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College of Design

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Super Busy Week!

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Hello all! As the title states, I have had quite the busy week so far. After wrapping up my final midterm yesterday in my Environmental Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) course, I have been back and forth between Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses taking care of my other courses that I've been neglecting in preparation for the LCA exam. The edited Google Maps screenshot above is the midpoint area of my commute between the two campuses, and also shows the interesting land use dynamic at the border of the Twin Cities (although they don't look very much like twins to me!). After my exam was over, I took an hour or so to unwind and visited the Goldstein Museum of Design in McNeal Hall. We have lots of museums right here on campus that are free for students, highly recommended!

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One course I've really been trying to stay on top of is my microeconomics course on the
West Bank of the Minneapolis Campus. Although the concepts of the class are not new to me, interpreting them graphically is definitely not my strongest suit. It's my first huge class (most of my classes are quite small with under 30 students), so I really have to take the initiative to seek out the help I need to do well - so for one of the first times in my life, I am a regular at my TA's office hours. Needless to say, I'm finally starting to get over my lifelong fear of mathematics and graphs - it's really not that bad when it comes down to it. Old habits die hard, but I think I'm in the midst of conquering this one. Outside of school, I'd say the highlight of recent days has been my first Gopher hockey game of the season! Not a huge crowd because we were playing the national under-18 team (why, I do not know), but it was still a fun time. >

Also, Happy Halloween! I did the whole costume thing last weekend so I'm not technically "celebrating" it today, but regardless, I will be gorging myself with candy later on.

- Jesse
Housing Studies, B.S.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pimp My Ride - Dumpster Chair

Hello again!

The best part of the semester is getting better. I talked about how chair design is closely related to architecture in my past blog, which we perform an autopsy on a sofa to see the structure inside. Well, now it is time to get to the fun part, designing. In one of my classes, we are re-purposing old chairs. The limitation was the chair must be found through dumpster dive, off the street, or alike. It must be free. It can't belong to someone you know. I went on several walks and bike rides around campus until I found this chair. I must say that the plus side of this project was staying fit.

Portrait of the chair in use with different angles

The goal was to modify this chair with any concept you want. My concept was to make it fit my style of working...on the floor. I do everything on the floor, so it only makes sense to make a chair fit my need instead of adjusting my sitting habit. Right now, I am at the stage of using the pieces when I work on the floor to see how I can design this better. I will be sure to share with you when the project is done.

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Pieces of the chair

It was quite a challenge for me to use power tools to tear the chair apart. Good thing the staff members at W.L. workshop (aka wood workshop) are super wonderful. They will not do your project for you, but they will help you with all sort of questions you may come up with. The best thing is when they said "we are here to help. If you need to ask us five times about the same things, we will answer you five times to help you become better at it." So, don't be shy about asking them for help.

Happy dumpster diving and see you next blog!

Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Working Together

I have done a variety of different assignments for my classes in the Retail Merchandising Program: written projects, design work, and presentations, to name a few. Some of these projects where done in groups, which is actually what I want to discuss with you in this weeks post. Group projects are practically inevitable in Retail Merchandising; I have at least one each semester, if not more. These projects can be fun and enlightening, and sometimes frustrating too. The process and approach to group projects is different within every group, but there are definitely certain things that are handy to know and completely applicable to every group approach.

First things first, the number one priority when entering a group project is to exchange information with your group members. Being able to stay in contact with your group through e-mails, texts, and phone calls is essential. Even if you think that you can do this later and have plenty of time before your assignment due, exchange your information immediately, it is crucial and can keep you on an organized and on a timely track.

Once you have exchanged e-mails and information, I suggest taking leadership and not hesitating in sending out the first group message. If you anticipate someone else taking the lead, you may end up off on a late start and cramming the project work in at last minute.

Once in communication, discuss they ways you want to approach the project and how you want divide up the work. Everyone has something valuable to contribute, remember this. Take everyone's skills and opinions in to consideration, including your own, and divvy up the work accordingly.

Lastly, make sure to stay in continual contact with your group members, through the duration of the project. By doing this you can make sure everyone is doing their share and be able to address problems and issues immediately as they occur. Plus, this way you will also be able to help each other out and make sure you are being cohesive with your work.

(Here's a screenshot of the communication that occurs during group projects; we are using Google Docs to assemble a written group report and communicating how to effectively put it together and proofread it)

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Until Next Time!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Landforms BLOWN UP ...(in scale)

Hey everyone! Hope your reading this during a nice coffee or tea break from work (its still sunny outside btw!!)

Well if your working hard today like me, keep something on your schedule to reward yourself with, like doing a yoga class, baking cookies, or go for a run/walk by the river (we are closer to the river at Rapson than you might think!) As some of you may know I am going on the study abroad program Architecture in Istanbul and its filling my time with paper work. I am getting a lot of help from my adviser Chris Schlichting who is awesome, a wonderful resource and person I get to know by being in the Landscaping Planning track. It is small enough so that you get time and presence with almost all the staff and faculty who you know.

