College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design


Digitization is a critical answer to the balance between studying museum collection objects and preserving them. Digitized museum collections make it possible to share images of design with students, designers, and researchers - potentially everyone with access to a computer while minimizing handling of objects.

Goldstein Museum of Design (GMD) has photographed over 6,000 objects from its 30,000 item collection, making images available on a searchable database on the museum's website. The grant that funded this work expired this winter. Raising $10,000 by the end of the fiscal year will allow this important project to continue.

Open the collection storeroom doors wide! Give a gift of $100 today. Your donation can help students experience design across time and cultures.

Increasingly, students do most of their research on the web. Faculty members report that in some classes, every student relies on GMD's digitized collections database for their major project. Some students find inspiration for new designs after studying on-line images of collection objects. GMD's collection database has thrown open the doors to the possibilities of innovation and inspiration.

Will you donate to expand this important student resource? Please help us fill the funding gap and continue this important work with a donation.

Lin Nelson-Mayson signature.jpg

Lin Nelson-Mayson
Goldstein Museum of Design

Visit for more information about the Goldstein Museum of Design and to search the digital collection.

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This fall, the College of Design's Text and Image class (GDES 3351) was asked to design a graphic identity (the look that unifies all the promotional materials for an event) for the upcoming Goldstein exhibition, "Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer." This was no small task, as every exhibition requires postcards, posters, banners, and text panels that work together to quickly convey its tone and content to the public.

This is not the first time the Goldstein has collaborated with students. Previous exhibitions have featured student work, including "Quest for the World's Best Baskets," "Redefining, Redesigning Fashion," and "Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories."


The project started in October with a presentation about Vera scarves and the designer responsible for their success, Vera Neumann. The exhibition themes were discussed, helping students gain a sense of what message these postcards and posters need to send. Following the sneak peek, students were provided with images of the Goldstein's Vera scarves - over 200 - and a short list of requirements. Aside from this, they were free to experiment.

verascarvesDEC2013.jpgScarves by Vera Neumann (American, 1907-1993), Goldstein Museum of Design, Gift of David Anger and James Broberg.

Goldstein staff members were asked to attend two formal critiques. During the first session, each student presented three ideas in draft form. The best of the three was selected. Students then developed that design into a final product.

On December 18, 2013, the class presented their final designs. With 25 excellent designs to choose from, Goldstein staff had a difficult decision to make. In the end, a design by Aimee Brouchard was selected. Aimee's playful composition features a large photo of Vera, resplendent in her signature blonde bob hairstyle and thick black glasses, surrounded by flowers designed for her iconic scarves.


by Natasha Thoreson

Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer will be on display in Gallery 241, McNeal Hall
May 17 - June 29, 2014.
Opening Party: Friday, May 16, 6-8pm


by Jessica Barness (MFA Design '12, UMN)
Assistant Professor, School of Visual Communication Design
Kent State University

Just over a year ago, the Goldstein Museum of Design's Emigre Magazine Index was launched to communicate and provide online access to the contents of Emigre magazine issues in the GMD collection. As the designer and author of this project, I shared my research at the inaugural 'Design and the Digital Humanities' panel at the Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 national convention, held November 8-10 in Milwaukee, WI. Our panel examined the role of design and digital technologies in humanities research, and my work was joined by other presentations on data visualization, design education and video poetry.

An important part of graphic design authorship history, Emigre magazine was published from 1984-2005. Its first issues coincide with the early use of MacIntosh computers by graphic designers, and parallels were noted between this and the exploration of digital technologies by designers today.

In the panel discussion I talked about my design process, in which a sketchbook and spreadsheet evolved into a complex website that highlights how form and content are intertwined in Emigre magazine. On the website, colors, typefaces, organizational structure and the many ways the reader can interact with the content are deliberately designed to affect understanding.

Additionally, attendees were introduced to the magazine's size, theme, and format changes, as well as my decisions on how hundreds of authors and contributions were included, ranging from writing, type design and interviews to graphic layouts, sound/video and guest edited issues. In a broad way, this process could be brought into museum collections or other digital humanities projects to create communicative, alternative research tools.


The Emigre Magazine Index is accessible to the public at

Funding for this project was provided by the Goldstein Museum of Design's
Jerome Joss Graduate Internship.


