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Digital Design Lab Workshop Tracks

Digital Design Lab

Expanding our reach to the K-12 community at large through remote learning programs.


NC State Design Lab now offers virtual programs that:

  • incorporate design thinking and processes.
  • are engaging and drive curiosity and promote self-motivation.
  • allow students to step away from their devices and complete hands-on tasks.
  • require the use of common household items and/or affordable and easy to obtain materials whenever possible.
  • provide participants an opportunity to practice and improve self-evaluation skills.

Spring 2021 // Weekend Workshops

The Design Lab is excited to offer six online, synchronous, discipline-specific weekend workshops in March and April. Each online workshop will take place on a Saturday from 9:00am – 4:00pm with a one hour break at noon, and be held virtually through our learning management system.

Workshops will introduce students to design thinking and the design process through challenge-based activities. Through these workshops, students will have the opportunity to develop a better understanding of our designed world and find answers to these questions: What is design? How do designers think?

Registration Window
January 19th – March 12th

Students can register for as many weekend workshops as they are interested in. Students will receive a certificate of completion after completing a weekend workshop. 

Weekend Workshop Schedule

Saturdays from 9:00am – 4:00pm

Art + Design Workshop // Game Design

Saturday, March 13th // 9am – 4pm 

In this interactive Art + Design Workshop, students will be introduced to an easy to learn tool that will allow them to make their own digital gaming experiences. They will learn about game design concepts, processes, and planning, as well as game critique. They will also create a game that others can play. No previous game design experience required. 

  • Suggested Age Range: Grades 6 – 10
  • Seats Available: 20 (Workshop Full)
  • Supply List: Click Here

Instructor // Hal Meeks

Hal Meeks has a Master’s in Art + Design from the College of Design. He teaches at NC State University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in NC State University’s Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media program. Hal has taught animation at a number of Design Lab programs over the years, including Design Camp. He has also taught courses for the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh. 

Art + Design Workshop // Why Knot? Adventures in Knot Tying

Saturday, March 20th // 9am – 4pm 

From shoelaces to ships, knots tie the world together! In this interactive workshop, students will learn to tie both functional and decorative knots. Tying a knot is a puzzle that requires a disciplined hand, a steady eye, and an open and alert mind. 

Students will adventure back in time to explore and decode quipus, an early recording device used by the Incas that were crafted from strings. Students will learn the intricate dance of skill and coordination through hands-on practice as they craft new knots. While creating a new knot, students will learn about the use-case of each knot in an applied, real world setting. As students develop an understanding of how the Incas used knots as a form of language, students will work in small groups to design and construct a tactile story from knots, creating quipu-inspired tapestries to communicate a story. Groups will present their finished work to their peers and will describe their knot tying process.

No previous knot tying experience is needed and all experience levels are welcome.

  • Suggested Age Range: Grades 6 – 10
  • Seats Available: 25
  • Supply List: Click Here

Instructor // Jonathan Williams

Jonathan Williams is a learning experience designer currently working as a Director of Curriculum Development at Trilogy Education Services, a 2U, Inc. brand. Jonathan has worked broadly in adult education, having designed courses for Harvard Business School, General Assembly, and New York University. 

Jonathan is a student in NC State’s Doctor of Design program. Jonathan’s current research, Learning Through Designerly Knotting, focuses on how objects of material culture are integrated into learning environments and how technology may mediate their integration. Jonathan holds a BS in Mathematical Statistics from Wake Forest University and a MS in Strategic Design and Management from Parsons School of Design.

Architecture Workshop // Old is New Again: Sustainable Building for the Future

Saturday, March 27th // 9am – 4pm 

This architecture studio will bring design thinking into the student’s own community. The students will select a building from their own hometown, one which is in need of restoration and new life, and turn it into a community asset through their own design intervention. Using USGBC LEED design standards for sustainability, the students will study building components, community needs, design principles, and architectural rendering. The students will be encouraged to think about the ways in which design can better the world, the community, people, and environment.

  • Age Range: Grades 11 – 12
  • Seats Available: 20
  • Supply List: Click Here

Instructor // Lizabeth Wardzinski

Liz is a Ph.D. candidate in Design focusing on Architectural and Planning History and Theory. Liz’s dissertation studies the built environment and the many social and economic factors that manifest as built monuments to the time period. Liz received her Master’s of Architecture from Iowa State University in 2007 and went on to practice architecture for six years before embarking on her Ph.D. studies.

Graphic Design Workshop // Beyond Human

Saturday, April 3rd // 9am – 4pm 

In this graphic design workshop, students will gain basic design thinking skills as they experience the entire design process. From empathizing with their stakeholders to testing out practical solutions, they will discover a new way of thinking that is applicable beyond the world of design. Students will shift their point of view from a human-centric one to an eco-centric one and explore how humans might coexist alongside their animal counterparts. 

Students will be asked to address an existing system between animals and humans in a given setting, and they will work in teams to design solutions that allow for a more harmonious existence for all. Groups will create and share a presentation to showcase and communicate their design ideas. In addition, participants will learn a variety of ideation and prototyping techniques that they can apply to future design projects. 

