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College of Design

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Virtual Reality


If you're feeling the need to express your artistic talent and gain experience for your future as an architect, you should consider exploring computer modeling. The University of Minnesota Architecture program teaches you a variety of computer programs including Google Sketchup, AutoCAD, 3DsMax, Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, Kerkythea, etc. These programs will teach you the basics, which will allow you to explore other programs like Rhino and Revit.

For my current studio project, I learned Revit. At first, I was a little hesitant for diving into a program that I've never used, but then I realized how efficient it was. Instead of drawing something three or four times, it draws a wall in 3D, section, plan, and elevation. It also has a rendering feature that makes your model look realistic. And as a student, you get a free 3 year trial from AutoDesk. If you don't have a computer or it's lacking some juice, the Rapson Hall computer lab has Revit. The lab also contains dual screen monitors, which makes modeling much more efficient than on a cramped laptop screen. You can even walk through your virtual model using the new Virtual Reality installation in the Rapson Courtyard!

Next Monday is my review and tomorrow I leave for a trip to the AIAS 2012 Spring Quad Conference in Detroit, MI. Pro Tip: strive to have effective time management so you don't miss out on fun events!

I hope you're looking forward to next week's blog about Detroit!

Architecture-Bachelor of Science
Revit Cabin Renderings


The Reality of "Study Parties"

Everybody gets together with friends on occasion to "do their homework," right? There's also that distinction between doing homework and "studying." Obviously these things exist in college, but I think the delineation is a bit different.

When I got together with my floormates at Middlebrook Hall to do homework, it usually involved some type of materials being nearby or in use. In my case, I was drawing or painting paper (which everyone loved because I took up the whole table), but details schmetails.
Study parties are quite different: we get together, armed with our computers, maybe a textbook if we're lucky. What do a bunch of college students with laptops and a fast WiFi network do? Watch YouTube.

Yes, readers, as a college student, you will find you've become a citizen of Procrasti Nation (bahaha I thought of that this morning). The trick is becoming good at the game: perhaps you've noticed, but I'm no slacker. That doesn't mean I'm not immune to my nights where I get absolutely nothing done. Last night, I meant to start writing internship applications and get myself ready for critique in advanced typography today. Well, I accomplished one of those goals: I got myself ready for critique. After all, the internship application isn't due until Friday, right?


Last night's "study party" at Comstock Hall with my friends Laurel and Ellen.

The point of this entry is to say that as you make friends both in and outside of your major, you will be getting together to hang out and get your work done. That's why I loved the residence halls so much. On the flip side of the same coin, you might get together to watch videos of kittens with fainting goat symptoms (which I think is unfortunate, but of course, my friend Ellen wants one).

Graphic Design BFA

The Importance of Linkedin

Have you heard of Linkedin? Do you know what it is?

If you don't... LISTEN UP! (And if you do, you just earned some brownie points!)

Linkedin, in a nutshell is like Facebook for professionals. Now I know all of you know what Facebook is, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it were in your current tabs on your web browser as you read this. The interesting thing about Linkedin is that it's a networking forum to display credentials, past jobs, current jobs, resume, expertise, etc. It's also a place designed to facilitate communication between professional to professional as well as student/aspiring professional to actual professional. I'm not too sure about feilds outside of design, but I do know that within design dicisplines, Linkedin is a must! Yes, a must! I am not kidding you. And it's great because it's free!


Linkedin has a lot to offer because it's basically a place to sell yourself and meet other people who do what you do (or what you want to do). It's not uncommon for people to find jobs there, in fact, I was almost taken on for a small retail related project (I'm working on a Retail Merchandising minor), but sadly that didn't work out due to some scheduling conflicts. Still though, the fact that that opportunity even presented itself to me should speak volumes to what Linkedin can do for you. I know like I'm selling it big time, but I promise, asides from having an account, I don't actually even have association with Linkedin. I just happen to really love it, I suppose! And I can't recommend it enough. From what I know, it seems like everyone has one (the go getters, anyway, haha) so why not take the plunge and check it out? I promise you won't regret it!!

If you have questions about getting started, feel free to leave me a comment! I'd love to help!

Oh yeah, and click here if you'd like to connect with me!

