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College of Design

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Precedents, Reviews, and Designs!

This week I had a large design planning review for the Kabatas Ferry Station/Site . On the study abroad trip we have BED, BS, and BDA students. As, you may recall from the previous posts, our assignment here in Istanbul tailored to our degree programs and everyone learns from each other for different components of their work. Its a very good experience to talk with designers from different fields and get some unique insights. The reviews were really exciting, and we all spent a lot of time on our drawings for a short time to explain ourselves, thoughts, and processes. I realized how unprepared I was for my presentation! I had worked so hard to get my lines and renderings down pat, but when I had my turn to talk, it all came out in a quick spattering of information that could have made a stronger case for either one of my design ideas. All I can say is to practice the speech before you get to the presentation, and remember to write down the notes of your critique. It will help you for future assignments!
Just click the image to enlarge!
Blog 37 presentations.jpg
Precedents used for our designs include, but are not limited to :
historic Frogtown district urban farm...up and coming, thanks to the light rail project ....will connect you to the U of M
Kinetic energy pavement tiles...making energy out of traffic!
HighLine New York
Also if your looking for something cultural in the surrounding communities, Powderhorn Park is hosting a Holi Festival (Festival of Lights) with Bollywood Dancing and food this Wednesday April 3rd at 6:30pm.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Semester Continues

The semester is getting busy! Spring break was a nice pause to the semester, but now everything is in fast foreword. This weekend alone is super packed with projects to work on, assignments to finish, tests to study for, and activities to attend.

I have two big projects due at the end of April; both of which include doing research and analysis on companies and brands. These projects make-up a large percentage of my final grade for each, so procrastination on these projects is not an option. For one of the projects, my group and I are developing a survey questionnaire with in order to collect primary data; it's really interesting to take part in the process of research design and see how it works, but let me just say that it is very time consuming.

I also have quite a few assignments for my PSTL 1571 computer class to finish. Luckily, these assignments are a great preparation for the midterm I for the class this following Thursday; so working on them will be like killing two birds with one stone.

Lastly, I also have an interview to prepare for, with a company that contacted me through GoldPass, the UofM job database. In addition, I am also going on a tour of the Target Corporate Headquarters on Friday with other Retail Merchandising students; here we will not only get a tour, but also hear about possible job opportunities available.

business casual.png

(Business Casual on left and Business Professional on the right. It's always important to know the typical dress code of a workplace and then dress one step above that for an interview.)

It's going to be one busy weekend, so wish me luck!
Sasenka-Retail Merchandising

Photo credit: and

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Hello again,

I have been mentioning the Public Interest Design Week for the past several months. Thank you for waiting so patiently, this blog entry is dedicated to PID Week just for you all!

Images from the PID Week by John Cary. Click HERE for the slideshow.

I attended the PID Institute on Thursday and Friday. It was one of the most inspiring events in my life. There were so many people from all around the country, who are doing public interest design work all over the world. I get to learn about projects in places like Kenya, Indonesia, and Detroit. the most important knowledge I gained from this institute was how to start a public interest design project and how to get those who are outside the design discipline to join you. People still see public interest design as a separate type of design, when in fact it should be part of every design project we do. We should design for the people, not for the profit. There were also many important people at the event. There were Michael Kimmelman who is the New York Times architecture critic, Liz Ogbu who is an award-winning designer and my role-model, Bryan Bell who is the founder of SEED and Design Corps, and John Cary who is the founder of This Friday at the College of Design, students will be holding a discussion on how us, the students, can start public interest design project in our community. If you happen to be nearby Rapson Hall this Friday, be sure to check it out!

pid cdes.jpg
Some of the photos from CDes facebook page.

See you next blog!

Beau S.

Architecture B.D.A.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Target: Design Part 2

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely spring break, and relaxed a bit. I did, but now its back to the grind, and the last 6 weeks of my college career before I graduate! I can't wait!

The biggest project that I am currently working on is our Product Development's collaboration with Target Corporation, to create a product and marketing plan for an assigned floor pad. The floor pads that Target had us focus on varied from infants and toddlers to menswear to intimates. Our assigned floor pad, and target market, was "Big girls", which means girls ready to wear fashion in sizes 4-16. Our assignment was to research the target market and what was being offered to them currently and pinpoint what was missing. Then to design a line of clothing and products to fit this missing section, and create a floor plan, marketing strategy and advertising campaign for the collection.

