We are excited to announce designer Janine Vigus will be joining UCLA Extension this summer as our new Design Fundamentals instructor. She brings with her an extensive background designing for the non-profit sector, with years of experience creating enriching design for the Greater Los Angeles area. She took a moment to answer some key questions about her Design Fundamentals course this summer.
This course is considered the first course in the DCA certificate program. What will I take away from it?
We will be looking to the groundbreaking studies from origins of modern graphic design, and exploring the ways in which an understanding of and facility with formal elements – such as point, line, and plane, rhythm & balance, scale, framing, and figure/ground relationships – underpin great design, and provide greater conceptual freedom. Through a series of projects that I hope will be challenging, inspiring, and fun, students will experience design as practice, working through exercises towards successful solutions, and finding grounds for further exercise and experimentation within those solutions.
You’ve had a remarkable career thus far with clients including Chinese American Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, Huntington Library Press, LACMA, and Library Foundation of Los Angeles. What makes you passionate about design?
I’m interested in the way that design can create conceptual and practical clarity, and in the role of narrative and ethics, which I think are intimately connected. I like the idea that emotional and intellectual work are supplementary to each other, and that discipline and freedom have equal weight. I’ve been inspired by colleagues – by designers I’ve worked for and with; by editors, curators, and clients – from my first job in a design studio working for John Coy to my colleagues at LACMA, and by projects with clients that have been rewarding collaborations.
Do you have any sample assignments?
Students will have the freedom in class assignments to find physical and/or digital solutions in a project to construct an emotive word using point, line, or plane. They will explore rhythm and balance visually through a project that looks at sequential design through construction of an accordion book, and experience the value of responding to chance through the use of accidental images and found content. We will use a course text by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips: Graphic Design, the New Basics. Class exercises will be drawn from the text, which can be found here.