The History and Future of Product Design

In a new course being offered at the University of Minnesota this spring, "The History and Future of Product Design" (PDes 3170), students from diverse majors across the University will spend the semester examining the key movements, figures, philosophies and technologies that have advanced the field of industrial/product design, and investigating how this historical foundation continues to inform and inspire the designers of today and tomorrow.

mies_brno_chair_starck_alessi_drskud.jpg left: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich "Brno" chair (c. 1929-30) right: Philippe Starck for Alessi "Dr. Skud" fly swatter (1998)

Students will have opportunities throughout the semester to work hands-on with objects from the museum's collection and to explore firsthand the evolution of technology and the application of new materials and processes to everyday consumer goods. Students will then apply their understanding of these factors to forecast future trends and continuing developments in the fields of industrial and product design.

zeisel_tea_service.jpg Eva Zeisel for Castleton China "Museum White" tea service (1943)

Design graduate student Curt Lund, whose own research focus is on design history and collection, will be leading the class in activities that engage the meaning-making process of design history and underline the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across the discipline. "At the heart of this curriculum is a critical exploration of design and an understanding of what designed objects and environments can mean to consumers and their quality of life," Lund said. "The Goldstein is a perfect partner in this effort, as these ideas are also fundamental to the museum's own mission and vision."

Goldstein Museum AppJOUR 4991Spring2014.jpg

In the second semester of a year-long collaboration with the Goldstein Museum of Design, the "Goldstein Museum App" course (JOUR 4991/ ArtH 3940) will create content (text, video, photography, audio) for an iPad application that will allow the public to explore the museum's collection in a new and dynamic way. As students plan the app, they will focus on creating an intuitive user experience with multiple levels of interaction and engagement.

Taught by Camille LeFevre (arts journalist, college instructor, and editor of The Line), the course will allow students from departments across the University to collaborate. They will bring diverse skill sets including graphic design, video and audio shooting and production, art-historical research, writing and journalism, photography, UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) and interactive/immersive online/mobile environments, and app development to the process. Through feedback from the GMD staff throughout the semester, an app will be designed that will make the museum's collection accessible to a whole new audience.

Both courses are still open for registration. Sign up today!

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Make It Work: Motivating Through Graphic Design and Applied Psychology
Panel Discussion
Thursday, November 7, 6pm
Room 22, McNeal Hall, UMN St. Paul Campus
FREE and Open to the Public

Graphic Designer and College of Design instructor Richelle Huff, along with Brandon Sullivan, Ph.D., director of employee engagement at the University of Minnesota, will explore the context and meaning behind the impactful posters in GMD's exhibition, "Say It with Snap!" Motivating Workers by Design, 1923-1929.

Richelle and Brandon will also explore how the themes of persuasion and shaping behavior play out today in the fields of graphic design and workplace psychology. Here, they offer an insight into the perspectives they will bring to the discussion.

The "Say it with Snap!" exhibition is on display in Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall.
Discussion attendees are encouraged to visit the gallery prior to the event.

Richelle Huff:
"As we look at the posters in the "Say it with Snap!" collection, we can observe how contemporary marketing, art and design were affecting everyday life. The collection reflects the influence of propaganda posters from WWI used in the United States, Britain, France and Germany with its strong imagery and bold statements. We can also see the use of flat color and typography guided by periodicals of the time such as Harper's Bazar and Life. Artists such as El Lissitzky saw technology and graphic design as a new way to influence the masses. The use of the lithography technique for printing created incredible colors and an amazing amount of ink coverage on the surface of the paper. It was the convergence of all these factors that shaped the look of the posters in the "Say it with Snap!" exhibition."

Images of posters and magazine covers from the 1920s (provided by Richelle Huff).

Brandon Sullivan, Ph.D.:
"It is amazing to see how the messages and motivations behind this collection of workplace posters from the 1920s still, in many ways, apply today. The large, complex organizations of 2013 continue to look for ways to inspire employees to work hard, produce quality products and services, and avoid making costly mistakes. Of course, there are a few newer ideas that are conspicuously missing from these posters. Also, it is striking how many of the specific images and words no longer resonate with today's workforce. Exploring these similarities and differences from the past provides an intriguing window into how organizations have tried to motivate employees over the past hundred years."


Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories has been enchanting visitors with glimpses into the rich background behind printed fabric that is often overlooked. Banner Creations, the local company that produces the banners for GMD's exhibitions and then turns them into unique tote bags for our visitors to take home as souvenirs, has a story to tell too.

Banner Creations has always had an interest in the environment. The company's founder, Nora Norby, has vivid memories President Jimmy Carter telling the country to turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater, advice she believes is still sound today. The mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle" is something she has always taken seriously. So when she heard about a fabric called "EcoPhab" several years ago she ordered it to see if it could be a viable fabric to use for banners and table covers, and indeed it was!

Banners used for promoting events are often made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), commonly known as vinyl, which is harmful to both humans and the environment. Vinyl banners outgas vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen, the material is not recyclable, and some estimates state that it could take over 700 million years to break down in a landfill. EcoPhab, on the other hand, is made from recycled plastic bottles, creating a market which allows them to be diverted from the landfill. The bottles are cleaned, chopped up, melted, and extruded into a fiber which is then woven into fabric.

EcoPhab has other noteworthy advantages over vinyl as a banner material. It can be machine washed, tossed in the clothes dryer and even ironed (which would melt vinyl), and it can be repurposed as something like a tote bag, extending its useful life even further.

In order to make the most of this innovative fabric, Banner Creations digitally prints special water-based inks onto paper. They then take the printed paper and fabric and put them through a heat transfer press at 400 degrees, dying the fabric and setting the color so that it is washable. This process eliminates the need for the solvent-based inks that are typically used for printing vinyl banners, protecting workers from harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Initially the only client that showed much interest in EcoPhab was Organic Growers, and by 2006 it was going to be discontinued. Around that time Banner Creations got a commission from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for the "Eco Experience" at the Minnesota State Fair that ended up using about 900 yards of the material, literally down to the last bolt in country. Perhaps not coincidentally, that same year people started to realize how urgent today's environmental issues really are, sparking a new interest in more sustainable materials.

They got an order that would need about 30,000 yards of fabric, but by that time it wasn't available anymore. So Norby's company convinced the fabric mill to start producing it again, and more of their clients started ordering their banners and table covers made from EcoPhab. In response to this increased demand, other mills started producing similar products in different weights and for different uses.


Banner Creations now makes a variety of products with this fabric, such as table covers, banners, placemats, pillows, curtains, shower curtains and backdrops. They now also have a consumer line called Scrappy Products which includes reusable grocery bags, totes, utility bags, zip-top carry-on bags, duffle bags and aprons all made from this material.

The beauty of EcoPhab in combination with the dye sublimation printing process is that items made from it are washable, and when a product wears out it can go back to mill to be recycled again. Breathtakingly sustainable!

All Goldstein Museum of design exhibition banners are printed by Banner Creations on EcoPhab, then turned into commemorative bags which are sold in Gallery 241 and online.

Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories will be on display in Gallery 241 through Sunday, August 25.

Based on an interview with Nora Norby
Compiled by Emily Marti

Other support for Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories comes from: Surface Design Association, Fabric Graphics Association, Wet Paint, and a grant from the Northrop Summer Music Festival, presented by Northrop Concerts and Lectures at the University of Minnesota.


MetroSketchers arrayed in the GMD gallery

MetroSketchers is an informal group of Twin Cities people whose goal is to "get out in the world and draw." On a warm Sunday afternoon in August, 19 members of MetroSketchers made themselves comfortable in the gallery, where Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories is on view through August 25. Using colored pencils, they produced a great variety of drawings. Some drawings were fun riffs on the textiles, some zeroed in on a print's detail, and some emphasized the array of mannequins and details of the gallery itself. Each drawing provides a new way of seeing the exhibition and its objects, adding yet another "story" to the theme of Pattern Stories.

Thank you, MetroSketchers, for your visit. You are always welcome at GMD!

A dress by New York designer Stephen Sprouse inspired a drawing. Notice the beautiful printed dress worn by the artist.

The exuberant quality of designer Virginia Lee Demetrios' block print, "Finnish Hop", was effectively captured in a drawing (at right in right hand photo). The contour drawing of the gallery (at left in right hand photo) includes the visiting artists.