Our group decided to focus on clothing for girls that wasn't overly girly, or too grown up for their age group. We conducted surveys, and completed extensive research and discovered that there was a gap in this area, most of what is offered currently is either very girly with frills and sparkles, or was too basic for girls to be interested (plain tee shirts, etc). We are at the point now where we are sketching and deciding what the pieces in our line/collection will actually be. Below is an image of our mood board!


Lucie, Apparel design

Networking: Start Early, Never Stop.

I have posted a little bit about professional networking in the past, but it is so important that I am going to talk some more about some of the best ways to network with others in the design industry.

twitter-bird-light-bgs.pngHow about starting with the easy, digital networking solutions:

1) Twitter - While you may not be directly talking to professionals on Twitter, you can follow industry professionals to see what they are up to and what they are talking about. Producing insightful tweets or even replying to a firm or a design professional in a tweet when appropriate could net you a follow from them. Make sure to include a short and sweet description of yourself on your profile and link to your online portfolio if available. You can find me on Twitter @sean_mateer.

imkgres.jpeg2) Linkedin - I'll admit that I neglected Linkedin for awhile, but I've recently found how helpful it can be when applying for internships and looking for connections in different cities. I was able to connect with a few strangers in distant cities through introductions from my existing Linkedin connections. Linkedin also gives you an alternative place to organize all of the information you would put on your resume. I try to keep mine as updated as possible, as I have found that some employers actually prefer to look at a Linkedin profile over a resume.

Alright, real life networking. It's easier than it seems. Here's my two favorite ways:

1) Hang out before/after events - Typically, before or after an event, industry professionals are more than happy to chat with you about any questions you may have. If you aren't confident walking right up to someone and introducing yourself, try working your way into a conversation between a few people and go from there.

2) Informational Interviews - Do these. Do these a lot. Did you find a firm in town that looks cool on Twitter? Send them an email saying you'd love to chat with someone at the firm. Did you meet someone after the AIGA event you attended? Send them a follow up email and ask if you can meet and chat more sometime. Informational Interviews are by far my favorite way for creating lasting and meaningful connections with design professionals.

How are you building connections in the design industry? Let me know in the comments.

Sean Mateer
Graphic Design

Off to See Some Mansions

Spring Break has passed and the final stretch of the semester has arrived at last. With school back in full swing, tomorrow is the time to make one of the assigned personal field trips for my Architecture Since 1750 course. This trip will be an essential part of an important group project my peers and I have been working on since week two of the class.

By the end of the semester, each small group of students will have created a detailed timeline outlining the evolution of a specific type of architecture over the past few centuries. Per my request, I was placed in the group researching historic residential architecture - we're all working together surprisingly given our busy schedules.

semple_mansion_party_01_.jpgvandusenGrn.jpgAnyways, tomorrow afternoon I will be trekking over to the Stevens Square Neighborhood of Minneapolis to check out a pair of late 19th century mansions which have been more recently converted into private event spaces for weddings and other sorts of lavish get-togethers. The first will be Semple Mansion, a boastful Beaux-Arts style residential structure completed in 1901. The second will be the Van Dusen Mansion just down the street. The Van Dusen Mansion is probably my favorite large home in the Twin Cities - it is completely cladded with Pink Sioux Quartzite which gleams in the sunlight. Overall, two very impressive structures.

I'm only required to visit one site for the assignment, but I figure I'll go above and beyond this time since the two mansions happen to be less than a block away from one another. Senioritis has not overcome me just yet!

Jesse LaMaack
- Housing Studies, B.S.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Need a Study Option?

When crunch time rolls around, it's crucial that I have the right place to hit the books and get down to business. For me, the location really depends upon my mood. What's great about the U of M campus is that there is a dynamic blend of study spaces fit for everyone and every mood.

When I need peace and quiet I always head to Walter Library. It's located on the East Bank of the U and is fairly central because Coffman and Dinkytown are nearby. Usually, I'll plan to grab dinner somewhere and make sure I'm fueled and ready to work hard. It's nice because Walter also offers tutoring so if I ever get hung up on my homework I always have a place to go for help.

Coffee Shops
Coffee shops are another great option when I want to get a lot of work done but in a lighter, more casual way. I really enjoy changing it up so I frequent many different coffee shops in the area. Some of my favorites include Espresso Royale, Purple Onion, Dunn Bros, and Caribou. Studying in a coffee shop is nice because you can invite a friend or a few and make it a social experience that is also productive. You also can't go wrong when you've got a constant source for fresh brewed coffee and yummy pastries.

