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Course Spotlight: Your Idea as Innovative Solution

If, like me, you hear “strategic thinking” a lot, but you’re not quite sure how to show you’re good at it, the upcoming class Your Idea as Innovative Solution may be for you.

Instructor Scott Hindell is a favorite of many, and can guide you in your approach to some of design’s most difficult problems. Here is what other students have had to say about him in this course:

Very helpful in designing and presenting innovation from different points of view.

Very passionate and knowledgeable. He is a great teacher.

Scott tackled our now-famous “course spotlight” questions:

Why is this course important for my design education?

We are hearing a lot about innovation these days, but most of it sounds like a race for bigger, better, faster, cheaper. A walk down the aisle at WalMart shows us what that gets us. Incremental improvements aren’t what businesses need. They are looking for quantum leaps in value, and research is telling us designers are the best people to lead us where we need to go. Designers are turned on by new ideas, the unknown, the unconventional. They like to produce the unexpected. Unfortunately, designers aren’t always the best equipped to deal easily with their ideas.

What will I take away from this course?

The real opportunity is to combine your design talent with the art of persuasion. It’s not as difficult as one might assume. Most think you must become an advocate for your idea, which means committing to a tireless defense of that idea. Surprisingly, it’s not that difficult, it just requires a little bit of strategic thinking.

Do you have a sample exercise/assignment?

Yes! Exercise – Students are directed to choose one of the three following research methods to observe Starbucks users:

Choice #1 (Narration) – Ask one user to describe aloud what they are thinking during a complete visit to Starbucks. Then submit a description of the most notable observations.
Choice #2 (Still-Photo Survey) – Capture a series of pictures of specific objects, activities, etc. during a complete visit to Starbucks. Then submit these with descriptive titles and/or captions.
Choice #3 (Surveys & Questionnaires) – Ask at least 3 Starbucks users a series of targeted questions in order to ascertain particular characteristics and perceptions of users. Then submit a summary of the most notable findings.

The primary goal of the exercise is to help students develop good observation skills, and most importantly, empathy for people’s differences.

When this course was offered last, I sat in the night this assignment was reviewed. It was way more illuminating than you may expect! The photo documentation and presentation was also engaging. It led to a great conversation about branding and personas.

This course credits as an elective in the Global Sustainability Certificate, as well as the DCA Certificates. If you want to see the syllabus or ask Scott a few questions, just let us know.

And register anytime by following this link.

 

Course Spotlight: Advanced Package Design: Concept to Completion

Award-winning instructor Shirin Raban tells us more:

Why is this course important for my design education?

In this age of digital realm and computers, hand skills can make a huge difference in quality of design. Package design, can be quite complicated in the variety of tasks and skills it requires. Developing an understanding of this process, can be quite helpful in your design thinking and strategy creation in a variety of design fields.

What will I take away from this course?

The goal of this class is to develop an in-depth understanding of the many components involved in package design, and to have a hands on experience in developing an innovative package solution from concept to completion. Your final mocked up package will be created through both team and individual efforts. This is an excellent opportunity to create not only an excellent portfolio piece, but also a case study to showcase your complete process.

Do you have a sample exercise/assignment?

We will make a trip to Whole Foods to find a package that your group thinks can be redesigned to address an environmentally or socially conscious issue related to it. You will work together to define strategies and then, you will each develop your own package including the computer design, aesthetic style and final mockup.

Enroll today!

Course Spotlight: Designing for Humans: Culture and AnthroDesign (Online)

Looking to get a jump on an elective for our upcoming User Experience Design certificate? This quarter, enroll in Designing for Humans: Culture and AnthroDesign (Online). Instructor Zelda Harrison was kind enough to tell us more:

Why is this course important for my design education?

Most of us understand the immediate benefit of living and working in a global economy. A significant number of us will collaborate with colleagues and clients in another country, and even locally, we will be called upon to develop products and communication for people who either speak a different language and/or live very differently from us.

The good news is that technology has provided us with the tools to communicate and work effectively across time zones and geographical locations. The trick is in managing the “soft skills” by developing a toolkit that takes into account the audience’s culture and values. It should be noted that when we speak of “culture,” we are talking about generational and lifestyle differences too, not just ethnic differences.

Anthrodesign is not “politically-correct” design or “designing to appeal to everyone.” The Anthrodesigner is like a detective, using anthropological observation techniques to develop an awareness of the end user, and inform herself about appropriate design choices.

When people ask you what you do, how do you explain it?

I work primarily as a designer in visual communications. I also explain that I specialise in anthrodesign, which means I have developed tools that allow me to discern the audience’s values and priorities, and therefore communicate more effectively with them.

