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Welcome new DCA instructor Grace Magnus!

Grace Magnus

We’re thrilled to welcome Grace Magnus to our instructor flock, though Grace has been a member of the DCA community for years, first as a student, then as a teaching assistant, and now as an instructor. Her own design work is exciting and innovative, and we urge you to check out her portfolio at https://www.gracemagnus.com. Grace will be teaching Photoshop I in our new Woodland Hills center this spring.

What brought you to this field?
I like to joke that I’m a recovering English major, but in reality, I’ve had a wide assortment of jobs that have led me to where I am today. I managed an art gallery, edited copy, sold fine wine, applied makeup, and helped create brands. Along the way I’ve slung drinks, served coffee, worked graveyard shifts, installed roofing…it’s been a long hustle, and I’m proud of it. I succeeded in all these jobs by taking an ecumenical approach to learning–I relish the opportunity to receive new information, digest it, and clearly and concisely help others understand it regardless of the subject matter. It’s no wonder I fell in love with teaching soon after I fell in love with design.
In 2012, I took a Design Fundamentals class at Extension on a whim. I was new to Los Angeles, itching for change, and the public health class I wanted to take was suddenly canceled. Four years later I have an exciting freelance business I love. So many graphic designers fall into the field by accident or, like me, come into it later in life as a second, third, even fourth career. I love that. It means we have this pool of creative people who’ve worked hard and have a huge range of experiences to apply to finding design solutions.

Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
I’m a big proponent of Design for Good, and I always try to be working on at least one project that has personal meaning. For example, here’s a current project that hits close to home: I used to work very late hours while having two dogs that needed long walks at all hours of the day and night. I learned some time ago that the world can be a terrifying place for women after dark.
So I’ve been challenging my 2D design skills by pushing them into the 3D world, and I’m creating prototypes for personal safety devices, holsters, walking aids, etc. that will make it easier, safer, and more comfortable for women who need to be outside at night. The line is being printed on my 3D printer with the goal to distribute them for free. The entire line is designed with women’s tastes and bodies in mind, which makes it a real design challenge because women’s tastes and bodies are so varied.

Why is your course, Photoshop I, important for my design education?

Today’s emerging designers need to know how to use Photoshop effectively, efficiently, and creatively in order to stand out in an over-saturated market. Although Photoshop is considered by many to be Adobe’s most difficult and counter-intuitive program, it is also the most powerful and incredibly fun. My goal isn’t to drill into your brains every hot key (I wish, we only have 12 weeks!), rather it’s to guide you through the essential tools so that you the designer can find the exact right solutions for your own work. Your interviewer isn’t going to care that you know every single way to pull up the color picker, they care that your work has vision and originality, and that you can efficiently and effectively put to paper what’s in your head. I will guide you into harnessing Photoshop’s power so you can do just that.

Do you have a sample assignment?
Sure! I like to make sure that my assignments are challenging, but also fun and personal. So I’ll give you a little peek into one option for your final. Students will create a series of posters that utilize Photoshop techniques and best practices to morph different living creatures into one, then you’ll will use those images to make a poster series of PSA’s for a social or environmental cause. If you’re not into monsters, don’t worry, I’ve created project variations to suit every taste.

 

Thank you, Grace!

Welcome new DCA instructor Lauren Cullen!

We’re thrilled to welcome Lauren Cullen to our instructor ranks, who will be teaching Illustrator I (online) beginning this spring quarter. Lauren is the graphic designer for UCLA’s Mobile Web Strategy group, where she designs mobile apps and responsive websites for UCLA’s academic and research communities. An illustrator and fine artist, she creates graphics across all media. Lauren received a B.A. from Wesleyan University as well as an Advanced Web and Interaction Design Certificate from UCLA Extension (yes, that’s us!).

Learn more about Lauren, in her own words:

Lauren Cullen

What brought you to this field?

