College of Design Student Blogs

April 7, 2015



I hope everyone had a chance to relax and enjoy the weather this weekend! I was off of school this past week because I traveled with my architecture studio during the last break. I spent a few days of my vacation in Nice and a few days in Prague. Both cities were amazing.

IMG_3634-2.jpg IMG_3702-2.jpg It was my first time experiencing a Southern European city, as well as an "Eastern" European city. The architecture and livelihood of each type of city was fascinating.

We have just two weeks of school left before we take our final weeklong break. This is a really hectic time for school. My professors are all trying to squeeze in assignments, so there is plenty of schoolwork. For the last break, my mum and sisters are paying me a visit! I am looking forward to spending a week exploring Copenhagen. I unfortunately haven't been able to do much exploring here on my own. Once we return from that break, it is just three short weeks until school is out. Where did the semester go!?

Enjoy every day, and keep up to date with UMN Design's Instagram!


Posted by Margo at 2:48 PM |

April 6, 2015

Almost Time for Lift Off!

There is never a dull moment in the world of apparel design. I'm always busy, busy, busy. I have been working hard with my group on our NASA project. We were able to present our preliminary designs and experiment findings to our NASA mentors. Sadly, we were only able to have a conference call rather than doing a video conference. I would have loved to see who our mentors are so I could put faces to the names. Our presentation went really well, and I'm really proud of my group and the progress we made with it.

I think our mentors were impressed as well, especially with the direction we took on our project. Haptics usually deals with training people how to interpret vibrations, and that's what they usually see. Our project focuses on seeing what people intuitively interpret and what they think the vibrations are telling them to do, without training. Although our experiments were inconclusive, our mentors liked the idea because it was different from what they usually see. It's definitely something that designers can learn from and apply to their designs. As a designer, you should strive to be as innovative as possible and take risks. You'll be happy with the results in the end.

Now that we have completed our preliminary design and research, we can begin working on our final designs, evaluations, and presentations for the symposium when we go down to NASA in a couple of weeks. I'm excited to go, but I am also feeling nervous because we will be presenting to NASA! It's kind of a big deal.

Here is a photo of one of the other groups working on their project.


Go to to follow my blog and keep up with my life. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pictures.

Apparel Design

Posted by tranx671 at 3:08 AM |

April 5, 2015


Hello everyone!

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This past weekend I attended the American Institute of Graphic Arts' (AIGA) Portfolio 1-on-1 event and it was absolutely phenomenal! I am so happy I decided to sign up for it.

Portfolio 1-on-1 is an annual conference for junior and senior graphic design students. At the event, students get the chance to work with professionals in the design field to make connections and receive feedback on their portfolios. During the weekend, attendees have the opportunity to join three studio tours around downtown Minneapolis, as well as attend various workshops and panel discussions.

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On Friday, my group visited Cue, Little, and Olson. I absolutely loved all three and gained wonderful insight from our tour guides.

On Saturday, I began the day by attending a workshop with Heather Olson on how to leverage social media in your job search, which I found to be very helpful. I then attended three review sessions with various design professionals and received some really fantastic advice that I can't wait to utilize.

This weekend was definitely a reality check for me, but now I know what steps I need to take to get to where I need to be. I highly recommend this event to everyone!

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Posted by Leah at 8:33 PM |

Registration Time

Hello Everyone!

Last week, I registered for my fall 2015 classes. For me, this process is always exciting because I get to see the different courses that I can take. Here is a photo of all the courses that the Landscape Architecture department offers for the fall semester.

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Although registration is fun and exciting, it can also be a bit stressful at times because it takes careful planning to make sure you meet all the course requirements while trying to fit everything into your schedule. I always find it useful to talk with my adviser as I prepare for registration to make sure all goes smoothly when the time comes. He offers great advice on what courses I should take and when I should take them. Another great tool I use while registering is graduation planner. This allows me to plan out potential schedules for my four years in college and also tells me what requirements I might be missing.

I am really excited about the classes I am taking next semester!

Here is a link to grad planner:

Landscape Design and Planning

Posted by Cameron at 4:31 PM |

A College of Design Hidden Gem

Final projects have officially started and summer is just weeks away. My final studio project is another group project, and we are designing a clinic for Fraser. Along with finals comes a lot of job searching. My classmates and I have been gathering projects and putting final touches on our resumes and portfolios.

