Teen Programs


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The design field is exploding with in-demand, 21st-century jobs in product design, interaction design, architecture, fashion, and more! Our FREE programs offer students real-world experiences in design, exploring the many ways designers think and make.

Our hands-on workshops, led by professional designers, will help you build your skills and portfolio. While working on design projects, you’ll also learn about designers’ creative processes.

Past designers and firms include: Todd Oldham, Nike, Kate Spade, J.Crew, Google, Van Cleef & Arpels, Marimekko and many, many more!

Designprep summer intensive

Cooper Hewitt offers week-long, fast-paced, highly interactive explorations of different fields of design. Each week, teens will tackle real-world design challenges, develop innovative solutions, and build life skills in empathy, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Teens will experience the design process through hands-on activities, studio visits, explorations of objects in the museum’s world-renowned collection and projects featuring guest designers, both at the museum and in locations around New York City.

DesignPrep Summer Intensive will be held from 2pm to 5pm on weekdays (Monday – Friday).

July 9-13 | Graphic Design Summer Intensive

Register now!

July 16-20 | Fashion & Interaction Design Summer Intensive

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July 23-27 | Architecture Summer Intensive

Register now!

The program is free. Space is limited; registration is first come, first served. For more information, contact us at (212) 849-8353 or chyouthprograms@si.edu

DesignPrep is made possible by the generous support of the Altman Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Richard and Jean Coyne Family Foundation, and the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council and internal Smithsonian Institution funds from the Youth Access Grants Program.



Get a head start on a future in design! Teens in New York City can apply to be a DesignPrep Scholar, a free program that features hands-on workshops with professional designers, design studio visits, and college tours.

The DesignPrep Scholars program is open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors enrolled in high school in New York City. Students must submit an application for the DesignPrep Scholars program and accepted students must commit to a 1-week summer design thinking intensive from Monday, July 30 through Friday, August 3, 2018 and weekly after-school sessions from 4:30 to 6:30 pm on Tuesdays throughout the 2018-2019 school year.

Note: Students can apply for one semester or up two semesters during the 2018-19 school year. Submission of an application does not guarantee selection into the program.

Fall 2018: Architecture/Interior/Landscape Design

Interested in designing buildings, public spaces, or interiors? Apply for a semester of problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaboration and gain a deep understanding of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design. Scholars will meet designers from different fields, visit studios to learn more about the design process, and work on hands-on projects that will help build a portfolio.

***Note: Application will open soon.***

Spring 2019: Fashion/Interaction/Graphic/Product Design

Immerse yourself in the worlds of fashion, interaction, graphic, and product design. Apply for a semester of making real-world connections across different design disciplines and engaging in approaches that designers use to address complex challenges. Scholars will meet designers from different fields, visit studios to learn more about the design process, and work on hands-on projects that will help build a portfolio.

***Note: Application will open soon.***

For more information, contact us at (212) 849-8353 or chyouthprograms@si.edu


As part of DesignPrep, teens can earn digital badges. These digital credentials are based on the design skills and knowledge gathered during any one of DesignPrep’s free programs; they can be shared with friends and teachers, and help with college applications.


Every year during National Design Week, Cooper Hewitt hosts the Teen Design Fair, where teens are invited to talk with top designers working in the fields of fashion, product design, architecture, graphic design, and more! Explore design careers from professional designers, discover career paths, learn the complexities of what designers do, and find out what designers love about their jobs. Design colleges from across the country are also on hand to answer questions.

Past designers include: Tim Gunn, Cynthia Rowley, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, and designers from Facebook, Ann Taylor Loft, Kenneth Cole, Heath Ceramics, Milton Glaser, Smart Design, Pentagram, Rocawear, and Herman Miller.

Past design colleges include: Parsons, SVA, RISD, SAIC, CalArt, FIT, and Pratt.

National High School Design Competition

Taking place annually and organized in collaboration with Target, the National High School Design Competition invites students to design a solution to a real-world challenge. Learn more.

Featured Image: Photograph by Angela Jimenez Photography