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College of Design

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Career Options

Hi friends, I hope you all are enjoying your summer, because it's definitely zooming by! Today, I wanted to create a small list of careers that Retail Merchandising majors typically have an interest in. Keep in mind that the career descriptions that I list below are only overviews and that they will vary depending on the company that you work for. So without further adieu, here are three interesting career options to look into.

Buyer - A buyer is an individual who is responsible for selecting products that will be sold within a particular retail market. A buyer must be very aware of trends, but more importantly the consumer of that particular retailer that they are buying for. They must know what that target consumer is seeking and desiring product-wise so that they can provide them with the correct product.

Product Development Manager/Coordinator- A simple description of this job is the designing and developing of new products or improvement of existing ones. Product development requires being aware of what is missing within a consumer market and developing a product, or way, of fixing the void.

Visual Merchandiser- This job requires creativity, a visual merchandiser designs and develops store layouts and displays to promote sales within a store. They not only look at what is appealing for customers while shopping, but also what will be most convenient and inviting.

Obviously, there are MANY more career options than just these three, but these will definitely give you a place to start researching!

career.jpg (Picture Credit:

Sashka- Retail Merchandising

Spontaneous Relocation to South Dakota

After a few weeks of leisurely lake life back at home in Southwest Minnesota, my lack of productivity was beginning to make me antsy. As a person who really likes keeping busy, I felt compelled to find real employment of some sort rather than spend the summer working for my parents and picking rocks out of the fields (i.e., rock picking). During my three-year hiatus from rural farm life, I had nearly forgotten that finding a job worthy of being put of my résumé is hard to come by in Minnesota's prairie hinterlands. After putting forth a solid effort to find decent work off the farm, my search yielded few possibilities.


In the midst of this situation, a good buddy of mine from high school now living in (Sioux Falls, SD) was having a crisis of his own after his roommate at the time packed up and left, without finding anyone to pay rent in her place. With Sioux Falls being only an hour or so away from my hometown, I saw this as a window of opportunity to get a job and get back on the grind. After staying in Sioux Falls for a few days, I landed a sales position at Best Buy. Now I'm spending my summer working, enjoying civic life once again, and making new friends. I also joined a beach volleyball team!

Because I'm a housing major, I obviously can't help but subconsciously analyze the housing around these parts and thought I'd share a few of my observations with you all. Starting with my own housing situation in Sioux Falls, I live in an apartment building that was once a hotel. It has been completely renovated and expanded to places of residence, and was well executed, but it still gives off hotel vibes (pool and hot tub on the main floor, among other typical hotel amenities), which is interesting.


My other housing observation/experience was when a friend took us on a weekend retreat to her family's house in rural South Dakota. As you can see in the picture, they live in the middle of a wind farm. The house's surrounding landscape was grass, crops, and wind turbines as far as the eye could see, which was also pretty interesting.

I'll check back in with you all in a few weeks!

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.

"If you don't know Rapson, then you can't rap, son"

This statement was made by my friend Nic H. last year about your home on campus for the next four years. College of Design is located on two campuses: East Bank and St. Paul campus. McNeal Hall in St. Paul is home for our apparel design, graphic design, housing studies, interior design, retail merchandising, and the Goldstein Museum of Design. Rapson Hall was named after our beloved former head of School of Architecture and notable architect, Ralph Rapson. Originally built in 1960 and went under renovation in 2002. It is home for School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

Since we are design students, let me show you some of my favorite spots inside Rapson Hall in a different way besides using the plain-o' photos. These drawing are from classes I took in the past.

First off, here is the Courtyard. Be ready to have your mind blown because this courtyard has no grass and it is completely indoor. Because of its smart design, you will feel like you are outdoor. You will get the same sunlight as outside even though you are completely inside the building.

Value Drawing of the courtyard, section drawing. From class ARCH 2301 Introduction to Drawing in Architecture.

The next thing is the twisting East Stairway. This hidden stairway is located near our advisors' offices. An assignment in one of my class was to analyze the stair and its design. One fun fact I discovered is the number of steps and the angle it turns change at every floor level. This made it almost impossible to make a drawing of this staircase. However, I made the drawing...yay me!

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Plan oblique drawing, photo from the bottom up of the staircase. From class ARCH 2281 Design Fundamental II.

