Amber by Alisa Rantanen

Amber, A. Rantanen (case study)

Design is a set of disciplines that bestows form and order to virtually all that humans make or theorize. It innovatively promotes understanding, simplifies use, improves safety, instills confidence, increases efficiency, and adds value through a process that focuses on useful, useable and desirable attributes of products, systems or communications. Practiced within a corporate setting or in a research institution, design is an enabling catalyst, collaboratively increasing advantage and expanding opportunity between the sciences, business, engineering, and the humanities.

Responsibly practiced, design aspires to produce, promote and implement utility through deep sensitivity for human need and aspiration. Frequently understood as commercially driven, design at Notre Dame expands the definition to also serve the underserved through an interpretation that often ignores profit in favor of identifying and solving important social needs of the person and the environment.

Applying a broad understanding of contemporary material, process and situational challenges to the human condition, designers define their place as researchers, looking forward in time and engaging conceptual alternatives to future possibilities. Industrial design distinguishes itself in academic research by bringing an empathic approach to creative endeavors that serve the three dimensional product needs of consumers, makers and promoters of tools and products. Visual communication designers translate awareness of need into visual communication, applying a two dimensional medium, as well as interaction and motion for purposes of efficiently conveying complex information.

Degree Concentrations

Degrees Offered

Declaring the Major or Minor

Students may declare the Major only after having completed one of the foundation courses (Drawing I, 2D, or 3D), or while currently enrolled in one of those courses. Students may declare the Minor only after having completed Design Matters, or while currently enrolled in the course. Declare the Major or Minor in the departmental office, 306 Riley Hall of Art. 


Students are required to seek program advising for the B.A. and B.F.A. majors from the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) or an assigned advisor. Students are not required but it is highly recommended to seek program advising for the Minor from the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) a design faculty member.


Questions about design? General questions can be sent to, or, you can contact Director of Undergraduate Studies Emily Beck. If you have specific questions about Art History, feel free to contact a faculty member directly.

Brandon KeeleanDesign Student Profile: Brandon Keele
           Locus, E. Murphy

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