Big thanks to recent DCA graduate Elizabeth Melnitzky, who shares her thoughts on the DCA program and some of her outstanding projects below:
Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.
I grew up loving art and enjoyed going to museums with my dad who worked as a painting conservator. I studied Art History in college and contextualized how artists effected change in society; I also gained a visual reference library that is crucial in my design work. After working in Public Relations in New York for a few years, I consistently saw the need for good design that could contribute to better communication and results.
I absorbed everything possible about the design industry but felt I needed to gain a fundamental skill set to break into the industry. I moved to Los Angeles for a bit of freedom, space and light to study design after falling in love with the landscape: the vintage signs, the bright colors, and what felt to me like an abundance of nature after living in New York. The location along with the ability to work while learning new skills attracted me to the DCA program. To bring things full circle, learning about Design History at the DCA program brought new life to my art history background, designers were behind so many of the technical and cultural advances that made many of the great art movements possible.
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?
As a designer, I embrace the opportunity to work across multiple industries, mediums and platforms. The most important element in my dream job is being part of a team that uses design as a tool for a change and helps clients tell their story to make a positive impact. In the current climate, it is no longer acceptable or financially effective to ignore issues of sustainability. My dream design job would involve developing identities and products for brands and communities that are working towards a better and more efficient way of doing things. I’m attracted to companies that are looking to disrupt industries and agencies that are providing the creative work to help achieve their goals. I want to work closely with other designers and team members who are using analytics, goals, and strategies to define how their designs will help solve a problem.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
In 5 years I’d love to be working as a designer at an agency that is using their wide reach to effect tangible change in the world, or in-house at a company that is solving issues that will determine the course of the next generation. I want to have measured successes in building brands and helping communities through design and be surrounded by team members that are as passionate about effecting change as I am. I want to have built on all of the skills I’ve gained at the UCLA program and to never remain stagnate in my pursuit of good design.
The wide array of course offerings was another element that drew me to the DCA program. While picking up the basic tools of the trade, Adobe Creative Suite, Photography, Drawing for Communication I loved the opportunity to focus on niche areas of expertise throughout this program. Learning the fundamentals of UX thinking and design along with practical skills such as HTML and Java allow me to better understand the channels a consumer will connect with my graphics on. Having the ability to communicate with other designers in this area on projects is invaluable and the teachers at the UCLA made complex subject more approachable.