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So here is what I am working on, looking forward to and wondering about. First for LA 3001 with Brad Agee and Tony Chevalier we are looking at a land form that we had to re-shape, made a 11"x17" model (tough stuff to visualize), then we are taking a portion, 8.5"x5.5" and blowing that up 200% so that we have a 11"x17" model of a part of our original model. If that is not enough to twist your brain, now we have to inform our models with vegetation! This is something I have been looking forward to all semester, but arts and crafts time it is not. We have to plan a variety of types of trees, ground cover, shrubs with materials that are nontraditional for model making. My plan is to use a monochromatic color palette of beads and jewelery parts.
This week MLA graduate and adjunct teacher Tony Chevalier said you need to get at least a Top 5 for trees and vegetation going. So I have been working on compiling some favorites! Which are your favorite trees or vegetation?
MIne include but are not limited to: The Willow tree, Dogwood, White Fir tree, Asparagus Fern, and definitely must include the Lilac. The Lilac is beautiful, grows in the wild and smells amazing. If you cannot recall the names of your favorites use the plant encyclopedia to help you sort by type of vegetation, color, hardiness zone, or height. I'll be forever thinking about trees.

until next week...
Sarah S.
Landscape Design and Planning Major BED

Computer Aided Design

Hello readers! I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their week, and a very Happy Halloween to you all!

This week I thought I would talk about the Computer Aided Design opportunities and resources at the University, or CAD as it is called for short. There are the obvious Adobe Creative Suite programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, that all help with design in general. When creating mood-boards or style boards, as well as tweaking hand drawn illustrations, or illustrating on the computer, photoshop and InDesign are great programs to have on hand. The programs themselves can be a bit pricy, but the University bookstore gives you a pretty good deal on them, or you can do what I do, and just use the computers in any of the University libraries. You can always have access to the programs while you're a student which is great. Illustrator is especially helpful when creating flats, or technical drawings, which are very specific drawings to show how the garments will be constructed.

Here is an example of a flat:

A big CAD opportunity that is unique to Apparel Design, is the Optitex program. Optitex is a 3D digital patterning software, with simulation capabilities. This means that you can use the Body Imaging lab in McNeal to scan in yourself or your model, and then use a digital version of that person to create patterns for, and try on in the program! Here is an image of some of my simulated work.


You are also able to create patterns by using Optitex, and print them off to use to create the real garments. Really cool software!

Lucie, Apparel design

Monday, October 29, 2012

Free Professional Design Advice!

On Monday, I went to the Mentor Program Kickoff Meeting at the McNamara Alumni Center. The mentor program matches you up with a professional in the design field with similar interests to you. You can apply for the Mentor Program during your Junior and Senior year in the graphic design program. Depending on how many people they need to match up, you are not guaranteed to get a mentor if you apply. However, if you were to apply both years you would almost surely be matched, as priority is given to older students.

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In my opinion, the coolest thing about the mentor program is the fact that you and your mentor can make as much or little out of the partnership as you want. The kickoff meeting provides a formal way to meet and chat with your mentor for the first time, but after that you are largely on your own. Some people might meet with their mentor regularly to talk about projects they are working on or advice about building a portfolio and getting jobs, while others may choose to communicate only via email. Mentors who volunteer to participate in the program are extremely enthusiastic about helping students in any way they can.

I am excited that I was matched with a mentor whom which I have already networked with once before. He is only about 5 years out of school but has already worked for Carlson Marketing, Clockwork, and is now contracting for Best Buy. Most of his recent work has been in web and mobile interface design, a perfect match for my interests! I will have to let you know more about what my mentor and I do in the future, but I would highly recommend planning to apply for mentor during your junior or senior year in the mean time. The advice and networking connections you can get from a professional mentor in the field is invaluable to students!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Staying Safe When You're Staying Out Late

As project season approaches, I feel like I've got a million things to do. I mean, yeah it's a lot to think about sometimes, but I also know its manageable with proper time management and good organization habits.

41813_122168997820897_7204_n.jpegRight now I've got a group assignment, an individual assignment, and an individual project in my studio class. Personally, along with practicing smart time management strategies, I also need to be in the right locations to take care of business. One of the places I really like working is the studio after hours. I enjoy being there with minimal distractions and plowing through my to do lists. I also enjoy going to the library or coffee shops in the Dinkytown and Stadium Village areas when I need to do a lot of reading or if I'm writing a paper. Sometimes I'm hard at work for hours and hours and suddenly it's nightfall. I know sometimes I get uneasy about walking home after dark, but luckily the U has a lot or great safety programs to make sure it keeps its occupants safe. goldy_white.gifThere's a 24/7 campus escort service (624-WALK) that's free and available across campus. They meet you wherever you are and walk you to the destination you specify. There's also the Gopher Chauffeur program where you can get picked up an dropped off where you need to go on the weekends.

It's really awesome that programs like this exist because I never have to worry and I know I always have a safe way of getting home. So much for that excuse when you're trying to procrastinate you homework, right? ;)

Til the next,
Ashley O.
Interior Design

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When I grow up...

