Get technology help

Iowa State’s College of Design uses computer-aided techniques, software, and equipment in the classroom and studio. Digital and related technologies have become an ubiquitous part of our pedagogy and environment.

The college was one of the first at Iowa State to support wireless connections in our building, and we continue a tradition of trying experimental, innovative technology to better serve our students, faculty, and staff.

The college offers and supports:

  • Three computer labs with roughly 80 machines
  • A full-service output facility
  • A high-end visualization lab
  • A state-of-the-art Geographic Information Systems (GIS) facility
  • Several satellite studios around the College of Design building and Armory
  • An ambitious laptop program serving more than 500 students

Services and programs

Request IT support

The College of Design staff can assist with building technology issues and services support. For personally-owned technology issues, contact the IT Solution Center located in Parks Library. This campus resource for technology assistance can assist with resetting passwords, setting up accounts, troubleshooting internet issues, and more.

Technology resources

HP Laserjet Printing (2 black and white printers, one color printer)

Students can print documents on any networked printer on campus through the use of a commercial software program called PaperCut.

The PaperCut system is a university wide print management system designed to make day-to-day printing easy and affordable. Once set up, students can print from any of their devices to printers all across campus. Installation information can be found in this Knowledgebase article from ITS.

  • DESIGN-c0136-bw-printer is a black and white printer located on the first floor, by the spiral stairs in the Atrium. Cost is FREE to Design students.
  • DESIGN-c0402-bw-printer is another black and white printer located on the fourth floor near the spiral stairs, between the two Teaching Computer Labs. Cost is FREE to Design students.
  • DESIGN-c0402-color-printer is a color laser printer located on the fourth floor near the spiral stairs, between the two Teaching Computer Labs. Cost is $0.25 per page.
  • DSN-armory-color is another color laser printer located in the Industrial Design lab space in the Armory. Cost is $0.25 per page.

Each of these printers are loaded with 8.5×11 and 11×17 inch recycled paper and are available to students during operating hours.

Your Computer fees help subsidize this kind of printing.  All students get 1000 credits from the University. Additional printing costs will be charged directly to your U-Bill, and your PaperCut balance will appear as negative.

You’ll find the printers next to the staircase in the Atrium on the first floor and on the 4th floor outside the computer labs.

More printing options are available through the Output Center

If you are using a Mac on campus

  1. Go to the desktop
  2. Under the pull down menu “Go” select “Connect to Server” or open-apple-K
  3. Connect to smb://$/classwork/[FOLDERNAME] (no brackets)
  4. Put in your ISU username and password (the one you use for e-mail)
  5. MYFILES server will show up as a hard drive on your desktop
  6. If it won’t connect or gives an error, You MAY have to use IASTATE\netid as the username (or try

If you are using a Mac off campus

  1. Go to and let it do its thing
    VPN installation won’t work?

Click here

  1. Complete steps 1-6 of on campus directions

If you are using a PC on campus

  1. Go to your START menu or go to your file management window.
    IF you click START, find the box that says “Search programs and files”
    IF you use the file management window, find the box at the top that lists the directory you are currently in.
  2. Connect to \\\dsn$\classwork\[FOLDERNAME] (no brackets)
    If you are on a lab machine you will see a drive appear. If you are on your own machine, you may need to enter your username and password
  3. Won’t connect or gives an error? Make sure that you check the “Connect using different credentials” when you connect to the drive. You MAY have to use IASTATE\netid as the username (or try If you don’t see the “connect using different credentials”, enter your netid and just hit enter.It will show an error but it will then give you the connect option.

If you are using a PC off campus

  1. Go to and let it do its thing
  2. Complete steps 1-4 of on campus directions


Beginning in fall 2020, all students at Iowa State University are required to own or obtain a laptop computer or other device appropriate to their discipline. The most current information about this requirement is available on the Information Technology Services computer requirement FAQ webpage.

The first-year Core Design Program emphasizes hand drawing and manual skill building within studio courses, as well as digital literacy integration via our online Digital Design Literacy course. Students should purchase or bring a computer capable of running Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for the simple project they will complete at the end of the digital literacy class.

Most computers purchased within the past four years should be capable of running these programs. More specific recommendations can be found below:

Core year recommendation Windows 10/11 PC Apple Laptop (macOS version 10.15 (Catalina) or newer)
Processor (CPU) Mutlicore Intel Celeron, Pentium or i3 series processor

Multicore AMD Athlon or Ryzen 3 series Processor

Intel processor or Apple silicon
System Memory (RAM) 8GB 8GB
Storage 128GB 128GB


The complexity of coursework increases as students advance through their degree program; therefore, we recommend waiting until the student is admitted to their chosen professional program (second year) before purchasing a more powerful computer.

Waiting to get a higher-end device will mean that, during their final year, students will have more processing power when they need it most. One year of computer hardware advancement can provide significant additional power that will save students time in opening, working on, and rendering files/projects.

Students in most of the professional programs are encouraged to purchase a laptop computer when they are accepted in their second year. The machines specified are typically high-end laptops that can be quite expensive.  In addition, students are responsible for purchasing or downloading the software they may need. The college does provide a program for students who are accepted into the professional programs and wish to make the purchasing process easier. You are not required to participate in this program.

Design-intensive professions have become reliant on high-performance hardware and experience with a variety of platforms and software. Since your degree program’s curriculum is preparing you to enter the professional world, owning (or leasing) a laptop that is capable of running the software you will be using can be crucial to your success. Depending on your degree program, you may be required or heavily recommended to have a laptop with a minimum level of specifications. Additionally, there may be changes in what the university recommends/requires for this upcoming fall semester.

Here are some general specifications that meet or exceed the requirements of the commonly used software in the College of Design:

Core year recommendation Windows 10/11 PC Apple Laptop (macOS version 10.15 (Catalina) or newer)
Processor (CPU)
  • Intel Core i5 Twelfth or Thirteenth-Generation Processor (with 8 or more cores)
  • –or–
  • AMD Ryzen 6000 or 7000 series (with 8 or more cores)
Apple M2 Pro chip 12-Core CPU
System Memory (RAM) 32 GB 16 GB
Storage 512GB Solid-State Drive (SSD) 512GB Solid-State Drive (SSD)
Graphics Card (GPU)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 (with at least 6GB GDDR6)
  • –or–
  • AMD Radeon RX 7600 Series (with at least 6GB GDDR6)
19-Core GPU
Students working on class project in the King Pavillion.

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.