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College of Design

Sunday, March 30, 2014

CMYK Magic

Last week in my Surface Design class, we were introduced to our next big screen printing project! The goal is to design and create several prints of a poster using a technique called "color separation." This process mimics four color process printing, where small dots of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black are placed on the paper in multiple layers that combine to create the illusion of many more colors.

For my design, I chose to create a modernized travel poster using large geometric shapes and photos from my high school trip to Barcelona. After finishing the design, I separated it into the four process colors using the split channels tool on Photoshop, and then created a bitmap out of each channel. This left me with the four screens shown below that layer together to create my final image (on the far right).


CMYKbitmap.jpgI found this process to be extremely interesting, and loved seeing how just four hues could create a nearly endless spectrum of color. If you look closely, you can see how the individual layers of CMYK combine to create something completely different. I've included a close up of the gray section here on the right so you can really see how the separation works. It's such an interesting perspective, and it really changes the way you view color within the screen printing process. For any screen printers out there, I would definitely recommend giving it a try!

Graphic Design

What's Live/Work?

This semester in Housing Development and Management, all of our coursework has revolved around live/work housing. But what is it? Live/work housing is workspace combined with living space, where work and home are unseparated. A common example is the artist loft; the artist works at home by creating a masterpiece right next to where she ate her morning bowl of cereal.

But, there are far more types of live/work housing than just this. A few of us will be presenting Monday and we'll be teaching the class about the different types and tenures when it comes to live/work housing. It is not always multi-family, leased, but also single-family detached ownership, multi-family Cooperatives, townhome conversions, and the list goes on and on...





Above are some pictures showing how diverse live/work housing can be.

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

Spring's Here to Stay! (crossing my fingers)


With April 1st just around the corner and warmer temps, I'm hoping/praying that spring is finally here to stay! I don't know about you, but this extra freezing winter was really starting to put a serious dent in my motivation to study, or do anything that required me leaving my heating blanket, really.

Of course as a retail merchandising student, springtime for me means changing out my winter wardrobe for spring essentials, but it also means the semester is coming to an end. I have found in my last three years of college that this time of year is often when we lose our motivation and ability to really stay focused. Trust me, I've been there! I have found some great resources though for staying on track with classes to make sure I finish strong.

1. SMART Learning Commons
This is a great resource if you're looking for extra one on one help with classes. I've
used the SMART learning commons for my previous math and science classes and
the individual tutoring was so valuable.

2. Center for Writing
I have taken so many writing intensive classes during my time at the U, so this
resource has really come in handy! I visited the center for writing during my freshman
year and since have become more confident in my writing abilities. This is a great
place to go if you're looking for help with your writing, whether it's brainstorming
topics or editing.

Check out Onestop for other useful academic support resources.

We're approaching the home can do it!!

Stay Fabulous,

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Speaker!

Guest speakers are the best! While lectures, textbooks, and homework are essential to the learning process in college, I believe guest speakers are too. Guest speakers allow those of us in housing studies a sneak peek into the complex world of housing. It is so cool hearing about potential career fields that we might enter into after graduation.


In my Housing Development and Management course, the importance of guest speakers is fully recognized, with guest speakers coming in each week. Today, the Vice President of Housing Development at Aeon came to our class. Aeon is a nonprofit located here in the Twin Cities. Aeon develops affordable, multi-family rental units. You can learn more about them at, and check out their vision statement!

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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Typography Time!

With spring break officially over, it's time to reluctantly return to reality. Although this past week of relaxation has been fantastic, no classes means no new work to show here on the blog. Since I have this extra time on my hands, I thought I would get you up to speed on one of my favorite classes - Typography.

In the past few weeks we've moved past classic typefaces and basic type anatomy and began looking more at how to establish hierarchy and emotion through type. A lot of our in-class work has involved laying out type based on specific axes and grids, but we've had a bit more freedom in our individual projects.

The project below is one of my favorites from the class so far. It's a promotional poster for the Design Culture Now lecture series and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City. The only requirements for the poster was that it include all necessary information about the event, organize it in a readable manner, and be created solely from type. Since the event is geared towards designers, I wanted to give the poster a sophisticated feel while still using a creative organizational approach. The slicing diagonal effect that I chose really gives a strong sense of movement acts as a visual puzzle to keep the viewer engaged.