As a design student, the studio is near and dear to my heart. When I have a big project, the studio is the perfect place to go to spread out and jump in. It's great for group collaboration, but it's also nice when you are working individually because you have a lot of space to get focused and really run wild with your ideas. I typically head over to McNeal Hall because the 4th floor is like interior design home base. I find that coming to work in a place where my classes are held helps me to keep focused.

In addition to the places I highlighted, there are more study spaces on campus including the student unions, classrooms, and outside when the weather permits! Leave a comment and let me know where you like to study.

Until the next,
Interior Design

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Analysis to Design and Render

These are super key terms when going through a design project. In this program we meld a lot of architecture and landscape terminology and project concepts into one big old studio course. sat at review.jpgWe had our analysis review last week which was really cool, insightful and bringing peoples ideas together. Now I am collecting samples, examples, pictures and studies of design elements I like and want to include in either or both of the design schemes due Monday. Luckily I have some LA2301 digital graphic info stashed in my head and im ready to get to work on the Photoshop, Illustrator, AutoCAD and SketchUp. Yes, all of those programs just to do a couple designs this week. It is so important to know the fundamentals of each of these programs and they will save you time in the long run, plus they are great additions to your resume.
Speaking of resumes I have sent out mine to a handful of potential employers and Its scary waiting to hear from them. Internships and seasonal employment can be heard to come by but the U has some great opportunities. Last summer i got my job at a FREE environmental career fair that I went to at the St. Paul Student Center. I literally found out the day before. Its important to print your resume out, just incase they ask for it. Take a look at which companies will be there, have a game plan of which tables to hit so you dont look lost or bored! My advice is to play dress up. It shows you care, even though you have class for 6 hours that day. Also go to the portfolio and resume courses that the UMN offers for free. I am really sad that I have missed those opportunities this semester. It would have been great to have a solid resume and portfolio right now.
A great tumblr site the ARCH kids showed me today... you if you need another distraction. A cool firm doing cool things: KMD Architects blog besiktas.jpg And last but not least, I finally ate brunch with the boys and bought some very high quality salmon at the markets. sweeeeeet.

Until next week,

Sarah S.

Landscape Planning BED: 2014

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

All for the Good Cause

Hello again,

One of the architecture student groups that I involve with is having a fundraising event. This group is Freedom by Design, which I mentioned in my older blog. Freedom by Design is a group of design students who go out and create a moderate design structure for disabled, low-income individuals in our community. It is putting our knowledge into real world by helping those in needs. Because everything that Freedom by Design does is free to our client, fundraising is the only source of income for the group. This year, the group will be hosting the 5th Annual Art Auction "The Fine Collection." More detail of the date and time will be posted at later time.

I spent my spring break making artwork and jewelry for the auction. All proceed goes toward helping our clients. So, I hope that you will be able to attend the event and auction off some artwork when the time comes. Join their facebook group for more photos of the past projects and info.

Artworks I made for the auction, including jewelry, pottery, and painting.

Also, the Public Interest Design Week is HERE! I am the happiest I could be. I will be attending the Public Interest Design Institute workshop and attending the guest speaker event: Liz Ogbu. I will spill out a little detail for now that the name tag is super fancy. I hope this gets you excited. Hold on tight! I will update you on all the details next week!

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

Job Searches and Career Services

It's hard for me to grasp the idea that I will be graduating in less than two months. Soon, I will be out in the real world, working; however, where I will be working has yet to be determined. Part of the reason I am so unsure, is due to the fact that I am uncertain if I will be staying in Minnesota after graduation. I am contemplating either staying here, in Minneapolis, or possibly moving out to California. Luckily, the University of Minnesota has great resources that can help me find a job around the area if I decide to stay, but can also set me on the right track, as far as job searching, if I plan to move away.

These are some of the UofM resources that I am currently using or have used in the past.

photo.PNGCareer and Internship Services: One of the best resources offered at the University of Minnesota. They help look over and improve resumes (as pictured on the right), offer mock interviews, help with the job searching processes, and much more. This is a resource that is offered not only to current students, but to alumni as well!

GoldPass: This University of Minnesota specific website lists job, internship, and volunteer openings. I have found so many great and interesting job listings and opportunities on the site for such companies as Target, Kohl's, and ShopNBC. Some
of these employers even hold interviews on campus and students are able to sign up
for timeslots on the website itself.

