University of Wisconsin

150 Years of Critical Design Thinking

Nancy Nicholas Hall Leads by Example



The School of Human Ecology (SOHE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a leader for its innovative, human-centered approach to education, research, design, and public service. ZEBRADOG infused the new Nancy Nicholas Hall with interactive and historical exhibitory, graceful wayfinding systems, and evocative donor recognition designs, enabling this signature college to color the minds of the students that will color our future.


ZD pushes us every day to imagine what we can be tomorrow.

Soyeon Shim
Dean of the School of Human Ecology at UW-Madison




Donor Recognition
Wayfinding / Signage
Experiential Design
Facilities/Campus Branding
Interactive Media Design / Development


Higher Education

The School of Human Ecology (SOHE) originated as the Department of Home Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1903. Throughout its history, the school has been on the leading edge of work that improves the lives of children, families, consumers, and communities.

When plans were made to renovate the school into the new Nancy Nicholas Hall, leadership engaged ZEBRADOG to incorporate a comprehensive approach to facility branding and storytelling. With so many stories to tell and so many design experts within the school, the experiential design team was eager to collaborate to build something spectacular.

ZEBRADOG embraced a very granular and inclusive process with the SOHE Board of Visitors, staff, faculty, and students to create discovery sessions that were an experience to draw from the school’s varied expertise and to ensure inclusivity. Armed with valuable insights and inspiration, the team set about designing a signature storytelling program throughout the environment. From interactive and historical exhibitory to graceful wayfinding systems and evocative donor recognition designs, there is a flow and a color story that reflects the spirit and mission of the school.

Three unique donor recognition experiences honor the SOHE community of donors in deep gratitude and celebration of what we can accomplish to improve human well-being:

  • The stunning Hundred Women Wall of Honor is a two-story stained glass celebration of the 100 women who donated $100,000 to the school. It has quickly become a popular area for students to gather, study, and be inspired by those who came before them.
  • Reimagined Chairbacks destined for the dumpster were transformed into a heartfelt dedication to those donors who attended the school and sat in the very lecture chairs when it was the School of Home Economics for women.
  • Ember Hall is SOHE’s newest donor recognition experience in the heart of the school. Floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall wooden carved tiles and illuminated donor names pulse and glow.

SOHE is a leader for its innovative, human-centered approach to education, research, and public service. Its learning environment also leads by example to champion these causes and celebrate these extraordinary stories.


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