Fall Term 2017
September 25 – December 15


PENSOLE now has an official partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) to create a new Footwear, Functional Apparel & Accessories, and Color & Material Intensive Design Program that will feature 30 students from around the world.

[email protected] Design Intensive Program will prepare students from what it is like to have an internship at a TOP Footwear brand through our ‘learn-by-doing’ curriculum. This program also allows us to offer classes that are transferable to the college/university that you are currently attending (15 credits transferable).

The TOP Footwear 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. Students will be advised in the way that they would be trained at their company. 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, Communication Practices, Design Process, Research Methods, Prototype Development, Digital Imaging/CAD, Materials+Process, Color Fundamentals/Color Strategy. View “COURSE DESCRIPTIONS/LEARNING OUTCOMES” below for more information on the course descriptions/outcomes.


You must be at least 18 years of age and have graduated high school. You must be able to take on full responsibility of the cost of the program, health insurance required, and housing/living expenses while in the program. Application criteria is posted on PENSOLE.COM and PNCA.COM. Please note that you must choose a track: Footwear, Functional Apparel & Accessories, and Color & Material. Each have their own application requirements.


Application deadline:

August 14th
For all: priority consideration
For international students: due to timing with logistics

September 3rd
For domestic students: overflow consideration

Students will be accepted on a first-come first serve basis. See Individual Requirements Below.

SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AWARDED BASED ON SKILL AND FINANCIAL NEED. For scholarship consideration, after completion of your application create a 2-minute YouTube video explaining your submission and why you need a scholarship. Email [email protected] the link to your YouTube video by AUGUST 14th, 2017.

» Apply Here



Submit ONE HAND-SKETCH of an original design in black and white or color. NO COMPUTER SKETCHING. Multiple views optional. Example:




COMPOSITION: Demonstrates ability to clearly and effectively communicate through visual presentation

  • Contact info centered at bottom of board on one line. Font Size 12 pt (First & Last Name, Email, Academic Status
  • Board Size: 8.5” x 11” (titled page layouts are ok in order of content requested below)
  • Format: PDF or 300 DPI JPG
  • Build a stunning and concise layout that communicates the content requested below.

CONTENT OBJECTIVE: Shows understanding of designing for form, function, and aesthetic

  1. Choose ONE Apparel Category to focus on:
    1. Performance Apparel and/or Bag Accessory 1-2 pieces
    2. Lifestyle Apparel and/or Bag Accessory 1-2 pieces
  2. Identify your Consumer and their specific apparel needs
    1. Performance example: Joe Smith, outdoor runner living in Boston needs transitional performance running apparel / backpack that is easily converted while he is in motion.
    2. Lifestyle example: Jane Smith, a NYC street fashion reporter, needs a down coat that is fashionable and ha sa flattering fit while keeping her warm and protected in inclement weather. An equally stylish waterproof bag that holds all of her media would be ideal.
  3. Show the evolution of the product design
    1. Inspiration images
    2. Hand illustrated concepts
    3. Computer flat sketches
    4. Show how color and material properties contribute to the design

*No apparel industry experience required. Some experience in sewing and computer sketching highly recommended.



MLab, the material resource for PENSOLE, offers a program that brings footwear design to life. Submit an original mood board (ONE page). Your board must have the following:

  1. Composition: Contact information – placed on bottom left corner of board; First & Last name, email, academic status. Accepted size – 8.5 x 11 inches. Accepted formatting – PDF or JPG. Your board visually communicates a mood through choice of colors and composition. You demonstrate you can follow instructions and guidelines.
  2. Material: Your board communicates unique & innovative material choices from various industries. You express tactility and utilize descriptions of materials used.
  3. Originality: Showcase your board through creative storytelling & inspiration. Show you are able to present a relevant and original point of view. Example:



Tuition: $9,980.

This cost is the same for US and International students. Please talk to your current financial aid department to understand if/how you can apply your current financial aid towards this program.

Housing: Varies – it is your responsibility to find and secure housing for the duration of the intensive. Please see recommendations below.


Application deadline:

August 14th
For all: priority consideration
For international students: due to timing with logistics

September 3rd
For domestic students: overflow consideration

First day of class: September 25th, 2017

Thanksgiving Holiday: November 23rd – 24th, 2017

Final presentation: December 15th, 2017

This 12-week program is structured similarly to a full time job (40 hours a week): 12 hours of lecture, 12 hours of lab (collaboration/workshop), 16 hours of personal work time.



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.

Learning Outcomes:

  • strong presentation skills
  • tailored resume
  • professional portfolio
  • website
  • network(ing)




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

Learning Outcomes:

  • interaction skills
  • relationship skills
  • preparation skills
  • presentation skills
  • writing skills
  • story telling
  • consumer research




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. Team work 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.

Learning Outcomes:

  • complete understanding of a design brief and how to use it as a guide for your work
  • 2D sketching
  • critique practices
  • individual work
  • team work




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.

Learning Outcomes:

  • qualitative research
  • quantitative research
  • user centered observation
  • data collection and assessment
  • presentation of findings




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.

Learning Outcomes:

  • creating a tech pack
  • reading a tech pack
  • material properties
  • material exploration
  • prototyping / making
  • prototyping vs. mass production




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.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Adobe Illustrator/Adobe Photoshop
  • CAD
  • Autodesk Fusion 360




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.

Learning Outcomes:

  • material differences
  • material qualities
  • understanding of material manufacturing
  • understanding of material testing
  • vendor relationships
  • personal catalog/reference tool




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. Focus will be on creating color palettes to support product story and applying color to line art of individual projects as well as collections.

Learning Outcomes:

  • color strategy
  • color application
  • mood boards
  • storytelling
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