If you have any thoughts on the final poster, let me know in the comments below!

Graphic Design

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Break!

Hello everyone!

It is spring break week at the U and Rapson Hall is quiet, but not too quiet. Although many students are on vacation, Rapson Hall still has many working away on projects. I, myself, have been catching up on midterm review comments. My final project for sound studio will mimic historical warehouse characteristics, while introducing a few modern approaches to building structure like glass and steel. The goal is to follow the organized patterns and datum lines of the surrounding warehouse buildings, then, introduce program and create a new order of window openings that follow the program.

The photo below portrays the idea I am trying to recreate, but on a residential scale.

I have been also using spring break as time to continue planning the details for Quad. There are only two weeks left until the event! My registration committee and I visited the Marriott hotel to finalize our plans and layout for Friday's registration. I also visited HGA's office to pick up some of the swag for our registration swag bags. Planning will continue right up until the day of the event. I am excited to see all of our guests arriving from the other AIAS Midwest chapters. Friends from IIT, Milwaukee, Chicago, North Dakota, Kentucky, Lawrence Tech and more will be coming in to experience the event.

I hope everyone is enjoying their break as well!

Until next time,
Jen Cunningham
B.S. in Architecture

Monday, March 17, 2014

Calculating Heat Loss... and having so much fun!

In my Systems Approach to Residential Construction course, we learn about how safe homes are built. We look at what is required in order to create a high performance house. The house is a system of interactions between occupants, the mechanical equipment, and the building structure.

Courtesy of Professor Bob Seavey

We are currently working on a project where we are calculating a house's heat loss. With the blueprints as pictured below, we are measuring and calculating the area of various surface types such as concrete, wood, and glass. While it is a long and complicated task, it is actually a lot of fun.



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


Spring Break!! I bet you all are wondering what magical and exotic destination I chose to spend my spring break. This year, I decided to spend my spring break here, in the Twin Cities, working and getting ahead on some of my projects. Yes, I'm a little jealous to hear all the different places that my classmates are going to, but I feel like staying put is just as relaxing and fun as going somewhere. I don't have to deal with travel and I can sleep in the comfort of my own bed. Plus, this city is still filled with fun things to do, which is definitely a bonus when living here. So, if you think that you are required to go somewhere for spring break and be crazy, believe me, you don't. Staying home in the Twin Cities, is just as fantastic!


Make sure to follow my blog at and also look for more of my pics on the UMNDesign instagram!

Apparel Design

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's Spring Break!

Hi everyone,

Spring break at the U has begun! After a week of midterms and projects I'm getting a well deserved break! Although I wish I could say I'm venturing off to some exotic location, I traveled the 20 minute car ride home. But I won't complain about a week relaxing at home with good food and no homework.
To the right is a picture I took of the city as I left Minneapolis for break and posted on our UMNDesign Instagram.

Some of my high school friends will be coming home so getting to see them will be really nice! I also get to spend time with my parents and my dogs and get to sleep in my bed in my own room. College has really made me appreciate the little things when I come home! There's something about the food at home that just can't compare to anywhere else. I wish I had known to appreciate it more before college but now getting it when I come back makes it so much more special. I've prepared a list of all my favorites and I can't wait to have them at home! There's also the luxury of showering without shoes which I never knew would be as satisfying as it is.

I'm also trying to find a summer job related to interior design. I'll be at home this summer so I've been researching places close to home and hopefully they'll have a job opening! I wish I had some website I discovered that helped me out but in all honesty, good-ol google was my friend in this search. I was amazed to find out all the interior design businesses within 10 minutes of my house, I had no idea they were there! It would be so awesome to be a first year student and be able to do a job in my desired field! Wish me luck!

Although it's definitely not a tropical beach, being at home is all the vacation I need this break. It'll be relaxing, easygoing, and, best off all, it won't break the bank! Hopefully it'll be productive and successful with the job search, we'll see!

I hope you all are enjoying your spring breaks and the spring weather here. Looks like summer might come after all!

