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College of Design

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

National Student Exchange

nse.jpgSo, a week or so ago, I went to an informational session for a program called "National Student Exchange". Similarly to study abroad programs, NSE is a program that gives students the opportunity to study at another college/university in the nation (or even Canada). Something especially cool about NSE is that a lot of the time you still get to pay the tuition of the U, even if it's cheaper than going to the school you decide on! I was looking at a few schools in various places, and chances are if I go at all, it will just be for one semester. I love the U of M and I love the Twin Cities, I'm not even sure I'll want to go anywhere else for an entire semester. But if I do, it's nice to know the U has my back and such programs exist to make experiences like this possible.

world_600w.jpegIn the next couple of weeks, I'm going to make sure I do some research on studying abroad, as in entirely out of the country. I want to compare my favorite schools from each option and make a decision based on what I find.

I know I have plenty of time because I probably won't leave until Spring 2014 in accordance with my 4-year gradation plan, but it's honestly never too early to start in on these things because it will only leave you with an advantage.

I'll let you know my thoughts when I've researched study abroad!

Interior Design

The Daily Adventure

One of my favorite parts of being a housing student is that we get the rare opportunity to personalize the major based on our personal interests, revolving around one of the five areas of concentration. For most of us including myself, this gives us some freedom to cross disciplines and try new things. As I'm pretty much rapping up my core housing coursework this semester and diving into my technology concentration, my new spring semester routine is anything but dull. Here's what a typical Tuesday/Thursday is like for me (note that I somehow found a way to cram my 15 credit schedule into three days a week) :

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Depending on the weather, and also my highly variable early morning attitude, I will make my way to the West Bank Campus either on foot or by bus (how many people honestly get the opportunity to walk over the Mississippi River every morning, right?). After some coffee and a glance at the Minnesota Daily, I head to my Housing Policy course at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at half past nine. Housing Policy is pretty much the highlight of my week so the two hours fly by and before I know it I'm on headed to the Bell Museum of Natural History on East Bank for my Architecture and Ecology class. I have a 20 minute break in between, enough time to take the bus or walk (the weather was amazing today, so I got some exercise).

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After Architecture and Ecology, I get an hour for lunch and head to work at Admissions for a few hours in Jones Hall. Then I'm on my way to Smith Hall for my Design Fundamentals I (famously known as DF1) course. If the weather is being ridiculous, I can always make it from Jones Hall to Smith Hall through the Gopher Way tunnel and skyway system. After DF1, I hop on the Campus Connector en route to the St. Paul Campus, relax a bit, and go to my housing class where we work with ArcGIS (Geographic Information System). ArcGIS is basically a really great modern-day cartography program that allows us to analyze and assess housing and geography through mapmaking. I could go on all day about how much you can do with it.

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By the time I'm home it's pushing 10:00 p.m. and will often join my friends and roommates for a late "family dinner" before I start winding down and finish some final touches on my studio assignments (below), due on Wednesdays. A long day, but definitely not boring (and I have Mondays and Fridays off!). I always come home with a good story or two about my day to share with friends. I love it here. :]

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Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.

Much Ado about A Lot of Stuff

It's the third week of class, and I already think that this semester might be even more hectic than fall semester! And I thought I barely survived last time!

This past Wednesday, I was appointed the Art Director in my Magazine Editing and Production class. Basically what that means is that I'll be responsible for everything visual in the magazine--the design, assigning photography requests, finding art, and maintaining copyright info. It's going to be insane.

Also, I was recently appointed the Lead Designer of the National Student Advertising Competition here at the U of M. We had a lead designer, but due to some attendance issues, I'm the new guy! I'm very excited to step into this role. I will be helping to execute/mock up all of the ads we produce in our campaign, as well as designing the book that we have to turn in to the American Advertising Federation (AAF). I recruited one of my graphic design friends to help me with this project--my design buddy Lindsey.

Last week in Advanced Typography, we were creating books of different typographic layouts of a single letter. I had the letter O. All I could say was, "Challenge accepted." I'm really proud of the final result, and my classmates appreciated that I didn't back down from a seemingly boring letter!

Last update is that I'm trying to hash out what to put in my portfolio as I graduate. I'm working on this with the help of Greg Pickman (whom I mentioned a couple entries ago), and I also have an informational interview with an art director from the advertising agency I want to work at on Sunday. Hopefully I will be hard at work at that soon!

PS we just found out this week that the commenting feature wasn't working correctly on our blogs. I'd love to see some comments for things you'd like to hear about or see! This is for you, after all!

Graphic Design B.F.A.


