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College of Design

Monday, December 23, 2013

Home for the Holidays


While I am so very happy to be home with my family, it breaks my heart that there are people out there this holiday season who won't have a home to go to. Because I am blessed with the comforts of a warm and loving home, I hear "there should be no poor among you"*, and I feel called to action. In the U.S., there is no doubt that we have the resources to house each and every citizen. And while I don't know how exactly to go about it, because much has been given to me, much I shall give away. "If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs"*.

However a student is motivated, I encourage them to get an education that goes alongside their already present skills and desires. For me, Housing Studies is most certainly giving me the tools to achieve my goal of meeting needs with affordable housing. It's the right fit.

santa's sleigh.jpg

I hope all of you are enjoying plenty of holiday treats and quality family time!

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

*Deuteronomy 15:4, 7-8

Sunday, December 22, 2013

No Rest for a Designer

Winter break is finally upon us! It's the perfect time to relax, catch up on sleep, and enjoy a much needed break from homework and classes. But as much as I was looking forward to spending some quality time with my Netflix account, I find myself with a number of design projects in the works. I'm currently developing a logo for a student group on campus, creating and illustrating a Prezi for the College of Design Office of Admissions, and redesigning the Lambda Delta Phi sorority alumni newsletter. I don't have much to show yet as the projects are all in the early stages of development, but I've included a screenshot below that gives you the basic feel of the newsletter:


These types of projects and design opportunities are everywhere if you just keep an eye out for them! Mine were mostly found through mutual friends and acquaintances, and there are always a few requests posted on different social media sites. I would definitely encourage other graphic design students to take on a few extra projects when they have the time -- it helps develop your skills as a designer, and it always looks great on a resume!

Graphic Design

Get Involved Over Winter Break!

Winter break is a wonderful time to look into organizations, clubs and other architectural activities in the Twin Cities that you just couldn't quite commit to during the semester.

One idea is to entertain your own firm crawl... visit AIA Minnesota's website here and locate their firm directory. Select a few firms within walking (or driving distance) from one another and visit them. Visiting them is a great way to familiarize yourself with their locations and put a visual with their name. Don't be afraid to stop in and introduce yourself, you may be able to find out more information about the firm, speak with a few staff members or possibly receive a tour.

Two more organizations that would be delighted to have younger members are the AIA's Emerging Professional Draughting Club and Architecture for Humanity's Minneapolis chapter. Both organizations provide a vast networking opportunity. Grab a friend or two and utilize these organizations! They may open doors to places you could only dream of.

Lastly, two historic homes featured in the Twin Cities are the James J. Hill House and Alexander Ramsey House. Students may tour these homes to learn more about the significance both homes have to Minnesota's history as well as admire the architectural details and design from their eras. These would be good opportunities to do with your family, special someone or a group of friends.

James J. Hill House

Alexander Ramsey House

Take advantage of the rich architectural community Minneapolis and St. Paul offer. The Twin Cities is proud to show off our architectural feats and gems and we have a plethora of them!

I wish everyone a very happy holidays and bright new year!

B.S. in Architecture

Monday, December 16, 2013

Feels good to be done.

diy-project-updated.jpgAnd just like that, fall semester 2013 is over. It was busy, crazy, fun, exciting, stressful, and full of so many experiences that are molding me into a one-day interior designer. It's fun to watch myself grow, change, and morph. I'm especially lucky because I can look back at my old blog posts to see the transformation.

Now that it's officially winter break for me, there are a few things on my plate. For starters, I'll be interning full time at Cuningham Group and I could not be more excited! I loved being there full time during the summer because I can really get involved in projects and I feel even more apart of the team. In addition to interning, I'll also take time to relax, cook more, do some cool DIY projects, and create a better study environment inside my apartment.

What plans do you have as the holidays approach?

Interior Design

Finals Week!!

Finals week! The light at the end of the tunnel is finally coming into sight. Final projects are wrapping up for everyone, which means the studios are occupied 24/7 with people making their final touches. You start to meet new people in your program that are in different years and make new friends really quickly. You're there in the studio with them for hours on end, so you begin to recognize each other. That's what is so great about the studio life in the Apparel Design program, you're all working, you also are having fun at the same time. You have to, in order to remain sane through this hectic time for everyone. Here are some pictures of the studio life during finals week. For those of you taking finals and finish up projects, GOOD LUCK!!