Until next,
Interior Design

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Being Sick

Today, I woke up feeling quite under the weather. It is clear that it's about that time of year where the seasons are changing and everyone around is getting sick, so much so, that the sickness has managed to make its way to me. Today was a day of struggle; it being one of my busier class days, I had to push myself to go to my classes, when in high school I would have just laid in bed, rested up, and focused on getting healthy. In college, attending classes is a little more necessary, and missing one day can slow down your progress drastically. Over the last three years, I have really learned to revaluate how sick I am and if it's bad enough to miss classes over; because sometimes staying in bed because of a cold is simply not worth it. Obviously, no one can force you to go to class, but that's exactly why it is so dangerous.

But, in the case that you are very, very sick and definitely cannot make it to class, you want to check your schedule and make sure that you don't have much due that day. Make-ups are often not allowed, only with proper documentation from a doctor and even then it can get a little iffy. Another, small thing you can do if this circumstance occurs, is send your professor or T.A. (teaching assistant) an e-mail; this shows respect and that you are invested in the class and do not want to fall behind. But, like I stated earlier, you definitely want to evaluate yourself, because often times a cold is simply not worth missing a class over.


Until next time,
Sasenka-Retail Merchandising

NYC Trip

Hey all,

So i'm finally packed and ready for my trip to NYC! My studio classmates and professor will be traveling to NYC tomorrow and staying through to monday. We're planning on seeing the New York High Line, 9/11 Memorial, visiting Michael Van Valkenburgh Studio's, Central Park of course, and lots and lots of other places! My blog next Wednesday will be jam packed with stories from the trip!

THe High line.jpg

Definitely spend some time going through The High Line website as this is a GREAT project that is winning tons of awards and getting a lot of attention from not only the Landscape Architecture community but from New York City itself. For those of you interested in adaptive reuse of existing structures you'll find The High Line especially interesting once you get into the history of what the structure used to be. (I won't spoil it and instead let you figure it out!) First person to comment and give me the correct answer to that question gets to pick the topic of my post the week after next weeks post on the Trip to NYC!!!

- Eric
Accelerated Bachelor of Environmental Design - May 2011
Masters of Landscape Architecture - Expected May 2013

Our Lovely Facilities

Facilities are an important factor to many prospective design students when choosing their future school. They are places where students tend to spend a lot of time - attending class, working in the studios, researching, studying, doing group projects, etc. One unique feature of the College of Design at the U of M is our facilities, and how they further enable us to think creatively.

mcneal.jpeg Rapson1.jpeg

Being one of the smallest colleges at the U of M, the College of Design is geographically separated into two entities - McNeal Hall on the St. Paul Campus for students in DHA (Design, Housing, and Apparel), and Rapson Hall on the East Bank of the Minneapolis Campus for students in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. While it is debated to this day whether the geographic separation should continue, most students would say they like the small and friendly atmosphere at their respective location and wouldn't have it any other way. Rapson.jpeg

McNeal Hall has been my "home base" for most things school-related in the beginning years of the housing program. Spending time on the St. Paul Campus is great - a completely different world compared to the Minneapolis Campus and just a short bus ride away (via Campus Connector). These days, I've been spending more time in Rapson Hall as I'm currently working on my Architecture minor. Personally, I think both are great - you can check them out for yourself if you come on a campus visit!

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.

NASA: Presentation

Today was the day! Our research group presented to the NASA team via video chat. We created a PowerPoint presentation of all our background literary research, prototyping data and design direction for the future and used it to show the NASA team what we have been working on the past two months.

If you're not familiar with the project, here is a little bit of background information.
NASA has teamed up with our class of apparel design students to create prototypes of electronic textiles. There are 5 different projects ranging from boot and helmet design, to alarm systems integrated into a suit. Our group's project is to design and create a suit to be worn in the space station that incorporates electronic elements such as swatches to turn on a light in dark spaces, operate a heart rate monitor, turn on a fan, etc.

We split up our background into three sections, each focused on by a team member. The three sections of research we decided on were 1) electronic components such as the battery and circuit itself. 2) astronaut living and what the suit needs to accommodate in that nature and 3) the suit itself regarding design, mobility and comfort. I focused on the suit design itself. I researched pain/pressure sensitivity over the body, visibility, accessibility and mobility. Here are an image of the mobility body map I created using my background research:

mobility of body map.jpg

And here is a sketch of our final design direction, hopefully our final suit prototype will look something like this!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An Informatively Fun Event

Today we, design students, had a great opportunity to attend a Retail and Design Trend Panel event. The even had three speakers, who work in design and retail industries, speak to us about their jobs and how they got there. The Speakers were Michelle Lamb, the Editorial Director and Owner of a trend forecasting company called The Trend Curve; Bridget Burke, owner of Bridget Burke Consulting, LLC; and Jennifer Hartley, a Retail Marketer for trends at the Mall of America. The speakers were all fantastic, but I was most intrigued by Michelle Lamb's talk. She spoke generally about her company, how she started, and some specific projects she's worked on as well; she even showed us the color pallet forecast for the year 2013! It's so crazy to think that industries and companies know what colors we are going to like a year before we do. Sometimes, as Michelle shared, they even know five years in advance. Hearing these forecasts and about her job really prompted me to do some research and consider going into this field when I graduate.