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One service that I've found helpful in assembling my portfolio is the Imaging Labs in McNeal Hall and Rapson Hall, where students can go have professional photos taken of their projects. I'm not sure how many students actually know about the Imaging Lab, but discovering it has been amazing for me. They take great photos and it's really easy! The quality of the photos is much higher than cell phone images with dull lighting and shadows, so it's definitely a great asset.

If you're a design student at the U of M, the Imaging Lab is a valuable thing to know about, and it's just two floors down from the interior design studios. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the service and taking your projects there as soon as possible so you can use your summer vacation to put together a portfolio.

Have a great couple of weeks everybody. Summer will be here before you know it!

Interior Design

Posted by mill6185 at 11:48 AM |

April 3, 2015

Major Issues!

Hey everyone!

If you're anything like I was at the start of college, you might not know what major is the best fit for you. I promise you that you're not alone. You'll find that a lot of students start college either undecided or with only a slight idea of what they want to do.

Here's how I ultimately chose the retail merchandising major:

When I came to the U of M, I hadn't yet decided on a major. I was always interested in biology and chemistry, but I also had a very creative mind. I started my freshman year by taking general courses in a variety of subjects (creative courses, biology courses, etc.) so I could play around with different areas of interest in hopes that it would help me decide. By the end of my freshman year, I still didn't know for sure what I wanted to major in. I was becoming anxious and frustrated.

My sophomore year was when everything fell into place. I decided to make an appointment with a Center for Academic Planning (CAPE) coach. CAPE coaches are available to assist students who are having a difficult time choosing a major. After having a few meetings with a CAPE coach, carefully considering what I found important in a major, and analyzing my strengths and weaknesses, I chose to major in retail merchandising.

The retail merchandising major had everything I was looking for and still lives up to my expectations every day. With creativity, hands on experiences, online classes, and supportive professors and advisers, I knew this was the major for me.

If you find yourself struggling to decide on a major, I highly recommend making an appointment with a CAPE coach. They're always willing to help and truly care about what is best for you.

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This photo was taken three years ago at my orientation. TIME FLIES! #GoGophers

Best of luck,
Retail Merchandising

Posted by Bethanie at 9:36 PM |

March 24, 2015

Danish Design

Life in Copenhagen has been quieter these past few weeks. After getting back from a travel break, I had a lot to do in my other classes besides studio, and in studio we began our third and final project for the semester. It has been nice to be back home in Copenhagen and get back into the swing of things. But I leave again on Saturday for a personal trip to Nice and Prague. I'm always on the move here!

The other evening, I met with a connection I formed upon my arrival in Denmark--an architect! She is a young architect who just started her professional career after graduating from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. This school offers programs in architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, apparel, and a number of other design disciplines. She was able to show me a bit of her work, which was so incredible to see. A lot of her work looked like projects I've completed before. It made me realize I am getting closer to the end of my education, which means it will be time for the real world soon!

It was also very nice to talk with her about the job market for architects in Denmark. I have fallen in love with this country, and would have great pleasure to come back here again to live. However, the job market is difficult for architects in Denmark. She was unemployed for a year before she got the job she has now. Denmark takes very good care of its unemployed citizens though, so she has been okay. In the next couple of days, she plans on compiling a list of firms in Copenhagen for me to look into for potential jobs this summer, and also for post-graduation. The real world can be tough, so I am open to any connections and recommendations I can get! So just a healthy reminder about Career & Internship Services and the awesome (free!) services it provides to help get you on your way to being a professional!

And then just a little sneak peak of where I'll be in a few short days :D


Posted by Margo at 3:53 PM |

And We're Back

Welcome back from Spring Break, everyone!! This year, I wasn't able to do anything wild and crazy like go to Mexico, but the weather here was a lot better than the typical March in Minnesota, so that was a plus. The time off was nice, and I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say it wasn't long enough to get everything done that I would have liked to.

I was able to do some experimentation with my NASA project for my Apparel Design studio class. If you don't remember, the project I was assigned to is Wearable Haptics for Directing. My group and I created a prototype to house all of our vibrating tactors, which we then tested on people to see how they reacted to the various stimuli we gave them. So far, we've got some interesting results. We'll be presenting our project to our NASA mentors this Wednesday, so I'm hoping that goes well. Wish me luck!

