Integrative Design

Integrative Design

The Master of Design (MDes) in Integrative Design is a low-residency, online hybrid program (predominately online with three campus visits per semester and one week in the summer) that supports the growing need for more designers with creative, adaptive, and strategic skills. The MDes is a 60-hour terminal degree intended for individuals who want to extend their impact, experiences, communication skills, and marketability within the design profession. This program is also open to those interested in or migrating into the design discipline to take on integrative design problems that inhabit various complex systems.

Today’s market is looking for designers with integrative design expertise. The interconnectedness of complex problems requires research, new methods, and collaborative approaches to create effective solutions. The MDes program partners with corporate and non-profit sectors, diverse professions, and educational sectors, with students to deconstruct challenging questions and identify viable outputs. Students will engage in design studio practice, research, and integrative strategies. Exploration in various disciplines like digital technologies, business, science, data science, public policy, and education will be encouraged to develop innovative solutions in integrative design teams for information design, experience design, and service and/or social impact design. The program’s multifaceted approach, through design education, creates a cross-disciplinary collaborative program that is attractive to professionals looking to incorporate creative strategies in their work or companies.

MDes in Integrative Design Graduate Program Fact Sheet


BGSU AIGA Student Chapter

BGSU, the School of Art, and the Division of Graphic Design, in affiliation with AIGA Toledo, fully supports, and offers advising, mentorship and resources for, the BGSU AIGA Student Chapter, our highly respected student-run organization of AIGA, the Professional Association for Design. This AIGA and University partially funded organization is available to all undergraduates and graduates with a content focus toward design majors. The overall goal of the student chapter is to promote awareness of design, to highlight advances and opportunities in the field, and to assist design students in their individual and collective efforts to expand their design experiences. Chapter activities include trips to a major city, as well as several regional trips, to visit printers, design studios, museums and art centers. The chapter frequently assists in hosting local, regional and national speakers involved in the design profession, many of whom are alumni of the program. The chapter meets at least once a month to do such things as: plan club activities, attend lectures, view movies of interest, and discuss topical design issues. All interested students are encouraged to contact Assistant Professor Andrea Cardinal (, faculty advisor to the group, for further information and contact with the current slate of student board members.

Photo of Andrea Cardinal

Andrea L. Cardinal


Peter Lusch

  • Position: Assistant Teaching Professor, Graphic Design
  • Phone: (419)372-3848
  • Email:
  • Address: 115 FAC
Photo of Taylor Stewart

Taylor S Stewart

  • Position: Assistant Teaching Professor, Graphic Design
  • Email:
Photo of Jenn Stucker

Jenn Stucker

  • Position: Associate Professor, Division Chair, Graphic Design
  • Phone: 419-372-2160
  • Email:
  • Address: 106 FAC
Photo of Lori Young

Lori Young

  • Position: Associate Professor, Graphic Design
  • Phone: 419-372-7763
  • Email:
  • Address: 107 FAC

Integrative design is a fairly new title, thus designers are often exposed to this field through their undergraduate study of graphic design or from working in design related field. The skills associated with title of “Graphic Designer” have broadened and industries are looking for advanced qualifications. Employers are hiring designers and visualizers in a wide variety of industry sectors such as advertising, online business, food and beverage, finance, healthcare, government, publishing, IT, customer care, web, technology, manufacturing, marketing, media, insurance, telecommunications, military, consulting, education, and much more.

There is no shortage of opportunities for employment with design related skills, particularly skills that incorporate integrative thinking, leadership, management, and critical thinking, such as: Hybrid Designer, Art Director, Brand/Product Manager, Content Strategist, Content Manager, Creative Director, Digital Marketing Manager, Digital Project Manager, Digital Strategist, Graphic Designer, Environmental Designer, Information Designer, Interactive Art Director, Interaction Designer, Instructional Systems Designer, Marketing Director, MarCom Manager, Media Director, Motion Designer, Multimedia Designer, Package Designer, Presentation Specialist, Project Manager, Proposal Specialist, Public Relations Director, Public Relations Manager, Public Relations Communication Specialist, Social Media Manager, Social Media Specialist, User Experience Designer, Vice President of Marketing, Vice President of Public Relations, and Visual Designer.

The MDes curriculum is designed to graduate students with the types of skill required to be a successful design professional, ready for more complex roles, specifically design leadership.

DSGN 5000 // Design Research + Methods
This online course is a study of research-based design in the Master of Design (MDes) Integrative Design curriculum, which introduces traditional and emerging methods and processes of examining complex problems. The course will challenge the student to deeply question, investigate, and formulate their coursework to reflect and propel the value of design research in finding viable and meaningful solutions. (3 hours)

DSGN 5010 // Graphic Design History + Integrative Models
This online course is a survey course on the history of graphic design and its intersection with social, economic, political and religious influences as well as natural resources, geography and technology. This class is a dialogue about these major influences and investigates the integrative relationships that shape visual culture in art, design and commerce. (3 hours)

DSGN 5015 // Design for Social Impact
This online course examines how product of materials, labor and thought, design embodies societal values. Images, artifacts and spaces spring from culturally contested ideas, practices and values; a student of their histories and theories must know the histories, theories and geographies of their creation and reception, and how values underpin their practices. (3 hours)

DSGN 5020 // Integrative Design Studio I + II: 
Complex Systems, Context and Culture

This hybrid (online + face-to-face) course is a combination of theoretical and practical study in the Master of Design (MDes) Integrative Design curriculum and introduces emerging tools, methods and processes in design thinking and making through the lens of complex systems that reside in contemporary problems. Additionally, the second sequence of this course will examine the relationship of context and visual culture in mediating systems and how integrative design approaches can work toward solving the complexities of today’s wicked problems.  (students take 12 hours)

DSGN 6020 // Integrative Design Studio III + IV:
Integrative Strategies, Theory + Implementation

This hybrid (online + face-to-face) course expands the examination of complexity, context and culture started in DSGN 5020 through application of integrative strategies, ideological exploration and project development.  This supervised study encompasses phases of preparation for continued Master of Design studies in shaping process for a student’s curiosity and understanding of their specific conceptual, practical and social design goals as they expand their research and development of their thesis project. (students take 12 hours)

DSGN 6050 // Collaborative Design Studio I + II
This hybrid (online + face-to-face) course is a Social Innovation course in combination of theoretical and practical study in the Master of Design (MDes) Integrative Design curriculum and introduces collaborative and integrative processes for the purpose of developing innovative solutions to complex social problems. The course will explore collaborative methods along with design thinking applications to examine, research and respond to interconnected systems in challenging issues that face today’s society. Innovation in context to business, economic and societal impact will be explored. (students take 12 hours)

DSGN 6130 // Exhibition Project + Oral Defense
This hybrid (online + face-to-face) course is an independent studio course to prepare students for the final step in developing and implementing their thesis paper, exhibition and oral thesis defense. (3 hours)

Updated: 02/13/2023 01:47PM