Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2021

Samantha Simotas
Capitalism: The Visual Identity of America

America’s form of capitalism has molded society, culture, and politics in this nation and has enabled an elite fraction of the population to prosper disproportionately relative to its whole. In the 20th-century design became a valued tool for corporate America, creating brands, packaging, and marketing for consumer goods, graphic designers became an integral part of the free market system by contributing to the creation of wealth in society. Today, the primary focus of American design is through the lens of capitalism. The designer is valued more as a business asset to champion the merits of a corporation’s wares to its target audience than as a contributor to cultural progress. American business’s relentless pursuit of the next sale has led to design in America constructing and influencing the visual identity of the American experience through which we live and navigate.

My thesis aims to document the ways in which capitalism has built the visual identity of America. This book guides you through this nation’s commitment to the economic systems in place to build wealth and the extent that the function of design is used to accomplish this task. Compiled in three broad themes, privatizing the public sector, designing the American landscape, and the exponential consumption of goods. Capitalism: The Visual Identity of America, highlights the most common and mundane design artifacts that we encounter everyday in the United States, including the subway system, billboards, malls, suburbs, and products.

(Red)

Dotun Abeshinbioke

Darina Abuzarova

Sung Hyun (Julie) Ahn

Anisa Al Raisi

Hazal Aysel

Vivek Bajaj

Sunayana Bali

Elliot Bohlen

Madison Brang

Allison Bynum

Rachel Chang

Lilliana Checo

Jizheng Chen

Lena Chen

Mi Chen

Raghav Chhabra

Shreya Chittaranjan

Christopher Chu

Shenny Chuang

Calen Chung

Mae Craford

Chengcheng Cui

Rebecca D'Agostino

Dani de los Santos

Nika Diomidovskaia

Aira Dolfo

Maya Eapen

Yaron Erkin

Louis Falisse

Xiaoke Fei

Bernadette Figueroa

Shih-Ju Fu

Ana Furtado

Martina Gallo

Chenxi (Lisa) Gao

Sierra Glicker

Danielle Beatriz Go

Danni Gomez

QingYing (Mimi) Guan

Peiru Guo

Siyu Hang

Trudy Hoang

Will Howell

Annie Hua

Wallis Huang

Charis Huling

Sana Jamali

Aeva Karlsrud

Lake Kennedy

Byunghyun Kim

Destiny Kim

Yeji Kim

Zen Koo

Padmaja Kothari

McKayla Lankau

Hyunseung Maddie Lee

Jade Lee

Jiwoo Lee

Juna Lee

Victoria Lee

Emma Lepore

Scarlet Li

Sunny Li

Sohyunn Lim

Misty Lin

Stephanie Lin

Yu Tong Tiffany Ling

Lilian Liu

Phoebe Lo

Charlotte Lomas

Kevin Loumeau

Wen Hsin Lu

Dirm Luawo

Peiyun Luo

Youran Mao

Imani McIntosh

Rebecca Mesonjnik

Velimar Molina

Matilde Sofia Monti

Gavin Mullally

Syalsabila Karissa Munaf

Michael Mungai

Sanjana Navar

Katelyn Paik

Aileen Pan

Chanjoo Tiffany Park

Namjoon Park

Storey Pearson

Mariel Quadrino

Simran Rao

Felitasari (Tata) Rekso

Yasmin Rozmee

Rainier Salas

Julia Sams

Eva Serrano Reisner

Anvita Shah

Suditi Shah

Amal Shaheedi

Joyce Shi

Samantha Simotas

Claira Smith

Hyunji Song

Carolina Stierli de Abreu

Niharika Sundarigari

Rachael Tomaszewski

Tiffany Tong

Svasti Ujagar

Ariana Ushiki

Diana Victoreen

Yiqi Wang

Yutong Wang

Zheng Wang

Jasmine Wei

Savannah West

Summer Wojtas

Jacquelyn Wu

Ricky Xie

Connie Xu

Karrie Xu

Ellen Yang

Jacqueline Yang

Emily Yun

Monique Zeitouny Dayan

Cecilia Zhang

Cheryl Zhang

Claire Zhang