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Materials Research

Resources to help artists and designers with materials research.

Conducting Materials Research

 “Material is the stuff that design is made of” - ASM International


General advice:

  • Establish your audience and design with the user in mind
  • Determine the precedent for an object and/or material.
  • Search for case studies. Consider how other objects were made with that same material.
  • Think “global”. Go beyond the discipline.
  • Look in trade journals for inspiration and vendors.
  • Consider the life cycle of a material when focusing on sustainable design.

Search terms

Search PrattCat for keywords related to materials, proccesses, and techniques. Here are a few search terms to get you started: 

Architecture and technology

Building -- environmental aspects

Building materials

Composite materials

Design and technology


Materials -- Technical innovations

Materials catalogs

Materials science

You can also conduct a keyword search for specific materials. For example: wood, glass, and concrete.


Books about materials are located in several locations in the libraries. Try browsing these sections for ideas: