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Course spotlight: Advanced Typography (online) with Anya Farquhar

SP15_AdvancedTypographyWe were thrilled when expert designer Anya Farquhar not only joined our instructor team but also agreed to help us bring the course Advanced Typography into the online world!

What can you achieve in this awesome class? Check out this gallery of student work:

Enroll in Advanced Typography (online) today!

Instructor Spotlight: Richard Barkinskiy

hamstervalhallaWe’re thrilled to welcome HTML5 instructor Richard Barkinskiy! An outstanding graduate of our very own Advanced Web & Interaction Design program, Richard is a digital application specialist for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He specializes in WordPress website development with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, and MySQL.

Richard fields our “big four” questions here:

What brought you to this field?

Web development is in constant flux, always keeping me challenged. It requires patience, planning and determination to execute every web site. Although at times it can be frustrating, it’s never boring.

Today websites are more than just online brochures. They contain videos, interactive images, games and everything in-between. If there was ever a profession for a curious mind, I can’t think of a better one than website development.

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

Working for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has given me many opportunities to further strengthen my web development skills. One such opportunity was creating the Discoveries Magazine website in 2012.

The Discoveries Magazine publication chronicles the latest research conducted at Cedars-Sinai with moving photography, stylistic typography and engaging stories that help bring to life the work undertaken at the medical center. I was tasked to bring the same level of professional and innovation to the web.

I sought to build a website that not only took advantage of HTML5 semantics, but employed responsive website design techniques. At the time, responsive website design was just a concept being discussed by the web community, not as the de facto approach to website development it is today.

Taking a calculated risk, I presented the responsive website design idea to various stakeholders and was entrusted to create a website unlike anything they had ever seen before.

Having no prior experience building a responsive website, I did my best to soak in as much information regarding the technique. With the deadline looming, I tackled the project and launched the website about two months after its conception. The website was one of the first built with responsive website design for Cedars-Sinai and most recently earned a 2013 Eddie award for an online publication.

Why is your course, HTML5, important for my design education?www.zugotruck.com

Understanding key fundamentals of modern website design is paramount in constructing the next generation of websites. The web today is accessible on multitude of devices—from laptops and tablets to smartphones and gaming consoles. It’s now, more than ever, imperative in understanding how to code with accuracy and employ modern best practice techniques effectively in order to engage online visitors on any device that connects to the web.

Do you have sample work?


Utilizing HTML5 and CSS3, I constructed responsive landing page for the Run for Her event. The Run for Her event supports ovarian cancer research and awareness and this year has grown to include events in the Bay Area and New York in addition to Los Angeles. The homepage needed to consist of links to the various events, a feed to the event’s photo gallery and video—all while remaining responsive.


Incorporating “Art Directed” techniques in bringing the printed publication to the web, I have helped transform stories from print to an engaging online presence utilizing HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery.


Building the Zugo Liquitarian website was a fun project where I got to tap into my creative side and build a website for the best juice truck in Los Angeles. I utilized jQuery to help deliver Instagram’s API onto the homepage.

Additional websites: www.pink-party.org, www.hamstervalhalla.com, www.nvenv.com

Welcome, Richard!

Instructor Spotlight: Benjamin Woodlock

Ben WoodlockWe’re thrilled to welcome new Typography (beginning fall 2014) and Advanced Typography (beginning summer 2014) instructor Benjamin Woodlock! A CalArts MFA grad, Benjamin now runs Subtext Office, a Los Angeles-based foundry and graphic design studio specializing in custom and retail typefaces, branding and publication design.

Benjamin fields our “big four” questions here:

What brought you to this field?

My path to design was through music. For a while I recorded and toured with an indie-rock band. We started a little label and did everything ourselves, so one of my jobs was to make posters for every show. When we started out, I had almost no skills or knowledge about design, but little by little I got better at it and started to fall hard for typography. I went back to school to get my masters which is where I started really geeking out by learning typeface design. Now my work is split between more traditional graphic design–mostly focused on branding and editorial work—and custom typeface design. When I can find some free time, I spend it working on a couple of typefaces that I’m developing for retail.

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

Last year, CalArts asked me to create a typeface to expand their branded communications. They wanted a three-style font based on their logo and I was lucky to get the commission right after an intense MFA experience there. Calarts has an amazing, vibrant, and bonkers tradition of typeface design so I was a little terrified at first trying to draw on all of it as inspiration for an institutional typeface. Fortunately, the project moved so quickly I didn’t really have time to freak out—it was a blur of drawing, revising and kerning. It was exciting how fast “McBean” came together and it is really rewarding to see them use it in so many different ways.

Why is your course, Advanced Typography, important for my design education?

