Design Intensive

Fall 2019

September 9–November 8, 2019

Portland, OR

Registration Opens: May 13, 2019
Registration Closes: June 26, 2019

Coming Soon

Color & Material | Footwear | Functional Apparel & Accessories – Design Intensive 

This intensive is offered through PENSOLE Academy.

Students work on interdisciplinary teams comprised of a student focusing on one of the following emphases: 3D Materialization, 3D Modeling (footwear), Color & Material Design, Footwear Design, or Functional Apparel & Accessory Design.




Program Information


PENSOLE is a vocational academy, training students to work directly in the Product Creation Industry. We are not your typical college or university and do not operate like one.

PENSOLE  offers an interdisciplinary Design Intensive on the following emphases: 3D Materialization, 3D Modeling (MODO/footwear), Color & Material Design, Footwear Design, and Functional Apparel & Accessories Design. We will be accepting 35-40 students from around the world for this session. 

Our Design Intensive Program (D.I.P) will prepare students for what it is like to have an internship at a top sportswear brand through our ‘learn-by-doing’ curriculum. 

The top sportswear and performance brands in the industry will be a part of this program and will be offering their guidance and mentorship to students assigned to work on their brand. The program will culminate with presentations to representatives from these brands. This exposure is an unusual opportunity for students to show what they can offer these companies.


Design Intensive students will experience a broad scope of academic topics in a holistic setting:

Professional Practices

    • Students are exposed to the expectations of the professional environment in the design industry. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ presentation skills, resumes, preparation for job interviews, development of professional portfolios, websites and networking.

Communication Practices

    • Students will develop skills to strengthen communication practices in the design industry. This will include time management, storytelling, research, presentations, interaction, and relationship skills, as well as, physical and social networking.

Design Process

    • Students are introduced to the design process and how it applies to various design fields. With a focus in two-dimensional work, students will be taught through lecture, demos, individual assignments, and critiques. Guest lectures from individuals who are active in the industry, one-on-one mentorship, and case studies will help students gain an understanding of the industry. Teamwork will also be explored to further the exposure students have to real-world work environments. Students will learn to balance the importance of individual work as it pertains to teamwork; finding creative solutions to effectively solve problems in multiple facets

Research Methods

    • Students will develop best practices for factually supporting their design development by defining the following: brand history, defining the consumer, defining the competition, identifying the intended use, selecting inspiration, and identifying the performance/innovation of the design. Introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methods, user-centered observation and assessment, modeling for research, and case studies, will all be informative in establishing the content behind designs. They will use the tools that best pertain to the design challenges for each given project.

Prototype Development

    • Students are introduced to the techniques and materials for translating 2D designs into physical 3D models. Implementing tech packs and best materials practices & processes to quickly turn out prototypes to help refine the design/manufacturing process. Students gain a depth of knowledge into the making of product both on a small and large scale. Workshop safety and etiquette will be covered.

Digital Imaging/CAD

    • In this course, students develop digital visualization techniques as it applies to their specific track of study. Foundations of Adobe Illustrator are taught across the board. Advanced Illustrator, CAD and Autodesk Fusion 360 are explored when tracks branch into advanced tech pack work for their specific discipline.


    • Deep dive into raw materials for footwear and soft goods industries. Identification and manufacturing processes for multiple types of materials introduced and how they influence the design process. Emphasis on material characteristics for intended performance, functional qualities of materials, vendor relationships, sustainability, manufacturing, and best practices. Materials covered: Textiles, Synthetics, Leather, Natural, and Polymers. Students will build a personal catalog of all materials covered in this course as a reference for future use.

Color Fundamentals/Color Strategy

    • Students will explore the basic principles of design as it relates to color. This class will be lecture/lab based; teaching through demonstration and workshop formats. Key points as they relate to design principles: components of color, color psychology, color application, color proportion, the influence of color on materials and the relationship between color and the material it is applied to. In conjunction with Strategy, students will learn to mix color from pigment to create a color scale based on hues and tints. The second part of the class will be more digital in nature. The focus will be on creating color palettes to support product story and applying color to line art of individual projects as well as collections.


Tution:  $9,000

*Studio operational fees are covered by the cost of tuition.

*Studio project fees are students responsibility, please see below.

PENSOLE is a private academy. We are not affiliated with any accredited higher education entities. Unfortunately, due to this, you can not apply for Federal Financial Aid for this program. You may apply scholarships that you have received depending on the giving institution’s guidelines and restrictions. Please do your due diligence to research if you can use what you have been awarded. Scholarships and funders differ and it is your job to handle your specific award from an outside source.



Required Supplies: You need to come prepared with the following items on Day 1 of class.


