Twelve Design Ideas that Changed the World
An introductory survey course that considers design as a catalyst in business by presenting twelve seminal design problems, across a variety of fields and industries, each highlighting the central motives—and methods—that yield successful outcomes. Each week focuses on a guest from a different industry who comes to share the transformative way design works—or doesn’t work—for them. Students research and respond, the following week, with analysis, critique, and alternate solutions. From public health to public space, retail strategy to political positioning, education to journalism to biotechnology, we want to explore how design works within complex organizations to help shape decisions, ideas, products, and more.

Design: The Invention of Desire
A class addressing the human characteristics that both influence and are impacted by design and which frame, among other things, our perceptions of loyalty, credibility, even leadership. Can design convey false authority? Do the things we make result in unintended consequences? How can we reconcile need against greed, personal voice against public choice? Combining research, collaboration, and weekly visits to the Yale University Art Gallery, students address issues of cultural, historical and contemporary consequence to gain a deeper understanding of design’s intrinsic value—and its enduring power—as a humanist discipline.

The Blue Seminar
A seminar for Yale freshmen (and a workshop taught in graduate art programs around the world). hat is it about the very notion of blueness that provokes the imagination? This seminar, limited to freshmen only, will explore the cultural and iconic history of blue as both a method and a motive for making work in the studio. Experimenting with writing, photography, collage and short-form digital video, students will work with primary sources in the collections at The Birren Color Collection (at Haas Art Library), The Beinecke Rare Book Library, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Peabody Museum of Natural History, among others, responding to existing artifacts while producing new ones.

The Design Practicum
Working at the fulcrum of business and architecture, this is a new way of combining different skillsets and introducing new opportunities for research, design, and collaboration. Each year we focus on a problem in a different part of the world—ideally one where Yale has a network school—and create a collaborative curriculum that combines at least two disciplines, a problem in a separate discipline, and a location outside of the United States. In 2017 we collaborated with Prada, the Milan Politecnico, The University of Herfordshire School of Art and Design, and Yale School of Management. Spring 2018 will unite students from the schools of business, architecture and forestry to rethink issues around water in Cape Town, South Africa.


December 2018: Edited by Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut, Culture is Not Always Popular: Fifteen Years of Design Observer will be out in early December from MIT Press. Buy the book here. See the video here.

November 2018: The Design of Business | The Business of Design conference will be held on November 2 and 3 at Yale School of Management.

September 2018: Face Value, Cooper Hewitt’s entry into the 2018 London Design Biennale, is named one of the four medalists.

July 2018: Jessica Helfand and Allison Arieff host a Next Stage event at Google on the ethics of design.

June 2018: Jessica Helfand is one of three artists chosen to participate in Face Value, the US entry into the London Design Biennale for 2018.

May 2018: Jessica Helfand hosts The Next Stage at The Mercantile Library in Cincinnati and The American Film Institute in Los Angeles.

May 2018: Jessica Helfand debuts The Next Stage at Continuum in Boston.

March 2018: Jessica Helfand is keynote speaker for the In Pursuit of Luxury Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.