessible menstruation products, to proposing new economic models for vendors in post-hurricane Puerto Rico. The diversity of work exemplifies the grad program at RISD where a cohort of individuals are brought together to question the boundaries of design. Please join us for one of the following events to view the work and engage with the designers. To find out more about the students work see the project descriptions below. 




May 4, 5-8PM

Anitas Way,

135 W 42nd St, NYC

Grad Thesis Show 17 (28 of 28).jpg


May 23, 6-8PM

Rhode Island Convention center

1 Sabin St, Providence, RI 02903





Autonomous Vehicles as Robots

Jeremy Bass

Autonomous Vehicles as Robots is an exploration of how to drive the adoption of autonomous vehicles and how to establish trust at the individual level. This exploration is guided by embracing the mindset that "autonomous vehicles are robots" and applying robot behavior principles from the field of human-robot interaction. Ultimately, this will lead to designing a better experience for the user.

See more here

Capture an(d) Experience

Kanitta Chartvutkorbkul

Eating together is when we bond with one another and share a moment. Capture an(d) Experience is a group meal designed for friends to capture the moment and transform it into a tangible glass plate. During the meal, diner will enjoy the activity and get more acquainted. The glass plate will animate their memorable moment together while used in later meals.

Experimental Eating Design

Maggie Colbentz

A collection of recipes and designs for experimental eating that are anchored in human experience. By investigating the identity of food in extreme environments on Earth to imagining the role it will play for future colonies on Mars, we may begin to understand the most important elements of food that not only provide nourishment, but sustain our sense of humanity.

See more here

Curious Things

Allie Davis

Curious Things is a collection of sculptural artifacts inspired by the vivid simplicity of our surrounding world. Each piece aims to cultivate our innate curiosity by way of authentically exploring the evocative juxtaposition between the natural world and manmade design.

Future Present

Amily He

An interaction design project to show how we can leverage existing behavior patterns on existing technology platforms to improve wellbeing. For example, I am using the Snapchat platform to make eating fruits and vegetables fun through augmented reality (AR).

See more here

Really Clean No Problems At All

Christina Johnston

I'm working on a collection of domestic objects that focuses on our increasingly dissociative relationship with bodiliness, intimacy, and hygiene. A blanket made from surveillance footage of an intimate moment on a car. Sterile porcelain that seems to bubble up with anxiety from the inside. Soap made with a single hair from someone you kind of know. Using these objects, it's hard to say if we're touching another person or not, or if they're sensual or synthetic.

See more here

The Idiosyncratic Uniform

Erica Efstratoudakis

The way we dress can be the first visual indicator of solidarity and harmony. Our clothing creates a dialogue between our inner selves and our environments. It acts as a mediator between our personal views on identity, and our outward presentations of self. By applying industrial design methods of user research and needs-driven solutions to a psychologically powerful force like the fashion industry, I hope to address - and potentially improve - existing cultural norms. My goal is to cultivate a more positive and supportive community in the workplace.


Biniam Kebede


Brandon Kim: 

Nexus is a framework for designers to excel within business, and for businesses to develop strong environments for a designers success.

Everyday Objects

Jongsoo Kim

In my thesis project ,I focused especially on how people use their daily objects, what kind of memories and experiences they have about each product. I researched three representative and universal everyday products : a cup, clock, mirror, and created re-designed everyday products reflecting each additional behavior. People will be able to relate to these new products become they will remind them of their own interesting habits using everyday items.

See more here

After Ancient Sunlight: Materials for a Post-Petroleum World

Charlotte McCurdy

An algae plastic made of young sunlight to address the climate change impacts of materials

See more here

A Better Normal

Jonathan Melendez Davidson

Fostering the informal sector in post-hurricane Puerto Rico, as a pathway for economic stabilization.

See more here

Electric Delivery Bicycles in New York City: Design Solutions for Underserved Populations Against Unjust Laws

Jake Moritz

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) are essential for tens of thousands of food delivery workers in New York, and under current law, they are illegal. This thesis explores ways to participate in activism and advocacy with delivery workers in the face of unjust laws, to serve a population design typically overlooks, and to improve on common existing e-bikes that are poorly suited for delivery.

See more here

Harmless Studio

Dave Pittman

Over 2,000 animals are violently killed every second of every day to create entirely unnecessary products like meat, gelatin, leather, fur, and feathers. At the same time, animal agriculture and its products are among the leading causes of climate change, environmental degradation, human rights violations, and a number of deadly diseases. To combat these problems, consumers are increasingly boycotting these products altogether. The number of vegans in the world is growing rapidly, and six percent of Americans are now vegan. However, animal products are often hidden in non-food items, and manufacturers generally provide little transparency about the contents of their goods. Until now, there have not been any explicitly vegan home goods companies. Harmless Studio is a design firm specializing in vegan home goods and interior design for this growing market, with the goal of creating a kinder, more just and sustainable future.


Aaron Simmons

In my thesis I am exploring how imagining other worlds can teach us about our own, and how doing so will expand the diversity of design processes and product experiences. I am interested in how using the tools of writing and fiction can inform and enrich design practice.

Radically Normal Menstruation

Katie Smiley

I want to make public restrooms more menstruation-friendly. I imagine a future where period products are as banal and accessible as toilet paper. My fixtures enable access and waste management at scale by designing for the needs of custodians.

Invisible Interfaces; Experiments in Sound and Communication

Jen Spatz

As voice interfaces grow in popularity, designers face host of unfamiliar challenges. Most accredit conversation the supreme metaphor by which this technology is defined. My thesis, challenges this notion, exploring ways that sound and non mannered speech can serve as gateways to digital content.

See more here

Nonlinear Dinner

Savvas Spyridopoulos

Nonlinear Dinner is a social interaction piece. Half the participants sit facing outwards inside a slowly rotating inner table ring, while the others sit along a stationary outer ring facing inwards. Conversations morph and overlap as the person in front of attendees slowly changes.

The Bio(diversity) of Plastics and You

Megan Valanidas

Designing with the understanding that bioplastics, like traditional plastics, will infiltrate our oceans and wild spaces, we must plan for this outcome. In a future where bioplastics replace traditional plastics we will need the following things to change: 1. Consumers will need to know how to easily identify and properly dispose of bioplastics. 2. All bioplastics must breakdown in a manner that is restorative for the environment.

See more here

Yu-Hsing Wu

My project reflects how digital data affect the connections between people.

See more here