Designers today need to go beyond just practicing good typography, which is a complicated enough task as is. Great typography needs to solve a complex equation: it has to be clear, inventive, complex, balanced and expressive, among other things. We are lucky to be designers right now because the wealth of typefaces and digital tools at our disposal means that there are endless possibilities for typographic expression. Advanced Typography provides a forum for stretching muscles and taking risks, while confronting the sort of challenging problems that typographers are asked to solve in the real world.

Do you have a sample assignment?

Here’s a teaser: since we’re in LA, the first project will revolve around the branding and marketing of film. All the projects in Advanced Typography will focus on two areas of growth. First, they ask students to experiment and explore the limitless possibilities of typography. That means pushing beyond boundaries to create innovative and unexpected solutions. At the same time, the work focuses on typographic complexity by engaging dynamic systems to handle many layers of information. Most of the projects will be open-ended in terms of format—so students can answer the brief in ways that interest them, whether that be a printed piece, a website, motion graphics, or something completely different. I’m looking forward to surprising ideas and approaches!

A poster for the Calarts Visiting Design Lecture Series. The title treatment is the result of a multi-stage analogue and digital process, reflective of Oh Yeah Studio's unique approach to design.  Screenprint; edition of 15.

A poster for the Calarts Visiting Design Lecture Series. The title treatment is the result of a multi-stage analogue and digital process, reflective of Oh Yeah Studio’s unique approach to design.
Screenprint; edition of 15.

Introducing Photo Instructor Parker Steele

Parker Steele bio imageThis upcoming spring quarter, we’re excited to welcome Parker Steele as our new instructor for Shoot & Critique.  From his work as a photojournalist and writer with the Ohio Army National Guard to his assignments for clients such as Bicycling Magazine, L’Officiel, Lucky Brand Clothing, Marie Claire, and Nordstrom’s HauteLook, Steele brings a diverse range of experience to the classroom.  We took a moment to ask him a few questions about his work, career, and what students can expect from his Spring course.

What drew you to photography and how did you get started?

I took a few photography classes in high school and was fortunate enough to have a teacher who was extremely supportive. At first, I was drawn by the technical aspects and how that could be translated into a meaningful image. My teacher encouraged me to apply for a scholarship to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design, to study commercial photography. Around the same time, I also decided to enlist in the National Guard as a photojournalist and writer. Luckily, both worked out and I was able to study and work as a photographer at the same time.

Bicycing in LA

Image courtesy of Parker Steele

Certain aspects of what I learned as a photojournalist have been translated into my commercial work. However, one of the best lessons I’ve learned is that as a photographer there is an innate feeling to project yourself into your work. It becomes more of an internalized projection than simply a documentation.  That’s why a photographer’s approach or process is considered somewhat sacred — it’s revealing and says a lot about what they value.

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

portrait with old painting in dark room

Image courtesy of Parker Steele

It was October ’11, I was living in NYC at the time. A photographer friend of mine invited me to the Navajo Nation while he was working on a long-term project. I took some basic stuff, my camera equipment and an audio recorder.  There was no internet, so I ended up having to post flyers around town in order to find people to photograph.  The entire project was about documenting the people of Tuba City, AZ.  As an outsider, being dropped into a somewhat marginalized culture left me with some larger questions to explore. My subjects included a young high school couple, a boy who had dreams of becoming a male model, a single mother and her child, one of the last remaining Navajo Code talkers of WWII, a children’s Navajo rodeo, a Navajo language teacher who was out of a job because they’re not teaching the Navajo Language to students anymore, plus various landscapes. There’s actually a behind the scenes video, which gives you a sense of what went into the making of the project. It was by far, the most rewarding project I’ve worked on. It was a project that I was truly passionate about and it refueled my desire to create, explore and it reminded me why I fell in love with photography in the first place.

What can students expect from your approach to Shoot & Critique this spring?

My goal for the class is to improve students’ understanding of photography and to explore their own creative process. Through talks, practical exercises, planned shoots and critiques I ultimately want them to have the tools to become stronger photographers in whatever field they’re interested.

woman and daughter

Image courtesy of Parker Steele

Any advice for budding photographers just starting out?

Be persistent, build your visual language, perfect your craft, and learn from mistakes. In a handful of cases, careers have started over night, but most successful photographers have worked really hard for at least 10 years to get where the are now. Figure out a way to support your photography. The experiences you have outside of photography will influence your perspective and you’ll become a better photographer for it.

Instructor Spotlight: Michelle Constantine

Michelle Constantine

Michelle Constantine

Many Visual Arts students already know the multi-talented instructor Michelle Constantine from the Mac lab where she teaches InDesign. This fall, we’re excited for her to bring her artistic passion (check out the gallery below!) to the online realm with Mixed Media and Collage for Designers and Artists (Online).  Read on to learn more about her and see samples of her own work:

What brought you to this field?