"What do you want to be when you grow up?", an age old question. It's something most of us have been asked since we could comprehend the question. For me, I went through lots of stages through my youth. For awhile, my response was just a shoulder shrug, then I moved into super heroes and mythical creatures, and let's not forget the plan to become President I had when I was a 4th grader. Basically, my point is that we all go through stages where we wonder and ponder what we ultimately want to do with our lives, it's tough to pick just one thing. It was around middle school that I first started to consider studying interior design. I realized how much built environments peaked my interest and how the wheels and gears would turn in my head whenever I was introduced to a new space. I flip flopped for awhile, thinking interior design, then switching fields and thinking of becoming a lawyer, an event planner, a counselor, you name it. Since then, I have obviously chosen to study interior design, but what's great about it is I still have options.

options.jpegYou see, a lot of people hear that I'm studying interior design, and they immediately follow up with "what are you going to do with a degree like that??" They have no idea just how many routes an interior design student can go post graduation. Of course, there's the most popular route of interior design student turned interior designer. This is one option that appeals to me greatly, and within that there's more options of residential, commercial, etc. Another route? Product design. This is something that's sparked a lot of thought for me and the skillset I am learning for interiors can be applied to that field as well. Even now, sometimes I think of how awesome it would be to become an event planner, and guess what? It's another option. I've learned so much about organization and communication through my time in this program.

The interior design degree (just like all of the other design degrees at the U of M) are great because they give you options. You become specialized in a specific discipline, but you also receive a very well-rounded education. They literally give you the ability to go anywhere with your degree, and the once narrow seeming career route actually opens up and arches over all of the dreams you had way back when.

Until the next one,
Ashley O.
Interior Design

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Emerging Demand for Alternative Home Energy

It can hardly be argued that we the Millennial Generation are products of the digital age - exponential advancements in high technology have been a powerful feature of our childhood and formative years, with still no end in sight as we become adults. We grew up knowing that as a society we are capable of solving complex issues with technological solutions. Yet, over a decade into the twenty-first century, we still are in the grips of an environmental and ecological crisis. By now it is old news that humans are causing irreparable damages to our earth and its finite resources - yet we knowingly continue to burn fossil fuels as a main source of energy knowing full well that there are other, cleaner ways of supplying energy to our nation's power grid.

In 2009, about 22% of all energy use in the U.S. was linked directly to the homes we live in. That's A LOT of energy - meaning a lot of coal burnt up to make electricity and a lot of CO₂ released into our atmosphere. As the environmental movement towards sustainability grows stronger and consumers become more aware of available alternative energy sources, more and more Americans are investing in housing technologies to lessen their reliance on public utility. Some common examples in today's market are photovoltaic solar panels, geothermal pumps, and high-performance construction materials, methods, and mechanical systems. While building or retrofitting one's home to remove it from "the grid" is possible in almost any residential setting, doing so without major lifestyle changes would require a complex system of newly available housing technologies.


While it is disappointing that we as a nation overwhelmingly rely on (and by doing so, inadvertently support) the continuation of fossil fuels, the aforementioned housing technologies and energy sources are finally coming into the mainstream. And of course, I'm personally excited that I chose housing technology as my thematic concentration within housing studies - it's already a growing market and there will be only a handful of upcoming grads with such specialized credentials. Opportunity awaits!

Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful fall weather!

- Jesse

Housing Studies, B.S.

icons courtesy of The Noun Project

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Do it the Fair Way

Hello again!,

It is officially half way into the semester! I hope everyone is having a fun time with midterms and projects. Remember to get sleep, eat well, and find some time to take care of your social need. I am lucky enough that I don't have any official midterm test this semester. So, I have been spending my time preparing for the Government and Non-Profit Career Fair that is happening this Friday.

You may wonder how Architecture is related to Government and Non-Profit. Having a degree in Architecture doesn't mean that being an architect is the only choice you have for your career. It is more important to evaluate what skills and knowledge did you gain and apply those to the field that is right for you. I mentioned in my earlier blogs about my dream of working in humanitarian field. So, I hope that I will find interesting internship opportunities at this career fair.

My resumes and cover letters after several critiques

For the preparation, I visited the Career and Internship Services for College of Design to have my resume critiqued. I also went to the Center for Writing for help with cover letter writing. The Career and Internship Services also have other kinds of tips and advice such as how to dress for interview, how to negotiate salary, etc. You can also visit their website for upcoming events and career fairs. My advice is to also attend the Career Fair outside your major. Who knows, you may be the candidate they are looking for. Take advantage of all the resources that are available to you, and you are guaranteed to succeed.

See you next blog,
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Don't Write it Off

I am currently taking a class on professional writing; the class is a requirement and I am most certainly starting to see way. Written communication skills are greatly needed in almost every career field and I didn't think I realize this until I took this class. Believing that writing was mostly important in scholastic context, I thought that it would not play such a big of a role in my life once school was over; boy, was I wrong! I am finding out that writing is essential in almost every career field and the role that it plays is quite large.

For an assignment in my Professional Writing class, we were asked to interview two professionals, in a career field of interest, and ask them about the role of writing in their particular careers. I interviewed a business owner/design manager and a co-founder of a multimedia non-profit. After conducting the interviews I was shocked to hear about how large of role writing played in both careers; at minimum, writing was at least fifty percent of their workload. Whether writing e-mails to employees, preparing design briefs, making presentations, or writing policies, writing was continually taking place in both of their everyday work lives. After hearing this first hand from the professionals, and also from the interviews my classmates conducted and shared, I realized that writing was going to be a constant part of my life and career. Effective writing skills are expected in the workforce and play an essential role in almost every career.Photo 2771.jpg
(This is a snippet of the paper I wrote for the interviews I conducted)

Until Next Time Friends!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Sewing and models and fittings, oh my!