What will I take away from this course?

In addition to honing your skills as a designer, you will have a better grasp of the research methods and how to apply them. Many designers are pretty happy with applying their skills, coming up with concepts and then perfecting the visual product.

But there are important industry changes for the designer : in a service-based economy, the “communication” and “functional” aspect of our work is informing more and more the “visual” aspect, so our primary vocation is engaging people by appealing to their values and environment, not just their taste. To do this effectively, you must “walk in the user’s shoes.”

In addition to this, many designers are now working “in-house” which means they are obliged to work on multi-disciplinary teams with non-designers. It also means that designers must understand the business and marketing aspects of the projects, ie., the audience’s needs, and participate in defining the message and product to the audience.

In my opinion, this role enhances the value of design, but it also means increased commitment and responsibility from the designer, beyond concept and design execution.

What are companies looking for when they hire an “AnthroDesigner” both in terms of skills and portfolio?

There are very few hiring companies who will reject a designer with a portfolio that demonstrates an acute understanding of the target audience and with the research and working papers to back it up. Naturally, the design and messaging need to be consistent with findings and definition of the target audience. This is something we will explore thoroughly in the class.

In the “real world,” selling/being paid the time to conduct research or dissect the target audience is very difficult, especially to small and medium sized businesses. The purpose of this class to give participants the space and time to develop analytical tools that will make them efficient and persuasive. I believe these tools will carry them for the rest of their careers.

What could be a challenge for students this class?

I can’t argue enough in support of the time honoured matra that “form follows function.” A colleague of mine, Mr. Peji, takes it a step further by asserting “form follows culture.” Students will be encouraged to use their skills and talent to define a creative brief and concepts based not on their own experiences, but on the audience’s.

Students who are unable to “walk in the shoes of the user” will find this challenge, hopefully one worth taking on.

Do you have a sample exercise/assignment?

Yes, my group, the Center for CrossCultural Design, has been compiling examples of great design inspired by anthropological investigation and crosscultural awareness.

We organised a competition to explore the application of design and culture and gave the first prize to Beth Shirrell from Kentucky. Here’s what she had to say about her work :

“Kalakari translates from Hindi to English to mean ornamentation. I explored typographic expression by creating a display font that captures and reflects the ornate culture of India. Specifically taking impetus from the countries architecture, the ancient art of henna painting, and Hindu iconography. The font is a collection of 26 majuscule forms that make up the English alphabet. The collection is entitled Kalakari Display.”

Design Researchers can be the designer’s closest collaborator and partner. For those interested in understanding the landscape of design research, check out this article by Uday Dandavate of SonicRim.

You are also welcome to explore the Center’s activity on our blog and facebook. You’ll find a smagasbord of topics ranging from geopolitics and economics to design and culture. I believe this reflects a reality of most skilled anthrodesingers : polymath approach to audiences is critical.

Course Spotlights: Web Design I, II and III

 

What will you learn in our web design sequence? Master instructor Mitch Gohman broke it down for us:

Web Design I: HTML & CSS
This class no longer focuses on Dreamweaver – in fact it allows students to use any software they wish to generate the code that builds websites. A great deal of the industry has moved away from Dreamweaver professionally, and it allows us to focus more on real-world web production techniques.

The backbone of this class is the relationship between HTML5 and CSS3. Students gain an intermediate understanding of this relationship to produce more compelling and modern web designs.

• S1: An Introduction to Web Design
• S2: CSS Selector Types
• S3: Relationships
• S4: Web Imagery
• S5: The CSS Cascade
• S6: Floats and Positioning
• S7: Project Review and Layout Conversion
• S8: CSS Navigations and Web Build
• S9: Advanced CSS Navigations
• S10: CSS3
• S11: Project Review and Workshop
• S12: Completion and Workshop

Web Design 2: JavaScript and jQuery
This class is about understanding user interactivity and making things move. Engaged experiences. We look at rollovers, swap images, slideshows, tabs, light boxes, banner ads without gifs or flash, parallax, AJAX.

• S1: JQuery Basics
• S2: Events and Animations
• S3: Swaps and Rollovers
• S4: Tabs and Banner Ads
• S5: Project Review
• S6: Degrading Gracefully
• S7: Parallax
• S8: Project Review
• S9: AJAX
• S10: Form Processing
• S11: Project Review and Workshop
• S12: Completion (Optional Attendance)

Web Design 3: Real World Application
Taking everything you learned from Web design 1 and 2, this course gives you the opportunity to tackle real world projects. You can look at the first 2 classes as training wheels, in this class the wheels come off and you are challenged to develop your skills through application. Imagine being guided through intermediate concepts, but also challenged to think beyond those concepts by applying what you have learned to your own creative solutions.