I hope you are excited to be part of our CDes family and this home sweet home. In the mean time, check out all the wonderful things Rapson Hall has to offer, from our own library to Daylighting Lab... Now you know why this is a place to be.

-Beau, Architecture B.D.A.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Long Beach!

Hello everyone! I do hope you are all having a very wonderful summer season! Mine has been just great! I have been working both of my jobs, at the College Of Design Dean's Office, and at Nani Nalu Beachwear Boutique, and loving both! I also have been keeping in touch with some of my professors from school, about news articles, class work, projects etc. Keeping in contact with certain professors outside of class and the regular semesters can open up some great opportunities for you in the future and right now. I have gotten job references, recommendations, even a housing referral from some of my old professors and TAs! And I was just informed that I have been given a grant to cover my expenses to be one of Dr. Lucy Dunne's student assistants in this years Hand-weavers Guild of America conference in Long Beach California! This means that I will help Dr. Dunne with her seminars, studio workshops, etc. I also get to assist another professor visiting form another university, and even take some classes myself! I will be in Long Beach for a week, and I can't wait!

The HGA Conference meets once a year and brings together professors and professionals from around the nation to teach and share their individual experiences with hand weaving and other clothing design related crafts. Dr. Dunne is teaching a workshop about electronic fibers and functional garments, much like our NASA garments, and helping her will be great!

Here is a photo of the promotional banner for the conference!


Lucie, Apparel Design

How do I Manage?...Hi's and low's of outdoor youth work

So many landscape projects happen in the few short warm months in Minnesota. Everywhere I look people's yards are getting redone, improved and renovated. I passed onto the west side of Hennepin Avenue and rode down to Lake of the Isles yesterday. It is an extremely affluent part of town called Kenwood. I passed manicured European style gardens pristine with parterre de broderie of Boxwoods, wild English gardens styled with climbing ivy and tall grasses, stone retaining walls that line brightly colored flowering plants and of course numerous exquisitely (although unfortunate to the cities water supply) groomed Kentucky Bluegrass lawns. Work is happening on all scales. Homeowners, landlords, Minneapolis parks and lakes and entire greenway systems are getting revamped and renewed. Some people till and mulch their gardens; you can see changes in the shorelines of many city lakes as they are restored with native plants and grasses. Landscaping industry is pulsing during the summer here.

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My job progress is in a transitional phase. As some of you know I am working on a landscaping project for the city of Minneapolis facilitating 8 high school aged crew members to build an erosion reducing retaining wall out of modular concrete block. The youth have never held jobs before and for most of them this is a serious change from the tasks and expectations put upon them from school or home. They are paid, get sufficient brakes, and are supplied with all necessary equipment. I would say only half of the 8 kids arrive with a good attitude and intent to work, aka, do not question the fact that work does not involve cell phones, head phones, swearing, sitting down, or constantly complaining. Some do not understand this condition of being employed. I remember high school pretty well but I also remember my first job. As a dishwasher at this little cafe called Trotters in St. Paul, don't judge MPLS-ians. I loved work, the time outside of home and pay check were enough to keep my attitude in check. My job i quickly came to realize is to complete this erosion barrier on the Greenway while helping my work force from acting like "kids" even though they are. Its such a challenge, especially when I see the beautifully executed gardens and landscapes around the city. I could be working on those with precision and self conviction. So I ask myself "why youth work?" I am easily going to answer this for you, although it took me a long time to sort out in my head.

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They are surprising. One minute they fighting your instruction the next they calm down, reflect in time and learn from the experiences on the job. They push themselves harder than they think is possible and grow. I enjoy being a part of these events in their lives, thinking of those people in my life and how they helped me get where I am today.

Summer in the Cities

With summer well on its way I thought I would talk about some of the things I like to do in my free time around the U of M and Twin Cities in the summer- or really whenever the weather is nice.

photo(3)-3.jpgIt's my first time staying in the Twin Cities for the entire summer so I have been exploring as much as possible. Exploring the Cities by bike is one of my favorite things to do on a nice summer day when I'm not at work. With Minneapolis consistently ranking as one of the United States' best biking cities, it's easy to get around on the countless number of bike lanes and dedicated bike trails. If you don't own a bike, check out Nice Ride, The Twin Cities bike sharing program. With several Nice Ride stations around campus, and over 140 Twin Cities-wide you can find a nice ride bike station almost anywhere.

