Cdes header

College of Design

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Web Design: Celebrating the Small Victories

As I mentioned in a previous post, this semester has been a bit unusual for me as I am only enrolled in one class for my major: GDes 2342 Web Design. When I first registered for this class last spring, I was extremely excited − I had no previous experience in web design and was eager to learn something completely new.

MyFirstHomepage.jpgMy classmates and I spent the first month of the course learning how to write basic HTML code for a webpage. Although I found this topic interesting, it was a bit difficult to pick up. The code was very picky and at times could be extremely complex. After several unsuccessful attempts, I finally succeeded in creating my first webpage (shown to the right). Even though it was extremely rudimentary, it felt like a major accomplishment.

After working a bit more with HTML, the class moved on to CSS code − this is where the fun really started. We were finally able to add colors, fonts, and work with the layout of the page. After weeks of basic, unattractive web pages, it was a relief to create something a bit more appealing.

Now that the semester is halfway through, our class is finally ready to begin coding our own websites. Although most of us still have a long way to go before we are competent web designers, we have definitely made huge strides forward. I am excited to begin work on my own website and am looking forward to developing my skills further throughout the remainder of my semester!

Graphic Design

Field Trip!


Field trips aren't just for children... Thanks to the U of M's Housing Studies program, this past Friday 18 of us, undergraduate students, grad students, alumni, and professors, hopped on the yellow school bus once again for a tour of four of the area's multi-unit housing sites. To be more specific, all of the housing we looked at was designed to meet the needs and interests of elderly persons who are living independently. The different housing sites consisted of a public housing high-rise, a 55+ resident-owned cooperative, and two HUD Section 202 properties (check out this website to see how they are making available more low-income housing for elderly persons:


Before the bus tour, I had never given much thought to the housing needs of elderly persons. And what was really cool about all of these sites, not only did they take care of practical needs, such as wider doorways and easy-to-maneuver showers for the residents, but each of them created an inviting atmosphere for a healthy community. In the pictures above, one can clearly see the fun the residents were having in the company of their friends.

Stay sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sustainability can be cool!

reclaimed materials.jpgSo here's a quick catch up on the Steelcase NEXT design competition...

My design solution is progressing and I'm really happy with how it's all coming together. A big focus of the competition is to incorporate sustainability in the finishes/materials/fixtures as well as the practices of those working in the office.

Nowadays when you hear sustainability, everyone goes "yeah yeah yeah..." because it's become a buzz word, but I promise you that sustainability is cool!

For my office design, some of the ways I've incorporated sustainability include using raw materials such as such as reclaimed wood, reclaimed brick, sealed concrete and exposed HVAC ceiling systems.

Sustainability can also be incorporated by having dishes stored on site so paper plate ware and plastic cutlery don't get used and tossed everyday.

I'll continue to keep you posted!

interior design

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Portfolio Review = PASS!

Hello again everyone!

If you've kept up with my past few entries, you may recall that I was recently preparing for my upcoming portfolio review session. This preparation culminated last Friday when I finally completed my review! I have since received my results and am extremely pleased to announce that I passed! I am now an Official Graphic Design Major.


Although the process was nerve wracking, it was definitely not as scary as I had anticipated. The most difficult part may have been waiting for my turn in the hallway along with the six other students in my group. Each time the door to the review room opened and a name was called, my stomach would drop a little further in anticipation of my turn.

However, when the time finally arrived, my nerves surprisingly subsided. Even though I was talking to a panel of judges, it felt like just like another class critique. The review process lasted less than ten minutes, and upon leaving the room it felt as though a great weight had been lifted off my chest. Even though I didn't yet know if I had passed, it felt great to have the experience behind me.

After a tense week of constantly checking my email inbox, I finally received my results. It arrived in the middle of my web design class, which happened to include several members of my portfolio review group. Word quickly spread around the room that the emails were in, and we abandoned our work in frantic pursuit of our results. I was ecstatic to learn that I had passed, and was happy to hear that the other students in my group made the cut as well.

It feels amazing to have passed my review and finally be able to call myself an official member of Graphic Design program. I'm feeling comfortable, confident, and am looking forward to completing the rest of my undergraduate study here at the College of Design!

Graphic Design

So Much to Learn, So Little Time

One project down! Yay! My dress project is complete for my apparel design studio class and I got my grade back. I'm not going to disclose what I got, but I'm satisfied with the results. Here is the final dress.

