hero image
Bruce Hanington - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Bruce Hanington

Professor and Head of the School of Design | Carnegie Mellon University


Bruce Hanington's core teaching has included undergraduate courses in Human Centered Design and Industrial Design Studio.


Bruce Hanington is a Professor of design. Bruce has held former roles as Head of School, Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Executive Education, and Program Chair of Industrial Design.

Bruce's core teaching has included undergraduate courses in Human Centered Design and Industrial Design Studio, and graduate courses in Research Methods and Design Principles and Practices. Bruce has dedicated his teaching and research to methods and practices for human centered design, with an emphasis on design ethnography, participatory design, and the meaning of form in context. Bruce has also taught various professional education workshops and micro courses to Tepper MBA students, the Heinz College, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), Highmark, The Pittsburgh Food Bank, and the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA).

Bruce’s past projects include work with GE conducting research on the design of human-centered appliances, and Johnson & Johnson researching design opportunities to enhance prescription skin care compliance among teens. He was also a co-investigator on a project assessing use and behavior patterns in the graduate design studio as a learning environment.

Bruce has presented papers on human-centered design and design for human experience at international conferences of the Design Research Society (DRS), The International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR), and Design & Emotion. His work has been published in Design Issues, The Design Journal, and Interactions, with book chapters in Designing Inclusive Futures; Design and Emotion: The Experience of Everyday Things; Affective Sciences in Human Factors and Human-Computer Interaction; and The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design. Bruce is co-author of the book Universal Methods of Design: 125 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions, written with Master of Design alum Bella Martin. Universal Methods has been published in nine languages, a pocket edition, an e-book, and a prior edition of 100 methods.

Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Design in Industrial Design and a BA in Applied Psychology, both from the University of Calgary, Canada.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Design Ethnography

Human Centered Design

Arts and Creative Expression

Industrial Design

Research Methods

Media Appearances (1)

Experts: Design To Impact Climate Change, AI in 2020

Carnegie Mellon University News  online


Bruce Hanington, head of Carnegie Mellon's School of Design in the College of Fine Arts, expects rapidly advancing technologies, such as AI and machine learning, will continue to influence design solutions to complex issues. In turn, he expects there will be increased recognition of "design research methods’ value in humanizing these technologies and understanding their impacts on society."

view more



Bruce Hanington Publication Bruce Hanington Publication Bruce Hanington Publication



loading image loading image loading image


IASDR 2021- Design education & practice for civic engagement & social change | Prof. Bruce Hanington



Industry Expertise (4)

Writing and Editing




Education (2)

University of Calgary: M.E.Des., Industrial Design 1997

University of Calgary: B.A., Applied Psychology 1986

Articles (3)

Empathy, Values, and Situated Action: Sustaining People and Planet Through Human Centered Design

Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design

2017 Human centered design (HCD), or user centered design (UCD), is an integrated research and design approach led by the motivation to responsibly and responsively address the genuine needs and desires of people affected by design intervention. Aside from specific terminology, human centered design is not entirely new. The evolution of tools, shelter, clothing and other products aimed at meeting human needs and conditions obviously have a lengthy history.

view more

Design Studio Desk and Shared Place Attachments: A Study on Ownership, Personalization, and Agency

Proceedings of the Design Research Society (DRS) International Conference

2016 Increasing numbers of students, limited space, and decreasing budgets nudge many university administrators to shift from assigned design studio desks to flexible workspace arrangements. This paper explores student attachment to the individual desk and shared spaces in a graduate design studio in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University.

view more

An Evidence-Based Design approach for function, usability, emotion, and pleasure in studio redesign

Design's Big Debates - DRS International Conference 2014

2014 Studio-based design education is changing to include multidisciplinary design teams, geographically distributed teams, information technology, and new work styles. In this paper, we present the research findings from a graduate studio redesign using an Evidence-Based Design approach with measures and outcomes for function, pleasure, and the emotional needs of users.

view more