Overall, the event was great and very informative. It was only an hour and a half long; and we were even given the opportunity to speak and network with them one on one.

Also here is the color that Michelle Lamb told us will be big in the year 2013. Blue.
(Photo Credit:

Until next time!
-Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's a hard knock life lately...

It's been so busy ever since getting back from spring break! Campus is alive, especially because of the beautiful weather we had on Monday. It's been rough for me though, trying to get back into the swing of things. I got my tonsils out over the Monday of spring break, so a little more than a week ago. photo-1.jpeg I thought by time I got back to school and be antsy and ready to start up with classes again, but boy was I wrong. Recovery from surgery has been a lot harder than I anticipated which has made the transition back to school a little more than rough. I will say I am so thankful for everyone in my life because there has been so much love and care sent my way. My parents were wonderful to be with over break, they took SUCH good care of me. Friends have been great too! I had lots of visitors when I was back at home and still more now that I'm back on campus. In addition, my roommate, Rachel, has been such an angel! She checks up on me regularly and cooks foods that I can eat (like homemade mashed potatoes!!).

As I said, recovery spilled into this week much more than I anticipated and much more than I would prefer. I was unable to go to my first class yesterday, and I actually couldn't get my classes or work today because I was feeling so awful. But again, I'm so appreciative because my boss and my professors have been so flexible and understanding. I made sure to communicate with them and inform them as early in advance as was foreseeable via email/text. It's really nice to know that I'm viewed as a person before anything else, because everyone has truly been concerned with my well-being more than my absence. It's really nice that the University has policies in place which honor notes from the doctor/hospital that way you can have excused absences and make up your work. In the next few days when I'm feeling better, I will go into office hours for my professors and develop game plans to catch up and stay up to date.

Maybe my first few days back haven't gone according to plan, but I can't complain when I know I've got so much love and support behind me.

Interior Design

Staying Focused

Lately, I've been asking myself, "How do I stay focused when I have eight weeks left and it's 80 degrees outside?" This has been an extremely hard semester, even though I am only taking one studio class and working three jobs. (Normally, I'm busier than this.) I find it important to set personal deadlines and goals to accomplish specific tasks so I can enjoy the weather and certain events. In a week I will be leaving for an AIAS conference in Detroit, MI, so I need to finish my studio project before next Tuesday. I kind of wish it was snowing right now so I wouldn't be tempted to go lie in the grass. Working at my studio desk helps me remain focused while allowing me to converse with fellow classmates on my design.

P1020935.JPGStaying in Rapson Hall for a long period of time sometimes results in hunger pains. Good thing there is a myriad of food locations near Rapson Hall - my favorite is Bordertown Coffee. Once a fraternity house, this building was saved by a non-profit organization that opened a coffee shop. It's a perfect place to meet professors, grab lunch (vegan muffins, too), or get a jolt of espresso to keep you going. If you only have a few minutes to grab lunch, the Nolte Restaurant is located across the street. (Nolte History) This little hidden gem contains great entrees and treats. It is also a great study place because of the large dining area. I bet you can't wait to visit these places!

See you soon!

Holly Engle
Architecture - Bachelor of Science

Making Connections

Today was a big day for us housing students as we just finished up our annual Housing Alumni Career Panel. Planned and coordinated by the HOUS (Housing Organization for University Students) group, we all had a great opportunity to connect with those who came before us and have established a variety of different careers in the diverse housing sector. Some graduated from the housing program as long ago as 1980, and some more recently in 2008. Their wide range of careers included positions such as Deputy Executive Director of a county housing authority to a specialist in manufactured cooperative housing communities.


It was great to do some casual networking while gaining insight about future endeavors, say hello to current and past professors, and hang out with my housing friends (we're a pretty small, tight-knit group). I feel that it was a great success and I learned some valuable things that will stay with me for years to come.

ALSO, our major was featured in the Minnesota Daily (the U of M's school newspaper) - highlighting how awesome our major is, click here to check it out.