I’ve always loved art and engaging in the experience of creating. I first discovered Photoshop and Illustrator in ninth grade, and there was no looking back. I became deeply immersed in understanding the ways that design can inform, transform, and inspire. Graphic design continues to be my passion, and I feel very fortunate to be in such a fulfilling field.

 

Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

I find that designing apps for medical research is especially rewarding. For example, at UCLA, I recently worked on an app that helps researchers assess asthma symptoms and related factors in children. The goal of the app is to help detect and prevent asthma attacks.

My contribution to the app included designing the user experience, icons, data graphics, and customized illustrations. It is always satisfying to design for meaningful projects that make a positive impact on people’s lives.

 

Why is your course, Illustrator I, important for my design education?

Illustrator is an essential design tool and the industry-standard vector graphics application. By learning the fundamentals from this course, students will be able to create icons, logos, drawings, typography, infographics, layouts, complex illustrations, and more for any medium. Students will learn more than just the tools that Illustrator has to offer – they will also be intellectually stimulated by learning key concepts and by learning approaches that prepare them for future experiences.

 

Do you have a sample assignment?

All projects will provide students with the opportunity to solve specific challenges by designing unique creations of their own vision. As an example, for the midterm project, students will design an infographic, developing a captivating narrative that visually communicates information or data. Students will use drawing and shape tools to represent trends. I’m excited to see what the students create!

 

Welcome, Lauren!

Course spotlight: Talking With Impact

Greg Germann

Greg Germann

It’s an honor to welcome new instructor, Greg Germann, to the Design Communication Arts program! Greg is an actor known for his work on film, television and Broadway. He’s a published playwright and has also written and directed for the theatre and television. He was honored to be invited twice be part of a goodwill trip traveling to Afghanistan to visit troops serving there. For over a decade he has had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors for OPCC (now OPCC-LAMP) in Los Angeles, a visionary social service organization. For the past three years, he’s worked with TEDx UCLA as an advisor, assisting in speaker selection and preparation for the annual conference.

Greg is teaching Talking With Impact this winter.

What brought you to this field?

For the past three years I’ve helped prepare a range of speakers for the annual TED TALK held at UCLA.  I’ve been able to work with artists, psychologists, archeologists, designers, activists and more, conceiving, crafting and honing their talks for the greatest impact.

Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

TEDxUCLA speaker and OPCC director John Maceri, mentored by Greg Germann

TEDxUCLA speaker and OPCC executive director, John Maceri, mentored by Greg Germann

My work with TED speakers has made it clear that there are no limitations for what constitutes a ‘big idea’ that can change the world.  TED speakers have talked about vulnerability, the brain, the heart, education, travel, planting trees, running, sleep, consciousness, what makes us laugh and cry and even life and death.  It’s exciting to embrace the possibility that ‘ideas worth spreading’ take any shape and can be about any thing.

Why is your course, Talking for Impact, important for my Design education?

Everyone has a ‘TALK’ in them.  The skills necessary in communicating these ideas makes all the difference. Using the model of a TED TALK is a powerful tool that will unearth the ‘big idea’ that lies in wait for each student in our class. As an actor, director and writer with a career in theatre, film and television my experience has taught me again and again that economy and empathy are just a few keys to connecting with and moving an audience.

TEDxUCLA speaker Victoria Young

TEDxUCLA speaker Victoria Young

The intentional weaving of passion, expertise and innovation insures that an entrepreneur pitching a new product, an archeologist sharing field observations, a designer promoting the value of a concept, a writer selling an idea, a lawyer making his/her case, an educator broadening a students understanding all will succeed in moving their listeners and changing their lives. I’ve seen the surprising impact speakers have on an audience when the idea expressed is concise and challenges the experts while still being understandable to a 5th grader.  Speaking with impact results in provoking understanding and upending the expectations of your listener.

We’ll start simply and work our way to the ‘big idea’ that lies in wait for each student. The first step is recognizing the ‘big ideas’ that we encounter everyday.  From the brilliance of a bumper sticker, a political slogan, branding, the power of a provocative 140 character Twitter post and even the unexpected impactful daily exchanges we have with our colleagues, friends and family. Students will identify these common examples illustrating how they meet the criteria, not just of a catchy slogan, but how they upend expectations, innovate and promote an idea worth sharing.