Career and Internship Fair: This resource is available to students twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Many employers gather at the Career and Internship Fair and students are able to talk and network with employers. I got my internship with Kohl's last year through networking at this Career Fair.

These are just some of the many resources offered to students and alumni by the University of Minnesota and I am very grateful for them; I will keep you all posted on how I use some of these resources on my current job search!

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break

Hello readers! I hope all of you are having a wonderful spring break, and relaxing a bit! Last week was my week of midterms so it was rather stressful. I had four papers, a portfolio class project, and a retail midterm exam all due! But, I got through it, and got to have some time to relax over the week of break. I first headed home to Iowa, to visit family and have some down time, but then it was off to Chicago for the weekend! While in Chicago, I had a great time visiting the Art Institute of Chicago. Having time off from school is great to relax, but I also try and take advantage of family trips to have the opportunity to see art and design exhibitions around the country. Last summer, I was able to see Jean Paul Gaultier's exhibit in the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and this week I was able to see the exhibit on Japanese fashion in the Art Institute of Chicago: "Material Translations". The exhibitions displays many fashions and designs from Japanese designers and showcases how Japanese fashion, and more broadly Eastern fashion, is different from the more commonplace (for us) Western fashion world. Eastern fashion is quickly spreading and it's influence is being seen on high fashion runways in New York, London, etc.

The exhibition shows designs, more specifically, from the 1980s through the early 2000s, and has pieces from more well known lines like Comme des Garçons, by designer Rei Kawakubo. While I wasn't sure if I could take photos in the gallery, I wanted to show you a piece from the exhibition. Below is an image from the gallery, which I found online. Enjoy!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break: A Good Time to Get Stuff Done

So maybe I'm not going on that dream vacation over spring break to the Bahamas that I've ben planning since I was 10 years old... but I am staying in the beautiful (and snowy) Minneapolis for break. With all this free time on my hands, sure I could nap, Netflix, and not do nothing at all, but instead I want to do something I'll be proud of this break. I vow to be productive.

website clip.jpgIt's officially day one, and I have definitely stuck to my goals of productivity. This morning I had an informational interview at 8:00am with a professional from a local firm. After that I had another meeting with Frederic MacDonald, the Director of MCAE (Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence). After my meeting with Frederic, I went in to work at the Student Services office for a little over 5 hours in preparation for the Architecture Networking + Portfolio event, among other things. Now I'm sitting at Espresso Royale, a coffee shop in Dinkytown, and I'm working on my online portfolio.

It's been nice being productive because I have some flexibility and variety from my usual class schedule. Although I don't have to, I still make sure to get up early in the AM and not waste away my days.

Other goals for break I have include:
- working on my resume
- writing a paper for my Art History class
- updating my LinkedIn account
- etc.

We'll see how I do, but wish my luck! I'll keep you guys posted in next week's blog.

Interior Design

Small Changes Big Effects: Ferry Site Design!

This weekend began with an amazing, almost too good to be true, celebration of the Accent center and first UMN-Rome-Istanbul-MSP trip. The party was awesome and I got a chance to mix, mingle, and share my experiences thus far with some amazingly talented and driven people. Must give a special shout out to my professor here Ozayr, who with the help of many, got the studio space looking great in less than a few days. This program would not be the same without you!
kabatas station.jpg
Back to reality, we are designing a ferry and transit station on the coast of the Bosporous Straight known as Kabataş. To help our analysis we have chosen a secondary site to interact with. Mine is called Üsküdar, it is located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul City. I have learned a lot about how the pros and the cons of Kabataş can be reinterpreted to make the site be a better place, and space to be, instead of just a place to pass through. Make it usable! Wow, that's what I have been learning in Landscape Planning and Design courses all the time. Making a space a better place is not always a matter of vast changes or overhauling the original site. It is more likely that economically feasible alterations and deliberate planning ideas will end up being utilized. Cities like to conserve money and people like to use spaces they understand and are familiar with. In this context my site design might change only a little, but will allow for a number of affordances and amenities previously not offered. These can include a safe way to cross traffic, more lighting, better accessibility to the water/food/information areas, or even as simple as adding bathrooms. In a profession where building resources are becoming sparse and everyone wants a lot of design for a little cash, we need to be able to create design concepts that are environmentally aware and that give clients what they ask for. Good smart design practices are a good start. I hope you think about this next time you are doing a project for class. Hope this helps you start thinking about new cool ideas.