If you are new to Minneapolis, or prefer to go on a shorter ride, take a ride down to the Stone Arch Bridge for an awesome view of downtown and the Mississippi River. If you are up for a little bit longer ride, the Midtown Greenway will take you from West River Parkway into Uptown where there are many awesome lakes to hang out at in summer and great places to eat and shop. Lake Calhoun (pictured above) in Uptown has the most popular beach that can sometimes be a little bit crowded. Try finding your way to a beach on one of the several surrounding lakes if Calhoun is packed.

If you are still trying to escape the heat, one of my favorite beaches that I have discovered in the Twin Cities metro is on Medicine Lake (pictured below) in Plymouth. Located in Clifton E. French Regional Park on the north side of the lake, it's a bit of a hike, however the park never seems to be crowded and has hiking trails and many secluded picnic areas in addition to the beach. If you are into biking, you can even take paved bike paths the entire way there. I often like to pack a lunch and ride out to the park. photo(2)-2.jpg

Well, those are just a few things I like to do around the Twin Cities, but I'm sure I will be talking about more in the future! Just don't wait to get out and explore all the awesome parks, tasty restaurants, diverse music, and more you can find here!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

One week down at the internship.

photo.jpegAnd boy oh boy did it fly by! 6 AM mornings will do that to ya. If you read my last blog post, then you'll know about my internship at Urban Outfitters this summer. It's three times a week, 6-11 AM and it goes for eight weeks. Yeah, the mornings are much earlier than I'm used to, but I really can't complain because after I'm done interning I still have the majority of the day to work at my other job over in Rapson's Student Services office, or even just chill with the rest of the day off depending on what my work week looks like.

The internship is very informative so far, and even in just one week I feel like I've absorbed tons of knowledge and information. It's interesting learning about how a merchandiser works and what their process is. photo-1.jpgA lot of people don't realize the time or effort that goes into setting up a retail store, doing a window display, or dressing a form/mannequin (to name just a few responsibilities), but from what I've learned so far, there's practically a science behind it! There's a lot of number crunching involved to determine what items are selling or "paying the rent" and why that might be. Then merchandise placement changes and additions are carefully laid out based on strategies to boost focus on certain classes of merchandise (ie: dresses, men's pants, etc.).

In the next few weeks, we'll be really busy working on our back to school floorset where we'll be reworking the layout of the store. I have a strong feeling that'll be one of my favorite parts because it's the step that relates most to interior design. I'm excited to share what I know about floorplans and the design process because having the perspective of an interior designer is quite valuable. In addition to the floorset, I hear I might get to get my hands a little dirty working with our display artist. Power tools and building stuff! I'm pretty excited if you can't tell.

I'll keep you all posted on what happens with my internship in the next couple of weeks.
Until then,
Interior Design

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thinking About the Future

With senior year around the corner, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the many different areas of the housing market I would consider entering to start my career after graduation. With my housing technology concentration and architecture minor, my ideal
position would probably be in the development or construction industries. My fellow students and I have had considerable exposure to both industries in our housing courses and have interacted with local professionals.

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One thing about housing is that it is a basic necessity for modern living, and there are always housing jobs around. With just a few housing undergraduates completing the program each year, there's a wide range of options to choose from and just a few of us. I'm looking forward to visiting our wonderful Career Services this fall to further discuss my future career options and hearing about what other housing students have done after school!

Hope you all are having a great summer!

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.

A little about my upcoming internship...

urbano.jpgSo I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this, but this summer I'll be interning with Urban Outfitters. The internship is Merchandising based, but it incorporates many interior design elements when it comes to retail/store planning. I start next week and it's 8 weeks long, three times a week. I can't wait to start and I'm super excited to learn some new things! I think the only part I'm not looking forward to is the early mornings - it starts at 6am and goes until 11am. It's crazy because this time last year, I probably would have slept during the entire shift I'll now be interning. Funny how times change!

