College of Design dean Steven French stands next to large foam letters that spell the word DESIGN.

Better Design, With a Heavy Dose of Technology

Better Design, With a Heavy Dose of Technology

Welcome to the College of Design at Georgia Tech!

The College of Design consists of five schools: Architecture, Building Construction, City & Regional Planning, Industrial Design and Music.

We are fortunate to be located in the heart of Atlanta, a dynamic metropolitan area that is ripe with opportunities. We are also an integral part of Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the leading technological universities in the world. We view the city and the campus as living laboratories that provide a rich urban canvas to support the work of our students and faculty.

Design, the Georgia Tech Way

Design is the essence of what we do in all five of the schools with this College. Our students and faculty design innovative products, wearable technology, sustainable buildings, livable communities, resilient cities, advanced software tools, musical instruments and multimedia performance, and more.

Our students and faculty are some of the most talented people you will find anywhere.

Of course, being at Georgia Tech our approach to Design includes a heavy dose of technology. We want to be the leaders in understanding how we can use technology to help us design better. We also want to incorporate advanced technology into what we design. That, in a nutshell, is the mission of the College of Design at Georgia Tech.

So what do we mean by Design?

This is a question we are constantly debating and exploring within the College and with others both on campus and in our professions.

To me, design is a way of thinking; a particularly creative approach to problem solving. It draws on the same wellsprings of creativity and imagination as the arts, but it also draws on science and engineering.

Design must operate within real world constraints to produce solutions to complex, multifaceted problems. There is rarely one right answer to the kind of problems we confront. But there are certainly good, better and worse solutions. The solutions we produce should be not only functional, but also beautiful, elegant and exciting.

Design is empathetic. It is human centered and responds to user’s needs. Good design should make technology a joy to use --just like Steve Jobs envisioned.

Design is iterative - you almost never get it right on your first try. You have to be persistent. You try, try and try again and continuously circle in toward a better solution.

Design is adventurous. It pushes the envelope of what is possible to create new and innovative solutions.  We are indeed "Designing the Future" here at Georgia Tech.

A Unique Mix of Disciplines

There is a strong connection between Design and Innovation, and innovation is the key to success in the 21st Century. We work with students and faculty from across the campus on many interdisciplinary initiatives. 

I want to highlight three that I think are especially compelling:  

First, the Innovation and Design Collaborative. That initiative supports an interdisciplinary curriculum to spread design thinking across the campus.

Second, The Living Building Challenge, which is developing a campus building that will be net positive energy, net positive water and does not use any hazardous or carcinogenic materials.

And, of course, Serve Learn Sustain – the campus initiative that will engage students with communities around the globe to create sustainable solutions to real-world problems. These are just a few examples of the exciting things that are going on in the College of Design at Georgia Tech.

I invite you to explore our website to learn more about the exciting teaching, research and service at the College of Design. Please contact us if you are interested in joining us as a student, want to learn more about our research program or have an idea for collaborating with us. We believe that design can change the world and the College of Design is leading the way. 


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