This is it, readers, the first big step of my senior line: test garment presentations! Half of our class presented their lines on Monday and I am scheduled to start out the day on Wednesday. These presentations are for our classmates, mentors and professors to see our progress and give feedback on how to proceed to the final garments. Another big part of test garments and presentations, is how the garments themselves fit and work on the models. Having multiple fittings is important to make sure that the final garments fit and flatter the body well in the end and on the runway.

During the fittings I have my models try on the test garments inside out, so the seams are on the outside. That way I can pin the seams in, or seam rip them to let them out to properly fit them on the body. I also can mark where style lines will go, or change necklines and arm holes. I then can go forward, and if necessary, create another test garment with the changes. If there are a lot of changes, or if the fit is very off on the first test garment, then a second test garment can really help. If you work really hard during the initial fitting process, creating the final garments is easier.

Here is a picture of one of my garments during the fitting process, on a mannequin. As you can see, the back is pinned and marked.


Lucie, Apparel Design

Moving Through Group Projects

If you are anything like me, you are less than excited when you hear the words "group project" coming from your professor's mouth. Professors will tell you that in design you will be working in teams for the rest of your life. They are correct. It's important to organize your group time outside of class and make sure no one gets stuck with too much of the work. Jokes aside...


I have definitely been through some group projects in the past that have tilted toward the right side. Here are some tips that will get you through your group project in the best way possible:

1) Establish a Leader - Group projects are tough when someone doesn't step up and lead. If no one steps up, do it yourself. Even if you are someone who doesn't usually take the lead in a project, do it. You will thank yourself later.

2) Assign roles early - If the project allows, divvy up the work as soon as the project is assigned. If you are the group leader, facilitate splitting up the work.

3) Plan and establish a schedule - Make a document on Google Drive, a group on Facebook, or some other form of digital document to create a schedule for your project and the individual deadlines. If you and your group members need to meet out of class- plan meeting dates and locations ASAP. If you can't get the entire group together, shoot for as many as possible and have members who cannot make it work on another aspect of the project.

4) Communicate with your professor - If someone isn't doing their fair share of the work or isn't responding to your teams emails/communication ask for advice from your professor so your team isn't disadvantaged.

Follow these guidelines and your next group project will be better than that pie graph makes them out to be!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Thursday, October 18, 2012

From The MGM to The UN!

No...not the MGM ion Las Vegas, or the United Nation's building in NY. I am talking about two local awesome buildings...Midtown Global Market and the United Noodle Grocery! Have you been to these places?
Not only are they some of Minneapolis's largest stores (after the M.O.A) but they both represent a rich cultural diversity the city has to offer. Sometimes in a large university we forget the larger context we live in. Leaving campus can seem like a serious journey, although its a short bike/drive/bus ride away. Lots of urban planners and landscape designers believe that it can be beneficial to live and work close to the same community. In some respects I agree. But I think it is also important to get out of your comfort zone go somewhere new and try something that seems really odd. The Landscape Design and Planning major allows you to go all over the city and do photo rich and diagrammatic assignments. It is a great way to branch out and have fun while your learning A LOT. Going to Midtown Global Market is really fun. It is located in the Powderhorn and Phillips neighborhoods in South Minneapolis. There is a lot of diversity here and the food and shops make that obvious.
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Here is a display of the dia de los muertos Calaveras, a skeleton like figure used in the tradition. A lot of different holidays and events are celebrated here. the Midtown Global Market has about 50 different merchants and restaurants, making it a great place to come grab a bit to eat, buy gifts, decorations, or groceries from all over the world. The United Noodle Grocery is so different. It is hidden behind a great stone entryway, behind a warehouse style building tucked into an industrial park. Its really a cool find. They have about a hundred different varieties of food, from Asia and Pacific Islands. The store is a remodeled storage facility, leaving large ceilings exposed and lofted shelves to be fulled with really diverse merchandise. The deli is so tasty too, and the lady behind the counter gave me free Chinese spare ribs and onions for free to taste when I went on my site visit.
I gotta give a shout out to the Urban Forestry and Hort. blog too. My friend Jon, also in LA planning, works over there and they do really cool things on campus! Read all about it here: The Urban Forestry & Horticulture Research Nursery blog on the UMN website for a great resource on community horticulture, tree knowledge and cool stories.

Until next week! take care and remember to sleep when you can!

Sarah S.
B.E.D in landscape planning

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Senior Line Reality Part II

Hello all! As you know, my senior line design process has been in full swing and this past weekend I made a lot of progress! The next step in the design process, after ideation and illustration of designs, is to create patterns and test garments. This past week and weekend I was able to pattern all four of my designs, and started on my test garments. Test garments are basically the final garments, but sewn really basically in a very cheap cotton fabric called muslin. These garments are used for fitting and to make sure everything will work out well when you start sewing in the actual fabric. Muslin is also a very inexpensive fabric so if you do make mistakes or have issues with redoing patterns/fittings, you don't waste valuable fashion fabrics.

When your test garments are done, the next step is model fittings to make the end result garments will fit well. I am having my models come in this week and weekend to fit my test garments, or muslins as they are also called. Wish me luck!!