Here are some great articles on cool (and do-able) green designs:

Recycle, Reduce, Adaptive Reuse
Rain Barrels!
redesigning a Rooftop to produce food! One of my favorite ideas.

For a list of more green designs, go to the ASLA website

thanks for reading. Until next week

Sarah S.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Break is Finally Here!

I'm writing this blog a little early, because by the time this it's posted, I will be in Jackson Hole, WY with the Ski and Snowboard Club and will have limited internet access. I will have some pictures to share when I get back, but in the mean time, here is a picture of some of our group at Jackson last year:


Before I go, I wanted remind you again to check out Public Interest Design Week (hosted by the College of Design), and talk about an update in my design career.

Iconothon is a Public Interest Design Week event that is especially relevant to graphic design students. Spend the day creating graphic icons that will help contribute to the growing visual language of The Noun Project. I'm really hoping to make it to this after I get back from Jackson!

Way back in December, I talked about some of the things I wanted to accomplish over winter break - one of those being creating a new online portfolio. Today I realized that I neglected to mention that I did meet my goal and create a new portfolio that you can view at The website was made from scratch and incorporates responsive web design so that it adapts to any screen size that a user may be visiting on. Over time, I will be making updates to my site and adding more work, but I am very satisfied with how it turned out! If you are interested in creating your own online portfolio, check out my blog posts "So You Want to Create an Online Portfolio" Part 1 & Part 2.

If you have any questions about Public Interest Design Week or creating your own online portfolio, let me know in the comments.

Sean Mateer
Graphic Design

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Public Interest Design Week

If you aren't tearing your hair out and falling asleep in class this week due to all of the design projects due and exams to study for, you must really be on top of things - nice job! Sometimes the week before Spring Break seems almost as busy as finals week, but we're almost there! I'll be spending the majority of my spring break in Jackson, WY with the University's Ski and Snowboard club, but when I come back I am going to try to catch the last day or two of the College of Design's Public Interest Design Week.

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What is Public Interest Design Week you say? It's five days of workshops and events uniting people at the intersection of design and public service. It's going to be a really great event. Best of all, many of the events are FREE! Check out the Public Interest Design website for the full details, but here is a glimpse at a few of the events that I think look interesting:

Extreme by Design
Wednesday, March 20th. 7:30pm, Rapson Hall
A documentary film following a group of students from the Stanford Design School.

If You Build It
Wednesday, March 20th. After Extreme by Design, Rapson Hall
Another documentary observing students in Studio H, one of America's most innovative classrooms.

Saturday, March 24th. Rapson Hall
Holy cow this is going to be cool! If you aren't familiar with The Noun Project, go check it out right now! The Noun Project is a website that is working to build a visual language through icons for anything and everything via user submission. You could contribute icons right now if you wanted! Hear two of the creators of The Noun Project speak and facilitate a day of icon creating collaboration!

What are your plans over spring break? If you are going to be around, make sure to check out Public Interest Design Week!

Sean Mateer
Graphic Design

Bitter Sweet

Hello again,

This past week in my BDA workshop, we had a chance to video skype with a professor from Harvard University who is also the author of "Creating Innovator", Tony Wagner. It was a very casual conversation about education, how we can create the culture for innovations, and the future of education and design.

Skype session with Tony Wagner in our BDA Lounge

This past Monday was really bitter sweet for me. That is because it was the last day of my last architecture class! What a great four years. I cannot ask for a better college experience. I am so glad I chose the U of M, no regrets. The best part is that my last project was super fun. I mentioned a couple weeks ago about my project to redesign the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. We recognize that traditional classroom and lecture hall setting was not an effective way of learning. Our goal is to create a new type of learning environment that supports collaboration, innovation, and create great leaders for the future. We propose our design to architects who are working in the Educational Design field of architecture, current Humphrey School of Public Affairs students, and classmates. Below are the picture from the final review. Being at the College of Design and the University of Minnesota was the best thing that ever happened to me. It shaped and defined my view as a designer in this diverse and changing world.

