Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Xinyi Wang Graphic Design



We live in a highly digitized world. With new technologies coming out every year, the ways in which we communicate, interact, and experience has changed and adapted accordingly. Online services and platforms have become an integral part of our daily routine. As smartphones and tablets becoming so ubiquitous like never before, some aspects of our lives have transitioned to adapt to these digital formats. The global pandemic has expedited this process. When remodeled onto a digital platform, a lot of the experiences lose their tactile/sensory aspects. Sometimes, the lack of tactile/sensory could jeopardize such experiences completely. I have seen an increasing amount of toddlers with their tablets, getting so used to tapping and swiping on the device instead of playing with toys that might be much better for their sensory development. On the other hand, as a graphic design student, I’ve been taught to use all kinds of digital tools to create works. Slowly, it became very natural to me to initiate and create my works with my laptop, which is very likely intended for a digital platform and would eventually remain in the digital realm. When technology reduced once complicated actions into a simple tap and swipe, opportunities for many other experiences have been overlooked. I want to discover the reasons behind our fascination with the screen and digital platforms and whether this fascination is affecting our ways of experiencing the world.

For my senior thesis, I am focusing on the importance of tactility in our daily lives and how the absence of tactile stimuli might impact our ability to experience our surroundings. I’d like to focus on the physical aspects of our everyday experiences in which a piece of technology (a smartphone, a laptop) is unable to provide, as well as other options we could reach for to fill this void.