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College of Design

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Get Your Shine On at Jesse McCartney

A few weeks ago, Student Unions and Activities hosted a Jesse McCartney concert in the Great Hall in Coffman. Tickets were only $5 for students! Demand was high and the concert sold out in a matter of hours. It’s safe to say that the crowd was most excited for Jesse’s old jams, especially "Beautiful Soul." I overheard a lot of people talking about how they’ve been waiting to see him live for years, and that concert was a pre-teen dream come true. His opening act, Dan Rodriguez, was just as amazing!

It’s so great that the U of M has these kinds of events. It was a great way to relax after a stressful week. Inexpensive events like this are critical for me and my student budget. The fact that the concert was on campus was also a major plus because transportation wasn’t an issue.

Student Unions and Activities has fun, inexpensive events all the time, including free movies, trivia nights and bowling on both campuses. Keep up with all these events here.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Designing on the Mississippi

Hey everyone,

 This past week I have been hard at work in studio. We began our research and analysis for our final project. For this project, we are looking at the redevelopment of a section along the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis. After visiting the site as a class, I am very excited about working in this area of the city. It is beautiful by the river, and the area has a great view of the skyline of downtown Minneapolis. Northeast is the center of the arts district in Minneapolis and is home to many art studios and apartments. It is also home to the Sheridan and Hawthorne neighborhoods, which currently have limited access to the riverfront. 

Currently, my group has been hard at work looking both at these characteristics of the neighborhood and users of the site, as well as the greater ecological context. The Mississippi River is an important corridor for many species. It acts as a migration flyway for many birds. Having connective habitat along the river is important in their successful migration south. The analysis phase of the design process is one of my favorite parts. I love learning all about a site: who interacts with the site, how they use it, and the constraints and opportunities that come with that.

That’s all for know,

Friday, November 25, 2016

Making (re)connections

Thanks to the College of Design mentor program, I’ve been matched with a mentor working in the industry that I will be meeting with throughout the year! We’ll be chatting about her work, my thesis, and the transition from “student” to “professional.” I’ve been looking forward to finding out who my match is, and when I received the email telling me who I was paired with, I actually recognized the name! She graduated from the College of Design last year, and we worked together on a group project for our History of Graphic Design class.

The mentor program kick-off at McNamara Alumni Center
It was really nice to not have to worry about breaking the ice when we first met up. When you’ve collaborated with someone on a presentation that you give to 85 people, you know you’re well past the awkward small talk stage of the relationship. We just got right to talking about how our last year has been, and she told me about her new job working as a web designer. I’m looking forward to getting her advice on my portfolio and my thesis project, and I’m excited to learn more about the projects she’s working on, too!

The mentor program applications are closed for this year, but you can visit their site to learn more about this opportunity. It’s already been helpful to my development as a professional, and I would recommend it to anyone who is able to participate, whether as a student or a mentor.

Until next time!


Graphic Design

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Some real-life experiences as an architecture student

Hi everyone!

My name is Andrew, and I am glad to be here as a new blogger for the College of Design blog. Lately, I am very excited that I have actually been able to apply what I've learned in school in my life. As winter is approaching, my home is unfortunately suffering from water damage between the first and second floors. As an international student and considering that this is only the start of my third year in states, if I had not taken architecture classes like Material Methods, Ecology in Architecture and others, I would not be able to communicate with the contractor so easily. It has also been very interesting to see how the structures shown in the presentations and textbooks are actually applied in projects like this, as well as how we're able to use them to participate throughout the entire process of construction. We went to Menards and Home Depot together to compare, decide on and transport the materials back home. Every conversation I had with the contractors made me grateful for all of those classes and excited to go back to apply that knowledge recently.

Wish me good luck that everything is finished well!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Technical Design Studio

One of the classes I am taking this semester is ADes 3227, Technical Design Studio. At the beginning of the semester, we were each assigned a category that we did the creative design for, and my category was little girls. Then, we were given someone else’s creative design to do the technical design. After that, we’re given a technical design to create a pattern for, which is passed on to someone else to make the sample. From the sample, we choose 6 garments to put into production. Our studio class has become a little factory. All of the garments we make will be sent to the Blue House, an orphanage in Uganda, and school in Mexico, supported by Keys4Life.

This is definitely one of the most difficult classes I’ve taken in the apparel program thus far. There’s a lot of pressure to do each job well, because it affects everyone else who has to work on that garment. While it’s the most difficult, I believe it is probably one of the most important studios. I’ve learned a lot that I’ll need in the apparel industry. A lot of the things I’ve learned I have been able to apply to my work at my internship at WSI Sports. It’s cool to have a real world application for these lessons, and it’s satisfying to know that our designs are helping real people.

(my creative sketch that was chosen for production)
I'll be sure to keep you updated on studio via the CDes Instagram!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Internships on the Mind

Hello Everyone!