Final presentation for the design proposal (Photos by Sara Marquardt)

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

Istanbul Swing

Well, I have been in Istanbul 11 days already. Its going by quick and were learning a great deal about the city of Istanbul, the Bosphorous, Architecture, Golden Horn, Constantinople, Byzantine Culture and History. Classes started again on Monday we have a Design Studio course led by Ozayr, Turkish language lessons led by our ACCENT leader and awesome guide Deniz B. and a history class called "Byzantium Constantinople: crossroads of east and west" headed by Deniz K. We are busy. But we still have a lot of fun out in the metropolis that is Istanbul. This is possibly one of my favorite cities I have ever been. Last night I was asked where my favorite place to travel has been, although only a week and a half in, it is pretty close to the top. The weather is getting nicer, which you might not like to hear. I am sorry my MN snow bound friends. I really am sorry. blog march 12th.jpg
As I keep familiarizing myself with the city I am in awe of how fast I became comfortable here. The program, put in motion and set up by Ozayr and many supporters, is a culmination of his hard work and amazing ability to work alongside and befriend almost anyone he meets. It seems that Ozayr makes friends with everyone. By the end of the trip the whole block will know him. Which is a great thing for the UMN connection to Turkey! This program is open to all Architecture Students and Landscape Planning and Design Students. A trip like this is helping me build my portfolio and resume. Brad Agee, a 3 time professor of mine and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Landscape Architecture is here to lend a knowledgable hand in our studio design project. He is also visiting the center and helping put on the welcome dinner soiree that is being thrown in honor of the beginning of UMN in Istanbul. Lots of professors, Architects, Regents, and even the Dean Tom Fisher wil be in attendance. I wish I could tell you more! IF you do want more, you should check out our wordpress blog that the whole group contributes to. Its a better look into daily life and fun adventures.

Until Next Time,

Sarah S.
Landscape BED May 2014

Goldstein Exhibition

Hello all!

This week I thought I would talk about the current exhibition at the Goldstein Gallery of Art and Design. For those of you who aren't familiar with the gallery, this art and costume museum is housed within McNeal Hall on the St Paul campus and is home to a very extensive archive of historical costume and fashion items. Some of these items are on display during the year as part of the gallery's biannual exhibitions, but all of them are available to view and examine at any time by appointment with the gallery and collection staff.

The current exhibition is entitled Redefining, Redesigning Fashion and is all about sustainability within the fashion and design industries. The concept for the exhibition was to approach sustainable design and eco-conscious fashion in a unique and new perspective, within predetermined categories like unique construction, materials, concept, etc. There are over 50 pieces on display, ranging from those designed with reusable and responsibly obtained fabrics, to those created out of unconventional materials.

I have two of my own designs in the gallery, on display. One is categorized within the unconventional materials category, and one is a piece focused on versatility. Below is a picture of my versatile piece in the gallery!


Lucie, Apparel Design

Embracing Challenging Classes

This week is a busy one! And understandably so, considering that spring break is just around the corner and most professors want us to get our exams over and done with so that we can enjoy this coming week that we have off. And that joyous week off is exactly what I am looking forward to and keeping in mind as I study for two very large mid-terms that I have this coming Thursday.

The two exams will be for my two business classes that I am taking this semester: International Retail Markets and Marketing Research. International Retail Markets is a class that I can easily comprehend and understand the concepts in; I don't know how or why, but my brain just "gets" the subject matter. Marketing Research, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult for me, definitely not my strong suit. So when I first started studying for the Marketing Research mid-term, I became overwhelmed and impatient with myself, almost disappointed at how difficult it was for me to grasp. Going into the class, I deeply desired to quickly comprehend the subject matter and breeze through the class with ease; but currently, it is looking like this is not going to happen. This class is definitely going to take some extra time and effort to fully comprehend and I am starting to become okay with that.

Not every subject is going to come easily in fact many may be difficult. But, that's the beauty of it, because difficult classes grow us by challenging us to think in ways that we are not accustomed to. This growth is actually why I really enjoy my major, Retail Merchandising. The program offers a great mix of design and business classes that really encourage and teach students how to use both sides of the brain, giving them an advantage when looking for jobs in the "real world!"

Now, excuse me as I get back to my studies:)
Photo 2826.jpg

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Thoughtful Classroom Discussions

Because of the small and personal nature of the housing studies program, there are a lot of unique advantages offered to students who want to get the most out of their education. One of my personal favorites are the consistently small and interactive classroom settings. After a few years of primarily housing studies courses, my current lineup of mostly larger lecture hall courses outside of the department has was a bit of a shock at first.
I am taking one housing class this semester, though - Rural Housing Issues with Dr. Ann Ziebarth. Because there's only a handful of students enrolled in the course, we've gotten to do a lot of neat activities together as a class. One day we met at the HGA Gallery in Rapson Hall for a guided tour of the Rural Design exhibit by Dewey Thorbeck, and on different day received a guest lecture from representatives of the Housing Assistance Council via Skype.
Lately, classes have been more of an interactive discussion about the course material. Personally, I feel like it is a more enlightening and in-depth way of learning opposed to other more formal classroom settings. Below is one of the mind mapping activities we created together recently to collect key points of a book we've been reading about rural housing in Great Britain.