Interior Design

Sancaklar Mosque

I can't believe I've already been in Istanbul for two weeks! Life here is very different from Rome and I'm happy to say I love every second of it. Fast paced and filled with people/cats, Istanbul has so much to offer, especially for architecture students. The skyline varies from that of Minneapolis because it is speckled with minarets and other distinct features of mosques.
However, no matter how beautiful mosques are, is there only one way in which to design them? This past week for our Visual Culture class, we visited Emre Arolat Architects here in Istanbul to learn more about their projects. The one that really sparked my interest was the Sancaklar Mosque. Instead of building it out of domes and minarets, it is built into the land, playing off the tension between man-made and natural.
I enjoyed listening to some of the architects talk about the process they went through to make this mosque contemporary yet respectful of the Islamic faith. The end result in my view is a beautiful space that is a simple cave, which is awe inspiring. I hope that I will be able to bring this respect for nature and culture into the landscapes I design.

Landscape Design & Planning

Netflix and Nuptials

After a frantic week of cramming for midterms and finishing up projects, spring break has finally arrived! Although I don't have any exciting travel plans, being able to relax, watch some Netflix, and get an adequate amount of sleep will be enough of a vacation for me.

The break is also giving me the chance to catch up on some homework and get started on a new freelance project! I'll be designing a matching set of wedding invitations, rsvp cards, and ceremony programs for senior Apparel Design student Karen Fiegen. Her wedding to fiancé Zach Allen, a marketing student at the University of Minnesota Duluth, will take place next October at the McNamara Alumni Center here on campus! The invitations should fit with the ceremony's classic theme, yellow and navy blue color palette, and subtle nautical hints. With this description in mind, I've put together the following mood board using images from Karen's Pinterest page:


Even though I've never done wedding invitations before, I'm really excited to get started on this project! Karen has been great to work with so far and I hope that I can create something truly amazing for her wedding day.

Graphic Design

Let Me Tell You About My Amazing Advisor...

I can't say enough how lucky I am to have had the best academic advisor for the retail merchandising program here at the U! Katrina Thompson has been working with me ever since I transferred into the College of Design my Sophomore year. I didn't have that close of a connection with my previous advisor, so I wasn't even aware of how helpful and supportive academic advisors can be. Katrina has helped me so much throughout my college career with everything from planning my course load to helping me every step of the way with my study away experience in New York City. I really recommend taking the time to routinely meet with your advisor, even if it just to check in. I didn't even know about the U's program that would let me study in NYC and get credit for it until Katrina brought ti up in one of our meetings. Who knows, maybe your advisor knows about amazing opportunities for you and all it takes is one meeting! I really think that having an awesome advisor that has gone above and beyond for me and all of her students has helped make my time of the U the best experience.

ps. I hope you all are enjoying spring break! I'm in Arizona this week visiting my boyfriend during Spring Training. Here's a picture of him pitching!

James Spring Training.jpg

Stay Fabulous,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dean's Reception Fun!

Last weekend I had a blast volunteering at the College of Design Dean's Reception! It's an annual event held for prospective University of Minnesota students considering the College of Design for enrollment in the fall. Since I was unable to attend the reception my own year, I was extra excited to be helping out and getting an inside look at the event!

My main job for the day was to lead a group of students on a tour of the graphic design facilities and to present some of my work during the graphic design informational session. I also had the opportunity to sit in on the Honors Luncheon, where I spoke about my experience as an honors student, answered questions about the Honors Program, and got to snag a free sandwich from the buffet table.

Overall, the day was a huge success! All of the families that attended were extremely polite and seemed genuinely interested in the college. It was great to be able to share my personal experiences with future students, and I'm sure I will be seeing some of them here next year!

Below are some photos of the event that were taken throughout the day. (My back makes a special appearance in the center image.) If you'd like to see more photos, visit the College of Design Facebook Page.

Graphic Design


I got this? YES!

Only a few more days until Spring Break! I am so excited :D

But there's work to be done first:

Monday: Housing Proposal Narrative due in Housing Development and Management
Tuesday: Midterm Essay on racial segregation in Detroit due in Cities, Citizens, and Communities
Wednesday: Midterm Exam in Global Housing, Midterm Exam in Housing Development and Management
Thursday: Midterm Exam in Social Work, Quiz in Residential Construction
Friday: REST :)

It seems like a lot, but I'll make it through!


