Congrats to designer Jonas Lin, who recently completed the DCA program! He shares more about his experiences here:
Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.
It is my belief that design is one of the fastest and most direct forms of communication. A good design can even break the boundaries of nationality and language. In my past experience with clients, when I come up with a design that successfully communicates their message to their target audience, I get a sense of utmost fulfillment, and this fulfillment is what drives my passion for design.
I had already been working in the design industry for several years before coming to America, and my designs were heavily influenced by Asian philosophy and aesthetics. But as time passed, I wanted to explore and experience with Western design elements, so I came to the US to learn more about this area that I am unfamiliar with. Because LA is known for its diverse cultural environment, and because UCLA Extension offers a variety of courses as well as instructors with real-world experience, I chose the DCA program to enrich my design skills.
What were your favorite courses and why?
Actually, I enjoyed a lot of the courses. When you pretend that each and every assignment is a real case, you will naturally find the fun in the courses (of course, this also comes with more pressure). I did learn the most from the courses that involves typography, for example, Typography and Publication Design, and the reason is simple: that was the field I was most unfamiliar with, and was the most challenging for me as a designer who mainly worked with Chinese characters and not Roman letters. The relationship between individual letters, between words, and even between lines and paragraphs all play an important role in determining the final look of the design piece, and a small change in these relationships can result in drastic differences in the outcome. Furthermore, you also need to understand the historical backgrounds and characteristics of the different types in order to legitimize your design. That is why I find typography so interesting.
If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream design job, who are they, where do they work, and what’s the job?
To be honest, I don’t have an answer to this question. Or more precisely, I am open to all possibilities. I am the type of person who likes to compete with myself, and for every task that I take on, I like to push my own limits and think outside the box. I dislike being told that there’s something I can’t do, and when people ask what kind of jobs I’m good at, I often tell them “I don’t know,” because I like a lot of things and I can do a decent job no matter what I do. I certainly enjoy being a problem-solver, and being a designer, one is constantly solving problems with branding, merchandising, packaging, and marketing. If the phone rang right now, I would probably just ask, “What is the case that we need to work on?”
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
My goal is to become a creative director. I want to have the opportunity to interact directly with clients, to understand the story behind their brands, and to solve client’s problems using the design process while focusing on the big picture. I’ve always liked team work, and it is an exciting thing to be able to assign roles in a team based on each team member’s skill set in order to complete a project. This means that I will need to take on the role of a navigator, as opposed to being a designer that sits in front of the computer all day making graphics look perfect.
I know that I still have a lot of weaknesses to overcome, but I believe some of these weaknesses can be transformed into advantages. Being a foreigner, I expect myself to one day break the cultural boundaries of design, as this may be where the demand is in the global market we are in.