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The summer program challenges the model of a narrow interpretation of graphic design. The program offers a unique opportunity to work closely with colleagues from peer institutions and with practicing designers who have developed their practice in a culture that at its root questions the expected models of design practice.

The program's base is den Haag the Netherlands. The program has been developed by the Communication Design Department at College for Creative Studies in Detroit and is lead by Doug Kisor and Chad Reichert Professors, Communication Design. The session is an intense three-week Communication Design / Graphic Design program that emphasizes the shift from the form to what informs the message including invisible networks that condition the continual transformation of messages. The program places less focus on the artifact and more focus on the critical evolution of what informs the design. The goal is the introduction of challenging methodologies and intellectual exchange that will change the individual's approach to design thinking and practice.

The day to day structure of the program focuses on individual and small group interaction with some of the best European designers and design thinkers. The program is divided into two broad sessions each directed by tutors who bring their unique methodologies to the sessions. Participants have the unique opportunity to work on studio projects along side of internationally recognized Dutch designers; last year’s group worked with Bob van Dijk ( and the partners at studio lust (

Studio tours and individual work sessions are also part of the program. A few individuals and offices from past years include studio Moniker, Studio Dumbar, Team Thursday, 75 B, Lava, Koehorst in’t veld, Lesley Moore, Trapped in Suburbia, Underware, Thonik, Luna Maurer. Mevis /van Deursen, Karel Martens, Experimental Jetset, Richard Niessen, Esther de Vries, Peter Bilák as well as many others.

While the session have a focus on making, building, coding, animating, writing, photographing, videoing and other forms of articulating an idea this is not a portfolio program.

Beyond the studio sessions participants will visit design studios, museums, private collections, design schools, and guest critics in a variety of Dutch cities, such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Breda, Arnhem, and Utrecht.

The program is 3 graduate or undergraduate credits in studio design.


The Netherlands is a relatively small country with an amazing design culture. For over a century design has been a part of a person's everyday in a way seen in only a few other cultures. During the first part of the 20th century, the Netherlands was one of the countries at the center of the early modern movement. Key early pioneers such as Piet Zwart and Paul Schuitema through their work and role as educators created a link between early modern and today's contemporary practitioners. Gert Dumbar, founder of Studio Dumbar had Piet Zwart as one of his teachers. The design partners Linda van Deursen and Armand Mevis interned at studio Dumbar and went on to become influential designers and educators influencing a new generation of designers.

A key cultural trait is the Dutch apparent willingness to include outsiders into their rich tradition. In the early part of the 21st-century designers such as Peter Bil'ak, a Slovakian designer working in the Den Haag partnered with Susana Carvalho a Portuguese designer and Kai Bernau a German designer in the development of Works that Work. Other examples include Thomas Castro a California native and partner at LUST in Den Haag and Ryan Pescatore Frisk, an American who partnered with Catelijne van Middelkoop a Dutch designer to form Strange Attractors in Rotterdam, and German-born Akiem Helmling, a partner in the international bureau Underware with his studio in Den Haag. This recent phenomenon is only one example of a vibrant design culture that continues to respond to change and reinvention.


Participants will stay in apartment housing within walking distance of the studio spaces at Gallery West. The accommodation includes cooking facilities and common spaces for group meetings and socializing.


The summer program is open to BFA, MFA candidates, design educators and practicing designers in the professional areas of graphic design, interaction design, and communication design. The program has been a unique opportunity aiding MFA students in the development of their thesis. For professionals and educators, the program offers a fresh perspective on their current approaches to design.



The program begins on Sunday, June 10th and ends on Saturday, July 30th. We recommend you arrive in the Netherlands one day earlier to help with jet lag. You will need to book your own room for the earlier stay. The official checkout is Sunday, July 1st.


The program uses facilities at Gallery West as the main stage. Depending on the projects and research other facilities in the neighborhood may be integrated into the program. Den Haag, at its core, is a small walkable city. Accommodations are arranged through an agency that rents apartments. The accommodations are 2 to 4 persons per apartment with laundry, kitchen, and common spaces. All sites are within easy walking distance within a safe pedestrian-centric city center.


The College for Creative Studies only offers scholarships to students enrolled at CCS. However many past applicants have found study abroad funding from their own institution. Please check with your study abroad office regarding opportunities that may be available.


All programs and lectures are in English.


The program is an official academic program of the College for Creative Studies, Communication Design Program. The College for Creative Studies is a fully accredited art and design college offering BFA and MFA degrees. Candidates who successfully complete the program are eligible for three undergraduate or graduate studio credit hours. These can be transferred to your home institution to be applied toward your BA, BFA, MA or MFA degree.


Candidates will arrange their own flight to the Netherlands. The main airport in Amsterdam is approximately 30 minutes by train from Den Haag. The trains leave directly from the airport terminal and run frequently.

All travelers to the Netherlands who do not hold an EU passport will require a passport upon entry to the Netherlands. A visa is not necessary for U.S., Canadian or EU applicants but the rules vary for other countries. If you are in doubt regarding your status check with a Netherlands Consulate.



Applicants need to complete the attached PDF application form and return the form via email to KRISTIN KOCH with a good faith deposit of $300.00. The deposit can be made via credit card by calling 313 664 1645. With your application include a URL link to your work, a brief letter of intent, (why this is important to you) and make sure the references and their contact information are listed in your application.

NOTE: upon acceptance, the $300.00 deposit will be applied to the program cost. If you are not included in the program the deposit will be returned.

Participants will be notified by April 20th. If you were not selected but are still interested in the program, we can place your name on a waiting list. Final notification for those on the waiting list will be May 3rd.

After acceptance, you will be given a payment schedule with full payment due by May 3rd.


Cost of the program is $4,300.00

This includes three undergraduate or graduate credit hours in studio. Accommodations, studio fees, museum fees, some meals, and all ground transportation in Europe.



Kristin Koch (313 664 1645)

or Doug Kisor

or Chad Reichert

College for Creative Studies

Communication Design Department

201 E. Kirby St.

Detroit, MI 48202