There wasn’t any specific thing that brought me into the arts, it just came together.
I have always been a maker—I collect things for future projects and meticulously organize until it’s needed. Fabric, glitter, paint, paper, thread, dye, maps, photo gels, books… Collage is about bringing things together that sometimes shouldn’t be. My work is a mix of materials; I use whatever is best for the project.

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

Early in my career, I was asked to make a mapquilt for a gallery in London. When I arrived for the opening, I was thrilled that my piece had been hung in the window. It was perfectly lit and looked fabulous. Being able to see my work in a presented state is always rewarding.

Why is your course, Mixed Media and Collage for Artists and Designers (online) important for my design education?

Learning how to make things by hand is important and valued in the digital age we live in. In a return to the handmade, understanding how to use a variety of tools and techniques properly makes you more valuable as a designer. There’s a playfulness that comes out when media is mixed.

Do you have a sample assignment?

For the class, you will work on weekly mini projects that serve as explorations of media. You will explore the techniques and mediums shown in the video demo each week. You will also work on personal portfolio pieces throughout the quarter that will grow and evolve as you learn and grow creatively.

Enroll in Mixed Media and Collage for Designers and Artists (Online) today!

Meet Advertising Design Instructor Albert Ocampo

DCA instructor Albert Ocampo

DCA instructor Albert Ocampo

We’re thrilled to welcome Albert Ocampo, Brand Experience Director at the prestigious advertising firm RPA, to our team of instructors! Albert will be teaching Advertising Design this summer.

What makes you passionate about advertising design?

Advertising is a dynamic industry that affords you the opportunity to apply design processes and skills to many different types of media: broadcast, print, digital, or experiential—sometimes all of the above in one assignment.

What brought you to this field?

I never actually considered advertising as a career, but a serendipitous opportunity came up at an ad agency, so I thought I’d try it out. It’s been infinitely more challenging and rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

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

Too many to list! The types of projects that I enjoy the most tend to integrate both traditional and digital media seamlessly.

Why is your course, Advertising Design, important for my design education?

If you are considering advertising as a career, you’d do well to understand how agencies work and the type of projects that you’ll be expected to work on. This class will give you both theoretical and practical knowledge that will help you, should you want to pursue it as a career.

Do you have a sample assignment?

Over the course of the term, students will be working on projects in print, tv, digital, as well as a campaign that integrates them all.

Thanks, Albert!

Enroll in Advertising Design today.

Course Spotlight: Advanced Typography with Steve Child

graphic design by Steve Child

Highly accomplished designer, fine artist, and instructor Steve Child will be teaching Advanced Typography this spring. (Check out the cool poster he created for us above). Learn more about him and the course:

What makes you passionate about design?

I’m a person who needs to create. I love to brew a cup of coffee, put on my music, and get working on a project. I really enjoy the process and I derive great pleasure from bringing an idea to life. It is fun to take a problem and work through its solution. It isn’t always easy. It can be fraught with difficulties. But if I embrace those obstacles and see them as part of the process, I can learn and benefit from them as well.

I think the work gets really interesting for me when I can bring my fine arts sensibilities and mix it in with my design skills. This is an area I’m further exploring in my own work. When I can mix genres and styles together to create something fresh and surprising. Design, like any other discipline, can allow you to dig deeply into the nature of life. If you can approach the process with both your “big” mind and your “practical” mind, usually something interesting happens.

What brought you to this field?

I was trained as a fine artist. My degrees are in painting and drawing and I spent a lot of time in the studio. I was a very dedicated artist, but I had no way to make a living after I graduated. My roommates were designers and illustrators and through their help I began to work in design to pay the rent. As much as I had a grasp of art history and contemporary art and an understanding of the visual language, I had no education or practical experience in design, so I began at the very bottom and learned everything on the job. After 4 years I became an art director in a health care agency and learned a lot about the advertising industry and the design process.

After graduate school, I moved to Los Angeles. In just a few short years all the tools and processes for creating design had changed, so it was necessary for me to learn the software tools. I went to Art Center College of Design to gain my digital expertise and shortly after that I got a job at the in-house agency 5555 at Paramount Pictures. I spent the next 10 years creating entertainment advertising. I’ve been teaching, freelancing and creating my own work since then.

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

I was recently asked to design street banners for the city of Long Beach. They wanted me to create a lot of different solutions for 3 different neighborhoods: 4th Street Arts District downtown, North Village and Virginia Village. I was given quite a lot of freedom to search for an appropriate answer that would inspire and enliven the neighborhood. Once the 8 pieces were chosen and produced, politicians were there to officially put them up at a ceremony. I genuinely felt a great sense of satisfaction that I was able to use my skills to create something meaningful for the community in these neighborhoods.

Why is your course, Advanced Typography, important for my design education?

