Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Emily Kreusch Graphic Design

Building Blocks

Character Design
Exhibition Design
Fine Art
Type Design
How does your childhood play connect to how you work and understand the world as an adult?

In my four years at Pratt I’ve always had trouble finding where I fit under the umbrella of Communications Design. I’ve never had just one focus, and strive to combine all my digital and traditional skills when crafting a design. When it came to my thesis I asked myself what the driving force in my work was. This investigation led me all the way back to my childhood. At 10 years old I was laying out newspapers, conducting interviews, designing illustrated typefaces, building spaces for fairies and dollhouse characters, and directing my neighbors in iMovie horror films. It fascinated me how seamlessly my play related to the work I do now as a designer, animator and storyteller.

As children we constantly imagine that we’re adults with real jobs. Pretending to be teachers, doctors, writers, builders, explorers and caregivers. Playing is our growing brain’s way of processing what we’ve seen, heard and learned. Our play is challenging, generative, engaging and exhausting work, but we love it. Then we grow up and forget our work can be all the exciting things play once was, making work a laborious task. If I can carry anything with me into my career it would be the spark and imagination that comes along with playing.

In order to blur the line between work and play, for myself and others, I began to collect stories from my peers and other professionals. The ways people made connections to their younger selves was so genuine and personal. Combining these voice recordings with my ways of creating and storytelling I have begun on a series of stop-motion animations to illustrate another layer of the narrative. By acting out these moments with handmade props and sets, I can channel open-ended play and imagination in my work.

This series continues to evolve and grow into a myriad of memories and foreshadowings. I hope to inspire others, no matter what career or profession, to be more in touch with their younger selves, the self that could play with no restrictions or insecurities. Listen to that self, they’re smarter and more intuitive than you think. By building off the foundation we construct as children, we can carry that spark of curiosity, joy, and drive throughout our lives into.