I think a lot of us constantly feel pressure (mostly from ourselves) to figure out what we're doing with our lives. Undeniably, a huge part of that process is internships. It's currently that time of year where we're all starting to try and get our life together and make summer plans, and I for one am really stressed out!

An amazing (but random) photo of London 
The amazing thing about my program is that it's so broad. Half of my classes are business, ranging from marketing to statistics, and the other half are design-focused, with options varying from visual merchandising to toy product design. With my Retail Merchandising & Psychology degrees, I feel set up for a future in Human Resources, Marketing, Merchandising/Buying; the options are vast. It's awesome not to feel limited in my future career path, but it means I have to do more internal reflection and make more decisions about what I really want.

My point being, it's hard to apply to internships with so many end goals in mind. What if I do a merchandising internship but realize I want to have a career in HR? I'm running out of summers! I'm sure there are other people out there feeling the same way, but I've gotten some peace of mind after talking to older students that are either in my program or graduated, and my advisors.

Internships are about exploration, and they don't mean you're tied down to a job for years to come. The cool thing about interning for big companies is that there's often flexibility--you can potentially move around into different areas after interning initially. Companies want people who are flexible, well rounded and excited to learn more. After hearing some of these reassuring thoughts, now I'd like to think I'm more of an asset than anything else. It's still going to be hard to pick only ONE internship, but I'm less nervous about this internship deciding my future (I'm only 20!).

If you're also in the midst of applying for internships or jobs, check out this UMN guide to writing a great resume, and good luck!

Retail Merchandising

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New experiences in the metal shop

Hello friends,

Today I'm going to talk about some new experiences I've had recently designing using steel.  Typically when I have projects in my studio classes, you can find me in the wood shop, but I've started to utilize the metal shop more and more.  From using the plasma cutter and metal brake to form a lamp, to using a torch to bend both rod and sheet steel, these experiences have been extremely interesting to say the least.  It is so awesome to see how many things are possible, just by using the resources we have in the metal shop at our beloved Rapson Hall.  If you are working on a project soon that you are looking to try out a different medium with, I would highly recommend using steel and trying out all the cool tools we have in the shop!  To see when the shop is open, feel free to click here, and see all of their hours at Rapson. Of course, make sure to ask the shop guys and girls before using anything you haven't before, but other than that, have fun, and feel free to comment on this post with any cool experiences that you have or have had before -- I'd love to hear about them!

Until next time,

I'll see all you designers at home (Rapson),

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Flying Through the Semester

Hi again!

It seems like the posts and semester are flying by; I've finished another studio project! As previously mentioned, in the senior interior design studio (IDES4607) we've been working on the design of a basement restaurant/bar area at the Landmark Center. So now's the time: here is my partner and I's design!
Rendering of the bar in The Ratskeller.
Rendering of the gallery area.

This building had tons of history and we were lucky enough to get to see the space in person and not only that, but get a tour of other areas of the building as well. It has a great story behind it, and we wanted to really relate to this story through our design. We focused on a concept of "uncovering the past" with which we took inspiration from the buildings current and past states and the materials originally used in its design. We applied these materials in more contemporary ways to reflect the meeting of time periods. We used pennies as a feature element not only to draw from the copper used in the original design but to represent time; the various dates on the pennies and the mixture of their different patinas and wear create a unique element that represents an expansive history.

This project along with those of my classmates will be presented and displayed at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul. We're really excited to show off our designs. Based on mid-project presentations, everyone came up with really different ideas and hopefully we can inspire the Landmark Center with some ways in which they can use their interesting basement space.

See you next time with a new project!
Interior Design

Monday, November 14, 2016

Crafting My Thesis

These past two weeks I have been working tirelessly on my senior thesis. Right now, I’m taking a class on writing the final paper that will present my research, and next semester I will take a class devoted to turning that research into a fleshed out design project. If you're interested, you can check out these courses here (although you'll need to scroll to the bottom of the page to find them)!

My favorite thing about the final thesis project is that we can choose to research anything. Literally anything. Do you want to learn more about how dinosaurs and birds are genetically similar? Maybe you want to research art therapy? Or you have a passion for parkour? You can write your thesis on any of these topics—and those topics I just listed are just a few of the actual topics my classmates are studying.

The graphic design senior exhibition from December 2015

I love having the freedom to research whatever I want, because now I have the chance to research something I’m really passionate about. My topic is gender representation in the media, and I’m researching the benefits of having a wide variety of characters in each gender, whether it’s in a movie, book, video game, etc.

It’s been interesting to research this subject, but I have to admit, I’m much more interested in thinking about how I’m going to present my final design project. I could design a video game, or create a webcomic, or even just make a series of advertisements for fictional cartoons featuring a really diverse cast of characters. There are so many possibilities, and it’s really exciting! But for now, I should probably focus on finishing this paper. I’ve still got a lot of work to do!

Until next time!


Graphic Design

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Meeting Mentors

Hey everyone!