• S1: Course Overview and Refresher
• S2: Magazine Translation
• S3: Analysis and Class Development
• S4: eNewsletter
• S5: Analysis and Class Development
• S6: Drop Down Menus
• S7: Analysis and Class Development
• S8: Contact Us Email (with server-side and client-side form validation)
• S9: Analysis and Class Development
• S10: Parallax
• S11: Analysis and Class Development
• S12: Final

Course Spotlight: Documentary and Landscape Photography

For students interested in an elective this quarter, Documentary and Landscape Photography is beginning this Saturday. The class covers camera skills like flash and film balance, color theory, and white balance, in the context of the history of documentary and landscape images. Students will be completing creative photography assignments incorporating their individual locations and environments. A number of location shoots are scheduled, to give hands-on experience with the subject matter.

The class is led by Clover Leary. The image included in this post is from a series she is completing about military simulation environments. Her teaching philosophy is particularly appropriate for this class: she says “I approach teaching in much the same way that I approach my art practice. My work is often the end result of an investigation of a particular location and it’s history, and also a real collaboration with the subjects who inhabit that space. Collaboration is rewarding for me because it generates mutual learning resulting from productive dialogue between individuals with varied skills and interests. For me teaching requires a similar intellectual exchange. I always wish to learn something from the teaching experience and from working with students. By remaining actively engaged and passionate about the subject I am teaching, I can let students draw from my enthusiasm for the medium.”

Survey of Western Art History: Part II

 
Art History Survey Series begins tonight! Please note that the class will now be meeting in room 415 at the 1010 Westwood Center (not on UCLA campus).
 
We’re happy to have Mary Beth back, and know she’s excited to start class again. Part II of the series begins in the Proto-Renaissance in Italy and proceeds to a full study of Renaissance art in both southern and northern Europe. The course continues with the study of Mannerism in Italy, Baroque art throughout Europe, and concludes with Rococo. Artists and artworks studied are a select group representing the high points in cultural achievement, including Giotto, Jan van Eyck, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Dürer, Holbein, Rubens, Velasquez, and Rembrandt. There are also two field trips, one to the Getty and one to LACMA.
If you’re interested, check out the details.

Course Spotlight: Package Design

One of our most popular electives is Package Design, where students bring all they’ve learned in the core courses to create innovative, problem-solving designs that strengthen their portfolios.

Instructor John Beach gave us some more insight into the course.

Why is this course important for my design education?

Package Design is a crucial element in the completion of your design education. It’s one of the final steps in understanding what branding is and how it directly effects the consumers process in making a choice of what products to buy, own, eat, or use. It acts as one of the final ways a producer of products can market their product to consumers.

As designers, it’s important that we help keep the client focused on what elements will ultimately make the product memorable, and under the best of circumstances, coming back for more! This course also further explores how typography, color and image can alter and persuade the consumer decision-making process.

What will I take away from this course?

This course gives a fantastic introduction to the power of strong packaging and branding by taking a look at a multitude of tasks developed to help you gain insight into what makes a great package. We start with an entertainment package. Obviously, this is a huge market in Los Angeles (specifically) and the design field in general. We will explore how to conceptually develop an idea into a container that promotes both the producers vision of their product, but more importantly, a package that the consumer will find intriguing enough to purchase, take home and use. We will explore the various methods used to design packaging. We will digitally render the first assignment.

The second assignment will be a hand building experience. Working with different substrates and templates we will explore the relationship between packaging and the presentation of food products and the challenges a specialty food product presents.

For the third exercise, we take a look at line extensions and what happens when you have multiple elements to package together. We combine vessels such as glass and plastic with paper, wood or cardboard, or if you choose, you can explore what happens in the sporting goods world when you have a product line with different sized items, and what is the best way to solve those issues.

The beauty of this class is that it gives you the opportunity to tailor your experience with directions in packaging you are most interested in. We will of course look at how packaging is changing in today’s post consumer waste world and how different elements can be altered or explored to make your solutions have smaller footprints within global consumer waste issues.

The spring quarter section of Package Design begins April 5th.

Course Spotlight: Icons, Logos, and Logotype Design

In Icons, Logos, and Logotype  Design, students learn to develop comprehensive and memorable identities using symbols, logos, and trademarks while considering message reducibility, media variables, and usage standards.

Outstanding instructor award-winner Shirin Raban answered a few questions about the course for us.