  • Suggested Age Range: Grades 9 – 12
  • Seats Available: 20
  • Supply List: Click Here

Instructor // Eryn Pierce

Eryn Pierce is currently a graduate student in the school of graphic design at NC State and a teaching assistant for the undergraduate program. Her professional work has focused on branding and marketing for environmentally aligned and community-based non-profits. In addition to pursuing a career in teaching, Eryn is a lover of nature and all things outdoors and will often lead and instruct students on wilderness trips. 

Industrial Design Workshop // Room Makeover!

Saturday, April 17th // 9am – 4pm 

It’s time for a room makeover! In this Industrial Design workshop, students will act as both designer and client as they design and prototype a new product for their bedroom. Students will be tasked with exploring empathy and emotion, through form, color, and details, and they will be challenged to be creative and innovative as they design a product for themselves. Through the process, students will practice skills in ideation, sketching, prototyping, and presenting their design. 

  • Suggested Age Range: Grades 9 – 12
  • Seats Available: 25 (Workshop Full)
  • Supply List: Click Here

Instructor // Ngoc Nguyen

Ngoc Nguyen is a graduate student in Industrial Design at the College of Design at NC State University. She received her B.S. in Textile Technology at the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University. Her background is in Industrial Design, textiles, and photography. Her interest is in User Experience Design and she hopes to help people along the way in the future. She hopes to encourage and inspire others to join the design community as well.

Architecture Workshop // Deconstructing the Superblock

Saturday, April 24th // 9am – 4pm 

“Superblock” is an urban design strategy, which can be seen in various places such as Barcelona. It is a larger archetype than a traditional city block, and it provides more space for public or semi-public courtyards, community gardens, parks, playgrounds, etc. It embraces unexpected encounters of public and private spaces and challenges the designer to think about the consequences of their design decisions for the community.

In this workshop, students will be asked to design a mixed-use unit in a superblock in the context of Barcelona. Through research, ideation, sketching, and virtual model making, they will be challenged to think about the concept, context, and design proposal.

  • Suggested Age Range: Grades 9 – 12
  • Seats Available: 20 (Workshop Full)
  • Supply List: Click Here

Instructor // Ezgi Balkanay

Ezgi Balkanay is a Ph.D. in Design Candidate at NC State (Theory, History, Criticism track). She holds B.Arch. and M.Arch. degrees and worked as an architect for three years. She has taught in Design Lab Summer Camps, workshops, and more than fifteen semester-long design studios in bachelor and master’s levels, i.e., First Year Experience, Basic Design, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design Studios. Her academic and professional interests consist of design studio pedagogy based on critical thinking, the continuum of theory and practice, spatial justice, and modernity and postcolonial theories.

Prior to registering, please read the following:

Registration Process and Policies

  • The Registration Fee for each online weekend workshop is $65. Payment is due upon registration. Students may register for multiple weekend workshops at a time. All forms and payment must be completed in order for registration to be finalized. Incomplete or unpaid registrations will not receive access to our online learning management system.
  • Registration closes on Friday, March 5th.
  • Those who have completed registration and payment will receive a confirmation email immediately. And all registrants will receive an email on March 8 with directions, an access code, and information for enrolling in our learning management system.
  • No refunds will be issued for any cancellations requested by registrants. If the workshop track is canceled by the Design Lab, full refunds will be issued.
  • Registration is NOW OPEN on our Digital Design Lab Registration page.

Supplies and Equipment

Fees do not cover supplies, equipment, and materials. A supply list specific to each workshop can be found in the weekend workshop descriptions. Registrants and their parents/guardians are responsible for procuring the supplies needed for each workshop.

All workshops will require the following:

  • A laptop or desktop computer with a reliable internet connection and access to a web browser
  • Access to a webcam (or device that can function as a webcam – either built-in, or external)
  • A Sketchbook or notebook for collecting ideas
  • A digital camera (can be a phone camera)

On occasion, students may also need:

  • Access to a printer
  • Access to a scanner, or scanner app

More details on equipment and digital platforms to be used are provided with individual workshop descriptions. It is the responsibility of participants and their parents/guardians to ensure their equipment and software is compatible and ready for use, and that any equipment and platforms for the purposes of Digital Design Lab weekend workshops are used in a safe and appropriate manner.

  • Financial Assistance is available for students in need who are motivated to learn about design.
  • To request financial assistance for Digital Design Lab workshops, you MUST submit the Financial Assistance Request Form BEFORE SUBMITTING your workshop registration in order to have your request reviewed and be provided with a fee waiver code.
  • To request Financial Assistance, submit the form through this link and wait for an allocation email before proceeding with this registration.
  • The deadline for Financial Assistance + Scholarship applications for our spring 2021 Weekend Workshops is February 26, 2021.
  • Would you like to support our Financial Assistance Fund?: As an initiative that is funded by its program fees, without the generosity of donors, financial assistance scholarships would not be possible. If you have the means to contribute to scholarships that give Digital Design Lab access to those in need, please visit our Giving Page.

Click Here to Register for Weekend Workshops

Summer 2021
Digital Design Camp

Digital Design Camp is a multi-discipline pre-college design program organized by the NC State Design Lab for high school and middle school students. Digital Design Camp aims to inform students about the study of design and raise awareness of the impact of design on all aspects of our everyday lives.

Digital Design Camp registration opens at 9:00 a.m. on March 1, 2021. A link to registration will be posted on our website that will take you to our online registration portal.

Click Here for More Information