Hope you all are enjoying the lovely weather.

B.S. Housing Studies

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bridge Design Project

I got some exciting news in my Lighting course today - new project! We had representatives from LaCrosse, Wisconsin come in today to talk to us about the bridge project we will be working on.

Basically, the city of LaCrosse is looking to add lighting elements to an existing bridge in the Riverside Park area. This bridge is a major focal point of the area and they are hoping to heighten it's relevance and overall presence. The representatives were very passionate about the experience they wanted the bridge to create and enhance.


It's fun getting a project that applies the skill set I have acquired through my interior design education thus far in a new, interesting way. I never thought in a million years I'd be designing the lighting plan for a bridge, but I can't wait to get started!

What's even cooler about this assignment is that if they like our designs, there's a very high chance they will be implemented. How awesome would it be to visit a bridge that had your design incorporated in it? That thought serves as further motivation to really push myself on this project.

I'll keep you all posted once I get a chance to start sketching and researching.

Until the next,

Interior Design

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Presentation Day!

Ashley Ochiagha Lighting Prez.jpg
So it's finally the big day - we are presenting our lighting fixtures to the client! Since they are located in Dallas, Texas, we skyped the clients in and presented in front of the web cam as well as our class. We were also lucky enough to have Barry Kudrowitz, a product design faculty here at the university.

In addition to the presentation board I am posting, we also submitted our actual built fixtures and technical drawings. It's nice that we got to be creative, hands on, and technical all in one project. I feel that I really enhanced my revit skills through this project and I also had a lot of fun working in the wood shop to construct my fixture.

Working in product design is pretty high on my list post graduation, so I was really happy that a project like this was incorporated into the curriculum. I'm hoping before I graduate I'll have time to take a product design class or two to further supplement my interior design education.

Until the next one guys,

Interior Design

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Very Useful Knowledge

Hi friends, so lately I have been using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop a lot, both for class projects and for personal projects. I greatly enjoy having an understanding of how to use these design-based computer applications, because the knowledge comes in handy more often than you would assume. I first learned the basics of these applications in a class called Design and Visual Presentation, DES 2101, which most Retail Merchandising students take during their sophomore year. At the time, I did not know how useful this knowledge would actually be; I soon discovered and was using the programs on a regular basis for projects, assignments, and even work related tasks.

The occasion where my knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator was most beneficial to me was during my internship at Kohl's; this was because my internship was design based, in fact, it was a management internship, where an understanding of these programs was not at all required. However, I found a time in which they could be of use. At the end of the internship the interns were required to complete a final project; each intern had to define an objective within the store then research and implement a solution within their store. One of my ideas was not one that I could physically implement in the store, because I did not have the means; however, I knew that I still wanted to present the idea to the executive team. Luckily, my knowledge in Photoshop came in handy and I was able to create a visual aid that conveyed my idea for the store perfectly. So when I presented my project, both the executives and interns applauded my idea and effort; they even stated that they would like to see my idea put into action.

I would love to show you all my project and idea; however, I do not think that I am allowed to, because it may be considered a property of Kohl's since it was done in their store. But I will leave you with this pattern below, that I designed for my screen printing class, which I am taking complete my Design Minor.


I wish you were there...

Hello again,

Last week I promised you all that I will write about the Dean's Reception that happened on February 23rd, 2013. The wait is over, you can find all the insights and updates here. We invited admitted Class of 2017 students to visit College of Design. There were tours to both McNeal Hall (home to our Apparel Design, Graphic Design, Housing Studies, Interior Design, and Retail Merchandising programs) and Rapson Hall (home to the Architecture and Landscape Architecture programs.) The students get to meet and chat with the Dean Tom Fisher, professors, current students, and alumni over lunch. Meeting over food is always a good idea. The most exciting part will have to be visiting all the facilities and studios. Students had the chance to try our Virtual Reality Lab, Digital Fabrication Lab, Imaging Lab, W.L. Hall Workshop and both the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Design in Architecture studios. Moreover, it was a beautiful day to tour the U of M campus.