Hope all is well!

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.

Spring Has Sprung!

As students began filtering back onto the U of M campus from their spring breaks, some great weather was here to meet them. The unusually warm weather has led to a lot of the table and chairs scattered around different campus plaza's to be brought out (and quickly filled by the butts of students. A great spot just outside of Rapson Hall is Lily Plaza (located over the Church St. Garage). All of the chairs and table are out and many students have given up their spots within the libraries to move out into the sunshine to study. (For those of you reading this from a warm climate, this goes to show Minnesota isn't all snow and ice!)
U of M Mall_Spring.jpg
The professors have taken notice off the warm weather as well and have been hosting a number of classes out on the open lawns. It seems they want to be outside just as much as we do! This is another way to show how flexible the professors here at the U of M (and especially within the College of Design)!

This great weather has also lead to an increased amount of planned site visits for my studio class. Tomorrow we will be heading out to Juxtapostion Arts in North Minneapolis to take some important site notes as we build our site model (the College of Design Workshop will be sure to come in handy once again) and begin proposals for development strategies.

I hope you all are enjoying the weather..! (and maybe even reading this blog while sitting outside!)


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

NASA Testing

Happy "Week after spring break"! Its back to work! In my studio class, this semester's NASA project is getting more and more intense! We, as a group, have been finalizing our background research over the past few weeks and now have been moving into the prototyping phase. Over spring break I finished my individualized prototype and outlined my testing guidelines. Yesterday our group got together and conducted our user tests, with the help of volunteers, on our various prototypes.

We created two different prototype suits, a single one piece zip up jumpsuit and one separate jacket type top. We also tested a variety of conductive fasteners, fabrics, etc. together to see how they worked in tandem with the suit.

We tested the mobility, comfort, and ergonomics of the suits themselves. We also tested the ease of attachment of the swatches, the security of the attachment, and ease of detachment.

Here are a few images of our user tests and prototypes!



We will be skyping with the NASA team this Thursday during our class period to present our research and prototypes. At that time they will work with us on how to move forward. We also are working with our professor, the wonderful Dr. Dunne, very closely to get the most out of our project. She, as all our professors are, is amazing at being able to help us out outside of class and is always available to help through email.

I will be sure to share how our presentation and skyping with NASA goes, next week!

Lucie, Apparel Design

Campus Gone Wild

...well, not really. I decided to write this week a little bit more in depth about what it's been like spending all four years' spring break on campus.

When I was living in Middlebrook freshman year, there were quite a few of us on our floor that lived so close that going home wasn't a big novelty for us. Some of us (myself included) also had few friends to see from high school, so going home to see friends wasn't a huge deal either.

My best friend from high school, Brianna, goes to St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Every spring break, I have gone down to St. Kate's one full day to hang out with Brianna, play some board games, watch some TV, and eat another campus's dorm food. Brianna's spring break has always been the week after mine, so it's been a great way to score a couple of free meals while I'm on my break.

Freshman year we also took a trip down to Grand Avenue in St. Paul to visit our friend Evan's old place of work, the Grand Ole Creamery ( Good enough excuse to stay in town in my book.

My sophomore year, the Chipotle on the West Bank was having a buy an item, get an item free special--that was also a really cheap food week!

But beyond just a more relaxed opportunity to hang out with new college friends, get work done, or go see things you haven't seen before, spring break is one of my favorite times to be on campus because of how quiet it is. I'm not opposed to crowds of people (that's a white lie, I'll admit it), but it's a lot of fun to walk down these big sidewalks all by yourself!

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Highlights of Spring Break: Andrew giving Chad a back massage when he was utterly defeated at NSAC; getting my bike back out of the season; running into my friends Aleutian and Robbie out on the (dinky)town!

Until next week,

Graphic Design B.F.A.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Riverfront

Attending the University of Minnesota, the only Big Ten university in a major city, offers an assortment of areas to visit. One of my favorite areas is St. Anthony Main. Fortunately, my internship at Cuningham Group is located there so I have an excuse to visit often. Once referred to as the "flour milling capital of the world," St. Anthony Main offers an assortment of shops, businesses, restaurants, and my favorite part, a movie theatre! The movie theatre, St. Anthony Main Theatre, has discounted tickets for students and validated parking. The perfect date night might include dinner at Minneapolis's oldest restaurant, Pracna, a film, and a stroll across the magnificent Stone Arch Bridge. Venture across the river to tour a great architecture masterpiece - the Guthrie theatre, and downtown Minneapolis.

stone_arch_bridgesm.jpgIf you're looking for some time away from the "big city," hiking through the Father Hennepin Bluffs Park alongside the river can be relaxing and adventurous. This area also contains the new Water Power Park where visitors can experience and learn more about the falls. On a great day like today, many people are enjoying running, biking, and socializing by the river. Remember it is important to broaden your horizons and explore the city outside of the University of Minnesota. You will learn so much about yourself (maybe a hidden interest in historic preservation) and the area!

