College of Design Student Blogs

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 |

February 23, 2015

Experiential Architecture

Two weeks ago, my fellow architecture students and I ventured to Western Denmark with one of our architecture professors to experience life and architecture outside of Copenhagen. We visited Kolding, Aarhus, and Ebeltoft. We travelled by bus and I learned truly how small Denmark is. Aarhus is closer to Copenhagen than the U of M is to my home! This trip was a great learning experience, and I felt I learned a lot about Denmark as well as architecture in general.

When people think of architecture, they typically think of the noted extravagant buildings like Notre Dame or the Coliseum. Throughout my studies of architecture the past few years, I have learned that architecture is more than just a beautiful or unique building. What has true importance is how the user experiences the space. Architecture would not be all that necessary if people weren't using or inhabiting the space, and therefore the main objective is to create spaces humans feel comfortable in.

IMG_3001-3.jpg In Aarhus, we visited the Aarhus Krematorium by Henning Larson, which is the greatest building I have experienced thus far. The building did in fact house the materials for cremation, but it also had a room where the funeral would occur. My professor was extremely knowledgeable about the building, and therefore was able to tell us the reasoning for every designed element in it--stair height, materials, door width, ceiling height, and even the chair designs. Understanding that an architect intentionally worked with all these individual elements of design to evoke specific emotions for the user is a truly inspiring thought. Dealing with death is so difficult, and having a building that responds and caters to those emotions is a gift. IMG_3000-2.jpg

My small trip to Western Denmark was a friendly reminder that I am definitely pursuing the right major. Architecture has such a strong power on humans, regardless if they are paying attention to the art or not.


Posted by Margo at 11:19 AM |

February 22, 2015

Nordstrom, Target, and more!

Hi everyone!

I wanted to chit chat a little bit about landing a job after graduation.

Recently in my Internship Preparation class, a panel of speakers visited our class to speak about the different jobs available for students after they graduate.

The panel included Nordstrom, Target, JL Buchanan, and a few other local businesses. The jobs ranged from HR recruiting, marketing, buying, visual merchandising, and product development. Each of the companies stated that the retail merchandising major is very flexible post-graduation and there are a lot of jobs available for us! This was very exciting news to hear.

At the end, I made sure to take full advantage of the extra time to ask questions. Here are a few tips and tricks I learned to get ahead after graduation:

--Intern, intern, intern! Internships are a great way to get hands-on experience at a job and build your resume. One of the speakers suggested using
***Target mentioned that an internship is essentially an extended interview, so always work hard and do your best!

--Join school organizations. Fashion and Business, or FAB, is an excellent organization to join if you want to connect with other students interested in fashion and business. It's a great way to network!

--Make sure to proof-read your resume. Spelling errors will automatically ruin your chances of landing a job.

Best of luck,

Retail Merchandising

Posted by Bethanie at 10:47 PM |

February 20, 2015

Photographer/Artist Spotlight

Hello everyone!

For one of my design electives this semester, I am taking GDes 2361 Design Process: Photography. This is actually the second photography class I've taken at the U of M and I'm having a blast! For today's class, we were assigned to present about a photographer of our choice. Upon doing some research, I came across this absolutely incredible photographer/artist, JR. I was so intrigued, inspired, and am still completely in awe with him, that I wanted to share his work with you all!

Starting as a graffiti artist at age 15 and beginning his photographing career at 17, JR is a contemporary French artist and photographer born in 1983 who photographs portraits of people around the world. He then photocopies these portraits and pastes them all over different cities.

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Through his photography and exhibitions, JR's goal is to create dialogues and discussions among those experiencing various conflicts. He wants to create a new dynamic in these countries and hopes that his work will change societies' world views.

In my opinion, his work is incredibly beautiful and moving, but don't take my word for it, check out his website!

He also has an absolutely phenomenal TED Talk that is a must-see as well.

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Posted by Leah at 4:47 PM |

February 9, 2015

REVEL Senior Fashion Show

This past Saturday was the REVEL Senior Fashion Show! Revel-1.jpg If you attended the show, I hope you enjoyed it, and if you missed it, well you missed a really great show. It's always exciting to see the final collections from the seniors in the program. I find it inspiring to see what they think of and how they make their concepts come to life.