Studio Life 1.JPG Studio Life 2.JPG

Go to and follow my blog!

Apparel Design

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Final Web Design Project

Now that fall semester is over, I've finally completed my big project for GDES 2342: Web Design. As I mentioned in a previous post, the basic idea behind the project was to redesign a website for a local business or organization that was in definite need of some design assistance. My website of choice was Mesa Pizza, which was both fun and a bit challenging. Although it doesn't quite have all the features that I originally envisioned, I would say it's a pretty big success for my first attempt at web design!

You can see a couple screenshots of the site below, or you can check out the full website by visiting my U of M Personal Webspace. There's an issue with one of the fonts in Firefox that my professor and I couldn't quite figure out, so I would recommend viewing it in either Safari or Google Chrome.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! I'd love to hear your opinions.

Graphic Design




Bundle Up and Buckle Down

It's that time of year again, filled with chilly weather, flashcards, presentation boards, and packing to go home. Yes everyone, I'm talking about finals week of Fall Semester. While I have been keeping up on my projects and studying, I have also been trying to organize all of the final details for my study abroad program (35 days left!).img006.jpg Needless to say I have been surviving on coffee and the thought that my new art supplies will be delivered in a week. But what are some of the best ways to make it through finals week? First off, as tempting as it may be to pull an all nighter before an exam, you will only perform at your best on a full night's sleep. Many experts recommend between 6 and 7 hours. Second, think about what is needed to be accomplished for each exam/project and set small reasonable goals to break up the work. Third, allow yourself one minute at the start of your exam to look it over and panic a little. It will help you to realize during the exam you know more of what is on it than you initially thought. Finally, make sure to leave time to take breaks from studying. Give yourself an activity and a time limit to keep yourself on schedule. For more tips on how to survive finals week click here.

Image: Color Rendered Plan View for LA 2301 Final Project

Good Luck Studying Everyone!
Landscape Design & Planning

Getting the Best from Finals Week

Finals week is packed with late nights, last minute cram sessions, and final presentations. Make sure to drink lots of water and take lots of walks - your body with thank you later!

I encourage everyone to walk around and take a look at student's work pinned up around Rapson. Don't feel silly either if you want to stop in a listen to any final presentation that interests you - lots of students sit in a listen to reviews. It is one of the best ways to learn and to see each others work. This is a fantastic way to also get a feel for the types of projects that a specific architecture course has to offer. If you are interested in a course, but are unsure what it entails go to the final review! I have done this before and have found it to be quite helpful in picking future courses. I have also found myself very intrigued by courses I thought I would not enjoy.

Some of my favorite final presentations to sit in on are the graduate students. Not only do I get to see highly developed and thoughtful work, but half of the fun is finding out who their guest reviewers are - usually very well known architects! It is great to hear the feedback given by the reviewers and I can usually use this information and put it towards my own work ethic and projects. Below is an image of one final review for a third year graduate studio. It was inspiring to see all of the students, professors and reviewers gathered around such a large project.


I hope this information is helpful and encourages you to check out at least one final presentation you find interesting. Good luck on finals week and enjoy the holiday break!

- Jen
B.S. in Architecture


It's finals week baby, and I've been studying hard. With all that knowledge that's been coming out of those books and straight into my brain, well, my brain needed a break. I'm not talking just a 30 Rock mini marathon, but rather, some real adventure, and fresh air!

snow tubing.jpg

I went snow tubing today. (For those of you who don't know, snow tubing is like sledding, but way more epic). A group of us, including 3 Hawaiian kids who were unfamiliar with the concept of snow, had a blast hitting up the snowy hills today. Only in Minnesota* is that a study break :) It was pretty scary, bombing those steep hills in tubes, but it was just what I needed. All the excitement put me in the right mood for even more studying. Sweet! Fun can always be productive.

Stay sharp, warm, and stress free :D
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

*I must confess, we were in Hudson, just over the border into Wisconsin. But no worries, there are plenty of snow tubing hills in the great land of Minnesota.

Tis the Season!


I can't believe Fall semester is almost over! It feels like I was just introducing myself to you all and writing my very first blog. I just have one more final left on Tuesday for Retail Buying and then I'm heading home to Wisconsin for the holidays. I'll be visiting my boyfriend in Vancouver for New Years and then road trippin' it down to Laguna Beach, CA for the rest of break. It's currently 3 degrees outside so a beach and sunshine sound perfect. I'll be sure to take some pictures to share with you!