Have a great week!

Bachelor of Science - Architecture

Rest, Relaxation, and Recovery...?

photo.jpegYup, recovery. It's currently spring break and on monday I had surgery to have my tonsils removed. Basically the timing lined up and spring break was the best time for me to have the surgery and get enough rest. I have a busy summer ahead because I'm planning a trip to New York, I plan on taking a class or two, and I'll probably be working two jobs, so it's pretty clear that this couldn't wait.

So far recovery has been alright. I'm not ecstatic or anything, but it's been a lot better than I anticipated. You can thank sherbet and pain meds for that! Also, being at home, my parents have been lovely about babying me and making sure I'm comfortable.

Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be able to do a little homework or something else that resembles productivity. But for now, I'm honestly just soaking up the life of the lazy ;)

Are you on spring break too? Let me know how's it going!

Till next time,
Interior Design

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Addressing Affordability

It pretty much goes without saying that housing is expensive. Legally, it is perfectly acceptable for a household to spend around 30% of their monthly income on housing-related expenses. When configuring prices of market-rate housing in comparison to average attainable wages, thousands (possibly millions) of households are forced to deal with housing affordability issues, even with a full-time job. A large portion of our studies in the housing program focus on these people and the many ways our nation addresses this affordability issue.

IMG00044-20110929-1635.jpg Equal_Housing1.jpg

The origins of Federal outreach trace back to the New Deal in the late 1930s, setting the foundations for the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and public housing - subsequently leading to a grand series of different acts, amendments, and outreach programs aimed at addressing both housing affordability and the push for increased homeownership. But embedded in these policies were also underlying implementations designed to not only increase affordability, but boost our nation's economy as well. With well over a half century of trial and error, the results of these policies (both negative and positive) are being observed and studied by people like us - attempting to both influence future policies in a balanced direction, and granting everyone the fundamental right of attaining safe and secure housing in America.

Design is problem-solving. Some food for thought.

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.

Keeping In Touch

Being away at college, you often gain new friends and your life changes drastically from how it was. You grow, mature, develop new interests, and become very, very busy. With all this change happening, it becomes very difficult to stay in contact with family and old friends on a regular basis. Yes, there are some who look at this as an opportunity to get away from not-so-great friends or gain freedom with parents, so you may not want regular contact. But for most people there is at least one or two people that they want to stay close to and not loose contact with. For this reason, I thought that I would write about some simple ways of staying in touch.

(my best friends from home)

Even though I am in college and have some of the greatest friends here, my best friends still happen to be my friends from high school; this is not typical, especially for a junior in college. With all us attending different colleges, my friends and I were determined to stay in touch. So we developed a plan on keeping up with one another. Here are three easy tips on how to stay touch with those you love.

Mass Facebook Messaging - Start a mass message thread on facebook, my friends and I have 7 person thread. Whenever something major, or even minor, happens in our lives we write a little something about it. This keeps everyone in the loop and then when we get together, we have able to go off of our messages and into further detail.

Short Daily Texts- Mostly everyone has texting now days, take advantage of that. Acknowledge the important people in your life and let them know that you are thinking of them. This can be done with just a simple "I miss you."

Schedule Time to Talk- Whether it's an individual phone call or mass person skype date, make the time to talk to the valued people in your life, as difficult as it may be, you want them to know you are invested in them.

Hope that was helpful!
-Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Jobs in Water Management Design

This spring break i'm focusing on my summer employment search. After my internship with the Ramsey Conservation District last summer as a design intern, i've done some searching around for similar work and found that numerous watershed management organizations (WMO's) as well as count soil and water departments offer work in the designing of water management systems. Most recently i've interviewed with the Dakota County Soil & Water District for a summer design position. I hope to hear from them in the coming weeks. If interested in this line or work be sure to familiarize yourself with Blue Thumb. This is a program/organization which many of your potential employers are sure to be partnering up with on water management projects!