My final assembled book for Advanced Typography. You can see it closer in this pdf.

Window Shopping

One of the great things that the College Of Design provides for its student is The Mentor Program in which they match students with a mentor that works in their field of interest. This program allows juniors and seniors to gain personal direction, knowledge, and understanding about the industry they will be working in before actually entering it.

The awesome thing about the 5-month program is that it has minimal structure; students and mentors get to choose what they will be covering and when they will meet up. Students typically meet with their mentors once or twice a month and go over the specific topics they decided upon; these topics vary and include anything from networking, building a portfolio, and whatever else the mentor and student find necessary.

My mentor is a business owner who gets to travel around the world and work in design management. I am actually meeting with my mentor today, Wednesday, February 1st. We are planning to get together at the Mall of America to grab lunch as well as to visit stores. We are going to go to stores, which are doing well, and store that are doing not so well. Observing their store layout and displays, she will be developing my visual merchandising skills by teaching me how to understand which tactics work and which don't. I am very excited to venture out and learn from someone inside the field.

Store windows will be just one of the things we will be observing
(photo credit:

Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Landscape Architecture within the U of M

Those of you who have already visited the U of M might already have taken notice of the great features of Landscape Architecture located right on the U of M grounds, but for those that haven't here's a quick over view.

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First things first, the University Mall which is arguably the focal point of the Minneapolis campus is a place of constant movement and interaction which provides a great place for students and faculty alike to get out and enjoy the outdoors! Landscape Architecture has so much to do with the interaction and movement of people and the Mall is a great place to relax and study this.

Next up is the Scholars Walk which bisects the University Mall. The walk serves as a connection point from the Alumni Center to the opposite end of the East bank (meaning it intersects with The Mall). It makes for a pleasant walk and is loaded with numerous seating elements if you have some time between classes and choose to take a rest.

I could go on and on, but the last item i'll highlight is perhaps one of the greatest and most overlooked attributes of the University of Minnesota. The Mississippi River. It runs adjacent to campus and gives students a great chance for recreation. It has also sparked a large design competition via the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition!

Everything from very historic landscapes to modern ones dedicated to education to landscapes which are still to come can all be found in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota!

Hope you enjoyed this quick over view and be sure to do some exploring on your own when you're in town. There's a hidden gem of Landscape Architecture found between Vincent Hall and Murphy Hall that i'll let you find for yourself (It was actually designed by one of the founders of the Landscape Architecture program at the U of M!)

Accelerated Bachelor of Environmental Design - May 2011
Master of Landscape Architecture - May 2013


The work for NASA has been continuing! So far its been a lot of reading and research, but this week we started the hands on part of the project which was awesome! Our assigned mini project was to create a circuit that would power two LED devices and would be powered by some sort of switch. The switch was to be of our own design using a variety of medium from conductive fabric and thread to metal snaps and tape.

I created a circuit powered by a battery pack, complete with a resistor and two LEDs that lit up when the switch was connected. I created my switch by making a type of arm with velcro and conductive fabric. Check it out below!



Above is a picture of my complete circuit with the lights lit up! So excited! As you can see, I used conductive thread throughout the entire circuit to create a complete path for the electricity. The other shot is a close up of my switch. I then used a small piece of conductive fabric (actually woven metal/silver fibers woven together) to create a connection that was detachable for my switch.

In the next few weeks we will start to use our knowledge gained in the above activity to brainstorm and being prototyping for our actual NASA projects. My group's project is all about e-textiles, so we will for sure be using a lot of circuity, etc. I can't wait to share more with you all!

I hope to see all of you at the Dean's Reception in February!

Lucie, Apparel Design

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

School and Friends

It is the second week of the semester and everyone is starting to settle into classes. We have survived the first week and are now ready to attack the new semester. So far I am really enjoying all of my class, I am particularly eager about Marketing (MKTG 3001), Visual Merchandising (RM 3243), and Dress, Society and Culture (RM 4212W). These classes are some of the required classes for the Retail Merchandising program, and not only do they seem like they will be interesting but very useful as well. I can't wait to see how these classes develop and all that I will be learning in them.

Another thing that makes these classes wonderful is community. Because the Retail Merchandising program is not an overwhelming large program, it is super easy to make friends within it. I can honestly say that I have had at least a few familiar faces in almost every one of my classes. Since my freshman year, I have not only become acquainted with most of the retail majors from my grade, I have also developed some really close friendships as well. One of my really good friends from the program and I even started a fashion blog together.
Developing a community is very important, whether they are in your major or not. However, having a group of friends that you are able to study, network, and relate with is very beneficial, both for your time in and out of school.

