UW-Stout: Students Collaborate to Design and Wrap Gifts for University Memorial Event

Menomonie, Wis. – Over the next few months, a team of faculty and students from the University of Wisconsin-Stout will be working in an unfamiliar lab space to create giveaways that will be distributed at a special event this fall.

Industrial Design Program Director Jennifer Astwood guides three students as they prepare 400 Made at UW-Stout porcelain mugs for industry partners and guests attending Chancellor Katherine Frank’s inauguration Friday, October 14.

Astwood is joined by sophomores Amelia Dobbratz, of Fond du Lac; and Jordan Jentsch, of West Bend; as well as Leo Lickfold, of Shakopee, Minnesota, who graduated in May.

Each student presented the Chancellor with two prototype cups, with the idea that one of each would be produced. However, Frank decided they had to run both Lickfold designs, so four cups will be presented at the contestant.

The Astwood team works with professors and design and packaging students to design and produce packaging for the mugs.

“Collaboration, team learning, innovation and problem solving are reflected in this project,” Frank said. “Faculty and students from various disciplines worked together to make this project a success. I have seen our faculty use this project as a learning experience for their students and apply tips in ways that foster student learning and lead them to success.

“And, as happens regularly at UW-Stout, I was amazed by the students’ ideas, professionalism, and end products,” she added. “This project has allowed me to observe how the ‘magic’ happens at UW-Stout both in and out of the classroom and why our students are in such demand by employers even before they start. leave our university.

Learning applied to large-scale production

Astwood and the students began creating the mugs in early April. Using a slip casting process, molds were created from the designs and liquid porcelain was poured into the molds. When the porcelain – a specialized type of ceramic – dried, the cups were removed from the molds. Later they will be fired in a kiln and glazed with gloss blue and white UW-Stout versions, complete with the Made at UW-Stout logo and designer identifications.

Usually, industrial design projects are carried out in the laboratories of the School of Art and Design in the Applied Arts Pavilion. However, for this project, the team headed across campus to the Harvey Hall Theater stage store, working behind the scenes in a much different setting, among piles of plywood and small workbenches, as they needed a dedicated space. The Industrial Design Lab and Ceramics Studio were in use, and since no theatrical productions were planned, the Stage Shop met their needs.

This is the second time Astwood has led a large-scale porcelain casting for a college event. In 2019, she and five industrial design students created approximately 450 mugs for industry and education partners at the Polytechnic Summit and an on-campus WiSys Symposium.

Inauguration designs will be more consistent than before, thanks to a controlled and designed company, Astwood explained.

“Student designs are more complicated this round. And with an executed vision endorsed by the Chancellor, it’s great to let students project their own vision and strengths into the process,” she said.

Dobbratz, Jentsch, and Lickfold designed cups with different themes based on their interests and UW-Stout’s mission.

“Their designs tell the story of the university,” Astwood said.

Lickfold wanted their designs to have a minimalist look and a comfortable fit – one features a sturdy handle and the other is asymmetrical for easy grip. He spent two hours designing his models on the computer, then built them with a 3D printer, which took 17 to 18 hours to print.

“In industrial design, I ask myself: ‘Why is it like this? Why can’t it be something else?’ I wanted to challenge the shape of what a mug could be and let the shape tell the story,” Lickfold said.

“Stout has a different way of teaching in his polytechnic model. Our ideas are pushed from the first ideation to the 16th step, and the instructors believe that we are more than we think we can be,” he added.

Dobbratz and Jentsch hand-turned their initial models, then hand-carved and attached handles to their mugs, taking about eight iterations to perfect their designs.

Dobbratz’s mug represents UW-Stout’s polytechnic roots, combined with art and design, she said. With a flame print that wraps around the mug, representing the three principles of Collaboration, Career Guidance, and Applied Learning, it also represents Blue Devil athletics.

Jentsch’s mug has a travel mug style and an ergonomic handle designed to fit in any cup holder and an industrial-looking shape because they wanted it to appeal to industrial engineers.

“STEM is an important component of the university,” she said. “The shape of my cup is symmetrical, basic and geometric. He speaks of the perfection of mathematics and science. Industrial design gives us a collaborative experience that we can leverage in our careers. It pushes us to think analytically. It’s a combination of math, graphics, packaging and marketing.