To the seniors, I'm so proud of the work you guys put into your collections, and congrats for completing your collections and putting on a great show! The senior show is a great example of how the Apparel Design program at the U of M prepares you to develop your style and aesthetic as a designer. For example, this year's show included pieces ranging from clothing for a rock band, to go-go dancers, to bridal.

The fashion show is mostly for the seniors, but I want to give a shout out to the juniors and sophomores who also Revel-2.jpgshowed a piece. Great work! There are definitely some amazing emerging talents in these groups of students. I can't wait until next year's show! I know it's going to be amazing, not just because it will be my senior collection showing, but because of the talent I've already previewed from this year's show. If you missed it this year, make sure you go next year. I guarantee it will be one to remember.

Great work to everyone!!

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 1:26 PM |


Hello readers!

My architecture studio in Copenhagen brings together students from a number of universities and with different backgrounds. Some students are in the pre-architecture program here, and they come from backgrounds such as art history to theatre art. This made our first project very interesting.

My group was made up of two architecture students, including myself, an interior design student, and an art history student. Even between the other architecture student and me, there were many differences in our education and what we have learned thus far. This created a very dynamic group because we all had different strengths to contribute. I think this element of study abroad is another learning experience in itself. Although my next two projects won't be group projects, I am still working with students of other backgrounds during studio. Being able to listen to the ideas and thought processes of another design student is fascinating.

Vitra_C.-Richters_16.jpgThe purpose of our first project was to become familiar with buildings that we will be visiting later this month as we travel to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. My group and I were analyzing the Vitra Fire Station on the Vitra Campus in Germany. Check out all of Vitra's exquisite buildings here. The building was very interesting to study because its design is very abstract and unique. The model was challenging, but with (a lot) of precision, it turned out beautifully!

Later this week the architecture students will be taking a trip outside of Copenhagen to other cities in Western Denmark. I'm very excited to see the architecture outside of the major city and learn more about the lifestyles there. Make sure to follow UMNDesign's Instagram for more updates on my trip!


Posted by Margo at 1:12 PM |

February 8, 2015

Up's and Down's

A few months ago I blogged about receiving my acceptance letter from The Fashion Studio at Kent State. I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to go. However, life throws curveballs at you every now and then. I'm sad to say that I will no longer be attending Kent State's Fashion Studio in Fall 2015.

You might be asking, why the sudden change? To keep it short and sweet, here is what happened: I (realistically) looked into my financial situation and decided that this program was too expensive for what I was willing to pay.

It's truly an amazing program and I would highly encourage all students to look into it! In the end, it just wasn't for me and that's ok! :)

Instead, I've decided to focus my energy on obtaining an internship and steady career with Nordstrom. I work full time at Nordstrom in addition to going to school full time (yes, it's possible. I promise.). Nordstrom is a company I would love to grow with. Therefore, I dedicate a lot of time and energy into my sales and other tasks. I'm working toward my dream career and I couldn't be happier.

Remember: When one door closes, another door opens.

This is a photo of Manhattan I took on my recent visit to New York--I will always love this city!

Stay positive,
Retail Merchandising

Posted by Bethanie at 10:45 PM |

The search is on...

Hello Everyone!

One of the requirements of the graphic design program here at the U of M is completing an internship before we graduate. So now that my portfolio has been updated, my resume has been critiqued, and my cover letters have been written, it's time for me to start applying for summer internships!

In looking for internships, I'm mainly using four resources: GoldPass,, LinkedIn, and good old-fashioned networking.

GoldPass is the University of Minnesota's very own job-listing site created exclusively for students and alumni--yet another perk of going to school here!


Both LinkedIn and allow you to create a profile and then have both the option of matching you with potential internships and employers and also allowing you to search for companies.

Finally, I've been trying to use my network of friends, family, classmates, and professors to see where they may have interned or worked in the past, or what connections they may have. As it's always said, "It's not WHAT you know, it's WHO you know."