This is my friend joe who I have the fashion blog with, he is one of my closest friend within the major.

-Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Welcome to the 4th Floor: Interior Design Central

The fourth floor of McNeal Hall is home of the interior design department at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I may be biased when I say this, but it's definitely my favorite part of campus. This is for many reasons, but to name a few, it's where all of my interior design peers have thir studio courses, it's where all of our resources and supplies are located, and it's where I am able to produce my best work.

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Room 475 is our resource room. It contains many supplies, material samples, tools, and drafting tables. This room is holds studio classes, but it is also available for students to have work time.

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Below are some photos of another studio space in Mcneal, room 475. This is where my studio section meets on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

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In the hallways we have bulletin boards that keep us posted on University and Design specific information. There are also lounge areas, lockers for storing portfolios/supplies/projects/etc. The instructor offices are also at the end of the hallway for easy access.

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If you ever wanna see it in person, you can arrange a tour here!

Until next time,
Ashley Ochiagha
Interior Design

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Resources!

Winter break was an exciting time for the Office of Information Technology in the College of Design apparently, as they opened a new lab in McNeal Hall!

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CDes' new open lab in McNeal Hall!

I had the fortune of going down to visit this new lab the other day when I was working on an advanced typography assignment, and didn't realize the software I had at home wasn't compatible with the new software in the labs.

This probably sounds like a problem, but the fact that the College of Design keeps us up to date on industry-standard software is really great! I'm just at a point in my career that I don't want to buy Creative Suite 5.5 when I spent the money on Creative Suite 5 last fall.

Anyway, this new lab is really a great resource because the large format printing area is much more spacious now than it used to be. In addition to about a dozen iMac workstations, there are also a few open spaces in the desks with access to power strips and network cables where you can plug in your personal laptop to get a quick charge and internet!

One thing that used to be a big problem, especially for Graphic Design students, was that the printer in the lab wasn't color calibrated properly. Well, later this semester, they're going to have a color calibrated monitor set up in the new lab where we can preview the colors we'll be getting from the printer in order to avoid paying for print jobs that don't look as good as they should.

It's probably really geeky to be excited over a new computer lab, but I am anyway! Check out the CDes-IT post about the new lab at

Patrick Puckett
Graphic Design B.F.A.

In Today's Market, We're a Hot Commodity

foreclosed-house-300x225.jpgThe last decade has shown us all how heavily the housing market influences our nation's economy. Advances in technology and communication have given rise to an increasingly complex home lending industry, surpassing previous regulatory standards and sending America into an economic recession. While signs of recovery are being observed, unemployment is still widespread and overall economic growth is slow at best. While many of today's college students fear they will be diving into an uncertain job market upon graduation, most of us housing students aren't so worried.

Regardless of economic conditions, housing-related expenditures consistently make up over one fifth of our nations Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - it is something that makes up a significant part of nearly every household budget. America's housing stock has proven invaluable to our economy, and the recent housing crisis has only increased the demand for the handful of us who have devoted years to facing these tough housing issues. There will always be jobs in housing, and our skills are needed now more than ever in both the public and private sectors.

Whether it be rewriting fraudulent mortgages to help families stay in their home, assisting in the development of affordable housing, rehabilitating neighborhoods, or guiding public policy - there is a lot of work to be done, and a lot of opportunities to be had. Design is all about problem solving, and housing is something that is constantly being re-assessed to maintain the vitality of our nation. It's actually pretty exciting.

Jesse LaMaack - Housing Studies, B.S.


Community Service Learning

First thing you're probably wondering is "what is Community Service Learning?" Community Service Learning allows students the opportunity to acquire important new knowledge, skills, and civic competencies while providing services to distressed urban and rural communities. Community Service Learning is taking place throughout the country as well as here at the University of Minnesota.

The University of Minnesota's Community Service Learning is quite extensive in that this past year alone it was a part of over 100 courses taught at the U of M. These classes were offered from introductory level courses up through the more advanced courses.

I have personal experience with the Community Service Learning department from a course I took spring of my junior year. The course was taught through the Geography department and gave the option to complete a Community Service Learning Internship as a way of fulfilling one of the course requirements. I applied and received a spot on the group that would be working with Seward Redesign. Make a long story short, not only did I fulfill a course requirement, but I also received an additional credit by completing the Internship.


Have a good week!