My philosophy when it comes to looking for summer jobs as students is to "throw as many darts at the board as possible". That is to say that the more options and opportunites you make the more chances you'll be hired (or "get a dart to hit the board"). I'm also very excited about a position with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and hope to hear from them sometime soon.

An education in landscape design and planning or environmental design gives us as students and graduates a VERY large range of jobs we are qualified for. This range widens even further should you decided to pursue a masters degree in Landscape Architecture.

Till next week!

Accelerated Bachelor of Environmental Design - May 2011
Masters of Landscape Architecture - Expected May 2013

No Rest for the Wicked!

You are probably getting sick of me talking about advertising stuff, but it's such a focal point in my life right now that it's hard not to!

So it's spring break this week. Where am I? I'm in McNeal Hall daily from 8 am to 11 am, then I head over to Murphy Hall by 11:30 am where I stay inside working with a great group of students on the National Student Advertising Competition! I started off the week by laying out the first ten pages of our case study that's due to the American Advertising Federation by March 29. Yesterday, we went out into the Saint Anthony Main area of Minneapolis to capture some pictures for our print ads. I wish I could share, but until the competition is over, it's all very hush-hush!


Don't tell me what to do!

Also on the list of things to accomplish this spring break is finalizing five concepts for my Honors thesis project, which is creating a logo and identity system for the U of M Marching Band. I did the typography part of it last week, and hopefully by Monday or Wednesday of next week I will be done with five logo ideas.

I also forgot until this morning that there are three positions I'd like to apply for at a local advertising agency called Colle+McVoy ( Two are internships, and one is a full-time position as an Art Director. The internships are in Account Planning (secondary and primary research, understanding the target audience, drafting creative briefs), and the other is a Digital Studio Artist intern (creating mock-ups for multimedia use, basically...some HTML/CSS coding necessary).

All in all, a busy week!

Graphic Design B.F.A.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break

Its spring break! Spring break comes at just the right time during the semester; when you need a break! I usually head back home to visit family over the week long break, but this time I decided I wanted to go somewhere fun! I am flying out tomorrow to visit two of my friends in New York City! In order to prepare for this trip I did a lot of homework before I left: I spent all of last weekend making and designing tests for my prototype for NASA. I also spent a lot of time making sure I had everything done. While spring break is nice, its only a week so you have to make sure you're caught up with homework, studying, etc. so you're not behind when you get back.

A great thing about being a student is Its site that offers deals reserved for university students, you need a University email to register. I was able to book my flight for a few hundred dollars less than any other travel site I visited. A great thing for travel when you go to the University here and live in the Twin Cities: the Light Rail and Airport. The light rail is a train that runs from downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America, stopping inside the terminals at the airport. I can catch a bus from my house to the light rail which drops me off right in the airport: it makes travel easy. And good news, the light rail is being extended and will run all the way down University Ave by 2014!

Here is a picture from my last trip to NY! Those are dresses created by the Project Runway contestants, made out of candy!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Break Approaching!!!

Eric_SpBr'10.jpgAhhh that amazing word that only college students truly understand. For some its a time for wild vacations, others time to visit home, and even more simply time to relax and catch up on their favorite shows or hobbies. Last year I went to South Padre Island, Texas with a few roommates and had a great time both down there and the road trip down. (I highly recommend a college road trip with some good friends to all college students!) The year before that Cancun, Mexico. To that point I had never been out of the country, so I figured it was about time I break that trend. This year however I'll be keeping it low key and relaxing. However, much like winter break, spring break is a great time to catch up on things outside of school. I plan to follow up on a few internship leads and buff up my online resume. Speaking of jobs, I received a position as a Landscape Designer with Metro Blooms this past week! Its only part-time, but hey experience is experience right? Life as a College of Design Student can get hectic at times so its important to take full advantage of these great academic breaks and recharge the batteries and have some fun! (oh and it was almost 60 degrees here in Minneapolis today! To put it lightly after today's weather... EVERYONE on campus is ready for spring break!)

Hope you all enjoy your spring breaks!

