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Course Spotlight: Publication Design

This fall, advanced DCA students have the exciting opportunity to study Publication Design with veteran DCA instructor, John Beach. John let us know what students can expect and also shared some outstanding student work in the gallery below:

Why is this course important for my design education?
In Publication Design we take an in-depth look at page layout and the importance of using image, color and typography to control how the consumer “reads” a magazine, newspaper, and ultimately, a tablet. It’s like user experience for print. We will closely examine the importance of grid structure and pagination and how it visually holds together a huge amount of information in a way that makes it accessible and entertaining. Everything we learn in this course is truly a foundation for any form of “print,” whether its a magazine, an annual report, a printed book or an e-pub.

What will I take away from this course?
As a learning tool, each student will be required to create their own concept (about almost anything) for a new magazine which they will develop throughout the semester. You will start by doing a naming exercise to name the publication, then develop a branded logo based on target audience. You will then develop a table of contents, multiple department pages, feature spreads, a catalog layout, and of course, a cover. Ultimately, this creates a large portfolio piece that shows a cohesive understanding of how to manage a large amount of information, in a singular style, again using typography, image and color to hold the publication together and facilitate ease of use by the consumer.

It seems like everything is going digital these days.  Will this course also explore e-pubs and whatnot?
This course gives you a strong understanding of how to manage publication typography and image, whether it’s for print or e-pubs. We will examine closely how the trend in print can be applied to tablets (and vis versa) and how user experience plays a large part in controlling the interaction between the page, it’s content and the viewer/reader.

Check out this gallery of student work:


Meet New DCA Instructor Pete Hawkes

We’re thrilled to welcome new instructor and UCLA Design Media Arts graduate, Pete Hawkes, to the UCLAx DCA family! Pete will be teaching the advanced course: HTML5 this fall. Learn more both about Pete and the course here:

What makes you passionate about design? What brought you to this field?
I was raised in a creative environment. A large family with little money provided a fortunate upbringing where rocks, trees, dirt and irrigation water were my preferred building blocks. Today I find myself back in the rich, complex and interactive experiences of my youth, but the media are different. Instead of rocks and dirt, I jumble pixels and lines of code. I work to mimic my greatest mentor–Nature–to create my own organic, living, interactive worlds.

Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
As part of my MFA research at UCLA, I created a series of math-based learning tools for children. These interactive games combined digital interfaces, simple electronics, and dance to teach kids the fundamentals of binary. It was challenging and fun to work across different kinds of media, but most rewarding to take the ideas into local elementary schools and see how children reacted to the tools. The process taught me much about how we learn and how new kinds of interfaces can augment education.

What will I take away from your course: HTML5?
My ultimate goal is to get you excited about creating and making with code. HTML5 is relatively new, but incredibly powerful. You will leave with a clear idea of its potential for designing rich, interactive experiences across diverse digital environments. If you push yourself, the skills you learn will take you places.

Do you have a sample assignment?
This is a fun one that will teach you a lot about animation and interaction. Design a monster using HTML5. Your monster must have two “skins” that can be toggled by a button click or key press: one using images and another drawn with shapes. Give your creature a unique personality by adding animation and deciding how it will react to user input (mouse or otherwise).

Course Spotlight: Mixed Media & Collage for Designers & Artists

Ever wondered what students produce in the DCA elective Mixed Media and Collage for Designers and Artists?  Look no further than the gallery below!

In this course, you will discover creative approaches to problem solving while developing your own visual language using photocopies, drawing, found art, photography, matte and gel mediums, and gesso. Transfer techniques and digital output also are covered. You complete 3 portfolio pieces that are critiqued on clarity of communication and aesthetics.

As a former student put it, this course helps with conceptualization skills because it’s not focused on learning one particular technique, rather on taking an idea and tranlating it. And it’s fun.

