In the past design was solely focused on mass production, but today’s international design culture is a rich mix of design, craft, and fine art contexts in which young designers can test their ideas as one-offs, limited editions, or mass-produced products. This liberating expansion of design has inspired new kinds of hands-on craft research and material investigations combining innovative semantic languages with unexpected materials, forms, textures, patterns, colors and uses. This approach favors an analog, hands-on process of exploring form with real materials, rather than a virtual process of digital visualization. A ‘conceptual craft’ results in which the creative use of materials is valued more than conventional craft techniques, and a sensory richness is valued more than polite, modern forms. This research is shown with prototypes by 3D design students and recent alumni of Cranbrook Academy of Art.