Summer 2018

Dreams take flight

Liz Banfield

What’s in Ben Krause’s backpack? “Running shoes,” he says.

An avid runner since high school and a member of the College of Design’s first graduating class of product design majors, Krause, ’18 B.S., spent every spare moment of his senior year designing shoes—some for class projects, and some just for fun. His hard work paid off when his rendering of a mid-top shoe with an innovative lacing system was chosen as one of the nation’s top 64 designs in the Pensole World Sneaker Championship.

Krause started out as a mechanical engineering major, but a toy design course got him interested in inventing new products. “Product design is an opportunity to be incredibly creative but also solve actual problems,” he says. 

He switched his major, immersed himself in his new field, and gained real-world experience during internships. As an intern at HAVI in Downers Grove, Illinois, for example, he spent a week watching people eat pancakes as part of a study on a fast food chain’s redesigned packaging. “The amount of thought and work that goes into a piece of cardboard is amazing,” Krause says.

Outside of class, Krause was a cymbals section leader for the U of M Drumline, part of the U of M Marching Band. The Jean Holten Band Leadership Award helped with expenses and made him feel appreciated, he says. 

Since graduating, Krause has been looking for a job—ideally in shoe design. “Having the opportunity to work on a product that I could then see on the shelf or see someone use is so exciting to me,” he says.