ADes Studio II Dress Project.jpg ADes Studio II Dress Project 2.jpg

Now onto the next project, pants! Pants are definitely not going to be easy, especially since this will definitely be something that I've never done before. There's that, then all my other midterm projects and exams coming up. This includes my Illustration for Apparel Design class, which is proving to be a lot more work than expected. I have a background in art and drawing, so I thought that I would have the upper hand in doing figure drawings, but illustrating figures for apparel design takes on a different set of rules than I'm used to. More things to learn, which is exactly why joined this program, I always feel like I'm being challenged and I'm constantly learning. So if you're not learning anything when you're in college, you're probably doing it wrong.

To get updates about me and see how I'm using putting my new knowledge to work go to and follow my blog!

Apparel Design

Hello Color and Contours!

With fall and midterms in full swing here at the U, my days are filled with tests, drawing/painting exercises, and model making. This time of year usually drags on with having to study flash cards of vocabulary words, but this year I am lucky enough to have lots of projects to work on. The first set of projects I completed was for LA 2301, Advanced Representation for Environmental Design. Over the first few weeks of school we have reviewed drawing basics and started working with color theory. I loved getting the opportunity to leave behind my graphite pencils and black pens for my new box of colored pencils and watercolors! After practicing hard in class and on my own, I feel I now have a better sense of how to use color to enhance my drawings. Click the following PDF link to check out some of my work. Sketch 3.pdf

Besides working on color theory, I have been designing my fourth model for LA 3001, Understanding and Creating Landscape Space. This time around we were only allowed to use cardboard and started working with land contours. I struggled at first with moving the contours around to work with my design, but in the end I feel that I created a space that works well with the contours and surrounding land. However, I did not reach my final design without the help of other students, my professor, and TA. All of them spent time with me looking over my model and figuring out how it could be improved. Being critiqued is something all design students have to be open to no matter what their area of interest is. A critique is important to help you see how others view your design and to help you decide what to change and what to keep.
104.jpg 109.jpg
Above is my sketch and the start of my landform model. Check Instagram this week to see the final product!

Until next time,
Landscape Design and Planning

Friday, October 18, 2013

Black Shoes and Interviews

This past week I got out my fancy pants and my black shoes; I was getting ready for an interview! But I wasn't the one who was being interviewed. Rather, I interviewed a project manager at PPL. Project for Pride in Living, Inc. (PPL) is a nonprofit that works with lower-income individuals and families. PPL helps communities by developing affordable housing and providing services such as childcare and job training. Feel free to learn more about them at


My interview with the project manager was an informational interview. (I learned about these from one of the advisors at the handy-dandy career center on campus.) I asked her what PPL was all about, what her job as project manager looked like on a daily basis, and other questions along those lines. I thought it would be a little bit scary, but it was actually a lot of fun! She gave me a lot of advice.

The career center website,, gave me all of the tips I needed going into the informational interview. And so I have started networking! Which means, and so I have started making friends in the professional world of housing!

Stay sharp :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Putting My Creative Skills to Work!

This past week, my group for my Visual Merchandising class presented our window design for the Weisman Art Museum. We were challenged to create a window display for the WAM gift shop that reflected the image of the museum, was within a $150.00 budget, and could be easily implemented. It was also competition amongst all of my classmates, with one group being picked as the winner at the end. Doesn't sound too hard, right? Turns out, this project required a lot more work and creativity than expected!

While some people thrive in group projects, I've always preferred individual projects where I can work at my own pace and make sure it's not left for the last minute. It can also be challenging to coordinate times to meet with a group, since everyone has a busy schedule. I was very fortunate to be put in a group where each of us had different skill sets that contributed to our final result. One girl was super creative and visual, another girl was skilled in Photoshop, and I can produce a pretty good paper. In this case, the synergy from different skill sets of my group was much stronger than anything I could have done by myself, and we ended up being chosen as a finalist!

Sure, group projects can be a hassle sometimes, but I have found that they can also be the best learning experiences and the most rewarding in the end.


ps. you can follow all of us CDES students on Instagram (@umndesign) and see what we're up to!

Stay Fabulous,
Katie, Retail Merchandising

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Design + Journalism

As a student in the College of Design, I have become accustomed to spending a good portion of my time on the St. Paul campus. I enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle of East Bank and look forward to the relaxing twenty-minute ride on the Campus Connector. However, this semester I find myself only making the trek between campuses twice a week. This change is due to my current class schedule, which contains only one Graphic Design course. Instead, my schedule is filled with classes for my planned minor in Mass Communication.

Thumbnail image for murphy.hall.jpg Communication is a fairly common minor among Graphic Design students as it often meshes well with their course work and career goals (especially advertising). It is part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is located in Murphy Hall on the East Bank Campus (shown in the photo to the right). Although it is a journalism program, isn't just for students who want to be journalists. The program offers a wide range of course options that can be tailored to suit anyone's interests. Two of the classes that I'm particularly interested in are JOUR 3006 Visual Communication and JOUR 4242 Advertising Portfolio Development.