Do you have a sample assignment?

TEDxUCLA speaker Adi Jaffe

TEDxUCLA speaker Adi Jaffe

The Wisdom of the Twitter Feed:

In 140 characters or less articulate the “big idea” behind three varied areas of study or endeavor.  Topics may range from, artworks; visual, performing arts and literature: To design; architecture, engineering and product design: To science and even the value of certain types of behaviors. Some of the most popular TED TALKS online are  on the value of vulnerability, the power of introverts and the science of happiness.

One example is a devoted runner asked; Can running save our cities? His answer was his big idea; Building community with shared physical activity can change the world. The skill to articulate your vision in a sentence is one of the many tests of the viability and clarity of your vision.

 

Welcome, Greg!

Enroll in Talking With Impact today!

Meet new DCA Instructor Tzeitel Sorrosa

tsorrosaHere at UCLA Extension, we’re proud to welcome instructors from a wide range of professional and cultural backgrounds. Tzeitel Sorrosa is a multicultural creative director who brings her diverse experience to our Illustrator II online course beginning in winter quarter. Born in Costa Rica, Tzeitel was raised in Ecuador and received her education at Boston College.

She says, “My most valuable training, however, has come through my extensive travel, diverse areas of studies, and consistent curiosity to explore beyond the world around me.”

Below she shares how her artistic intuition has shaped her work, as well as some info on what you can expect in her upcoming course.

What brought you to this field?work7-ori

During my childhood, I frequently expressed my thoughts, feelings, and wild ideas through doodles and sketches almost always with graphite or charcoal, and Stonehenge paper. In unstoppable mode, I graffiti-ed everywhere in school, including my text books, wooden desks and freshly-painted walls (to the chagrin of my teachers). Doodling has been an excellent channel of communication for me because it has given me much room for imagination to continue to explore freely across multi surfaces and formats. I knew at a very young age I would be a fine artist, but I did not know I would evolve into a digital artist. Technology forced me to evolve. Mobile devices have become vehicles of unlimited potential for self-expression and imagination. These devices are all fueled with unlimited energy awaiting to be channeled through YOU to create surprisingly memorable and beautiful things.

 

tz1Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

I creative directed and designed the American Diabetes Association’s Welcome Kit for newly diagnosed children with Type 1 diabetes. The concept for the packaging initially started out as a very complex hexagon resembling a sugar molecule, made up of tangram shapes that kids would unfold as colorful puzzle pieces. As much as this design was engaging and playful, the costs to produce it were prohibitive. In the many rounds of feedback from our stakeholders, the iterative process took us back to a simpler but more intuitive model. Yet, the final product was one that still embraced the three key emotions I wanted to convey in the initial welcome kit design: Courage. Wisdom. Hope.

The project felt very special from the start, but it was also a journey of discovery. In design, one of the most important steps to consider is the iterative process. As designers, we’re usually biased in favor of our very first idea, and we say “Eureka!” even before we build a prototype. Prototyping, however, is not just a way to test an idea, but is also a doorway to a more meaningful conversation about the needs of your users.

 tz2

Why is your course, Illustrator II, important for my design education?

Teaching creative applications, such as Adobe Illustrator, is a doorway to constant learning. For the always-thirsty, curious mind, it creates not only a 2-way channel of giving and receiving, but an opportunity for collaboration and personal growth. There is always something new to learn from anyone and everyone, and you will be the beneficiary of a storehouse of perspectives, ideas, experiences, and information that you can later resource to in your next project.

Do you have a sample assignment?

In one of our assignments, we will be creating a biking jersey for a fundraising event with unlimited freedom to create multiple wraparound designs, from an “In-Training” jersey, to a racing jersey.

Welcome, Tzeitel!

