Course Information

COMD 3701 Design Studio
Working independently, each student researches, conceptualizes, and develops an in-depth project, across media channels, which uses design-thinking to address a contemporary issue.

Credits, Hours
3 Credits, 6 hours (2 lecture, 2 lab)

Prerequisite: COMD 2400


Course Site

Class Meetings

Online information Tuesdays @ 6 to 9:20pm via Zoom

In-person location Presently none

Faculty Information

Professor Andrew Bass Jr.

Andrew followed his creative instincts to graduate from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communications Design. He’s worked for companies like Essence, Black Enterprise, McGraw-Hill, CMP Media and Nielsen. During the day he works for RIMS, the risk management society as their Art & Production manager of their member publication, Risk Management, and after hours runs Straight Design LLC, his freelance consultancy.  To see my work, visit

Course Objectives

Through hands-on experiments, collaborative learning, and individual projects, students will demonstrate:


Learning Outcomes

For the successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to develop strategy based on independent research.
  • Think critically and creatively to solve visual communication problems. Design and/or produce images and text that effectively communicate intended content.
  • Identify, evaluate and effectively respond to ethical issues as a citizen and a professional.
  • Present and defend his or her work to a client.

Teaching/Learning Methods

Readings and discussion, Groupthink / Sprint sessions, Project-based labs, Research assignments, Blackboard / Slack, or other LMS.

Grading Policy

Research, independent/ critical assessment, and presentation skills are an all-encompassing part of establishing a design solution. Therefore, grades will be determined as follows: 

Process Books – 25%

A chronological flow of thinking, research, notations, feedback, sketches, notes, writing, visual planning, and iteration. Must be placed in the book AND reviewed throughout the semester. 5 check-ins required, with a showcase of ample work in-between.  Failure to show process throughout the semester will results in “O” for that weeks check-in.
( Weekly Uploads 10% + Final Process Book 15%)

Breakout Sessions – 15%
In-class or HW-related exercises to expand your research techniques and category knowledge.

Midterm Research Summary Report – 10%

Senior Project Research Paper – 15%
Research, writing and why the topic is important/impactful.

Final Concept Presentation – 20%

Discussion and Participation – 15%

Peer feedback, discussions, quizzes & comments through out the semester. Need a total of 10 interactions over the course of the semeter for full credit. Anything less than 10 with be deducted from full grade.

Homework/submissions Policy

For in-person instruction: all work is DUE at the beginning of the class.
For hybrid/online learning: all work is DUE by 11:59 the night before class.

  • Late assignments may be penalized. 
  • All submissions must be submitted digitally as a PDF and formatted correctly. (lastname_firstinitial_projectname.pdf)
  • All submissions must be uploaded to Dropbox/ Blackboard links provided. Multiple uploads and/or duplicate files will ONLY be accepted if clearly indicated. Otherwise, it is considered late.
  • Any late projects will be devalued one (1) full letter grade.
  • Late assignments will only be accepted up to one week after the deadline and by the same due the week prior.
  • Assignments more than 1 week after the deadline will result in an “F / O.” Please refer to the college’s student handbook for the numerical values of grades.

*Please note that absence or lateness DOES NOT excuse the submission of a project on the specified deadline.

Required Text

A Designer’s Research Manual, 2nd Edition by Jenn + Ken Visocky O’Grady (Download PDF)

Writing and Research for Designers, Steven Heller
(Off-Campus Access @ City Tech)

Supplemental Reading

Field Guide to Human-Centered Design, IDEO

Graphic Design Thinking (Design Briefs), Ellen Lupton
(Off-Campus Access @ City Tech)


Academic One File has always been an excellent general database for undergraduate research. The depth of full text offerings has recently been improved and Academic One File is now more robust than ever!

Ebook Central is an expansive collection ebooks that can be searched either through the catalog or as a standalone database.

The Wall Street Journal is free to the entire City Tech Community. Activate your free subscription today!

We continue to offer access to The New York Times.  Sign up for your free academic pass or renew your subscription.


(During remote learning) Attendance will be considered by accumulation of logging in to live classes via Blackboard, post and group discussions on Open Lab, -project meet-ups via Calendly and of course, the projects assigned. The instructor will alert any student that he or she may be in danger of not meeting the course objectives and -participation expectations, which could lead to a lower grade. If you’re having problems or issues, please talk with me sooner than later so I can do whatever I can to help you through the class.

Attendance is taken and is important to success in this class. Both absences and arrival more than 15 minutes after the start of class will be marked. If excessive, the instructor will alert the student that they may be in danger of not meeting the course objectives and participation expectations, which could lead to a lower or failing grade.


Academic Integrity (Cheating/Plagiarism)

Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting and citation of sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the college recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension and expulsion. More information about the College’s policy on Academic Integrity may be found in the College Catalog

Class Etiquette & Netiquette

Learning is a group activity. The behavior of each person in class affects the overall learning environment. As a COMD student you are expected to act in a professional manner; to be respectful of the learning process, your instructor, and your fellow students.

Print this page