Although I have not yet declared a Mass Communication minor, I am hoping to do so at the end of fall semester after I have completed the prerequisite courses. I'm really enjoying the classes so far, and am looking forward to becoming an official member of the School of Journalism!

Graphic Design

Peeking Fall Colors and Pretty Houses

I love fall. I love walking around, looking at trees, and hearing the crunching leaves beneath my feet. And I love that I get to experience it all on my beautiful U of M St. Paul campus, as well as in my homework assignments. For two of my Housing classes we get to go out into different neighborhoods and look at the houses. No surprise, as a Housing Studies student, I love looking at houses too!

For my Housing and Community Development class, the lovely Dr. Ann Ziebarth is having us conduct a neighborhood housing assessment. It's really a fun project. Last Friday my project partner and I walked about a neighborhood close by and analyzed the homes. Each house exhibited unique architecture, and they were such beautiful homes! This was especially so as the leaves of the surrounding trees began turning. I'm no photographer, but I took some pictures anyways. Enjoy!



I hope that you're enjoying the fun fall colors out there!

Stay sharp :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Getting To Know Rapson

The College of Design is split between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. McNeal Hall in the St. Paul campus includes fashion design, graphic design, housing studies and other design programs that lie outside of the architecture curriculum. Both architecture and landscape architecture are housed in Rapson Hall, named after Minnesota native architect Ralph Rapson, located in the Minneapolis campus.

Rapson Hall is best known for its old courtyard portion designed by nationally recognized and award-winning architect John Rauma of Thorshov and Cerny (Rauma also received his undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota and taught in the architecture department for 41 years) and the new "X" shaped addition designed by world renowned architect, Steven Holl.

The New Addition
1. Rapson 100, a large lecture hall where many courses and lecture series take place like the Architecture & Landscape Architecture Lecture Series occurring now through November 15th ().
2. Counselor's offices
3. Dean's office
4. Drafting and drawing labs located in the basement level
5. Architecture and Landscape Architecture library located on the second level


The Old Portion
1. Courtyard
2. General Purpose Classrooms
3. Graduate, B.S. and B.D.A. studio spaces
4. The Architecture and Landscape Architecture offices
5. Staff offices and the mail room
6. Woodshop
7. Digital Fabrication Lab
8. Imaging Lab
9. Computer Labs (The main lab is located in Rapson 127, but there is another lab in Rapson 33 where additional computers can be utilized when no classes are in session. This is helpful when the main lab is packed!)


Visit the College of Design's link for easy access to information about all of Rapson Hall's facilities.

Also, check out this link for tips to be successful in architecture school. You will use these all throughout your education (and they are great to carry on into your career as well!).

See you next time!

Jen, Architecture major

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Graduate School Already? But, I'm Only A Freshman!

Believe it or not, graduate school should be considered the very minute you step foot on campus as a freshman. Although you may not know specifically what graduate school you want to choose or if you even want to go to graduate school after you obtain your undergraduate degree, but it is wise to utilize your time as an undergraduate to begin researching potential graduate programs. As a senior, I have spent the last few months researching schools and I certainly wish I had given myself more time to make my decision. I attended a graduate emissions session today with University of Minnesota Graduate Program professors Mark Swackhamer and Jim Lutz. The session provided some great tips:

1) when on vacation schedule a time to tour the local architectural college (many students can decide if it is the right college for them based on the first 60 seconds of the tour).
2) Location. choose a collage that is geographically right for you. Do you want to attend the East Coast? West Coast? Go South? Or stay in the Midwest?
3) Areas of Interest. Take note of what architectural subjects interest you (historical preservation, sustainability, etc.) and research what campuses offer these areas of focus.
4) GPA. If you want to attend a top ten school, your GPA is very important. It is recommended to apply to one school that you think is out of your "reach", one school that you are certain you will get into and others that you want to apply to. Undergraduates typically apply to 5-7 graduate schools.
5) Cost. Think about the cost of tuition, fees and living for the school(s) you choose to apply to.

You can order a published guide to architecture schools, which has all accredited graduate programs and the above information listed in one resource for you. I just ordered mine and cannot wait to get it. This publication will save lots of time from researching online. Find the book here:

Remember, it is never too late to begin researching graduate schools! There are lots of wonderful resources to help you - don't be afraid to ask your professors and peers too!


Jen, Architecture major

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Meet McNeal!

This semester I have received my first-ever campus job as a tour guide for the College of Design! The tours will focus on McNeal Hall on the St. Paul campus, which houses several different design programs. I will mainly be assisting prospective freshman and transfer students who are interested in apparel design, graphic design, interior design, and retail merchandising.