(Left) Virtual Reality experiment, (right) casual lunch with parents, students and professors. Photos by College of Design

The highlight for me was speaking to some of you throughout the day. I got to know so many families, learn about your interests and what you bring to the College of Design. Besides all the amazing facilities in the College of Design, many more developments around the U of M will finish within this upcoming year as well. This includes the new expansion of the Recreational Center, the Light Rail Transit, the new student housing. What a great time to be a gopher!

  1. The Light Rail Transit animation

More photos from the Dean's Reception, click here!
See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Dean's Reception Part 2

Hello readers and viewers! I hope you all survived the crazy Minnesota weather this past week.

I wanted to post again about The Dean's Reception, because this week I can share pictures from the event! So, the Dean's Reception allows incoming freshmen, and their families, the unique opportunity to meet and interact with the large group of incoming freshmen in the entire College of Design, their individual discipline: graphic design, interior design, apparel design, etc, and the professors and staff that are within the college as well. It also allows upperclassmen, like myself, to meet new students who we will be interacting with. This semester, the Dean's Reception was slightly bittersweet, as I met students who will be at school next year, after I graduate! Imagining that I only have 2 months of school left, in my college career, is insane! I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed.

During the apparel design major specific time of the Dean's Reception, I had a chance to talk to incoming students about portfolio review. Portfolio review is most likely, for me at least, the scariest part of the first year during your time at the College of Design. Portfolio review takes place during finals week of your first spring semester, after your first studio class: studio one. I will write more about portfolio review next week! In the meantime, here is a photo of me and Lee, the other apparel design student who spoke at the Dean's Reception.


Lucie, Apparel Design

What I've Been Reading

I'm a sucker for books about design. I have accumulated a large pile of design related books from personal purchases and gifts over the last year or two - many of which I haven't even had time to read yet - though the ones I have read have been great. Here is short summary of a few of the great design books I have taken a look at lately. I highly recommend them all!

Designing the iPhone User Experience
Okay so, kind of a dry name, but a really thorough and useful book if you at all interested in mobile app design. Before ever talking about the visual design of an iPhone app, the book talks extensively about user research, usability testing, and evaluating your competition- factors that are much more important in the long run. A pretty app doesn't make a good or successful app, careful research and analysis and a intuitive user interface does. The book also includes several case studies of real apps that are very interesting to read.

The Handy Book of Artistic Printing
Recently, I have been getting very inspired by hand lettered typography. I had never tried doing any hand lettering before reading this book, but I am now thinking of integrating some hand lettering into a packaging project. While the book does contain quite a bit of content that I have mostly neglected to read so far, just the pictures that it includes on every page make it worth checking out. On a similar topic, check out this trailer for a documentary about sign painters if you enjoy hand lettered type:

SIGN PAINTERS (OFFICIAL TRAILER) from samuel j macon on Vimeo.

The Mobile Book - Smashing Magazine
Smashing Magazine is great online resource for the most current topics in web/mobile/ux design. Smashing pulled together some of the best mobile experts to talk about the bleeding edge and future of web and mobile design for this book. It's a little technical at times, but really interesting if you are at all into web and mobile web design.

Have you read any great design related books lately? Let me know in the comments!

Sean Mateer
Graphic Design

Monday, March 4, 2013

Thrown into the Bosphorous

...not literally of course! I do, however, feel an immense wave of culture and language washing over me here in Istanbul.
So we have been immersed into Istanbul. I am loving the city so far, especially the cuisine. We dined at JUNO a really hip young place near our apartments last night. We started with a meat and olive plate, then I had Izgara tavuk salata, or grilled chicken salad! It was so good. Finish it off with a tasty brownie and our night was complete...and stomachs were full. Then today, Tuesday we started our day in search of waffles, expertly filled with candy and fruit, and what else but Nutella. Some of us walked up to get coffees and street breads (mine was "potato" but it was mostly just bread. A great breakfast. kanyon mall copy.jpgThe off to sketch at the mall, Kanyon Mall, which was gorgeous. It also happened to have the same architects as the Mall of America back in MN; coincidence, I think not Ozayr. The mall was cool, and we were cold so we hurried off to the Ferry.dolphins Bosphorus copy.jpg The trip across the Bosphorus was so beautiful. Dolphins swam along side our ferry and the colors and view were great, even though most of us freezing cold. The trip is shaping up to be great, and Ozayr is showing us our new grounds for the project as well as good places to eat and get chay (tea) along the way!