- Eric

Accelerated Bachelor of Environmental Design - May 2011
Masters of Landscape Architecture - Expected May 2013

Think before you schedule

So today, I think I'll talk to you guys bit about classes, particularly my schedule. The great, and sometimes not so great, thing about college is that you get to choose what time and day you take your class. This great positive can at times be a negative. Here's why.
This semester, I am taking 20 credits, which is quite alot; often times, however, it doesn't even seem like I am taking that many. This is because with the schedule I've worked out, I have class only three days of the week; this, is both good and bad, it really depends on how I choose to spend my time. For me, there are weeks in which I am very productive and make use of my free time, but there are also the times where I choose to procrastinate; and having all that free time often makes it worse. Even though I enjoy having as much "free time", it can sometimes become overwhelming. How can this be you ask? Well, having class only three days of the week usually means that all of the classes are crammed into those three days, three very long days. Another downfall, is that with all the classes crammed, as such, tests are likely to fall around similar times and often on the same day. For example, this past Monday I had three tests and a project all due within a ten hour time span; it was stressful to say the least, but I got through it. Basically, today, I thought I would advise you to be wise and aware of your time and how you schedule your classes, because sometimes the things that seem as if they will make our life easier often make them harder in other aspects.

(the deceiving schedule)
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Well, I hope you take these words into consideration when it comes time to schedule your classes!
-Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Best Pitch: Selling Your Ideas With Style

Last week Wednesday, I attended a graphic design event called "Best Pitch". This event was put on by the Design Student and Alumni Board, or DSAB (they host lots of awesome events throughout the year). The focus and breakdown of Best Pitch was to bring graphic design professionals in to teach and story tell how to best pitch an idea. It was a very fun event, great atmosphere, interesting and entertaining! I was hesitant to go initially because I'm not a graphic designer, but after the fact I don't know what I was worried about. The design industry has a lot of overlap, and I learned so much that I can and will apply to interior design, and life really.

IMG_0046.JPGFirst we heard from Jane Tilka from Tilka Design. She was very insightful and made for a great first presenter! Her advice for pitching ideas was to go through this process:

Present (the pitch!)

I loved how she broke it down into a very clear and concise chain of steps, I will definitely be mindful of this when presenting and pitching my ideas both design related and not!

IMG_0048.JPGAfter Jane, we heard from Rett Martin from Clockwork. He was awesome! Very laid-back, personable and funny too! For his presentation, he showed us a digital app that Clockwork was pitching to Surly Brewing Co. He broke down the steps and features of the app and then related them to successful strategies for pitching. In a quick re-cap, this is what his process is:
Get Simple
Question the Solution
Demonstrate your Expertise
Get Responsive
Get Social
Speak the Language
Get Innovative
Get the Client Excited

Through this steps and bullet points, I was able to get a better understanding of how one relates to their client and I am excited to apply these tips to my future encounters.

IMG_0057.JPGAfter Rett, we then heard from Jes Lahay from LaBreche who was quirky, fun and very smart! Upon taking the floor, the first thing she told us was that her glasses were not prescription, her vision is 20/20, but she wanted "the look" of a creative. Maybe you had to be there, but she was hilarious! She also had wonderful things to say about how important and helpful mood boards can be. I was especially excited to hear that since interior design focuses heavily on "pitching" with the use of such boards (also referred to as concept boards). In her closing words, she said "you've got 6 minutes to win it" and by that, she meant that the impression you give your client in 6 minutes is usually enough for them to make up their mind, so don't blow it!

IMG_0069.JPGLast, but certainly not least, we heard from Darryl Kluskowski from Yamamoto. He was excellent and had a great balance between facts/advice and humor. He talked about how it's important to dress the part and create an image of yourself based on how you'd like to be perceived. He also had some funny one-liners like "Don't show up and throw up" or "The answer is always kittens". Of course he went on to elaborate that by not throwing up, he meant that you should not overwhelm your client with too much information all at once, but instead be tactful and thoughtful in what and how you present. And as for the kittens, of course, he is very right (they ARE always the answer), but he also elaborated and went on to say that client appeal is a major factor in pitches.

I can't say enough about how much I loved Best Pitch! I learned a lot, and I am so excited for next year's event as well as all of the other DSAB events that the year has in store.


Do you have any questions about CDes events? Interested in attending one? Leave me a comment and I'll give you the scoop!

Until next,
Interior Design

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reporting from the Field

So as I think I blogged about four times, last Friday was the Student Advertising Summit. This year's event was so fantastic, and I had a lot more fun this year than I did last year. This was because of two things: one, I am part of the National Student Advertising Competition now, so I had plenty of friends to talk, mingle, and attend breakout sessions with; two, I am a user of Twitter and Foursquare now, so it was really entertaining to take part in the social chatter in real time.

My friends Jenny, Molly and I ready to start a day of learning and networking at the annual Ad Fed/Ad2 Student Advertising Summit.