Ending the fall semester and only having one more left before graduation has really got me feeling nostalgic about my time at the U. I've been thinking about how much I've grown and changed since I walked in as a Freshman, of the lifelong friendships I've made, and the invaluable experiences that I've had. My goal for my last semester of college is to make the absolute most of it, and to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way, whether it's something my classes or joining an intramural basketball team (I'm no LeBron, but I like to think I'm decent haha).

What are your plans for winter break? I'd love to hear!

Happy Holidays,

Monday, December 9, 2013

Much too cold, but that's alright!

As a part of housing studies, we look at the ways in which people live. We ask, in their home are they living sustainably, affordably, comfortably? In the state of Minnesota where temperatures have been known to stay below zero for a month's time, people better be living comfortably in their homes.

I mention this because in the U of M residence halls, as residents, we need not fear the cold. On Saturday morning, as the temperature outside was -4˚F, I walked from my cozy, warm bed to the dining hall, without having to brace the cold! Now that's living comfortably. Especially since it was brunch too. I was warm, and I had too many yummy entrees to choose from. There were pasta dishes, chicken, scrambled eggs, hash browns, and even made-to-order omelets. I myself had pancakes with peanut butter on them; you can't judge me until you try it :)

I hope you're staying warm and stress free as the holidays roll in.

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Web Design in the Twin Cities

Since I started my web design class at the beginning of this semester, I've found myself paying a lot more attention to the designs of the websites that I regularly visit. I've also developed a habit of browsing for new and interesting websites during my free time between classes and homework. Through this process, I've discovered a lot of really inspiring sites, many of which are for design firms right here in the Twin Cities! I've included images of some of my favorites below, which you can click on to visit the actual sites.

Even though my class isn't quite this advanced, these websites got me truly excited about web design. I'm hopeful that after another class or two, I will be able to create something this amazing!

Graphic Design





Monday, December 2, 2013

Almost Time to Wrap It Up!

I cannot believe that the semester is almost over. It seems like just yesterday that I was prepping my notebooks, textbooks and myself for the semester to begin. With so many weeks behind us, studio life has become very focused as many of us fine tune our final projects and prepare for our final presentation in front of our classmates, professors and guest reviewers. To help us prepare for our final review, our studio has practice runs where we can pin up and present everything we hope to show off and review for the final. Before Thanksgiving break, our first dry run included feedback about our structural plans and sections, overall thesis statement about our project, and suggestions about improvements to make on our models. The next dry run will allow us to present the same work with the improvements we have made. We are also going to be practicing our verbal presentation and really enhancing how we introduce and explain the ideas invested into each of our designs. These dry runs are wonderful because they give us many chances for feedback both from our professors, classmates and reviewers, which in return allows us to fine tune our projects as best as we can and prepare ourselves as best as we can for the final review. Practicing our presentations does help take some of the nerves away from the final presentation and really makes us understand our project and our argument. The photo below is of one of my classmate's work. Our final project entails a park pavilion at one of these three lakes (Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Lake Nokomis) with the addition of a wild card program that is up to our choosing. The focus is to create a program and building that relates to the lake and site context.


Another one of my classmates made us a treat as well! They are Reese's cups, Oreos and other tasty treats combined to make turkeys! Very cute!


I wish everyone the best as you prepare for finals! Remember to take breaks when you need them and to breathe!

B.S. Architecture

Virtual Target Store

target .JPG

My final project for Visual Merchandising is to design a virtual shop for Target's Mossimo Black brand. I can't believe my partner and I present to Target next Monday already! I feel like we've worked so hard and the time has flown right by. For this project, my partner and I had to learn to use a new program that Target actually uses to create their layouts and planograms called Visual Retailing. It took us a long time to learn how to use the program, but once we did, it was actually a lot of fun arranging all of the fixtures and merchandise. I especially liked this project because it pretty much gave us creative freedom in terms of designing the shop, as long as we could explain why we chose the design. So far, this project has been so beneficial to me as a retail merchandising student because we're using the program and technology that actual visual merchandisers use, and we also have the opportunity to present our ideas to real industry professionals and get feedback on our work.

My group will find out next week after we present if we've been chosen as finalists. Wish me luck!

