Inside the Design Lab: Experiences from the Library Student Engagement Ambassadors

The Library Student Engagement Ambassadors learning how to letterpress from Justin Schell, the Learning Design Specialist for the Shapiro Design Lab. 

The Library Student Engagement Ambassadors had the fantastic opportunity to tour the Shapiro Design Lab and find out all about what different facilities and capabilities they have there. We even got to try out some of the equipment, which was pretty cool!

We started our tour in the open glass area on the first floor of Shapiro. This is supposed to be the "ideas" area. There are different types of inspiration on the walls, many interesting books to help get inspired, the "Design-O-Matic"--a vending machine with a variety of things including envelopes with book receommendations inside--and a prototyping cart with all sorts of materials to use to try out ideas. The other side of the glassed in area has more collaborative spaces. There are whiteboards and bigger tables and a computer that has computer programs and a service to help learn how to use the programs.

Next, we walked across the first floor to see the Winberg Presentation Practice Room. This room has a sound recording area, cameras, and a screen that can be black, blue, a black/white backdrop, or a green screen. The next room over, the Perlstein Editing Room, has incredible editing capabilities. Not only does it have computers with editing softwares, but it also has a tablet attached to a computer so you can create your own digital drawing. Both of these services are available to all students after a brief orientation, and it’s definitely something that I personally plan to take advantage of in my senior year with different projects that I have to do!

Finally, we went to the room that houses the equipment to actually physically make things. This room has equipment like a 3D printer, soldering equipment, a sewing machine, and an old fashioned letterpress. We had the opportunity to turn a drawing into a 3D object by making it digital and photoshopping it to become 3D, then printing it on the 3D printer. We learned how to use the letterpress (which involves rolling what is basically a 50 pound rolling pin) and made a cute card. Finally, we got to learn how to solder and created a blinking robot pin. While I liked the entire tour, learning how to use the physical equipment was probably my favorite part, just because it was cool to get to see the physical products that we were making as a result of our work.

The Design Lab was definitely a great ineractive and creative space that I would recommend visiting. I know that I will be back to work on both class projects and just to get inspired personally. With all of the different areas, equipment, and services, it definitely seems like there is something there for everyone.

--Katie Lehman