Go Behind the Scenes of the LA Art World with Brenda Williams

 

Brenda Headshot

This fall, we’re looking forward to working once again with Brenda Williams to offer Contemporary Los Angeles Art. Brenda is a local art adviser and independent curator specializing in emerging contemporary artists. Her class will meet over five Saturdays, and explore areas in the Los Angeles art world not usually accessible to the public. Visits will focus on private home collections, artists studios, and curator-led gallery tours. Each six-hour meeting will include multiple location visits.

To read more about the class, and register for fall, click here.

We spoke with Brenda about her background, and what artists she’s watching now.

How did you get interested in art collecting, and what were your first experiences in the art world?

I lived Italy and worked in a gallery where my love for arte povera and minimalist art began. Upon my return to the states I became interested in and began collecting African Art and textiles. I fell in love with the masks of the various tribes of west Africa. The techniques of textile makers from around the world were so amazing that I couldn’t resist their beauty. I had to have as many textiles as my walls could hold. I’ve also collected tea services porcelain, tin, and glass: pots, sugar/cream receptacles and trays.

What artists or galleries are you excited about right now?

I’m always excited to see new work by artists who show at Walter Maciel. This fall he is opening with a collage artist Tm Gratowski. According to the press release, Tm builds two and three dimensional works made of collaged paper on a variety of surfaces including wood panels, heavy stock paper and molded concrete.

I had a studio visit with artist June Edmonds, who she showed me her body of work from over 20 years in LA. From public art projects to current paintings her vivid colored palette is very exciting and she is working on new visions

Downtown LA, there is MaRS (Museum as retail space) Gallery. It’s a voluminous space where the director specializes in emerging artists with strong points of view. The galleries fall show with Galia Lin and Elena Stonaker should be very exciting. Galia is a long time LA resident who’s sculptural and ceramic works are very intriguing.

My most recent obsession is with media artist Theo Trian. Theo exhibited in a public|private space called The Cabin where his interactive work with imagery, sound and motion was just delightful.

What do you feel is something unique Los Angeles has to offer art lovers?

 LA is a very unique place for art lovers. The county is literally 100 miles by 100 miles and each neighborhood has some type of art space (museum, private museums, galleries, pop up shows) that is a precious gem. There are an overwhelming amount of new resources to investigate, especially downtown galleries exhibiting emerging and underrepresented artists.

Which collections or works are you looking forward to sharing with your students?

The California African American Museum my favorite gem in the LA art world. Too many people are not aware that it’s been open since 1984 nor do they know where it’s located. A new leadership at the helm and they are bringing a bold, energetic and fresh conversation to the LA art world.

For those who are interested in learning more about the art world in Los Angeles, how would you recommend getting started?

Visit as many museums and galleries as you can. Ask a lot of questions. Read and inform yourself. If this leaves you wanting more, take my class, Contemporary Los Angeles Art in the fall and we’ll explore the city together.

Course Spotlight: Graphic Design for Broadcasting

disneyFormer students of instructor Neal Weisenberg’s Graphic Design for Broadcasting course have been thrilled not only with how much they’ve learned, but also with the valuable industry connections they’ve made through the course’s numerous studio field trips and guest speakers. We asked Neal to share a little more about the course with us:

What brought you to this field?
Broadcast design offers a designer and a creative individual so much variety in the type of work that is produced within Broadcast facility (tv, cable, agency, production company, etc).

Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
I was lucky enough to get to produce a Disney Channel TTI. (THE TIME I…) spot featuring my nephew, who happens to be my hero.

Why is your course, Graphic Design for Broadcasting, important for my Design education?
Broadcast design and graphics are so important to all areas of entertainment.  This course will give you a taste of the “real” world agency/studio design field.

Do you have a sample assignment?
Below is a link to the type of work we will learning about and designing.

Thanks, Neal!

Enroll in Graphic Design for Broadcasting today!