A big part of the test garment process, other than fittings, is to make design changes and solve problems that you may come across in the sewing and fitting process. This weeds out poor design choices that may cause big problems later down the line.

Here is a shot of my finished three test garments, ready for fittings!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Superior St. Paul Study Spaces

Ready or not, midterm season is in full swing at the U of M and shall continue to reign in the back of our minds until the last of them are turned in a few weeks from now. Midterm season is usually more spread out than other peak exam seasons, which allows more prep time but also tends to drag on from start to finish. I like to refer to my midterm exams as "middys" to alleviate negative connotations associated with the stress midterm season can bring. It makes them sound kind of fun, which is often an over exaggeration but a positive outlook never hurts. Over the past few years at the U of M, my study habits for these said middys have evolved through what I now recognize as a trial and error process and have developed into a positive and productive relationship with the St. Paul Campus and it's many wonderful places to study.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Minneapolis Campus. It pretty much serves as the center of my academic life whether or not I'm attending class there at the time. It is compact, convenient, and is truly the epicenter of the U's civic life and culture. However, I'm one of those who are very easily distracted by people, places, and things in general - and while the Minneapolis Campus has plenty of quiet libraries and study nooks to take refuge in during study season, my friends and I mostly venture on over to the St. Paul Campus to when homework is the top priority. It also fits perfectly with our new housing situation on Southeast Como, served by MetroTransit's Route 3 which quickly connects the Minneapolis and St. Paul Campuses.

It's a completely different atmosphere over in St. Paul and tends to have immediate calming properties upon arrival - especially this time of the year when the hundreds of autumn trees are literally gleaming maroon and gold - a truly unrivaled tribute to gopher spirit! In addition to a calming outdoor ambiance, buildings on the St. Paul Campus full of what I would claim to be ideal study conditions.

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One of my favorites is the "treehouse" in McNeal Hall, the College of Design's St. Paul facilities where my major is housed. The treehouse is a common study tucked into a large skyway link between historic and modern structures that together form a part of the McNeal Hall design facilities. It even has access to an outdoor balcony overlooking the newly paved courtyard.

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A few other notable mentions on my list of St. Paul study enclaves are the Magrath Library and the former Forestry Library. The Magrath Library is St. Paul Campus' largest library and definitely my go-to place if I ever need to get some serious work done. The building's unique natural lighting flowing into open spaces allow people within the building to experience natural lighting cycles within a climate-controlled environment, so a lot of study areas are in an open atrium setting instead of amongst rows of bookshelves. And finally, the former Forestry Library, though quite self-explanatory, is a newly reopened common study space in the Hill Area of the St. Paul Campus. Although I appreciated the quaintness and charm of what was the forestry library (circa 2010) the consolidation of its periodicals really opened up the space and I've been frequenting it since it opened its doors this fall.

Back to work!

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Conference and Playdough

Last week, I participated in the Design Thinking for Higher Education Innovation Workshop. This workshop is a collaboration of Midwestern Higher Education Compact, the University of Minnesota's Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education, and the University of Minnesota's College of Design. The goal of this workshop is to find new ways to transform and to address the problems in higher education. I felt a little out of place when I found out that the majority of the participants are big deal. By 'big deal' I mean the deans of colleges, professors, professionals, and Ph.D. candidates. I felt honored for the opportunity to work with and to learn from these amazing people.

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At the Design Thinking for Higher Education Innovation Workshop

We used design thinking process to solve the problem given. I love design education because it taught me how to solve a problem in a different way. Design students are trained figure out what the problem is or whether that problem is the real problem rather than jump right into solutions. This is why I appreciate the effort of including design thinking in this higher education innovation workshop. After all the brainstorming and diagrams, we created a 3D prototype of our goals as you see below. It was definitely the best part of the day. Everyone was having so much fun with all the random items we had, especially with the playdough. To put this more accurately, people went nuts with the playdough.

(left) my team is creating our prototype, (right) finished prototype

Last year, I participated in a few conferences hosted by the College of Design. My favorite ones were Design Intersection and Dirty Laundry. Take advantage of great events and conferences that are happening all over campus. They may be major-related or interest-related. It is a great way to network and collaborate with people who are outside your normal social circle, but are interested in the same things you do.

(left) diagram of ideas during the Design Intersection group work, (right) taking with the presenter after the Dirty Laundry event. (Photos are taken from College of Design's facebook page)


This was a pizza party during lecture in my Design class on Tuesday night, just because we were hungry and pizza is always a good idea. It was just a spontaneous decision which turned into the best decision ever made as a class.

Be happy, see you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

The Balancing Act

Hi Friends,

Something that I have continually been learning throughout my time here in college is how to balance my time. Time-management does not come easily to me, it's a skill that consistently needs to fine-tuned and refreshed in my life. However, I was not fully aware of the importance of it, until I came to college.