7574268c8a8711e1a9f71231382044a1_7.jpegThis internship is perfect for me because as much as I love interior design, I also have a strong passion for fashion. (I don't care if that sounds cheesy!) It's nice that I can combine two things that I love into one internship experience. Something that's great about Urban Outfitters is that they want to make sure students get a custom experience from their internship, so you can structure it to hit key points of interest. Being an interior design student, my internship will have an emphasis on the overall structure and layout of the store as well as visual displays. I'm minoring in Retail Merchandising, so the internship will also highlight the more mathematical and statistical sides of the job. Overall, I think I'm in for a really well rounded experience that will help me mold and shape my goals for a future career. Afterall, I think that's what internships do best. They give a peek and a chance to walk in the shoes of someone working in an industry you have interest in. I look forward to this internship and internships I will complete in the future because I'll get a better and more clear sense of what Id ideally like to be doing with my life.

Stay tuned; in my next blog I'll definitely give an update on how the internship is going and what I'm learning. I'll be sure to include tons and tons of pictures too!!

Interior Design

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oh Dear Summer...I Love Thee Best

Hello all,

Since we are in the land of cold and harsh winters, let's take this time to embrace the greatness of the warm sun before it disappears. Other than having to spend extra money on sunscreen, everything about summer is just glorious. The lake, watermelon, snow cones, outdoor concerts, and festivals, LOVE IT ALL!

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Grand Old Day Festival in St. Paul. It is the biggest one-day festival in the Midwest, and is held along Grand Avenue in St. Paul. After my friends and I got off at the wrong bus stop because of Siri (phone application), we found our way to the festival an hour later. Oh technology.

We got off at the wrong bus stop because of Siri.

Batman Live tattoo at the Grand Old Day Festival.

By the end of the day, I had gotten enough sun to get a tan line on my wrist where my watch was. So now I have to put it on every day to cover it...what a nice reminder to wear a watch.

Then another festivity happened this week. Northern Spark is a free overnight arts festival with arts constellations throughout Minneapolis. Free events are always the best. There were visual arts, films, sculptures, installation, and many more attractions. The whole city just turned itself into an art world for the night.

Homemade organic pizza from a local co-op, made right in front of the art crowd.

Light experiment at the Northern Spark.

There are so many things to do in the Twin Cities. If you are planning to take that special someone on a date, exploring the town, or just finding something to keep yourself sane, check out 365 Things To Do In The Twin Cities. What's not to love about summer?

Keep in mind that whatever you decide to do, manage your money wisely. Live like a student now, so you don't have to later.

See you in the next blog!
-Beau Sinchai

Some groups to check out!

Hey Friends!
I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far, I know I am. Mine's been relaxing and super busy all rolled into one. I'm really enjoying my internship at Kohl's so far; I'm learning and developing quite a lot and it's only been two and half weeks!

Today, I thought I would talk about student groups, particularly career developing students groups that will expose you to a particular area of interest, and that is a least somewhat related to the field of Retail Merchandising or Design. There are a number of groups listed on the College of Design website, that you can check out here. common.jpgSince there are quite a lot of organizations listed on this page, I have not gotten the chance experience all of them. However, I do want to recommend two particular groups that I have checked and highly recommend; one is on this list, but the other is not.

FAB (Fashion And Business)- I have checked this group out quite a few times, but was unfortunately unable to join this year because of my personal undertaking of 20 credits last semester. However, I highly recommend it because members of this organization get to experience working runway shows, hearing speakers within the industry, putting on events, and many other fun things.

The Special Events Committee- This group is quite wonderful! I volunteered with them for my first to years of college, but as I stated earlier, was unable to this year due to my choice of taking TOO many classes. Volunteering for this committee was awesome, because I got the chance to help with the planning many really cool events for the campus, such as Spring Jam; and a fun plus is that many of these events included celebrities! Such as Common, the rapper, who is pictured with me on the right!

Well I basically just wanted to give you all a heads up on some student groups which are beneficial career wise; now you all can get plugged in right away when you come to campus!

Talk to you soon!
Sashka -Retail Merchandising

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Trips: Museums

The summer break from school is a great time to take some trips, be they near or far! My family was able to take a trip out to the West Coast this past week, and spent time in San Francisco. Whenever I'm out on trips, I try to check into all the local art museums for exhibits that interest me, or are relevant to my major. I recommend looking into these museums, because they usually have some great exhibits on textiles, ancient fashion and costume, etc. They also sometimes have free nights (like at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or the Art Institute in Chicago), where admission is free of charge. They almost always also have student rate tickets, where you get a nice discount just by showing your University of Minnesota ID!