 

UX Instructor Interview: Julia Morton

JuliaMorton_HeadshotUCLAExtension4.26.2015We’re excited to share with you an interview with one of our incredible instructors, Julia Morton! Julia is a UX Designer at Fandango and teaches our UX: Mobile course here at UCLA Extension. She will be teaching UX: Mobile in fall 2016.

  1.       What brought you to this field?

I was getting my Masters in Library and Information Studies at UCLA when I fell in love with the way UX design marries art and science to make life better for people. Taking design thinking classes, it hit me — what does it matter if you have a fabulous library collection if no one can find what’s in it? The idea of designing for better access inspired me. What motivates me now is the hope that my work can help folks enjoy or accomplish their end goals rather than have to think about how an interface functions.

 

Before I studied it, I used to think ‘design’ was about making toys for rich people, like $15,000 watches, or about luxury utility, like how maybe you can afford to have one well-designed task chair in your apartment, and it becomes a sacred object. That never struck me as much fun.

 

One of the things I love about UX design is that it’s for everyone who is using your product or service, and people expect websites and apps to be designed well enough that they don’t have to think about how to use them. That’s the great thing – these days, folks are upset when a site or app doesn’t meet their needs; we assume that sites and apps should just work.

 

  1.       Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

I work at Fandango. One of the more impactful projects I’ve gotten to work on was developing a digital movie ticket that people can use to show a ticket taker and get right into the movie they’re going to go see, with no scanning technology needed. I loved this project because it’s something that genuinely makes people’s lives easier, from the person who is walking into the theater to the ticket taker, who doesn’t have to use special equipment to check the ticket.

 

The work itself for this project was so much fun because it required a huge amount of collaboration with developers, business folks, and visual design. The idea sounds so simple as to be trivial, right? But we needed to take into consideration all sorts of edge cases, ways to avoid fraud, and ways to make sure people who aren’t used to using it would understand it. I’m tremendously lucky to get to work with fabulous teams — all of my most fun projects have involved lots of collaboration with tech, and have ended up somewhere I couldn’t have imagined when we started out.

 

  1.       Why is your course, UX Mobile, important for my UX education?

 

Mobile web and apps are huge channels for people to engage with digital products and services, and many companies these days work by designing mobile first. There are a couple of reasons it’s a good idea to learn how to focus specifically on mobile design:

 

1) Mobile is often the most important platform and the hardest to make prioritization decisions about, because there is less space available. Also, your user likely has less time on mobile. When you learn how to design for mobile first, it becomes much easier to take care of the other platforms afterward.

 

2) There are a number of mobile device-specific functions that offer huge advantages, such as location services, accelerometer, and camera/mic/photo/contacts integrations, and learning to think with them in mind expands what you can do.

 

3) In class, we look at Android and iOS, the two dominant operating systems used in mobile these days. Each system has a specific set of conventions, and it’s worth taking time to understand them and learn how to stay up to date with their rapid changes.

 

4) Because UX is a field where you learn by doing, the class is project based. You’ll do lots of work both in and out of class, get lots of feedback, and end up with a prototype that abides by the conventions and practices of mobile design.

 

  1.       Do you have a sample assignment?

 

Create a persona for your product, not just for your users! This is a great idea I recently learned from an Alastair Somerville conference talk (his Twitter handle is @Acuity_design, if you want to check him out).

 

By now, creating personas to represent the people who will be using your product is a well known step in the UX design process. Sometimes we make personas for stakeholders, too.

 

What we think of less often is that the product or service we are designing will be imbued with personality, perspective, and values, all shaped by what we put into it. That’s why it’s a great idea to create a persona for your product or service: it helps you define and understand what you’re building, which in turn helps you make the connection between it and your users.

 

  1.       Any advice for UX designers just starting out?

 

Keep thinking critically about how to do things. Interface patterns are useful because people recognize them and know how to use them, but we all have a responsibility to keep moving interface conventions forward when we come up with something better.