Balancing school and a social life seemed rather easy in high school, but when I came to college, it was a totally different story; the schoolwork load was larger and the pressure to make new friends was pretty great as well and I wasn't really sure how to balance it. I started dedicating entire days to either being social or being studious, and this approach left me drained and exhausted. I soon realized that in order to maintain balance and health within my life, I needed to learn how to distribute my time evenly and effectively, and not solely dedicate it to my studies and social life. Learning time-management took and still takes effort, it's a discipline that teaches you how to distribute your time effectively between a variety of different tasks or events, not simply only studying and social. Time-management means making and setting specific times to study, so that you don't feel stressed later; making time for friends, so that you can laugh and enjoy yourself; allowing yourself to rest, so you can feel refreshed; and making yourself exercise, so that you can stay healthy.

Studying with friends, a fun and easy way to incorporate schoolwork into your social life :)

Learning how to manage time come in handy in when managing your lifestyle, but rather managing your school workload as well. In the Retail Merchandising program, we have a verity of different classes; some classes require us to do design projects, others require us to write essays every week, some have pop-quizzes, and others simply require studying. In order to successfully execute and do well in these classes, prioritization of tasks must be executed through time management. So to all of you who struggle with this skill, I highly encourage you to start developing and refining it now, before you bury yourself in schoolwork and stress.

Until Next Time!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Prototyping an iPhone App

As we are getting toward the end of our iPhone application project in GDes 5342 Web and Interface and talked a lot about the U's Mobile App Challenge last week, I thought I would talk more about the process of prototyping a mobile app. I have really enjoyed the class and this project so far. If you have any interest in user interface or user experience design, I would highly recommend you take it.

The first step in creating an iPhone applicaiton is to do user research in order to get a better idea of what there is a need for. At this point, you might only have an extremely vague idea of what your app might do - talking to people about your vague ideas often helps them develop. When starting user research, I had an idea to make something to the effect of an anonymous social network. If you have ever heard of PostSecret, you might have a better idea of what I wanted to do. After completing some preliminary user research, I had a ton of crazy ideas for what the app might amount to. Even if an idea seems crazy, it's important to keep it in mind - often times the craziest ideas are the best ideas, they just need to be toned down a bit.

After getting a better idea of what the app would do specifically, a flowchart and paper prototypes of the user interface of the app were made in order to conduct usability testing. Creating specific tasks for users to perform on the paper prototype helped me to understand where they would expect to find things and where buttons would take them.


Paper prototypes (above) usually aren't "designed" at all (aside from basic layout)- the point is to use the lo-fidelity mockup to find most of the usability issues before moving onto hi-fidelity prototypes (below), where making drastic changes takes much more time.

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Now that we are getting to the end of project, we are currently conducting our last round of usability testing with hi-fidelity interactive prototypes. After that, the next step would be to start collaborating with a developer and making your prototype into a real working app!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Monday, October 15, 2012

Collaboration is the Key

Sitting, waiting for class to begin. The clock strikes 3 'o clock. The professor clears her throat and announces that our next assignment is a GROUP assignment. Mixed reactions and expressions can be observed as you scan the classroom. And then, an eruption of chatter, no one word is recognizable.

Now, I don't know if any of this sounds familiar, but as many of us know, group projects are often associated with a wide variety of conceptions. These conceptions fall all across the spectrum of positive to negative. For some, when a group project is announced, jumping for joy only seems natural. And for others, shuddering in fear is an involuntary reaction. I fall somewhere in the middle of that because I see the pros and cons upfront.

photo.jpgSo, to the point. Our first group project was announced last week in Interior Design Studio III. Group projects are pretty common in college and I've encountered them before. They usually don't scare be and I often look forward to working with a group. The thing though is that up until this point in our careers as IDES students, none of us had worked in teams to design something.

The task was to select materials and finishes that fit a concept. Our group selected the word "Alternative" to be the guiding inspiration. As we went along, we worked hard, collaborated, compromised, and in the end, we were able to achieve a selection fit for a rockstar. Of course, we hit our bumps and twists and turns along the way, but I honestly think group projects teach students more than they realize. The ability to work within a team is pertinent, and a curriculum that assigns group assignments helps to build that.

Until the next one,

Ashley O.
Interior Design

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Watch Out! Midterms Spotted

I don't know about you, but my semester has been flying by super fast. Midterms have settled in for the long haul and most of us won't be settling down 'til near thanksgiving! I am officially going to Rome and Istanbul...making it hard not to consume my thoughts everyday. I am really excited to see and draw some amazing Architecture, things I studied last year in LA history 3413 with Professor Lance Neckar. And you don't just have a lecture and readings. Speaking of previous work I am currently putting together a PowerPoint slide of the better projects I have done in the last couple years. Thumbnail image for Screen shot 2012-10-16 at 9.18.16 PM.pngThe slide is for Experience Minnesota multicultural freshman recruiting event on November 10th, at 11:00am in Rapson 31! Come check it out if you're around on Saturday. I am pretty excited to do a small event like this, I need to practice public speaking and articulating my work, but I still get a little nervous to speak in front of people, something designers must do all the time! metaphor model.jpgThe class provides a demanding but interesting curriculum. We studied history with an additional sketchbook component. My final sketchbook turned out great and it has some great drawings of iconic landscapes. The image of my model is something I mentioned doing a few weeks ago. This is how my first laser cut model turned out. I wish I had had more time to complete the color...but I am really happy how it turned out. The readings for 3001 Understanding and Creating Landscape and Architecture Space helped me learn about forms and what they represent. I chose the metaphor of "life cycle." I wanted to show how high walls and heavy partitions lighten up and become easier to navigate as we learn and grown in life. The model was received as well thought out, but not 100% together...pretty much I needed to think about transitional paths and openings as well as color and what those represent.
I am really happy to be getting feedback; it is how we learn to better our aesthetics.
Hope your midterms are going smoothly, get some sleep and record all your work so you have a great reference for any project ever!!!! Words to live by.