Until recently, my work mainly consisted of job training and shadowing other tour guides. Then last Friday, I was finally able to lead my first official tour!

My group included three students and their families, all of whom were interested in the graphic design program here at the U. This made the tour especially enjoyable for me, as I was able to share my enthusiasm for my own major. I brought them into several different studio classrooms and computer labs, and also showed off our new study space in the atrium.

StudySpace.png McNeal.jpg

Although I was a bit nervous in the beginning, that quickly evaporated as the tour progressed. The students and their families were polite, inquisitive, and seemed to be genuinely interested in the program -- I couldn't have asked for a better group to lead on my first tour. Even though they are still a long way from college, I hope that I was able to help them come one step closer to making their final decision.

Graphic Design

Looking with Creative Eyes

Housing Studies is such a wonderful major in the College of Design. While it does not require any ability to draw, paint, sculpt, or have color sense, it is still artsy in the way that it encourages a creative mind. Housing students are called to observe people, policy, and places, with an unhindered, imaginative thought process.


I get to think in such a way in my "Learning from the Landscape" class. This is the design class I enrolled in as a part of my major required courses. It definitely stretches my mind to think creatively. Recently I was given an assignment to observe the landscape and behavior of people there in the courtyard outside of the U of M Wilson Library. My homework was to people watch, as silly as that sounds. But it was cool to analytically see how different people used the space. I am not sure how I felt about all the students walking by with their head phones in, but it was pleasant to see a professor laying in the grass talking to his wife on the phone.

There's so much more to see when one begins to look.

Stay sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

The College of Design Family

Last Friday I was invited to be a part of Experience Minnesota, which is an open house event for multicultural students, to represent the apparel design program on the student and staff panel. The panel consisted of students and staff representing the architect, interior design, graph design and me, for apparel design. Going through the classes in your major, you grow a strong bond with other students in your major, since you all take the same classes together. You sometimes forget that there is still the rest of the College of Design out there. It's definitely an amazing feeling to rejoin the rest of the college and hearing about their projects or life in their fields. We all have our differences, but yet, still have many similarities in regards to design and our life in the College of Design. It's like we're a big family. This thought is definitely encouraging, knowing that you're not alone in College of Design and that there are other students who know exactly what you're going through and can be a source of encouragement and inspiration.

Below you can see Dean Tom Fisher talking to the prospective students, the prospective students, and the student panel.

Tom Fisher.JPG
Propective Students.JPG
Student Panel.JPG

To hear more updates about me, Go to and follow my blog!

Apparel Design

Stone's Throw

stonethrow1.jpg stonethrow2.jpg Over the past few weeks I have been learning about urban farming in my class ESPM 3108. Having not heard about urban farming until this class I found it to be extremely fascinating. Never had I thought about people re-purposing vacant lots in cities into farms. This past Tuesday I went with my class on a field trip to a local urban farm called Stone's Throw Urban Farm ( Here I learned first hand how they obtain and manage their land in order to produce the largest crops possible. Even though they are not an organic farm, they do not use any synthetic or chemical fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides. Instead they use lots of compost, Sustane, straw and leaf mulch, and kelp for seedlings. I also learned that they have not only 1 plot of land, but 16 to work on! That is more than I could ever hope to keep track of. Until next time!

Theresa, Landsca0pe Design and Planning

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Semester in New York City!


Never did I ever think that I would have the opportunity to intern for Nina Garcia, of Marie Claire, AND Kelly Cutrone, of People's Revolution, all in one semester! It all started with a routine advising appointment with my (seriously amazing) Retail Merchandising adviser, Katrina Thompson. I had mentioned that I always dreamed of living in New York City and would love to find a way to complete my required internship there. She told me about the U's partnership with Kent State University's NYC semester study program. I would be able to take classes and intern in New York and it would all count for credit at the U of M?! I was in.

After a lot of planning, paperwork, and long discussions with my parents, I decided that Kent State's program was the right fit and that I needed to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to live out my dream. I completed my classes and internships at Marie Claire and People's Revolution last spring semester and needless to say, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Yes, it was extremely challenging and yes, I did get homesick every now and then, but the personal growth I gained through that experience has been invaluable. This program is only one of the amazing opportunities that our Retail Merchandising program has to offer.

Top 3 "Pinch Me" Moments of my NYC Semester
1. Going to Nina Garcia's upper east side apartment to hand deliver dresses to her.
2. Being Kelly Cutrone's assistant for 1 day. ( I was holding my breath the entire time)
3. Working backstage with People's Revolution at New York Fashion Week.


Be sure to leave any questions or comments about my semester in NYC below! I'd love to hear from you!

For more information on Kent State's NYC program, go to

Stay fabulous,