Dobbratz agreed. “Industrial design includes all aspects of Stout’s programs. We are in the School of Art and Design, but we also have an engineering background.

A series of cups were fired in bisque – the process that strengthens the ceramic in preparation for enamelling. This summer, Astwood will be working with two other industrial design students – Maggie DeChant from Tomah and Lauren Jaunich from Delano, Minn. – to mould, biscuit and enamel the rest of the cups for packaging.

Collaboration on four programs for the finished product

The Astwood team is working with Associate Professor of Packaging Min DeGruson and Graphic Communication Instructor and Lab Leader Chad Nyseth. They supervised seven students who developed three packaging to adequately protect the cups and designed graphics to showcase the products.

Chief of Staff Kristi Krimpelbein, who helps coordinate investiture events, believes the collaborative approach allows students and faculty to work across disciplines to create a finished product.

“The project provides students with an applied learning opportunity to work through all phases of the process. It is a tangible way to demonstrate the polytechnic mission of UW-Stout,” she said.

Four graphic communication seniors in their capstone course – Grant Dejno, from Neenah; Kayla Peplinski, of Amherst; Matthew Smith, of Waterford; and Bailey Tobiason of Anoka, Minnesota, met packaging students Abbey Dahlseng, of Stevens Point, and Ben Lindgren, of Medford; and graphic design and interactive media student Starr Gong, from Altoona, to brainstorm ideas.

“Our four degree programs overlap in many ways, so the Chancellor’s Inauguration Cup project allowed students from multiple programs to work side-by-side to apply their specialist knowledge and skills to a project, just as they would do it in an industrial setting. said Nyseth.

“All students came away with a new appreciation for the contributions of their peers. Students in technical disciplines have learned from students in artistic disciplines and vice versa and now have a better understanding of how aesthetics and engineering must come together to enhance and protect any packaged item,” he said. -he adds.

After seeing prototype cups, Dahlseng and Lindgren designed packaging structures in the packaging lab, using ArtiosCAD packaging software donated by industry partners. Gong designed the graphics, adhering to university branding guidelines, using the defined color scheme and typeface, and the Made at UW-Stout logo.

The team looked at at least five packaging and four design ideas before deciding on three designs.

“I wanted to create something new and different by playing with existing guidelines while remaining consistent,” Gong said. “The graphics look like Stout.”

She used patterns and gradients to match the feel of Dobbratz’s and Jentsch’s mugs and made the logo more visible on Lickfold’s packaging graphics, as she enjoys working with typography.

Using the GCOM lab’s large-format UV inkjet printer, GCOM students printed several packaging prototypes, which Dahlseng and Lindgren then cut on a Kongsberg digital cutting table in the lab. packaging, then folded and assembled the packaging.

“Being able to work in the Packaging Lab, we are able to get instant feedback. We can design and cut a package and see if it will work right away,” Lindgren said.

“It’s more efficient and beneficial to be here to learn and to be able to do it ourselves rather than having to go off campus,” Dahlseng added. “In 10 minutes we can edit a package using the software and cut it on the machine. This streamlines the process.

After meeting with Frank, minor artistic and structural changes were made and finalized packages were printed, which took approximately 12 hours. Every student enrolled in the GCOM capstone course helped meet the end-of-semester delivery date, Nyseth said.

Its students used skills related to printing large format items such as signage and billboards, as well as printing product packaging – growing markets in the industry, a he added. They also applied their color management skills to ensure the packaging reflected the intended colors.

DeGruson also worked with Astwood on the WiSys Polytechnic Summit and Symposium project in 2019, when the focus of the packaging was to protect the mugs for international travel.

“This time, our focus has shifted to designing an opening package and experience to give Chancellor Frank the opportunity to tell the story behind the UW Polytechnic project and mission. -Stout as she hands out the gift to her guests,” DeGruson said.

“Communication and team collaboration are so important,” Gong said. “It was a rewarding experience and we are proud to make a product that represents our school.”

The Chancellor’s Office helps defray the cost of making the mugs, including materials and time spent by faculty and students in labs.

UW Stout is Polytechnic University of Wisconsinwith a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.

Abdul J. Gaspar