Until next week,

Sarah S.
Landscape Planning

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My New Job with CBS

It has been a busy and exciting week as I have just recently started my new job here on campus as an Office Assistant for the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) Student Services. Each College at the U of M has a student services team of office assistants like me, student services specialists, outreach coordinators, and of course, academic advisers. Like the College of Design, CBS is one of the smaller undergraduate schools at the U of M, so my position is fairly flexible I get the chance to interact with students and staff.

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Although my position within CBS Student Services isn't directly related to housing, I am gaining valuable professional experience in an office setting - which is a must in the application process for many jobs that I may apply to in the future. Front desk experience is a valuable skill to have mastered in a professional setting, they are often referred to by employers as the "directors of first impressions." My new position is also an on-campus job (St. Paul Campus), which is perfect for my busy schedule. After a few years at the U, I have come to learn that employment here on campus is a great option for full-time students who are trying to balance work, school, and social activities.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Design a real app for the 2012 Mobile App Challenge!

mobileapp.jpegOn Monday evening I went to the kickoff meeting for the UMN's 2nd annual Mobile App Challenge. The challenge is a 2 semester long app design and development competition sponsored by the Office of Information Technology and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). It is open to all undergraduate students and is a great learning opportunity as well as a chance to get some serious exposure to design professionals and win some awesome prizes.

Next Wednesday (the 17th), is the last day pitches for app ideas can be submitted to the judges for the challenge, but even if you don't plan on pitching anything you can still participate! In fact, there will likely be a huge demand for designers. At the kick off meeting, the ratio of computer science students to designers was about 10 to 1. There is a serious need for more designers!

By next Wednesday, there is going to be a lot of pitches submitted online. Of these pitches, 20 pitches will be selected by judges to move on. Pitches that are selected will form teams of up to five students and beginning to do initial work and research for the app. A lot of these teams will likely be needing designers on their team. The speakers pointed out several times during the kickoff meeting that the best apps last year had teams of both developers and designers. In fact, the winning app WANDER, was designed by Natalie Doud, a graduate from the U's graphic design program. This is a great opportunity to build your teamwork and design skills and potentially end up with awesome work for your portfolio!


I am currently undecided as to whether or not I will be submitting a proposal for the challenge or just trying to join another team in need of a designer, but I am excited to be involved either way. Hopefully I will have more to tell you about the Mobile App Challenge in the near future!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Brought to you by Rapson Hall

I want to make a claim that Rapson is the best building on campus 24/7, which of course I am bias. There are always events going on at

Rapson Hall, so I am constantly being inspired by fabulous works from all over the world.

The current exhibit in the HGA gallery is Pickard Chilton Designing Relationships.
This exhibition is part of Rendezvous with the U lecture. As you walk into Rapson Hall through the new edition of the building, you will be welcomed by this marvelous exhibit. It is full with inspiring photos, beautiful buildings, and gorgeous models.


Continue walking toward the courtyard, there are more to discover. Along the first floor the Cultural Heritage of Kiribati field work exhibit is currently on display. Kiribati is an island nation is the Pacific Ocean. Not many people have heard about it. The first time I heard about this place was when I started working at the Center for World Heritage Studies as a Research Assistant. However, this unknown place has a lot to offer. If you wonder why the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is interested in this unknown country, you need to attend Design@Noon Lecture. The lecture will be on Wednesday, October 10 in Rapson room 225 at 12pm.


Nearby the Kiribati Exhibit, a whole wall of Rapson outside the Architecture office is covered with beautiful drawings. These drawings are student works from Oaxaca, Mexico undergraduate study abroad program. All drawings were done on Mylar with drafting pen. This combination is the hardest to work with; however the students totally dominated it.


Oh...Just in case you forgot, midterm season is coming up. Be sure to plan your study, projects, papers, and social life carefully. Computer Lab tends to get really busy during the review time of the year. If you need to print or plot your work, have your work ready and plot it at least a day before it is due. Check out the Labs hours here.

Be inspired with all the great projects around you and take advantage of all lectures and events that are available to students in the College of Design.

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.
*Image credit:

Picking a Side

So did you guys know that there are two different tracks you can take in Retail Merchandising? There is the apparel track and there is the general track. Both tracks offer classes that develop creative and analytical skills for use in the field of merchandising, whether that be somewhere in the management, corporate, or some other aspect of retail.

I am in the apparel emphasis track; through this track I am able to take more classes focusing on the fashion aspect of retail. These classes are ones like Textile Analysis, where you learn about different fabric fibers, and Fashion, Trends, and Forecasting, where you learn about trends and how to spot them. Students that choose the apparel side usually, but not always, have an interest in fashion and want to work for clothing retailers.

The general track takes much of the same classes as the apparel track. However, there some differences; where the apparel emphasis focuses most on softline products, such as clothing, the general dedicates itself to exposing students to a variety of different areas of merchandising such as hardlines and food. The different courses often taken through this track include classes such as Food and Agricultural Sales and Consumer Society.