It's a long process, but it will be so worth it in the end. Internships are such valuable experiences, and I can't wait to start mine no matter where I end up!

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Posted by Leah at 7:37 PM |

Supporting U

This past week, I received a surprising outpouring of support from the U of M. There was an unexpected death in my family and as much as I don't want to talk about it right now, I thought it would be important to share how much the faculty and students at the U of M care.
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I had to go home immediately and have missed about a week's worth of classes. I emailed my teachers and they were all primarily concerned about my well being, not me missing class. I hate getting behind in classes--even if I'm sick for a day, I worry about getting too behind--but all the responses from my teachers really put me at ease. It took some stress off of me for the time being. I'll have to do a lot of catching up when I go back this week, but the teachers and my advisers have made it clear that they are there for me and will work with me to get back on track.

Missing projects for studio is hard. There's a lot of work to do and little time, so missing a week puts me in a really tough position. Luckily, I have a great group for the project we're working on at the moment and they have really stepped up while I've been away. I haven't been totally off the hook for the project, and I wouldn't want to be. But they have been really understanding and have communicated to me what I should be doing and what they're taking care of back at school. I also have great friends at school who are taking notes for me and keeping me posted on what's happening.

The U of M has given me so much support. We never expect these kinds of things to happen, but knowing that people out there care and understand is a comforting thought. I'm so thankful for all the support I've gotten this past week. There are facilities and programs available to students such as the advising and support team which includes advisers. There are also counseling services available to students. The students and faculty at the U of M are great, and this experience has just reinforced that for me.

Best wishes to all,

Interior Design

Posted by mill6185 at 12:26 PM |

January 26, 2015

So Far So Good

I hope everyone's first week of the new semester went well. It's crazy to be back at the U of M, getting back into the swing of things with classes, and seeing all the familiar faces again. It feels great to be with my College of Design family and especially my Apparel Design Class of 2016. NASA-logo.png

It's going to be busy, but there are some exciting things to come from this semester. In my Visual Merchandising class, we'll be working on window displays for the Weismann Art Museum and doing a competition for Target. The winner of the Target competition will actually get a monetary reward! Money is always exciting! In my Apparel Design studio class, we'll be working on projects from NASA, which will culminate in a trip to NASA in Houston to present our projects! Yay!! A trip to NASA!!

Then there is the fast approaching Revel Senior Fashion Show. The show will be on February 7th, 2015, so if you haven't gotten your tickets, get them fast! I'll be showing my tailored jacket, and from what I've already seen from the seniors, it should be a great show.

Here's a link to get the show information and how to get tickets:

I'm so glad that there are great opportunities like these, provided by the College of Design to its students. It's going to be a great semester, so until next time. Hope to see you at the show!

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 1:13 AM |

January 25, 2015

Hej from København.

Hej from København!

Today marks one week since I arrived in Copenhagen. It has been such a long week, but an absolutely wonderful week! During the first few days, we had orientation and fun things to do around Copenhagen to get us better acquainted. Classes began on Thursday and I am excited to dive into them! My architecture professors have such exquisite backgrounds, I am so lucky to have the opportunity to learn from them and gain a new perspective on my design work.

retro-oval-dining-table-dm9900.jpgDenmark is a fascinating country in more ways than I imagined. I thought there were a lot of bikes in Minneapolis, but Copenhagen has eight times more daily bike commuters! So many bikes! I've also been learning more about the equality here in Denmark. The typical Danish dining table looks a lot like this image. If you are familiar with New Nordic Design, you will recognise the sleek and minimal design of this table. What is so interesting as to why Danes fancy this table is because of its more oval shape -- it doesn't allow one person to be at the head of the table. Since every human is equal, it would be out of place for one person to be seated there. It is incredibly intriguing how a culture can influence design, and how design can influence culture. This is something I find very interesting, and I look forward to learning about how this stands true in Danish culture, and finding ways on how this is also true for American culture.

Don't forget to keep up with the College of Design Instagram for posts about my adventures around Copenhagen!

Hej hej,


Posted by Margo at 5:03 PM |