VMSD Profile: Colleen Bernhoft

Apr 17, 2023

Recently, Visual Merchandising and Store Design magazine released their 2023 “Designer Dozen” - illustrating their choices for rising stars in the world or retail design spaces. CDA is very proud to announce that our own Colleen Bernhoft, a Senior Designer, mentor, CAD platform manager, and critical member of the CDA team has been chosen as one of these illustrious professionals! 

Colleen's interview with VMSD Managing Editor Carly Hagedon is reprinted below. For the full article about all twelve talents featured in the 2023 'Designer Dozen' please view the digital edition of the March/April issue on their webpage.


Why Colleen?

In her role as a Senior Designer, Colleen is the main point of contact with her clients. Overseeing a team of designers, coordinating with her company’s in-house visualization/architecture teams and MEPS engineers, Colleen also leads the conceptual design process on projects. She acts as a CAD platform manager, aiding in her team management skills. In addition to her co-workers commending her strong commitment to her work/life balance, she’s also recently become a licensed InteriorDesigner through the NCIDQ certification, allowing her to mentor others at her firm interested in gaining their license through leading the company’s NCIDQ StudyGroup.

Colleen serves as a mentor for her company’s mentor program and works with younger staff members on a one-to-one basis, aiming to develop their technical, communication and problem solving skills, as well as critical thinking.

What led you to a career in retail design?

During my last quarter of college, I had an internship at a design firm that specialized in retail design. When I graduated, they offered me a full-time position as adesigner. This was very exciting because I not only had a job offer in the industry right out of school, but it was also at a firm that had really cool projects. They worked on a lot of department stores, as well as smaller retail spaces. I quickly started learning about the customer journey and experience, as well as how to incorporate a company’s brand and DNA into the overall store design.

If budget were no object,I’d...

...specify the most luxurious fabrics, finishes and lighting! Most often we are limited to what materials we can include because of budget constraints. Materials and lighting have such a high impact on the overall design so I would love to not have to worry about any budget restrictions and really go for it! Nothing beats a show stopping light feature.

What place that you’ve visited has made the biggest impression on you and why?

In 2019, my husband and I did a road trip from California to Chicago. We spent a week driving back, stopping at numerous national parks along the way. Although it wasn’t a trip centered around visiting man-made architectural sites, it was incredible to see these parts of our country that are completely untouched. Just looking into the distance to see miles and miles of landscape made me really appreciate that we had that opportunity to make those memories together.

My dream project is...

I think it would be very cool to design a resort! It would encompass so many different areas of design and experiences and really challenge me to think of innovative ideas.

The best part of my day is...

...cooking dinner with my husband. And soon, that will also include seeing my babygirl after I’ve been working all day!


We are so proud of Colleen's day-to-day work at Chipman and her recognition by one of the leading trade periodicals in our industry. For more about our team, check out about our team. And, for more photos of Colleen's project featured in the article, check out the Moen Design Center in our portfolio.