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Softline products Vs. Hardline products

The track you choose really depends on your interest and what you want to focus one. If you really like fashion, then the apparel emphasis is for you; however, if you would like a more broad scope of merchandising, than you should go for the general. And if you are unsure at the moment, do not worry, both sides are good and provide students with great knowledge, insight, and skills into the world of merchandising; and it's also fairly easy to transition from one to the other should you change your mind.

Until Next Time!

Senior Line Reality

Hello everyone, hope your week is starting off swimmingly. Mine has been going quite well and I'll tell you why! This past weekend and this week I am getting right into the midst of my senior line. I am no longer drawing or thinking about it, instead I am patterning, draping and working with my models. It is really exciting to see my pieces as more than just a sketch or some plain fabric, and more of a real thing!

In apparel design and fabrication there are many ways to create 3d shapes and real clothes, two of which, that you will learn about in depth at the University, are flat patterning and draping. Both have their places and as you learn and get more experienced you figure out when one method is better than the others.

Flat pattering is where you use measurements and physically draw out a pattern piece, with shaping darts, etc., on pattern paper and use it to cut fabric and sew. Draping is using fabric, usually inexpensive cotton like Muslin, and drape, pin and make shapes on the form or mannequin itself. Draping is great if your model is the same size as your mannequin, and/or if you're creating something with a lot of volume or draped fabric. For example, you might drape a beautifully flowing and organic looking evening dress. Flat patterning is better for structured pieces, and when working with models of different sizes/proportions than the mannequins. Personally, for my line, I am working with models of varying sizes, and my designs are more structured, so flat patterning works best. I will be draping certain aspects of my line, but the majority will be patterned flat.

I also got to meet with my models for the first time and I love all of them! Some of them are my friends or models I have worked with in the past, but some were new, and I am just so excited to work with all of them. My models range from a size 6 to a size 14, which is who I want to design for: the real woman!

Here is a sneak peak of my line!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Keeping Busy in the Office!

I may or may not have mentioned that I have a work-study job as an Office Assistant for the College to Career program here at the College of Design. The College to Career program is based out of the Student Services office in McNeal Hall (the design building on the St. Paul campus). My boss' name is Lucy Reile and she is the coordinator or this program. Basically, the reason College to Career exists is so that the gap between working professionals and students can be bridged. We offer a range of opportunities for connections to be formed through things like the Design Student and Alumni Board (DSAB) and our Mentor Program.

college_to_career.jpgIt's currently the Mentor Program season and at this stage we're finding professionals to pair with students in our varying disciplines. Once we've got that squared away, we will match students and professionals in time for our Mentor Program Kick-off event at the end of the month. It's an exciting opportunity for students to get very direct and individualized attention from people who were once in their shoes.

I also mentioned the DSAB. This organization consists of alumni of the College of Design and students in their third and fourth years of their studies. They meet a few times a semester and work to create events and engagements that will connect students with professionals and vice versa.

Programs like these are awesome and the relationships built as a result are priceless. I'm really excited to continue to get involved in my years here at the U.

'Til the next one,
Ashley O.
Interior Design

Monday, October 8, 2012

Study Abroad...sealed my fate!

I am going to the go on the very first Architecture in Istanbul this Spring 2013! I am so happy that the U is giving us the opportunity to go on a trip to Rome and Turkey where so much of the study of Architecture stems from.
Things are crazy busy as usual with the Advanced Representations 2301 class...were staring to work with water colors and site evaluations. I do believe they will mellow out a bit when I figure things out with my job. I am feeling pressed for time with my weekends being taken by work. After having so much free time this summer I am finally settling in with the fact that school is kick my butt. I do not want to jeopardize my school performance for working at the Lowry, although it is fun and a great way to meet fun people from the city.
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This week we had a presentation David Lilly Plaza (image 1) for 3001 with Brad Agee and Tony Chevalier. In groups (yikes ANOTHER group project!) we synthesized the performance of the site by lighting, circulation, materials, design and overall usefulness of the site. I did my diagrams with Adobe Illustrator. The entire design suite creative packages are available in full content in the Rapson Hall Computer Labs and are amazing resources! Of course if you don't have the programs save them as pdf's so you can open it on your personal computer with preview, adobe reader or photo editor, all of which are free to download. unitednoodle wall hanging.JPG
united noodle display.jpg What else do I have but a huge project getting underway with ARCH 3711w...We get to go to the Midtown Global Market, a personal favorite MPLS spot, and the United Noodle Asian grocery/supply stores. These two places are being evaluated for their spatial organization, depth and interest. This class has been really interesting in delving into personal, personalized, territoriality, public vs. private, and intimate spaces. My favorite reading is the "Meaning in the Built Environment" by Amos Rapoport. He is a great Architect who has written a lot on housing, design theory and culture. It is fitting that my group and I are having a hard time wrapping our head around this one! Luckily Prof. Julia W. Robinson is a super expert on the spatial organization of built environments in our society. She has even published her research. So enjoy the reading, keep yourself motivated, calm, and aware until next week when you come back for more!
Be good and stay warm!

Sarah S.
Landscape Design and Planning