Eric Maass
Bachelor of Environmental Design - May 2011
Master of Landscape Architecture - May 2013


IMG_1906.JPGGood news! I get to design cabins in my final studio! The first assignment is to build a cabin sleeping four people out of SIPs(Structural Insulated Panel) that can be transported in a Ford F-150 pickup truck. My main goal for this project is to have the least amount of panels. In my first attempt, I succeeded with an 8' x 8' floor plan. One flaw with this design is that most small wood stoves will produce too much heat for this space, so I must research different types of stoves. When we are finished with this project, we will be displaying it at the Lake Home and Cabin Show in February at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Spectators will vote on the best cabin. Wish me luck!

IMG_1913.JPGOur next project will be working with a client to design a cabin on Lake Vermilion, which located in the Iron Range of Minnesota. From February 3-5th, we will be snowshoeing to our sites near Lake Vermilion. While we are there, we will measure the site and visit other cabins. The great thing about this studio is working with a real client. Although we won't be building our final designs, it is important to learn how to converse with clients. Pro Tip: shadow an architect often to learn communication skills.

I hope all of you are looking forward to the Dean's Reception in February!

Holly Engle
Bachelor of Science, Architecture

Monday, January 23, 2012


I promised you some exciting news last week, so here it is! This semester our studio class will be working in collaboration with NASA engineers and designers to create prototypes of garments for astronauts to use on the Mars mission! I cannot wait! My team of two classmates and myself will be focusing on electronic textiles that the astronauts wear while inside the space station or shuttle craft. This is called a flight suit, an example of the current suit is below:


As you can see, its rather bulky and unappealing, aesthetic wise. The astronauts wear these constantly while in the shuttle and they can be awkward to wear when trying to work. Because of the anti-gravity everything floats in space, so the biggest obstacle to this project is to create quick attachment and detachment of controls, tools and displays to the suit. These have to have power supplied to them through some sort of attachment, as well as other conductors to transfer data.

I worked on an e-textiles project similar to this last semester. I blogged about the solar powered bag I designed and created a few weeks ago. I will be using some of the knowledge I gained in that project while working with NASA. If all goes well, our solar bag design will be shown in the international convention in Newcastle, United Kingdom this summer! Here is a shot of the promotional poster with our design featured!


This project with NASA will span the next three and a half month and will end with a convention in Houston, TX. Our class is being flown down to speak and present our prototypes! An amazing opportunity, I cannot wait to jump into the design process!

I will be sure to keep you updated!

Lucie Mulligan, Apparel Design

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Few Loose Ends..

A few blogs ago I promised you all a final picture of the model my group member and I created for our studio final. Well, here it is! This model is made of MDF Board. The side of the buildings were painted to ensure continuity and give it a nice sleek and clean look. studio_model_pic.jpg

Again, we used various 3d modeling computer programs and the CNC Router in the CDes Digital Fabrication Lab We used this model as part of our studio presentation. Pairing it with a number of analytical drawings and real life renderings (like this one!) traffice_large_space_Aerial_poster_filtered.jpg These additional figures are important to ensure that you properly get your ideas across to your professors (or in a few years, to your clients!) The image to the left was created using a FREE program called SketchUP and Adobe Photoshop. A person is able to creat in Sketchup a real life 3d model of his/her project. It also has tools that allow for shadows to be cast (you define the day/time to cast certain shadows). You can then export a 2D graphic from sketchup and bring it into photoshop to add some finishing touches. You'll find that bouncing between different programs to create a single image is useful and very necessary. Luckily there are classes that teach you all about these computer programs, so no need to worry about that.

And now begins a new semester! Take care everyone.

Eric Maass
Accelerated Bachelor of Environmental Design - May 2011
Master of Landscape Architecture - Map 2013

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Working Out On Campus

I have just recently decided that I need to start getting into better shape. So far all I have been doing is using the elliptical in my apartment and walking almost everywhere on campus. However, next week I am planning to start working-out at the University Recreation Center, which we on campus call The Rec. I am slightly embarrassed that I have only taken advantage of this place a few times, especially because it has so much to offers.

The Rec. has much exercise equipment available for use. A great variety of cardio equipment and strength training machines dominate the first two levels of the building, which is located on the Minneapolis campus. The basement holds a pool in which students and other members are freely allowed to use on a daily basis. Also, the top floor holds gyms for recreational sports and games. My favorite thing about the The Rec, however, are the fitness classes offered. Every semester a free weeklong trail of all the fitness classes is offered to students and members. Attending these classes typically costs about $5 for a daylong pass and $55 for the semester; is the only extra cost when using The Rec. However, during this specific week, which is called "Jam Week," all classes are free. This is so that we can check out which classes we like or don't like without having to pay for them. The classes offered range from dance to yoga to cycling. This year I'm going to try out as many classes as I can and find some great ones to stick with.

