Guest Post: Finding Community with Product Design

April 5, 2018

The following post was written by product design student Sarah Prescott.

When people ask me what my favorite part of product design is I don’t even know where to start. Product design stole my heart from the beginning.

When I came to the University of Minnesota, I hadn’t planned to major in product design. But the first course I took, Toy Product Design, made me realize that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. There are so many different things that I love about product design, but if I had to pick just one favorite it would be the sense of community within the program.  

The sense of community that I feel in design is amazing. I have peers who are extremely passionate about the same things that I am. When I was in Toy Product Design, my nights were filled with fun times building a playground toy called Space Pogo Blaster. That time I spent with my team brought us even closer together. I absolutely love that while we might be working on projects until 3 am, we have fun doing it.

My favorite part of this community is the people that are in it. We all have a love of design, as well as a need to succeed. We are all passionate about what we do and we want each other to succeed. We work hard no matter what the circumstances are, and support each other in times of need. Being the co-president of the student group Product Design Minnesota, I love seeing how this major has grown. This will be the first year that people will graduate with this degree from the University of Minnesota, and I am excited to see how the program will change in the years to come.

Aside from the community of students that comes with the Product Design Program, I have also made many professional connections through this major. Faculty encourage us to network, one even held a networking event in their newly opened studio. Our classes also give us the opportunity to work with industry representatives from companies like Target, General Mills, and many others.

When I came to college I was initially planning to major in chemical engineering, but didn’t really feel like I had found my niche. I liked the people in my major, but I didn’t feel like I belonged. Now that I am in product design, I have found my passion. These are the peers I know I will be friends with for forever, friends I know I can always count on, and people who I can’t wait to watch succeed in their future careers. Whatever your niche may be, when you find it you will know you made the right decision. I am forever grateful for the College of Design and the sense of community that it has brought me.

Learn more about our Product Design program.

In May 2018, the College of Design’s Product Design Program graduated its inaugural class of undergraduate students.

Ten years since it launched and one name change later, Toy Product Design (now Product Innovation Lab or iLab) remains one of product design's most popular courses.

On Friday, May 11 the inaugural class of product design seniors will present their capstone projects. This first class of students is the result of seven years of hard work by College of Design faculty and staff, in particular, Associate Professor Barry Kudrowitz who is head of the Product Design program. Kudrowitz reflects on the journey the program has taken in this interview.