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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!

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

 

LA River Shoot for Photography II

We were thrilled to have Craig Havens back teaching with us for the spring quarter. His Photography II students got some valuable hands-on experience during three field trips to Downtown LA, the LA River, and Joshua Tree.

Though Craig’s now back in Berlin, he’ll be teaching Photographic Composition online during the summer quarter. Below are some images from their trip to the LA River (all photos by Craig Havens).

Havens 2 Havens 3 Havens 4 Havens 5 Havens 6 Havens 7

The Colors of the Flood: Joe Blaustein’s Photos of the Flood of the Arno

In November 1966, Florence, Italy experienced a catastrophic flood. The Arno River overflowed, killing over a hundred people and damaging thousands of priceless works of art.

Joe Blaustein, who teaches in our studio arts program, was living in Italy during the time of the flood. His color pictures, from the immediate aftermath, have been included in an upcoming book The Colors of the Flood. The book will be published shortly, but in the meantime, take a look at some images. Joe and his family are featured in the first one.

Congrats to Joe on this remarkable historical record, and his recognition from the city of Florence! You can see more information on the site The Florence Flood.

Flood 2Flood 1Flood 3 Flood 4

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!

Interview with Instructor Chris Becker

DesignThinking 1
Chris Becker will be teaching Design Thinking II this upcoming Summer 2015 quarter. He’ll bring creativity, insight, and develop unique visions with all who join him in this exciting class.

We talked to Chris about his work, his class and his advice for the would-be UX Designers and beyond.

chris becker

Can you describe your current practice? What projects are you working on or hoping to start soon?

As a UX Designer / Interaction Designer / Design Researcher / Educator, my practice has been focusing on the interplay between systems (websites, app platforms, software & learning systems) and design / design education. I have been using the design thinking process as a foundation for which all of my work stems. By leaning on the process I have been able to show my clients and my class rooms that design is not only fun but has ability to be innovative and necessary.

I am currently working with early stage startup: a neuroscience based brain mentoring platform called mymntr.com out of San Francisco and have started on a responsive website redesign of a major university in Colorado.

Can you describe your Design Thinking II class that you will be teaching in Summer?

Design Thinking II will take a deeper dive into the design thinking process. We will be exploring and improving our design thinking methodology through 3 distinct design thinking cycles. 1 short cylce, 1 medium cycle, and one long cycle. Since design thinking is a way of approaching problem solving, this course will engage your critical making, out of the box thinking, creativity, and prototyping skills. All along the way we will be improving our ability to develop insights and forage through an iterative innovation cycle with a goal of producing clear and unique solutions at varying levels of finish from sketching to working prototypes.

The DTII course is built on a workshop based interaction which will require highly collaborative discussions, in class testing of ideas, and lively brainstorming / insight gathering & problem definitions. Students will leave with an nuanced knowledge of the design thinking process and 12 weeks of practice and documentation of using the methodology for solving design problems.

Design-is-a-process

What do you hope students walk away from your class with?

Design Thinking 2 students will walk away with a growing confidence in using the design thinking methodology as well as 3 projects that illustrate their usefulness and problem solving abilities. Furthermore they will grow their ability to articulate and document the design thinking process and show how they move from insight gathering through problem solving prototyping.

What advice would you have for people who are thinking about pursuing User Experience Design or a related Design field as a profession?

Some advice.
Try not to be defined by deliverables like wireframes or sitemaps. The “oh you make wireframes syndrome” diminishes the vast umbrella of impact a User Experience Designer can think about inside any company or system.

Concentrate on and show how human centered design methodologies can improve business and the impact of experience on your users.

User Experience is a relatively new and growing field of practice and it needs to be internalized by industry from a foundational perspective so be part of showing how and why it matters. Then go out and make awesome stuff.

Enroll in his Summer class Here

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