  1. Laptop computer. Must be PC or MAC – no tablets, no Chromebooks; as they do not work well with programs that we use*.
  2. Mouse. You must have one to work in Illustrator.
  3. Pencils, pens, markers.
  4. Notebook

* Teams work in Google Docs and with Adobe Creative Suite. You are required to work in these programs on your personal laptop that you bring with you. We will provide a temporary Adobe Creative Suite subscription while you are in this course.


Required Studio Project Budget: $300


This is your responsibility.


You will be keeping all the work you make. You will be prototyping packaging and final designs. You should budget $300 for supplies that you might need while in the studio. You may not spend all of the $300, but it is a safe average.


We have a limited supply of donated materials and you are welcome to them, but the majority of you will purchase more or other materials based on your projects, design, and story. These are things that we do not know ahead of time, as you create all of this as you work through the course. The rules for shop materials and usage will be discussed on the first day of class.



Flights to and from PDX, housing, transportation, food, etc. is all your financial responsibility.


Please do your research and find what fits best for your budget. TriMet offers passes at daily, weekly, or monthly options. The HOP pass works on all public transit in Portland.


  • We are an urban campus with 4 studios located at 10 NW 5th Ave, in the heart of Old Town/ Chinatown.
  • We also partner with the Portland Apparel Lab on the SE side of town, and FAAS students will also have studio time there on a regular basis. Please budget for transit options to get there.



Scholarship opportunities are available to all applicants through the application portal. Scholarships are awarded based on multiple factors, including financial need as determined by our scholarship committee. 



10 NW 5th Ave

Portland, OR 97209



Submission Examples & Deadlines

Color and Material Design 

Submit an original mood board (one page). Your board must clearly and effectively communicate a mood through a choice of colors and composition. Your board must demonstrate that you can follow instructions and guidelines.

Your board must have the following:


  • Contact info centered at bottom of the board. (First+Last Name, Email, Academic Status, Educational Institution or Current Employment)

  • Board size: 8.5” x11” (tiled page layouts are ok in order of content requested below) Format: PDF or 300 DPI JPG *

  • Build a creative point of view with a color + mood board layout that communicates the content requested below


Content Objective:  Shows an understanding of creating color/material + finishes in a storytelling format that showcases knowledge of tactility in design.


— Performance/Sport *Do not use footwear designs in your work

— Lifestyle or Emerging Industry


— PERFORMANCE EXAMPLE – Anna Smith, is inspired by art museums in her NY backyard. I created a color + material palette filled with the textures’ colors that surround her.

She strives for sustainable fibers and natural dyes in her choices, but won’t sacrifice fashion.


— Inspiration images

— CMF swatches

— Research backup

— Bonus: Communicate point of view of the industry that inspired you.

See examples of layouts and content at the following link:

About MLAB

This program is taught by Ms. Suzette Henry, Dir.of Color and Materials for Pensole, along with her team industry experts. Students will learn unique and fundamental skills in Color, Materials + Finishes in the MLab environment. The curriculum is based on learnings in color strategy, color trends, material categories; fibers, synthetics, polymers leather and innovation in those fields. Students will learn best practices in collaborative problem solving, time management, storytelling, and network with vendors in global markets while building a creative body of work.

Functional Apparel & Accessories Design  

Submit the following:

    • Head-To-Toe Outfit (male or female) in black/white or color; hand sketch or digital sketch
    • The layout must include call-outs of the innovative design features, materials, and construction details
    • Note how the design features enhance or protect the athlete or consumer.
    • Applicant’s contact info (name + email + phone)
    • 8.5” x 11” layout
    • Be Original.

See examples of sketch & layouts at the following link:

About FAAS:

FAAS (Functional Apparel & Accessories Studio) is a unique ‘learn while doing’ program instructed by Founder and Design Director, Angela Medlin. Utilizing three decades of global performance and lifestyle apparel experience in brands that include Nike, Adidas, The North Face, Levi Strauss, and others, Medlin instructs students to become creative ‘Solutioneers’. FAAS students design innovative apparel and accessories through problem-solving for the consumer’s product needs in this 9-week design intensives. In addition, global brand leaders offer the FAAS students ‘real time’ mentorship to support a ’true to industry’ educational experience. The curriculum includes 3D (Browswear) digital prototyping, physical prototyping, pattern making, industrial sewing, hand and digital illustration, tech packs, product pitches, digital presentations, team collaborations, personal and professional development. In FAAS, we encourage and challenge those who currently design in other disciplines to expand their skill set into performance apparel & accessories.


Submit one hand-sketch of an original design in black and white or color. No computer sketching. Multiple views are optional.

See an example of a sketch & layout at the following link: FootwearSubmission


PENSOLE Academy is the only school in the United States dedicated to footwear design education from a holistic creative perspective. Since its founding in 2010, more than 250 Academy graduates have been placed professionally with footwear companies worldwide, in the following positions: brand/marketing, color, and material design, footwear design, graphic design, and technical design; as well as starting their own consulting or footwear brands.