 

Keep building your ability to empathize with your users. Your ‘beginner’s eye’ is a precious resource – yes, your thinking will become more sophisticated as you develop, but pay attention to your first thoughts and reactions. Contemplate your ideas rather than discarding them as the dross of ignorance. You might learn something unexpected, or you might start thinking about something that will bear fruit in years to come.
When it comes to mobile design, keep your tap targets large, my friends. Keep those tap targets large.

 

See one of Julia’s sample assignments here: CharacterAppSiteTemplate2016

 

AIGAx Design Dialogues podcast: Pete Hawkes of Oblong

We’re extremely excited to share our inaugural Design Dialogues podcast! Design dialogues is a new series of interviews with local designers, makers, and artists presented by your UCLA Extension AIGA group.

In this edition, AIGAx president Michelle Quach introduces DCA student Aneesha Bharadwaj, who visited Oblong Industries downtown and interviewed Pete Hawkes, Director of Interaction Design.

Click on the image:

Hawkes

Intro and outro magic by our very own Allison Tan!

Episode image designed by Ayushee Aithal.

Here’s a gallery of photos from Oblong:

Meet new DCA instructor Christina Webb

We’re thrilled to welcome Christina Webb to the UCLAx Visual Arts community! Christina brings a wealth of experience from her MFA work at the Rhode Island School of Design and her client work in web design, screen design, photography and custom typography. She has also worked on teams at Local Projects and the J. Paul Getty Museum Design Studio where she focused on exhibitions, way-finding, and identity systems for environments and print.

Christina Webb

Christina Webb

Her own practice explores social constructs and dialog in public spaces, with a focus on language and intervention.

Christina is teaching Typography this winter quarter.

What brought you to this field?

I stumbled into graphics in high school, when my infatuation with music, alternative fashion and drawing took new form on t-shirts, faux album art and small local ads. I was part of an expressive punk D.I.Y. culture, and I’ve always loved being hands on and experimental. I became a hair designer and designed my own ads using single-color xerox printers. Later on a new love for digital tools and fine art would lead me into formal training  in a B.F.A. program in Seattle. I was reluctant to take 4(!) lettering and typography courses, but the right professor brought the expressive, irreverent and hands-on love into it and the rest is history. I have since designed commissioned logotypes, print campaigns, exhibition campaigns, interactive type and environmental type installations. I continued to take advanced typography workshops while working as a designer, and focused on it it much of my recent graduate education.

perifix-IMG_0751-770x578Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

There are several, but one of my recent projects that I undertook during my graduate studies was particularly fun. I work in multiple disciplines and “Perifix” is an online project that can generate typographic content usable in other formats, such as print. Users can use a touchpad to scroll the content of different frames within the web page, or press the spacebar to instigate chance arrangements like a slot-machine, remixing word segments across frames to build something new and unexpected. By zooming in, it becomes a typographic form experiment. I love the sense of discovery how the framework can work with varying degrees of source content to generate everything from poetic abstractions to juxtaposed meaning—such as remixing marketing terms as social commentary. This project was selected for a Triennial Exhibition at RISD this fall.

IMG_3468-770x513Why is your course, Typography, important for my design education?

Typography is a necessary part of graphic design, but it is also a rich area of creativity and form-making in itself. To understand this, become savvy with the technical aspects of type and find one’s own inventive, expressive way of working with typography adds depth to your work as well as your way of looking at the visual world. It is also critical to a higher standard of design practice to be able to offer well-skilled, bespoke solutions to clients.

Kennedey-IMG_5209-770x770Do you have a sample assignment?

Assignments in this course will be focusing on the fundamentals of typography such as form, composition, history and context in graphic design. Students will also be researching the rich public space of Los Angeles and doing hands-on experiments that will bring out the unexpected potential of working with type. Both digital and hand crafting skills will be explored. Later assignments will focus on form and its relationship to conceptual content by designing a multi-faceted print project that addresses a contemporary issue, so students will get to merge new making skills with social engagement. I am super excited to see how we can work together to develop engaging work!

Welcome, Christina!

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