Here are some pics from our testing.
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Go to to follow my blog and keep up with what's going on with me. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Posted by tranx671 at 9:12 AM |

March 22, 2015

Another Field Trip

Spring break is drawing to a close, meaning we are on the home stretch to summer now!

The other week for my materials class (IDES 2613), my classmates and I toured Tile by Design in Plymouth (located in the NW section of the Twin Cities metropolitan area).Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 1.52.47 PM.png
We went to talk about different kinds of tile as well as their benefits and aspects, such as durability, clean-ability, etc. We learned about natural vs. polished surfaces and the differences between types like terracotta, porcelain, ceramic and so on. We also got to explore the showroom.

My favorite area was the space featuring future tile trends. There were some unique items and interesting combinations. I Instagrammed one of the displays in that section (on the right) that shows a chevron pattern using colored tiles with the appearance of wood. This is just one example of the interesting tile textures, displays, and colors that I have never seen or thought of before.

It was a fascinating tour, and I suggest a tile showroom visit for anyone who is interested in interior design or wants to learn more about tile products. The employees were so supportive; they were excited to share information and show us around. It was a great thing to experience in person rather than learn about in a classroom or online.

Hopefully everyone has/had a great spring break; time to get back to class!

Interior Design

Posted by mill6185 at 12:43 PM |

March 18, 2015

Spring Break!

Hello everyone,

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I am sitting in Tampa, Florida, as I am writing this!

As mentioned in a previous post, I spent my freshman year of college at the University of Tampa, so I am back here visiting friends this week. So far, I've been able to relax and lie out by the pool, watch a Spring Training game for the Yankees, and spend a night at the beach watching the sunset. It's been a really fabulous trip so far and I'm not sure if I'm ready for break to be over just yet.

That said, spring break marks the halfway point of the semester and warmer weather is on its way, so I have that to look forward to!

While I've spent each of my spring breaks in Tampa, several student groups at the University of Minnesota have alternative break options such as Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF) and Habitat for Humanity. Both of these groups work on service projects around the country throughout the week. This year STLF traveled to Washington D.C., Denver, and Atlanta, while Habitat for Humanity went to Beaumont, Texas; Medford, Oregon; and Sacramento, California. I've never been on one of these trips, but I always think they sound like a lot of fun! If you're interested, check them out here and here.

Until next time!

Graphic Design

Posted by Leah at 12:13 PM |

March 10, 2015

About Halfway There

Spring break is almost here! Hope everyone has been studying and prepping for your midterms, good luck!

My studio class, where I'm working on the Wearable Haptics for Directing project for NASA, is coming along very nicely. We are in the experiment stage where we are building prototypes of our designs and will be doing experiments with human subjects. This means that I have a lot of soldering and wire work to do before break comes.

It's so interesting to see the reaction on people's faces when I tell them I'm an apparel design major and I'm doing a project for NASA. The reaction is usually the same, a disbelief that an apparel major would be doing something that's usually geared toward engineers. It just goes to show everything that we design isn't just about looking good, we are about making practical things that people can and want to wear. Apparel designers are a pretty amazing type of person -- I might have a bias, but I definitely believe it. We are hardworking and our training allows us to look at things in a different way with the ability to appreciate the details and construction of how things are made.

Here are some pictures of one of my project partners and I working on soldering tactors to wires for our prototype.

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Go to to follow my blog and keep up with what's going on with me. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Posted by tranx671 at 8:29 AM |

March 9, 2015

Study Tour!

Hello Future Gophers!

I just returned from a weeklong study tour with my architecture peers and professor. We visited Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. This trip was absolutely amazing. We visited cities and sites that I likely would not visit on my own, either because of the obstacles to travel there, or the money it would cost to visit such sites. Also, by going with school and with a group of students, we were lucky enough to have guided tours of many of the sites we visited, which is something I would never receive had I travelled there on my own. I think opportunities like this is what makes this study abroad program so unique. Its slogan is, "Copenhagen as your home, Europe as your classroom." What could be better than that!?

I could go on and on about every site that we visited but instead I made a photo collage of the sites.

