New Master of Design chair talks about CCAD's newest graduate program

Life at CCAD, New Director of Design Merce Graell

Design leader Mercè Graell recently joined Columbus College of Art & Design as the chair of the new Master of Design in Integrative Design program. We talked to her recently about her experience and her vision for the program.

You have quite an impressive resume, having worked as Strategic Design Director for the prestigious firm Designit and Coordinator of the Master in Design Management Research program at Istituto Europeo di Design. Can you talk about some of your work before you came to CCAD?
I've been working for big organizations in their path of transformation — from digital transformation to organizational change and future disruptive opportunities — with a design mindset and methodologies.

What’s your vision for the Master of Design program?
The MDes will provide students with the mindset, methods, and tools to drive change with design. This will be accomplished through real-world projects of increased complexity, where students will fully learn by doing.

Where do you see the future of design going?
That’s a tough question. For some years now design has been regarded as an important strategic advantage for innovation and change (organizational, social, technological, etc.) in different fields such as business and engineering. More and more, big corporations are creating in-house design departments to spread design thinking within their organizations and to have design strategists at the decision-making table. Moreover, we are seeing now how design is starting to create a big impact in sectors as education and healthcare and well-being.

Who has been the biggest creative influence on your life?
My elementary school teacher Ms. Giralt and the sum of many great professionals that I've had the honor of collaborating with in my career.

What’s something about you that people would be surprised to know?
I think of myself as very transparent — no big surprises! I like to paint and write poetry, hike with my small poodle, and I have a small camper in the Pyrenees.

You’ve lived in Columbus before. What was the first thing you wanted to do when you came back?
Meet my dearest friends!


Learn more about CCAD's new Master of Design program.