Stay Fabulous,

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Don't Forget About You

Thanksgiving break is over. Here's a picture of me and the meal that I made for my friends for Thanksgiving.


I look at the calendar and see that there is only a week and a half left in the semester. Yikes!! I have so much to do! All my final projects are going to be due very quickly, which means I need to kick it into high gear. It's hard during breaks, like this Thanksgiving break that we had, to motivate yourself to try to stay on top of things still. This passed week, I received the unfortunate news that one of my best friends had passed away, so it was especially hard to motivate myself. In college, and with the demanding work the College of Design requires, I think people need a reminder sometimes that they still need to take care of themselves in situations such as these. Of course, you still want to be preemptive with these things as well by communicating to all your instructors, which I did, and of course they were all understanding and advised to take care of myself. So to remind everyone, classes are important, but so are you, take care of yourself.

Follow my blog to continue to get updates about my projects and to see what I'm working on next at!

Apparel Design

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

With my sophomore year nearly halfway over, I've been thinking a lot about studying abroad. It's something that I've always wanted to do, and it looks like I may finally get the opportunity sometime next year!

Although I'm not very far into the planning process, I've been spending a lot of time browsing through the Learning Abroad Center website. It's exciting to see all the different countries I could visit, but with over 300 study abroad programs available, the possibilities are a little overwhelming. Thankfully, I was able to narrow down my options significantly using the Program Finder tool. I simply entered my major, my region of interest, and the term I wanted to study, and it came up with a manageable list of programs that fit my specific needs. After browsing the list, I've narrowed it down to programs in three different locations: Glasgow, Scotland; Florence, Italy; or London, England.

Now that I have a basic idea of where I want to go, I'm excited to meet with my program adviser and really begin my planning process!


Graphic Design

Free College =D

As a junior and senior in high school, instead of taking the normal 11th and 12th grade classes, I took classes at the local college. I took part in PSEO (Post-Secondary Enrollment Option). I took my classes at the college, the credits that I earned fulfilled high school requirements, and I got some college education for free, all at the same time! So by the time I graduated from high school, I had already completed my generals for college. If this at all sounds like an option for you, look into the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) too.

PSEO turned out to be such a good option for me because I already knew what I wanted to do-help people find safe and affordable housing. I also already knew that I wanted to go to the U of M to major in Housing Studies. And even though I'm a freshman, because of PSEO, I'll be graduating in just 2 years. It's all around very cool because Housing Studies is very practical, everybody needs a house, and the job outlook is very positive. If you're interested, check out the following site.

I hope everybody was able to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families, whether at the adults' table or the kid table.


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

Group Work: Good or Bad?

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, I find myself surrounded by projects, presentations, and group work. While I don't mind working on my individual projects, I sometimes find it difficult to do group work. From finding time/somewhere to meet to dealing with someone who isn't pulling their weight group projects can drive anyone crazy. However, I have come to find that they can sometimes be enjoyable. It's nice to have someone else to bounce ideas off of and to share in the work load. The projects/presentations completed are more complex and detailed than anything I could do on my own. cedar riverside 2.png For example, in GEOG 3371 W my group is putting together a presentation on how the area of Cedar-Riverside has changed over the years. We were required to do research, create maps, and interview businesses in order to make our presentation. It would have taken me hours to complete, but by working in a group I was able to learn more about this area than I could on my own and expand my knowledge of the Twin Cities.

Landscape Design & Planning

Hey finish line, is that you?

I cannot believe the end of my semester is just a couple weeks away. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday that I walked into my first interior design class at the U of M, and here I am wrapping up the end of my 5th semester. Time flies.

In order to make sure I stay on top of things and finish the semester strong, I have a few study tactics to live by. Here's a quick breakdown...

1) Make lists. Personally, I utilize Todoist. It's a fantastic mobile app that lets you make lists and organize by class/project/etc. and prioritize each task. This is the first semester I've used it and I definitely notice a difference in my academic performance and time management.

2) Utilize your peers. These are folks you'll see for quite a few years. Make friends, support one another, and build a community so you can have fun when you're working together in the classroom.

3) Balance life with school/work. In other words, it's okay to have some fun! I make sure I have a healthy dose of fun in the mix which helps me stay happy.

creative exhibition.jpg
(This photo is from Cuningham Group's Creative Exhibition. I love interning there and the event was tons of fun!)

That's all for now!

Interior Design