Get started by making

Most first-year design students complete a set of foundation courses called the Core Design Program. Within the program’s curriculum, students experience various hands-on projects that encourage collaboration, problem solving, innovative thinking, and creativity.

Projects vary as faculty and staff find new and different ways to encourage students to step outside of their comfort zones and design something amazing.

Students working on wearables project.

Recent projects and exhibitions

  • 7D7A7125

    Wearables Design Show

    In Spring 2023, first-year students in the Design Studies 102 studio worked in collaborative groups to analyze music, sound, and body motion. They translated their observations into tangible, human-scaled wearable designs.

    The project culminated in the Wearables Design Show, a hybrid performance and exhibition that celebrated the vibrant, innovative work created by these student groups. The show hosted a live audience and a livestream experience to share the students’ innovative work.

  • Design Studies 131 crawing

    Core Exhibition

    Work created during the Core Design Program’s Spring 2023 semester was celebrated during a show in Gallery 181.

    The Core Exhibition featured student work from the Design Studies 102 studio and Design Studies 131 drawing course that included pattern and texture drawing and mark making, still life and representational drawing, color theory and design, 3D forms and wearable designs.

Supporting student design and creativity

At the heart of the Core Design Program is the education of students who are eager to develop skills within design. With your help, we offer unique and innovative projects every semester that give students opportunities to explore design, experiment with materials, and showcase their creations. At the same time, they are educationally prepping for a lifetime of application of their skills in the design world.

All funds go to the creation of Core Design Program projects, which focus on the educational and creative experiences of our students, and the exhibition of their hard work.

Student in wearables project.

How do I donate?

There are two ways to contribute a gift to the Core Design Program. The first option is to mail a check with a note that specifies the designation:Core Design Program. Mail to Iowa State University Foundation, 2505 University Blvd., P.O. Box 2230, Ames, IA 50010-2230.

The second option is to make a giftonline. For “Selected Designation,” select “I want to support a fund not listed” and list “Core Design Program” in the notes section.

College of Design student working on class project.

A Cyclone in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.