And a shout out to my little brother. Gunnar, you did a great job at the Minnesota Boys High School Hockey State Tournament. Very proud.

Also, check out the upcoming forecast. Is spring coming? Looks like it might be!

Stay sharp :D
Karly, Housing B.S.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Fun with AIAS Never Ends!

The American Institute of Architecture Students Minnesota Chapter has been having a lot of fun lately! We participated in the annual Skyway Open event where firms and student organizations design and build mini golf holes based on a certain theme. Then, the public is allowed to come and play the holes during the scheduled event weekend. This year, we designed a hole based on our Quad theme of 'Bridging.' Everyone involved had a great time building the hole and then playing it.

Playing the Hole.jpg

AIAS Minnesota also participated in the annual AIA Bowling Night held at Bryant Lake Bowl. Each year we participate in this event with other architecture professionals and University staff. It is an absolute blast and wonderful networking opportunity! This year, we made Archihat's and wore our AIAS Minnesota t-shirts as part of the best dressed award. Below is a photo of our AIAS team and the UMN Faculty who participated in the event.

AIAS Bowling NIght.jpg

Lastly, we have been incredibly busy but absolutely excited about hosting the Spring Quad Conference here in Minneapolis! The conference is one month away and we are finalizing details as we go. The conference weekend will include multiple opportunities to network with professionals and other students from the Midwest AIAS chapters. Thus far we are collaborating with HGA and MS&R for firm tours, site tours of Pillsbury A-Mill with BKV Group, tours of the Central Library and the Guthrie with Architectural Alliance, a construction site tour of the Interchange Station with 4RM+ULA, and a tour of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Building with BWBR.

The fun does not stop there! Once Saturday events are over, conference attendees will head to the McNamara Alumni Center for dinner, a keynote presentation with John Cary (a past AIAS Minnesota president who has grown to become one of the fore fronting leaders in Public Interest Design) and the anticipated Beau Arts Ball! Our theme this year for the dance is 'White Out, Brite Out' and will include white backdrops with splashes of color coming from lighting effects and party favors.

Check out the Quad Conference Facebook page and website to learn more.

AIAS is a wonderful organization and I hope in your educational journey that you will become a member!

Until next time,
B.S. in Architecture

Halfway There and Feeling Good

The semester is now almost halfway through, which means new projects and midterms. The life of an apparel designer is definitely never boring, there is always something to do. For the career and internship class, I was required to do an informational interview with a professional in the industry. I found a tailor and Men's Warehouse and a designer for Target to do an interview with. I learned some really great information through the interview and it was really inspiring to hear their stories of how they go to where they are now. I also got to meet alum of the apparel design program at the Dean's Reception this last weekend, who is now a designer for Target as well. The informational interviews and meeting the alum, really confirmed that this program and this career is something that I want to do. It also confirmed that there are jobs out there for us apparel designers, which definitely takes a lot worry away from what to expect in the future. If you guys ever get a chance, contact an employer that you think you might want to work or intern at and do an informational interview, it's definitely worth it to get insider knowledge about the industry.

Below is a picture of my completed studio project.

Siberia Front.JPG

Make sure to follow my blog at and also look for pics on the UMNDesign instagram for Align pics!

Apparel Design

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Informal Settlement Upgrading

Oral reports can be a little bit terrifying...
oral report1.gif oral report2.png

But I got this. I am prepared. This week in Global Housing I am teaching the class about Informal Settlement Upgrading in South Africa. I am looking particularly at the Ruimsig settlement outside of Johannesburg. Before the process of informal settlement upgrading, these homes experienced flooding anytime it rained. But through the process of re-blocking, an un-invasive way of slum redevelopment, the iKhayalami not-for-profit organization, South African Alliance, Informal Settlement Network, and the community of Ruimsig addressed issues of flooding and overcrowding. Feel free to check it out for yourself at and watch the video!


Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing B.S.