Almost everything you create in design will have some typography in it. Type drives most messages and knowing how to organize and express meaning through typography is a fundamental skill that you must acquire if you are to succeed. Design firms look for good typographic thinkers in their hires. They want designers who understand the history and style of their type choices and use them with skill and thoughtfulness. We’ll discuss both the theoretical as well as the nuts and bolts of typography.

Should I be intimidated by the 6 meeting/6 hour format?

We’ll make it fun! I hope it is a class that you look forward to and that the things you learn will stay with you for your life as a designer. We’ll use the format as a workshop and will include time to critique our work in-depth. Having that much time together will allow us to really concentrate and get deeply involved in the process. It will also allow us to work one on one and as a group to share ideas. This class should catapult your growth as a designer. We’ll make sure to take breaks and refresh.

Do you have a sample assignment?

One project will involve creating an exhibition foldout announcement. Each step of the process will be thoroughly studied. Students will first go through a rigorous process of developing many different greyscale layouts based on typographic structural systems. These systems are organizational ideas that allow a designer to strengthen their compositional skills and push their preconceived notions of what type can do. The devices are a platform for studying hierarchy, alignment, proximity and other fundamental elements and lead to beautiful and effective layouts. Students then carefully choose appropriate type, develop a cohesive greyscale composition, create a color palette and refine the final solution.

Enroll in Advanced Typography today!


Introducing UX instructor Thomas Dillmann

Our UX team of instructors just keeps getting bigger, better, and more dynamic: We’re thrilled to welcome Thomas Dillmann, a user experience architect with fifteen years practical application in user experience and information architecture. Thomas will be teaching the introductory level User Experience Design course this winter. Here’s more about him:

What makes you passionate about user experience design?
It allows you to communicate that potential of new solutions and enables design and development teams to deliver a product that delights, helps and enables the end user.

What brought you to this field?
I entered the information architecture field by working at an early video search engine during the dot com days. I was very lucky to work with an amazing information scientist who taught me how to create an ontology for classifying video and inter-video search.  Still some the greatest video interface technology I have every encountered.  It was  a great time. The field of user experience barely existed, we were making it up as we went along. It is very validating to see how integral and deeply important thinking about and caring about the user has become to product development.

Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
I was able to work on an early generation Android Mobile interface that provided a management interface for a wireless hospital bed. The proof of concept work allowed the wireless hospital bed to be brought to market benefiting patient wellness while in the hospital.

Why is your User Experience Design course important for my design education?
The course will equip you with the skills and tools to engage in the full life cycle for defining a software product. It will provide you with a learning matrix by which you can understand the User Experience discipline and provide you the structure off of which to hang skills as you develop your craft.

Enroll in User Experience Design today.

Introducing UX Online Instructor Alard Weisscher

We’re thrilled to welcome lauded user experience researcher and designer Alard Weisscher to the DCA team! Alard will be teaching User Experience Design (online) this fall. Get to know him and his course better:

What makes you passionate about design? What brought you to this field?

Computer technology is sheer magic to me. I believe that future people will look back at our present time as one with the most exciting technological advancements, a digital renaissance if you like. I feel privileged being part of and in a position to help shape that magic. I find the process of creating a relevant and pleasant digital experience by balancing user requirements with business goals and technical constraints extremely satisfying.

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

While I was working at Vodafone, one of the largest mobile operators on our planet, I was part of a small but dedicated team that was dreaming of an open alternative for social networks. We were intrigued that social networks were walled gardens, and wondered why we could not use an approach similar to email that allows you to ‘share’ with anyone with a unique email address. In this project called OneSocialWeb, we created a working implementation to illustrate that it can be done technically whilst respecting performance, privacy and the browser and mobile experiences people are familiar with in the big social networks like Facebook and Google+. The point was not to develop a new social network but to trigger discussions on how social networks could eventually be opened up. It was simply amazing to work with state of the art technology and contribute, if only just a little bit, to the thinking of a social experience that touches the lives of millions of people worldwide.

Why is your course, User Experience Design (online), important for my design education?

Design today is a team sport that is becoming more and more popular. You will be playing alongside marketeers, strategists, customer care representatives, developers, other specialist designers and of course your users. It is essential to understand how the game is played and what tactics you have at your disposal to create winning experiences.

Do you have a sample assignment?

I treat my course as my own design assignment, using several techniques along the way to try and make sure the course fits my users (students) needs. I for instance use a Cultural Probe assignent in the first week, and ask my students to fill out a little booklet to explain about there expectations of the course. Eating your own dogfood is what they call this at startups, and no worries: it tastes great.

You are from the Netherlands. Will we earn extra credit if we support the Dutch football team?

We sure could use a little extra support. In the European Championships we did not even make it to the second round – quite a drop from being second in the World Cup of 2010. With a new coach lined up we are preparing for a comeback!

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