In San Francisco I was able to visit the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, which in beautiful! The museum has an amazing 9 story tall observation tower (free!) where you can see all of San Francisco and Golden Gate Park. But the best part of my trip was visiting the Jean Paul Gaultier, my all time favorite high fashion designer, exhibit on display! (With my student ID I got in at a nice discount!) Having the experience of seeing his designs up close, after seeing them online and in books etc., was amazing, and more importantly: inspirational! I took so many photos and those really got the creative juices flowing, which should help for my senior line! Below is a picture from the show!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Exploring Where to Take Your Degree

I won't lie - if you have read my first blog post, you will know that I was a little hesitant and unsure when I transferred into the College of Design my sophomore year of school. Sure, graphic design sounded pretty cool and it definitely interested me, but I still wasn't exactly sure I was in the right place. When starting the program, I thought of graphic design mainly as print design- posters, advertisements, clothing graphics, album art- etc. I love all of this type of design, but didn't see myself pursuing print design as a career for the rest of my life. Luckily, I learned that there are a huge number of different ways you can take your graphic design degree!

Recently, I have become very interested in web and interactive design and spend a lot of time seeing what's new and where the field is going in my free time. Jobs in the field of the web and mobile environments are changing rapidly with new technologies and many job titles that didn't even exist a few years ago are becoming increasingly in-demand. The explosion of internet websites and applications - as well as smartphones, tablets, and more have opened up a lot of different doors for us as future graphic designers! Best of all, the College of Design has been restructuring parts of the program in order to provide students more opportunities to prepare themselves for this type of work, should they choose to go in that direction.

Here are a few examples of areas that I have recently become quite interested in:


Interaction design (interactive design)- Encompasses a number of different more specific focuses, but largely refers to creating digital products and interfaces to specifically satisfy the needs and desires of a user.

User Experience Design- UX design can be thought of as a branch of interaction design- focusing largely on the way people work, communicate and interact with a product, whether physical or digital.

User Interface Design- UI design is similar to UX design in that the focus is to create an interface that makes a user's experience as simple and efficient as possible. However, UI design is usually more heavily focused on visual design of an interface.

These growing positions are just a small taste of the new directions you can take your graphic design degree, but in no means are where you need to focus your degree. What is most important is that you begin to explore your options early and often. I will be talking more about how to connect with professionals and learn about different ways you can take your design degree in future blogs! Until then, enjoy the summer!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Vacation by the Bay (Area)

This last weekend I headed out from the woods (group training at Camp Courage) to the metropolis of San Francisco. What a hassle traveling has become! I had an amazing time in San Francisco, don't get me wrong, but it started out as a battle between me and the airline. I suppose its to be expected now that flights are delayed and cancelled. I'll just say Friday was a rough night and United Airlines owes me one!

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I have to tell you people think all of California has perfect weather. Unfortunately, the Bay Area is immune to California's reputation. It was about 65 when I got into Oakland at Midnight, not too bad but definitely colder than Minnesota at night. The next day was perfect. I woke up early and met up with my friend Rachel who just moved to the East Bay from Minneapolis for a great job opportunity. Even in California the job market seems to be picking up. I'd love to get a job out there with a company like Rebar Art & Design Studio or some-sort of alternative landscape firm. The Rebar group does some really interesting art projects with deconstructed street equipment. They are also working on the Southwest Corridor of the Minneapolis Light Rail Project.

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I had three objectives in California: attend my friend Gabriela's wedding in San Ramon, see all my friends living in the Bay Area, and going to the Pacific Ocean. I accomplished all my goals this trip and it felt so great. I mostly travelled on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) which was so easy. I wish our LRT was done already! Since I moved back to Minneapolis from SF, I have said San Francisco has a great city model for Minneapolis to follow. Aside from the designer within me I love San Francisco for the food and culture. There are so many restaurants and I got to eat Sushi, Mexican and Vietnamese food. Special shout out to mi amiga Ivana for making a Venezuelan dish called arepas (Spanish) or arepas (English)

So I moved through the city on the public transit, ate my fair share of what the city has to offer and had an amazing trip. I highly recommend a trip out here for anyone interested in Victorian and Edwardian Architecture, the landscaping of Golden Gate Park is extremely beautiful. The history of the city itself shines through as you move through it, since it is a walkable city, many people now bike or bus too. I could go on, and on. But I'll save you from my rambling memories....Just go there!

Until next week,

Landscape Planning