Putting on my Professional Pants

Although most of my classes are just reaching their halfway point, my half-semester Career and Internship Preparation course is already kicking into high gear for its final week of class.

During our past few sessions, we've concentrated on creating resumes, cover letters, and portfolios that are both appealing to employers and representative of our own aesthetics as designers. This was capped off by an in-class portfolio panel led by practicing designers from around the Twin Cities. The night before this panel took place, I decided that I wasn't satisfied with my current portfolio and completely switched sites to I'm now much happier with the finished result and got really positive feedback from the panel. If you'd like to see the new and improved version, follow this link:


In addition to portfolio panel, we were also required to conduct an informational interview with a professional designer in our specific field of interest. Although the assignment only called one interview, I chose to meet with two designers -- one from Periscope and one from Studio MPLS. Their workplaces and projects were definitely very different, but they both sounded amazing to me. I was really able to learn a lot and could definitely see myself working at either place in the future.

Next week we wrap up class with mock interviews, which will be a culmination of everything we have learned throughout the semester so far. I'm a bit nervous, but also excited to test out my new professional skills. Although I still have two years of college left, the adult world of employment already seems to be just around the corner.

Graphic Design

Interviewing Tips!

job interview handshake.jpg

So I have some news that I'm pretty darn excited about...

I know I had mentioned in previous blog posts how working for Nordstrom as a buyer is my DREAM, and I found out last week that I made it to the final round of interviews for their corporate buying/planning internship in Seattle, WA! While I'm trying to not get my hopes up too much about it, this would be the perfect opportunity since I'm already moving to Seattle after graduation and Nordstrom is my dream company to work for. The internship would run from June - August, and depending on if I get it and how it goes, it could lead to their merchant in training program and then to an assistant buyer position. Ah! But again that's if everything goes perfectly and exactly as I want it, which doesn't always happen. Regardless, I am just beyond excited for even the opportunity to interview and show the company how passionate I am!

Since Nordstrom is headquartered in Seattle, my interview will be via video conference with the hiring managers. Video interviews can be a little tricky, but the overall principles of what makes for a successful interview are the same.

I found an awesome post from Lauren Conrad's blog that gives ten tips for mastering an interview. Here are her top 5, but check out the full blog post here .

1. Research the company
2. Update your resume
3. Dress the part
4. Arrive on time
5. Give a solid, confident handshake

Also, if any of you have an upcoming interview, or just want to get ahead of the interviewing game, I really recommend that you visit Career and Internship services for all the information you'll need on successful interviewing!

ps. here are a couple more pictures from Align fashion show!

Stay Fabulous,

Fashion Show.jpg

Fashion show 3.jpg

fashion show 4.jpg

Lights All Around

010.JPGThis past week we had our final review for our drawing course. I spent hours hyped up on coffee, working with my partner to develop our pieces based on the Vatican City and I'm extremely happy with the results. However, the review was different than any other I've ever done before. Instead of being inside, we were outside in a piazza where our map spread in ever different direction. I enjoyed this format because it allowed others walking pass to stop and look at our work. It was interesting to see what others chose to include in their projects. After our project though, I had to say ciao to the beautiful city of Roma. The five weeks I spent there were some of the best in my life (except for the inconsistency of public transit.) I loved having the opportunity to see all of the sights and eat my fair share of pizza and pasta. My favorite thing to see was the Trevi fountain at night. 079.JPGUnfortunately I waited until the last night to see it, but I DID toss a coin into it. The original legend says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi - with your back to the fountain, throwing the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder - that will ensure a return to Rome. I really hope that this comes to be true! Having such a positive experience there made me sad and nervous to leave for Istanbul. Roma lived up to every expectation I had, however all I really knew about Istanbul was that it is filled with millions of people. When we flew into the airport, all you could see below you were lights spreading out all around. We then piled all ourselves and luggage into two vans and headed to our apartments. The lights continued the entire way there, brighter and more vibrant than I've ever see. I needed the night to get settled in, eat some baklava, and relax. This morning Ozayr took us around and showed us how to navigate the city. After seeing it during the day with some help, I am starting to feel less intimidated by the city and am excited to see what Istanbul has to offer!

Landscape Design & Planning