Things That Make You Go Hum... Frustrated by capturing song ideas in the same place as his shopping list, Aaron Shekey (BS Graphic Design ’08) wanted to design a better songwriting tool for his phone. He teamed up with former colleague Joseph Kuefler (right) to design a solution, Hum, which combines note-taking and audio recording into a single app. Since launching in January 2014, it’s been downloaded thousands of times and was featured by Apple as a Best New App. “Our design background is the only reason we were able to build Hum,” Shekey explained. “It’s relatively easy to build the base functionality of Hum, but to be able to simplify and refine the idea down to its most usable core takes some design prowess.” z.umn.edu/emg14c
Stitching Minneapolis Together Along with serving as a major transportation artery between downtown Minneapolis and the University’s West Bank, the unused space above I-35W presents a development opportunity. Students worked with the Metropolitan Design Center and interim director Mic Johnson to envision what a cap over I-35W would look like and presented their largescale model to the Minneapolis Downtown Council in April. Their vision included 11 new blocks of taxable real estate and public parks. z.umn.edu/emg14e
U’s Geodesign Goes Mobile Interior Design + Health: Designing Public Spaces During a yearlong studio, 31 interior design students developed comprehensive designs for public spaces in the University of Minnesota Physicians new Ambulatory Care Center (ACC), scheduled to open in 2016. “This was my first opportunity to work on a health care design. It was great to do the research and learn how health care design is changing,” said interior design major Brittney Just.
The Target Challenge Target Corporation challenged students to address white space (underutilized areas) in their stores and online space by developing original product lines. Working together in teams, apparel design and retail merchandising students researched market trends, produced sample garments, and designed floor plans. They presented their final designs at Target headquarters, where they received feedback from employees and networked with alumni. Target’s former vice president of product design and development, Michael Alexin, also met with students to recap their experience and talk about the future of product design.
Students spent the fall learning the physical, social, and psychological needs of patients, physicians, and staff. They toured various clinics to observe how public spaces are used, and interviewed designers practicing in the health care field. In the spring, they presented their design concepts to ACC leaders and Cannon Design, with recommendations ranging from spatial layout and color palette to signage and lighting. “In designing the space, students are confronted with the complexity of the health care environment,” explained Professor Denise Guerin, who led the studio along with Professor Mike English. “It is a challenge to reduce confusion for patients and families and provide clarity in their experience coming to a facility.” Photos and content for this article were provided by Kristine Elias. z.umn.edu/designacc
Landscape architecture professor David Pitt remembers drawing maps by hand. But the long hours it once took for him to understand the economic and environmental impact of land use on paper has been replaced by geodesign–and he’s grateful. Geodesign combines design with geographic information systems (GIS) mapping. Working with the University’s U-Spatial program and faculty members from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences and Extension, Pitt is using 55-inch multi-touch displays to help stakeholders in southern Minnesota add their voices to the bio-economic future of their watershed. Making the screens mobile helped Pitt and his colleagues take the technology off campus and into the communities where study participants live. The portable touch screens also let users sketch an infinite number of watershed scenarios. Using crop combinations of native prairie mixtures, switch grass, and corn stover, as well as various agricultural water quality best management practices, the digital maps provide instant data on how adding, subtracting, or moving each crop to another location would change phosphorus levels, carbon sequestration, sediment loss, and water yields.
The Clean Plate Club Can playful design encourage kids to eat better? Assistant professor of product design Barry Kudrowitz is teaming up with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences to see if playful vegetable dishes could encourage better eating habits. The stakes are more than just a clean plate. Only about 8 percent of children aged 4–8 consume the recommended amounts of veggies, and early food experiences continue as lifelong eating behaviors. Kudrowitz hopes the collaboration will eventually redesign the way vegetables and healthier food options are presented in school cafeterias. z.umn.edu/emg14h
“Integrating this level of information just wasn’t available to us before,” explained Pitt, who points out that receiving quantitative feedback helps stakeholders with different priorities discuss alternative scenarios. Watch the U-Spatial Mobile Geodesign in action. z.umn.edu/geomobile COLLEGE OF DESIGN FALL 2014 5