I am very excited about meeting my mentor this coming week at the annual Kick-off event. The College of Design offers a mentor program to all juniors and seniors. In this program, each student is matched with a working professional in their field. Through this relationship with the mentor, you have the chance to meet with them once a month and learn about their work and what they do. It is a great way to learn about current career options in your field, network with professionals and be able to tour a local firm.
Mentors and Students from the previous year (College of Design Website)
The mentor that I was matched with works at WSB & Associates. This is a consulting and design firm that is based out of Minneapolis and has various other locations in the Twin Cities area. Although I don't know a lot about this firm, I am excited to learn more about it in the coming months through this program.

To learn more about the mentor program you can visit the College of Design website.

That's all for now,

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Another Post, Another Project

Hi again!

This semester's studio is very fast-paced and we're already in the midst of our second studio project. This time, it is an adaptive reuse project. We are working with the Landmark Center in St. Paul to create an restaurant/bar space in their basement. It's a unique situation because basement restaurants can be a difficult place to make people aware of and draw people in. It's another partner project, so we will also be working on coordinating schedules and working with different people and opinions.

The space is very interesting, and I've included a picture to show you how it looks! The ceiling is very high and there's the challenge of many columns and other quirky features, like the mismatched windows. There's also the potential for a mezzanine area overlooking the space. There are a lot of possibilities with this space and it will be really cool to see what different groups come up with.

If you want to keep up with the progress of my classwork, and that of students in other design majors, make sure you're following the UMN Design Instagram. Here, we post about whatever we're up to and working on!

I can't wait to show off what my partner and I come up with for this awesome adaptive reuse project! Stay tuned, the project will be done before we know it!

Until next time,
Interior Design

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A MINOR makes a MAJOR difference

In addition to being an apparel design major, I have a minor in social justice. Having a minor in a field completely unrelated to my major has been A LIFE SAVER for me! It’s nice to take a break from design work and really think outside of myself. The apparel design program is very small and we’re all very close, but it’s nice to have the chance to meet new people. I think balance is really important. Having a well-rounded class load really helps me to not get too burnt out in any one class.

I’ve also been having a lot of fun trying to figure out ways to relate the two subjects. Last year in Apparel Studio III, we had to make a garment inspired by the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Weisman Art Museum out of non-traditional materials. I made a dress out of VHS tape film. The dress was inspired by the lack of representation of people of color in the film industry. This project sparked my interest in social justice.

I am loving my minor so far and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

If you’re looking for a minor check out this list here.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Time for a Break!

Hi Everyone!

I did it, I made it through midterm week. Those of you who have crossed the finish line already: pat yourselves on the back--you earned it. Those of you still searching for the light at the end of the tunnel: don't worry, you'll make it through.

Midterms are a stressful period for all of us, even when abroad. Contrary to popular belief, being abroad isn't all just traveling and doing fun things -- it actually includes homework and projects too --who knew?! I've been working really hard the past few days -- each of my five classes assigned papers and presentations so I've had my hands full. Staring at my screen all day has made it really hard to stay focused. After a while, all of the sentences, web pages and citations all blend together. Because I know a lot of you are probably going through a similar struggle, here's a short list of things I've been doing every so often to refocus myself:

Probably the most beautiful place to walk through, the Palace of VerSailles
1. Take walks. There's truly nothing like the fresh air to clear your mind and make you feel rejuvenated.

2. Take a water break. There's something about the refreshing feeling that just wakes you up!

3. Switch up the tunes. Whenever I'm starting to zone out, I change my Spotify station from
"Deep Focus" to something a little bit more exciting like "Latin Pop Hits". Those of you who don't have Spotify, I highly recommend downloading it. There's a playlist for every occasion and they have a 50% student discount. Check it out here!

4. Talk to a friend. Whether it's in person or over the phone, it will improve your mood and gives your eyes a break from looking at screens (we're all guilty of checking social media on our phones while taking breaks from our computer).

Hope these ideas help make your midterms a bit easier to conquer. Good luck!

Retail Merchandising

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Product Design Minnesota

Hello all,

I wanted to let you all know about a student group on campus made solely for the purpose of getting to know amazing people and designers just like you!  Product Design Minnesota is a student organization that works to promote creativity not only in the classroom, but also outside of it.  As product designers, we work to incorporate design and innovation into everyday lives, and not only is that important for our major, but every job in the whole entire world. Product Design Minnesota is a great way to get involved, and to get to learn, refine, and challenge skills that are learned inside of classrooms.  To learn more about this club, check out our page here.  Aside from general club meetings and events, the group is also working on the interior of the Solar Vehicle Project this year, as well as organizing a game for the Extra Life event on November 5th!  With previous events such as the egg drop holder competition (as pictured), and upcoming events such as a tour of Target's design headquarters and 3D modeling (and hopefully printing) demo, there is something everybody will love!

Until next time, I'll see all you designers at home (Rapson),