  • Why is this course important for my design education?
    Brand identity design is a very powerful way to clarify design objectives, organize information and communicate it visually and effectively. A logo is not merely a pretty design; it is a conceptual way to present the image of a person, company or product to the world. You can apply your knowledge to other design disciplines and your view point in general. 
  • What will I take away from this course?
    On top of a number of portfolio pieces, you will learn to ask questions that define important objectives, and will develop the skills to visually communicate those objectives in a clear and concise way. Along the way, you will combine those skills with artistic sensitivity and creative thinking to design fun and useful logos and apply them to a number of formats such as promotional pieces, retail environments and identity systems. 
  • Do you have a sample exercise/assignment?
    A.   Designing a logo mark and applying it to three branding items.
    B.   Designing a logotype for a retail store and applying it as outdoor or indoor signage.
    C.   Designing a personal logo mark based on the book “Decoding Design” to make use of numbers and their universal meanings. Followed by designing a print or electronic promo piece (brochure, web page, etc.) and applying the logo mark to it.
  • What have other students produced for their portfolio in this course?
    Here’s an example of a signage application by student Tamara Lau:

And here is sample work from student Imelda Halim:

And from student Heather Malone:

There’s still room in the online section of Icons, Logos, and Logotype  Design, this winter. Click here to enroll today.

Course Spotlight: Typography: Coin Design Workshop

Looking to get out of the classroom and study in a dynamic L.A. design studio? This winter, acclaimed designer John Clark will teach the new two-weekend, 4-unit workshop Typography: Coin Design Workshop at the Looking studio in El Segundo.

Coin casting and prototypes by John Clark. From l-r: aluminum positive casting, urethane positive casting, and wood prototype

We asked John to tell us a bit more about the course:

“This class is a type class at its core.  It has been configured as a coin design class in order to bring in all of the issues of three dimensional type, as well as the additional component of bas relief sculpture.

The class is conducted at the Looking studio in El Segundo. We have two in-house workshops, fully equipped for sculptural and casting work. Students will only be requested to bring their personal tools for measurement, drawing and cutting. A digital camera and sketchbook are also recommended. We have an extensive in-house library for research or reference questions.

From a  process standpoint, this workshop is offered as distinct alternative to a conventional semester class. During the first weekend all students will develop an original concept, and develop a final compositional design by the end of the second day, and will begin their three dimensional positive sculpture. On the second weekend, students will complete their sculpture, create a silicon reusable casting mold, and on the final day cast their coin in solid urethane.

While the studio setting provides many of the practical items necessary to create the work, it is also very important to impart  to students that for many assignments more time does not make the project  better. The group dynamic is intended to let each student learn from one another. The strict class limit of 10 is intended to ensure  that each student gets quality learning time with both the instructor and the other students.

Lastly, quality breakfast and lunches are included, healthy snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the weekend sessions.”

From left, wood positive, silicon negative mold, cast urethane positive

 Here’s what students have to say:

“John was great in providing guidance and new techniques that students usually don’t think about. It was obvious that he is really passionate about design. He was also very open to answering any questions we had about the field of design.”

“Highly effective, almost perfect.”

“John was an excellent teacher. He gave us so much valuable information and experiences. He created a wonderful, nurturing, and interactive learning environment.”

Enroll online or by calling registration at 310-825-9971.

Course Spotlight: Business and Design: The How-To of Making them Work Together

Looking for that competitive, business-savy edge as a designer? Consider taking Business and Design: The How-To of Making them Work Together this winter. We asked instructor Scott Hindell to tell us a bit more about the course:

“At its core, design is about relating to people and responding to human needs. Business is supposed to be the same thing, but it can also become a selfish pursuit to accumulate wealth and power. This often is where the division between design and business begins.
 
The reality, though, is the business world needs more designers. Unfortunately, many designers are either timid to enter this domain and/or reject the conventional idea of profit over customer satisfaction. However, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive; in fact, the better businesses in our communities are able to achieve both.
 
Business and Design: The How-To of Making them Work Together demystifies business, and presents the development of a business more in the language and process of a designer. Instead of mistaking business for creating opportunities to make money, this course shows you how business is about discovering and understanding the nature of where people and products/services align for a mutually beneficial relationship.
 
Many of the tools and exercises in the course play off of the designers existing core skills. For example, in order to identify the right price for your product or service, the easiest way is to visually map the alternatives by form, function and objective.”

Here’s what Scott’s previous students have said:

“Scott teaches a complex subject with a clear, concise, and organized method. He is accessible, patient and communicative. I cannot say enough good things about him as a teacher.”

You can enroll online or by calling our registration dept. at 310-825-9971.

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