Image Credit: Kelsi Dos Santos

Student Designers Create Retail Space for Class Project

On the evening of June 5, 2023, a small crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of a retail space on Walla Walla University's College Place campus designed and built by environment design students. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Well-Designed Goods was the culmination of months of work and many lessons learned. 

“In the design industry, our graduates may find themselves working on storefronts, museum exhibitions, product displays or art installations,” said Logan Seibold, product design instructor. “Our annual environment design project is meant to give students experience with a large-scale project similar to what they might tackle in their careers.”

Students and alumni alike were given the opportunity to participate in the project by creating items to be sold in the shop. Thirteen people produced nearly 20 types of products, ranging from rock climbing chalk bags and cat hammocks to handmade ceramics and wooden calendars. The variety in merchandise required environment design students to shape the retail space around the product offerings to create a more real-world design experience. 

“Product design is at the intersection of art, engineering and psychology,” said Seibold. During this project, students collaborated as a group to understand what customers need and how they interact with items in a retail space. Then they worked to create beautiful and useful solutions which met those needs. 

In order to create a professional store environment, students worked with a variety of materials and processes. The product design program at WWU is intentional about giving students experience with a variety of skills taught in woodworking classes, welding labs, sketching studios and CNC and 3D printing courses.

With only ten weeks to design, build and outfit a store, the students were challenged to meet their deadline. Despite the time crunch, Seibold defines the project as a success. “People seemed to be impressed by how professional the store layout and furnishings were. Our goal was to make it feel like a real storefront, and I think the students succeeded there,” he said.

Seibold added that the department intends to keep Well-Designed Goods open for several days a quarter and on request to continue to allow students and others to sell their products. 

To learn more about the product design program, visit or check out @technology.wwu on Instagram.

Featured in: September/October 2023