Design and social research

Design and social research meet to form an intellectual hub at The New School in New York. But the university was not yet top-of-mind for many prospective students, despite having academic credentials which rival the best schools in the world. Further, the New School was not capitalising
on the success of its constituent parts.

Despite Parsons’ status as an elite design school, few can grasp how profound an impact its placement within a full- service university has on its progressive approach. So, when The New School came to us with a mandate to “deliver one university,” we were thrilled at the challenge.

The New School knew that a lot of their prospective students were self-starters, but weren’t always sure which academic path to take. So, we helped those students explore fields of study through a card-based visual browse experience organised around high-level topics, not courses.

With light and fast interactions that allow users to get a quick overview and links to additional information, students get a bird’s eye view of how they might carve their own academic path at The New School.

To tell the story of the university, we crafted a user experience with a strong central narrative and channels that made it easy for visitors to discover its individual schools and programs.

We built a robust content-publishing platform so The New School can feature the groundbreaking research and work done by students, alumni, and faculty. And with a mandate to deliver technology that can be used across other sites in the future, we developed a modular front-end that opens the door for consistent experiences across The New School’s digital platform.

The look and feel of the user interface reflects the values of a university looking not just to expand boundaries, but to redraw them. We brought their progressive ethos to life online with a bold, open and airy system that extends the type-driven visual identity by Paula Scher and the rest of the team from Pentagram.

While invigorating us as designers, the dynamic brand required intense focus to control screens and devices. To solve this, we designed site-wide templates as a foundation for content, then collaborated on page-specific effects that reflected the spirit of the university.

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