This event brings up some important points that I can't recall if I've talked about before. First of all, it's important to network like crazy. I didn't start networking until the spring of my junior year, and honestly, I wish I'd started sooner. It's also really important to do internships that contribute to your experience directly--one of the first things that many presenters asked at the SAS was how many of us had interned somewhere before.

Another really beneficial part of the day was going through portfolio review. It's REALLY important to get your work out there for professionals to look at as soon as possible. I had a review with an Associate Creative Director from a local advertising agency called Periscope (, and a Creative from a local design and advertising shop called mono ( That last one I was terrified for because mono does incredible work. Come to find out, I'm a good designer, I just need to start expanding my ideas more so I can become a good art director too!

Graphic Design B.F.A.

Busy, Busy, Busy

5510674830_2cd03fc5e3_z.jpgWhat a week it has been! Instead of telling you about just one thing, I'll give you the highlights from some amazing events I attended over the last week. Last Thursday, I went to the annual Videotect screening at the Walker. Hosted by AIA-MN, Videotect had 39 entries this year, which is quite impressive for only being the second year. Architecture students that studied abroad in Japan over winter break submitted videos. If you want to get inspired, I would suggest watching all of them!

On Saturday, I attended the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Forum on the U of M and Augsburg campuses. The day opened with a presentation from the past President of South Africa, F.W. De Klerk, who won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela. Jonathan Mann from the CNN International Desk moderated his question and answer session! My first workshop was about the Harry Potter Alliance. Sounds kind of silly, right? NobelForum.jpgThe Harry Potter Alliance is about fighting the Dark Arts in the real world. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you will enjoy the way this non-profit organization focuses on social justice issues. Check it out! Then I watched the Amanda Award winning film "Reunion: 10 Years After the War," which made me appreciate my life here in Minnesota. Everyone should consider taking his or her enemy to lunch to have an insightful conversation. The day ended with a video address from another Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. This event made me realize the importance of designers. How do we change the world through design? Can we change the world through play like Ze Frank, internet performance artist? (Check out his TEDtalk)

gallery_03.jpgAfter studio on Monday, I attended the first lecture in the School of Architecture Catalyst Lecture Series. Hilary Dana-Williams, a graphic designer and assistant professor at Drake University, presented her work on local food systems across the country. She uses graphic design to capture her audience and encourage them to change by presenting ideas in a certain way.

I hope these events inspire you as much as they've inspired me!

Architecture - Bachelor of Science

NASA: Prototyping

Its NASA time, everyone! We've finally moved on from the initial research phase to the prototyping phase. My group is very excited! We have split up our work into three sections, each to be completed by one group member. In our program here at the University a lot of the research work you do is in groups. This is great because you get to see a problem from all angles, and come up with a ton more solutions than you would be able to do on your own. It also is a way to split up research into smaller, more focused parts so you get to concentrate on what you really are interested in.

Our group is testing different types of conductive thread, yarn and fasteners. We also are making two separate initial prototypes to test mobility and comfort of the entire suit. And finally we will be testing ideal positioning and location of the actual conductive swatches on the suit. We will be testing our prototypes on a few volunteers, interviewing them on their range of motion, access to the swatches and general comfort.

Here is a photo of my initial prototype that I worked on this Saturday:


The prototype I made (above) has two different types of joints at the shoulders. I created these from manipulating pattern pieces (you will learn about pattern manipulation in Studio II) The zipper down the front will be the "switch" completing the entire circuit. The shorts are removable via the zips around the torso. We are planning on testing this and our other prototypes over and the week after spring break, more on the results then!

Lucie, Apparel Design

Nice Weather We're Having, eh?

Midterm exam week has arrived here at the U of M and it seems that mother nature has given us with a day of lovely spring weather as a reward for all of our hard work. Temps are up in the mid-50s (t-shirt and shorts weather for Minnesotans) and everyone is loving it! It feels great being outdoors and taking in the warm weather during such a busy and hectic time of year - it's been a while since I've walked under the West Bank skyways instead of inside of them!


I snapped few photos of the Weisman Art Museum (my favorite building ever) on the East Bank Campus while avoiding indoor environments today, thought I'd share a few.


Aside from the amazing weather and repeated midterm cram sessions, I'm looking forward to a relaxing and well deserved spring break next week. So close, yet so many things to do before then. My compulsive note-taking is beginning to backfire. I best get back to work!


- Jesse LaMaack - Housing Studies, B.S.