Course Spotlight: Design Sustainability


For students looking to add depth to their coursework, we strongly suggest the elective  Design Sustainability.  In instructor Nurit Katz’s words:

“Designers are problem solvers. Whether you are designing homes, cities or products, you are finding ways to improve the world around you. However, if we are not thoughtful in our designs we may create new problems while solving others. Understanding the impact of our design choices helps us make better decisions, from understanding the full life cycle of a product and the materials we choose, to looking at the health impacts of the built environment.

In this course you will learn about sustainability and how to integrate the concepts of sustainability in design.  One example assignment will be taking apart a cheap product, looking at the materials used, and designing a life cycle info-graphic to illustrate the impacts of the materials.  In past quarters students have gone on field trips to view local sustainable business models, listened to guest speakers, and created final projects which ran the gamut from sustainable housing designs, rain harvesting systems, a “Do Good” app, and more!  You can check out photos from the winter quarter class’s final presentations below.



A previous student had this to say about the course: “Nurit is simply amazing. A great instructor and person as well. I’ve learned so much and had the incredible experience of meeting great colleagues as well.”

This summer quarter Design Sustainability is being team taught by Nurit and Michael Neal.  Save your spot in the course and enroll today!

Course Spotlight: Surface Design for Consumer Products

This summer, creative director and DCA instructor John Beach will guide students as they examine the role that style and surface play in consumer products, and how to design their own variety of surfaces for a range of products.  John took a moment to answer some key questions about Surface Design for Consumer Products:

Why is this course important for my design education?

Ultimately, it’s two fold. You learn and understand the structure and usability of a style guide, plus you will explore options in how to create your own content relevant to a target audience.  As designers, we are surrounded by style guides that dictate the fundamental usage of elements used to define brands, products and services. Often we are told how to use specific elements (for instance, the logo) to maintain that strict corporate image when creating beautifully designed packaging, or consumer products (anything that people purchase). More often, we are charged with creating these style guides so major brands will maintain a strong sense of continuity within the marketplace. We will look at how these style guides are built and utilized to control those steps.

What will I take away from this course?

This course is a hands on look at how to develop that style guide, for a product (or products) of  your choice. We will start by developing a concept for your line. Is it soft lines or hard lines? Is it textiles or paper goods? What is your target audience? Is it mass market or the luxury market? Each student will use a combined method of digital and hand built elements that will be turned into icons, badges and pattern work. You will be able to work in almost any medium you choose to generate your art (and then move into digital to complete the process).  We will then look at how to apply those patterns and art to a vast array of consumer products that form today’s modern marketplace.

In the end, you will walk away with a beautifully built style guide, based on your own art, showing a multitude of consumer products that could be built using your creativity. You will also understand, should you need in the future, how to use a corporate style guide to build most of the “every day” consumer products you see on the shelves of stores around you, whether that be Target, Crate and Barrel or Gucci, or your favorite local boutique.

Enroll in Surface Design for Consumer Products today!

Course Spotlight: Functional Problem Solving in Package Design


Award-winning instructor Henry Mateo has created a new elective this quarter: Functional Problem Solving in Package Design. Here he tells us a bit more:

Why is this course important for my design education?
This course will focus on pushing all your design skills (conceptual thinking, digital skills, production skills, etc…) beyond your current limits. Your projects will potentially be highlights of your portfolio.

What will I take away from this course?
You’ll understand real world processes that will help you be a well-rounded designer, not only in the packaging realm, but in several other design disciplines as well.

Do you have a sample exercise/assignment?
Yes, my Morpha project highlights portions of the process book.

Course Spotlight: HTML5 and CSS Layout for Designers

New this summer, the intermediate course  HTML5 and CSS Layout for Designers makes the perfect compliment to  Web Design I, II or III.  This course will present a variety of web layout challenges and develop the skills needed to successfully integrate your design across the many user platforms that access the web.  Instructor Mitch Gohman answered some questions for us:

How did the idea for this new course come about?

