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.
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?
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.
We’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!
Congratulations to Harsh Patel on his inclusion in the upcoming Made in L.A. 2014 Biennial at the Hammer Museum!
The second iteration of Made in L.A. gathers 35 emerging and mid-career artists for a look at groundbreaking new work from across Los Angeles. Work by Harsh runs the gamut from book and publication designs, to posters and unique typographic constructs. In addition to his incredible work as a designer, Harsh shares his insight and talent with our students every week as a UCLAx instructor, and our staff and student community are lucky to have him on board.
Made in L.A. 2014 will take place June 15 to September 7, and you can learn more via the Hammer Museum’s website.
If you happen to be in New York during March, be sure to stop by Cleopatra’s in Brooklyn for Harsh Patel’s exhibition New Typography, which opens March 2nd and runs through the 30th.
Created to promote the fantastic Handmade Typographic Poster workshop run by designer and AIGA Fellow John Clark, the poster – assembled by Ali Keenan of Looking LA and photographed by Donald Miller – has been receiving numerous accolades on its own.
Recently featured in Communication Arts Typographic Annual 2014 as a ‘Posters’ category winner, the work is also in the running at the International Centre for Graphic Design Poster Competition in Chaumont and the Warsaw Biennale.
For more of the amazing design work coming out of Looking LA studios, please visit their website.
Heist, an exhibition of new work by photographer and instructor Amanda Keller Konya opens Saturday, Feb. 15th at the West Gallery, Cal State Northridge. Taking Millard Sheets’ commissioned mosaics for Southern California banks from 1954 to 1975 as her subject, Heist “offers viewers a selective and cropped view of the subject matter represented within these tiles, such as: depictions of power, labor, manifest destiny, the nuclear family, scientific and technological progress and the California Dream.”
The titles locate each work, positioning the exhibition within the Southern California landscape as well as pointing to the repurposed buildings “prettified by each mosaic.” As writer Michelle Weiner explains, a viewer “considers the formal attributes, the location, the socio-economical history and significance of the subject matter. However, it is within this subject matter, specifically its making a spectacle of the other, which leads the viewer to conclude Keller Konya is not only depicting but deconstructing the myth of the Southern California landscape through these various architectural, ornamental mosaics.” Keller Konya has digitally captured the images, which are then printed at 7″ x 5″ size on fiber based silver gelatin paper.
February 15 – March 6
Opening Reception | Saturday, Feb. 15th 4 – 7pm
Cal State Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA, 91330-8299
For more information, please visit the Cal State Northridge Galleries website.
Photoshelter, a worldwide leader in photography portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers just listed our very own Todd Bigelow and his Business of Photography course as one of their 50 Awesome Photo Workshops from Around the World. Judging from student feedback and our insight into Todd’s extensive knowledge and expertise, we couldn’t agree more. Currently offering the workshop at Otis, it will return to UCLA Extension in our upcoming Summer quarter on July 12th & 13th.
A welcome to the future courtesy of designer and UCLA Extension instructor Masaki Koike!
Welcome to Artist’s Select, a new series on our blog featuring compelling imagery that provokes and inspires – selected by some of our favorite artists, designers and instructors. Our first selection is courtesy of artist Alison Blickle, who writes:
“Recently I’ve been looking at images from a variety of times and places– ancient Egyptian art, alchemical illustrations from the Middle Ages, textiles and patterns from the Middle East and the American Southwest, old Russian fairy tale illustrations, and the photography of Studio Manasse from the 1920s. I’ve also been inspired by a recent trip to Alaska– the wild landscape and the art of the native people there are so beautiful. Looking at the work of other artists is always important to me too. Lately I’ve been into Edouard Vuillard and William Blake, and the paintings of my friends Jeni Spota in New York and Howard Eige in Oakland, CA.”
This fall we’re pleased to have Douglas Hill teaching an online section of the course Photographic Composition. Douglas is a celebrated photographer of architecture and interior design, as well as the author of several series that capture the character and feel of our great city. His class is great for anyone who would like to strengthen their skills in composition, an element of your photography practice that is vital but sometimes overlooked in favor of more technical considerations. Certificate students can use it as an elective toward their progress as well.
Douglas was kind enough to share his syllabus for the class, so check it out to get a sense of the projects and what you’ll accomplish. Assignment 1, called “Be an Urban Explorer” should get you excited to start!
Have a look at some of Douglas’ photography below, and view more on his website: douglashillphotography.com.