A pencil drawing of designer Pauline Trigere's jumpsuit communicates the shimmer of the silk satin.

by Kathleen Campbell
Photos by Hannah Wendlandt


On July 9 and 11, four groups of high-energy children ages 5 through 13 visited GMD's exhibition, Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories and then enjoyed a hands-on experience with block printing.

The 52 students were attending a week-long Gopher Adventure camp on U of M's St. Paul campus. Exhibition curators Jean McElvain and Kathleen Campbell were the tour guides and block printing instructors.

The paper hearts at this mannequin's feet indicate the "favorite" votes that several students gave this Stephen Sprouse designed dress. The students liked the graffiti inspired lettering printed on its surface.

The kids impressed Jean and Kathleen by ably describing the different vantage points for these two screen prints of trees.

After the gallery tour, each group went to a nearby classroom to learn how to make block prints on cloth. The designs on the six linoleum blocks were carved by GMD staff members the week before.

Jean demonstrated how to apply ink to the linoleum block with a roller.

The kids quickly caught on. They enjoyed inking the rollers.

After rolling the ink onto the block, the next step was flipping the block face down onto the cloth and pressing down very hard on the block.

Wow! Each student took home a block-printed textile.

Special thanks to Wet Paint art supply in St. Paul for generously donating the tools, blocks, and ink so that students could experience block printing hands-on.

This exhibition is up through August 25.

−Kathleen Campbell


Join us this Thursday for a special Curatorial Tour of our summer exhibition Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories, at 6pm in the newly renamed Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall (no reservation required). The exhibition highlights items from our collection and the printing techniques that were used to create them. Throughout the summer we will share some items that didn't make it into the exhibition on our blog. See more printed textiles in the gallery and in our online collection.

Andy Warhol's 1962 iconic image of Marilyn Monroe practically defines screen print; her lips, eyelids, and hair are cannily separated out and printed in brash colors. However, this print technique is thought to have been used in Asia as far back as the 10th century AD. Europeans did not adopt screen printing and engineer it into commercial use until the early 20th century.

marilynpurse.jpg PVC handbag with screen print of Andy Warhol 'Marilyn' by Loop Designs. Gift of Margot Seigel.

While it may seem like this method of printing miraculously transfers images onto fabric, the process relies on rational technology and skill. The basic steps are:

  1. 1. Emulsify screen
    The screen, made from a stretched mesh, is evenly covered with photographic emulsion.

  2. 2. Create the design
    A separate screen will be made for each color being printed. The designer must think in a subtractive way, considering what needs to be exposed and voided in each colored layer to be printed.

  3. 3. Transfer design onto transparency
    This is often done with an inkjet printer.

  4. 4. Burn image onto screen
    The transparency is taped onto the emulsified screen and exposed to UV light. For multi-color prints, screens that will be layered must have the design in perfect alignment from one screen to the next.

  5. 5. Create print
    A squeegee is used to evenly spread ink across the stencil.

Alex Newby (MFA '13) demonstrates screen printing technique in McNeal Hall's surface design studio.

Linen screen printed hand towel, c.1960, gift of Janet L. Johnson.



The team here at the Goldstein is busy installing our upcoming exhibition in Gallery 241 at McNeal Hall. Pattern Stories: Printed Textiles will be open to the public starting this Saturday, June 15, and will run through August 25.

The exhibition celebrates the skill and ingenuity of printed textile designers, both well-known and anonymous. The items in Pattern Stories were made using a broad range of techniques, including block printing, etching, roller printing, screen printing, discharge printing, and digital printing. Whether intended for a wall hanging, a dress, or even a shoe, a printed design can imbue an object with many layers of meaning. Come and explore the stories that these patterns tell!


Jean McElvain (above) putting some finishing touches on an ensemble before it makes the trip down to the gallery. For some fascinating insights on how objects were selected and prepared for the exhibition, join Jean and Kathleen Campbell (co-curators) for a Curatorial Tour on Thursday, June 27, at 6pm in Gallery 241.

Below, Eunice Haugen in the gallery preparing to install a wall hanging. Once this step is complete, labels will be hung and a team will fine-tune the lighting. Then we'll be ready to open our doors to the public!


The exhibition features several printed sundresses. Maybe it will even be warm and sunny this Saturday so that you can wear your favorite printed dress to the gallery!





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