Beyler Fondation - Vitra Haus - Vitra Fire Station - Vitra Slide - Freiburg, Germany - Church San Benedetg - Swiss Alps - Peter Zumthor Vacation Homes - Gemeinde Ludesch - St. Gerold Community Center - Kunsthaus Bregenz - Bauhaus Masters House - Bauhaus Modern Masters House - Bauhaus School - Einsteinturm


We had a long bus ride home, where I had a lot of time to reflect on the week. I've realized more and more this semester the importance of precedent studies. In my last project there were multiple buildings I called on for inspiration for my own building design. Therefore, there is great value in visiting architecture so you can gain inspiration for your own projects, or perhaps learn what did not work well in other buildings. I love traveling and I have for awhile, so I am very pleased to be in a field where traveling is an essential element. So get out and explore your surroundings and the world!

Stay up to date on UMN Design's Instagram for the coolest images of design.


Posted by Margo at 4:28 AM |

March 8, 2015

Capella Tower Tour

This past week, I went to my first International Interior Design Association (IIDA) event. IIDA is a professional organization for interior designers that provides professional development and networking opportunities and events. It also offers a great student discount, and I encourage any interior design student to take advantage of it.
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I recently attended an event organized by IIDA that featured a tour of a newly renovated space in the Capella Tower downtown Minneapolis. It was fascinating, and many of the designers who worked on the project led the tour. Some of the amazing features in the new space can be seen in these photos. Another cool feature included a fireplace that functions as a fountain in the warmer months.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 2.41.20 PM.pngIn the photos, you can see the chain curtains that were used with RGB LED lights, which could be programed to make any color or even change colors. There was a custom ceiling made of felt panels that also used LED lights to change colors. The wood material on the left is actually tile that was used in the locker rooms of the Steele Fitness center. It was a really cool material that gave a warm feeling in a damp environment.

The tour also included great food (chocolate-covered strawberries and shrimp), which is a sure way to get college kids excited! The event drew many professionals as well as students studying interior design at a number of metro-area schools. I had a great time and highly recommend that anyone thinking about studying interior design, or currently doing so now, look into IIDA and its events!

Interior Design

Posted by mill6185 at 1:33 PM |

March 1, 2015


Hello Everyone!

Lately, I've been feeling stressed with my internship search and approaching midterms, so I thought this would be a good time to talk about all the resources the University of Minnesota has to help students deal with stress!

11050293_10152727551787444_4535700670699278554_n.jpgThe University recognizes that stress is part of the college experience, so it has created several programs for students to help them better manage their stress.

- P.A.W.S (Pet Away Worry & Stress): Weekly sessions with therapy animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, and Woodstock the chicken.

- Student Academic Success Services: Several materials and services are offered to help students develop study and time management skills. It also provides techniques for relaxation and tips on how to cope with stress.

- Comfort Zone Classes: FREE weekly yoga, Pilates, and tai chi classes that are offered through Boynton Health Service.

- Stress Management Classes: Success Over Stress, a one-credit course within the School of Public Health.

- Events: Exam Jam & Cirque Du Stress are held during midterms and finals.

Whenever things feel overwhelming, just know that the University is here to support you!

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Posted by Leah at 4:44 PM |

February 24, 2015

Research, Research, Research

Hope everyone's semester is going smoothly and that you all are staying warm! Right now I'm neck deep in research for all my classes.

In my studio classes, our projects for NASA are wrapping the background research phase. This is where we research the current state of knowledge of the topic matter in our projects, which helps us determine what direction we wish to take the project for further research. The project that my group is working on is called Wearable Haptics for Directing. Sounds rather complicated, and it is exactly how it sounds--complicated. The project revolves around being able to direct someone by only using vibrations. There is a little more to it, but that's the general idea. It's definitely outside the normal realm of my research of trends, target markets, and inspirations, but the information that I'm learning is still fascinating.

For my other classes, it's back to researching information about target markets, trends, inspirations, and conducting tons of interviews and surveys. I'm currently in the midst of researching the target market for my senior line. Right now, I imagine my target market is the creative and innovative type of person. They enjoy beautiful things and prefer quality over quantity. After my research, I'm hoping to get a better insight on who these people are, how they think, what they value, and so on.

I don't want to bore you with pictures of me doing research, so I'll give you a look at some of the work that I'm doing in my photography class.
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Go to to follow my blog and keep up with what's going on with me. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Posted by tranx671 at 12:02 PM |