(Photo Credit:

Sasenka -Retail Merchandising

The First Day

I realize that my readers are all anxiously awaiting the Tuesday after Labor Day to have their first day, but I wanted to share how excited I was about my last "first day" today.

The first week of classes is a thrill no matter whether it's your first or last semester. Obviously after one term, you've made friends that you try to stick with (I like to call them "Design Buddies," i.e., the people that mutually keep one another from having nervous breakdowns on occasion). On that first day of class, though, no matter who you're with, it's always fun to look at your syllabi and get excited about all of the new skills you'll be gaining.

I started my day with Advertising in Society today. It was a pretty small class at about 35 students. Then I spent four hours at work. Then I spent an hour and a half at the National Student Advertising Competition.


Nicholson Hall, where my Advertising and Society class is held.


Walter Library, where I work.


Relatively empty Campus Connector on the way to St. Paul.


Coming up to McNeal Hall for my evening portfolio class.

Finally, I got to the class I'd been waiting for all day: Graphic Design Portfolio. All I can say is that Greg Pickman is hands down the most useful, informative, and generous graphic design faculty member on the planet. He'll stretch and challenge you, but not to the breaking point. He's the most enthusiastic and helpful person I've ever learned from. He gives you crazy ideas and then helps you figure out how to execute them.

Best person to learn from. EVER. And he's an adjunct faculty member right here at the U of M.

Back to this notion about the first week being really exciting, though. In high school, you pack all the new stuff into one day and then it's done. In College, you can have a whole bunch of new things in a week depending on your schedule. For example, tomorrow I have a completely different class load: Ice Skating, Advanced Typography, and Magazine Editing and Production.

Plenty to be excited about. Two "first days" for the price of one.

Patrick Puckett
Graphic Design B.F.A.

Studio Recap

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Since I'm starting my final studio course tomorrow, I would like to recap on some past studio projects that I found interesting and fun. Beginning fall 2010, Studio I dealt with a community park in the Cedar-Riverside community. We had to design a park containing a community center, seating, and covered areas. After making some paper diagrams, we created plaster models. Working with plaster is beautiful, difficult, messy, and rewarding. It is an experience everyone should attempt. It allows a student to think about the negative space (creating the formwork) and material. The final product was a park made out of museum board and plaster.

Studio II was taught by an amazing professor, Nat Madson. His ability to create worthwhile assignments that were both rigorous and complex was impressive. For my favorite project, we were assigned certain categories. My category was Brading the Experience, a collection of taxidermied animals on the Isle of Wight in England. My mission was to design a museum on campus that would contain these animals. I focused on how the animals were displayed by creating a hallway with heads and a study room containing the rest of the animal's bodies. The museum was designed to be placed between the Recreation Center and Cooke Hall. During this project, I was able to experiment with acrylic, spray paint, and design.
Photo Sequence of Space

Being an architecture student at the University of Minnesota has allowed me to have fun, be creative, and learn about practical design. I'm excited to see what Studio IV brings.

Until next week,

Holly Engle
Architecture, B.S.


bloggy1.jpgIt went so well! I got plenty of sleep the night before and woke up well rested and ready to start my day. It's nice because my roommate and I both have 8:30 AM class in St. Paul on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We woke up at about the same time, got ready, had breakfast and coffee, and then hopped on the campus connector St. Paul bound. We arrived on the St. Paul campus with time to spare so we were both about 10 minutes early to our first classes of the day. I liked being early to my first class because it gave me time to settle down and get my note taking materials prepared. I also got to do some socializing and catching up with fellow students that I hadn't seen in about a month which I enjoyed!

Today I had my Interior Design Lecture and Studio (IDES 1602) and I also had my Foundations of Color studio (GDES 1312). Everything went really well in all of my classes--nothing out of the ordinary, just your usual syllabus review and get to know you stuff.

In IDES 1602 lecture, we went over the Elements and Principles of design and then during studio, we got our first assignment. In GDES 1312, we did some general get to know you stuff, then we broke into groups and each created a design out of sample paint chips which was an interesting and refreshing task! Here's a picture of my group and our paint chip design!
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Tomorrow I have Fundamentals of Management (MGMT 3001) and Multichannel Retailing (RM 2215). MGMT 3001 will be my first class on the west bank in over a year, but I'm definitely excited for the change of pace! Afterwards I'll head back to good old St. Paul for RM 2215 in Ruttan Hall.

I'm sure tomorrow will go just as well as today did, but wish me luck!

Ashley Ochiagha
Interior Design