When students complete the Web Design 1: HTML & CSS course a very common response is “I feel like I really understand the world of Web Design, now I need to develop the muscles that address the common considerations of modern Web Design.” This class was specifically designed to build on the core concepts of the first class and take you deeper into the world of HTML & CSS as it applies to responsive web design (mobile to screen), scalable grid systems, and cross-browser testing.

Why is this course important for my design education? 

Responsive Design is cutting edge for the world of Web. Instead of designing 3 separate websites for mobile, notepad, and screen, Responsive Design, gives you one scalable/flexible solution that adapts to all devices–even devices/dimensions of the future.

 What will I take away from this course?

  • How to develop websites using responsive web design techniques (mobile to screen)
  • Advanced command of HTML5 (mark-up) & CSS3 (presentation)
  • Advanced layout conversion from Photoshop to your website
  • How to design for all browsers, even if you are developing from a Mac

Do you have a sample exercise/assignment?

Yes indeed…  HTML5 What You Should Know, which you can start in a plain text file.

Advanced Package Design Workshop

Coming up in just three weeks, Shirin Raban’s Advanced Package Design: Concept to Completion is an intensive 2-day course that will cover a range of contemporary consumer packaging practices and methods.

This hands-on workshop is open to all design students, and you don’t need previous packaging experience or courses to attend.

Advanced Packaging Design will provide the opportunity to create a branding portfolio piece consisting of three items. The workshop includes a comprehensive overview of the package design process from concept to completion through audio visual lectures, a field trip to Whole Foods, group exercises in defining objectives, critique, individual sketches and computer design that will then be transformed into real, 3D packages through production and mock up processes demonstrated and practiced in class.

Advanced Package Design is taking place over two Saturdays, May 12th & 19th from 9am to 5pm.  Please click here to enroll.

Course Spotlight: HTML5 with Michael Newman

Why is this course important for my design education?

HTML5 is the evolving future of web development and the APIs and technologies available are shaping how designers create visual, interactive solutions. In addition to exciting new functionality, such as Canvas, Offline Storage, and Geo-Location, HTML5 provides semantic elements and attributes which, together with CSS3 and media queries, allow for responsive web design and development.

It is important for designers to have the ability to prototype and experiment with HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript – The more a designer understands the technologies for which they’re creating, the more innovative and creative their solutions will be.

What will I take away from this course?

Students will complete the course with hands-on experience working with HTML5 and CSS3 as well as the ability to design prototypes and build responsive web and mobile experiences.

Do you have a sample exercise/assignment?

Read the O’Reilly “What is HTML5” overview at http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/07/what-is-html5.html

In addition to weekly assignments and projects, students will design and build a portfolio-worthy final project.


HTML5 is currently being offered in the classroom (spring quarter 2012) and, in fall quarter, will be offered online. Don’t hesitate to call the office for more information 310.206.1422 or email dca@uclaextension.edu.

Art in Pasadena with Jay Belloli

This week we have a great opportunity for students to learn about the history and impact of the Pasadena Art Museum. With the acceptance of the extensive Galka Scheyer collection of Feininger, Kandinsky, Klee, and Jawlensky in 1954, the Pasadena Art Museum began 20 years of extraordinary exhibitions and collecting, made possible by exceptional directors and curators. From the internationally celebrated retrospective of Marcel Duchamp to the first Andy Warhol retrospective and beyond, the museum made major contributions to the cultural life of the Los Angeles region.

Pacific Asia Museum’s exhibion 46 N. Los Robles: A History of the Pasadena Art Museum is closing this weekend. On Thursday, 4/5, guest curator Jay Belloli will give a lecture and slide show on the Pasadena Art Museum in our 1010 Westwood Center. Then this Saturday, students will visit both Pacific Asia Museum and the Norton Simon to view works up close and meet one of the participating artists. It should be a fun and informative session for anyone interested in the history of the Los Angeles art scene.

For more details, and to enroll in the class, click here.

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