explore. experience. expand.

UCLA Extension Visual Arts offers individual courses in design, user experience, art history, photography, motion, Unity, VR, and fine art. In addition, we offer certificate programs in Design Communication Arts, User Experience (UX), and Photography. The majority of our courses are open enrollment.

UCLAxOpen free course – Playing With Time: Looking Backwards into the Future of Motion Graphics

On Tuesday, October 12th from 12-1:30pm the Visual Arts presents: Playing With Time: Looking Backwards into the Future of Motion Graphics

In this free short course taught by design educator Emma Berliner you will:

-Explore the formal properties and possibilities of motion design
-Gain the foundational fluency to incorporate motion media into your own design practice beyond the end of the course
-Develop a historical framework and vocabulary for understanding and producing time-based moving image work
and
-Understand the key concerns of video and motion graphics within its larger historical context

This opportunity is part of UCLAxOpen, your gateway to no-cost personal enrichment and professional development courses and seminars offered via UCLA Extension.

Emma Berliner

Emma is a LA-based designer & director who loves dogs & disco. She holds an MFA from CalArts in Graphic Design and a BFA from the Film & Television program at NYU Tisch; where she was awarded the Martin Scorsese Young Filmmaker’s Award and the Oliver Stone Screenwriting Grant for her thesis film.

Her past illustration and design clients include CalArts, Vogue, Nylon, Goop, Annapurna Pictures and Paramount TV. Emma publishes books under the banner mixedgreens and exhibits at Printed Matter’s Art Book Fair.

Join us!

Telling Your Story: Narrative Photography with Craig Havens

This fall we’re pleased to offer a new photography course with instructor Craig Havens.

ART X 450.99 – Telling Your Story: Narrative Photography  (Fall 2021)
September 21 – December 14

This course focuses on essential tools and techniques for communicating effective and compelling personal stories through your photographs. Students will develop a unique visual storytelling perspective and define their personal narrative voice.

Course assignments will provide practical experience in defining a personal point of view, effective pre-production and planning, linear and non-linear narratives, effective Image sequencing and editing, compositional strategies for visual storytelling, lighting for dramatic effect, dynamic interactions with subjects, and professional digital image workflows.

Instruction also covers the use of smartphone cameras, social media integration, as well as use of the Adobe RAW workflow editing environment.

Butte de Leon & Dirtpile by Craig Havens

UCLAxOpen free course: Design a Brilliant Career and Find Your Professional Purpose

On Tuesday, September 21st from 3-4:30pm the Visual Arts presents: Design a Brilliant Career and Find Your Professional Purpose.

In this free short course, design education leaders Scott Hutchinson and Dave Moon will teach you how to take your design career goals from lackluster to brilliant.

This opportunity is part of UCLAxOpen, your gateway to no-cost personal enrichment and professional development courses and seminars offered via UCLA Extension.

Dave Moon

Dave Moon is currently serving as an art and design professor at California State University, Northridge. He is the Communication Design area head and faculty/business advisor for IntersectLA. Prior to his current appointments, he served as chair of the Art Department and Interim Dean of CSUN’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication. Dave founded or co-founded a number of student-based creative enterprises, including the Center for Visual Communication (VISCOM), DesignHub, META+Lab, RADIUS, and most recently, IntersectLA, a design, marketing, and strategy agency. He has always been focused on student learning and creating innovative spaces that encourage collaborative learning via a “learn-by-doing” model, and Dave developed a handbook to assist other educational institutions in replicating the model to further connect education with industry. Additionally, he has authored two textbooks: Design Strategy for Effective Branding and Power-Up YOU: A Personal Branding Handbook for Artists, Creatives, and Designers. Both books were developed to serve students seeking jobs upon graduation. Dave has 30 years of experience in higher education and helping students find jobs, and he continues to make student success his highest priority.

Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson is the Program Director of the Visual Arts at UCLA Extension. Currently he is organizing TEDxUCLA.

More about Scott: I work for the design, studio, photography and art history programs at UCLA Extension, in addition to consulting and teaching in the area of commercial design. My training is as a designer, with a BA and MFA from UCLA’s Design Media Arts program, and I specialize in identity work for a variety of non-profits, mainly in branding, identity systems, social media and web development. Board activity includes National AIGA Design Educators Committee, AIGA Los Angeles Education advisor, United Designs, UCLA Volunteer Center, and sustainability committees on campus, UCLA Extension, and the Green Observers Foundation. Speaker at a variety of conferences on design, visual literacy, semiotics, and social media.

Enroll in Design a Brilliant Career and Find Your Professional Purpose today!

Join Our Visual Arts Open House on August 17th

Direct Zoom link: https://ucla.zoom.us/j/98463221573?pwd=MUx5VXZhSTQxaWNQbFJwd0hMYnhQdz09

Join us for a free information session about the Design Communication Arts, User Experience, and Visual Arts Programs. Learn about career pathways and creative outlets and meet a few of the people involved with the programs.  

Tuesday, August 17th
12-1pm PDT

Enroll here today!

Interview with Recent DCA Graduate Monica Catalan

Congrats to recent Design Communication Arts Grad Monica Catalan! Read about Monica’s DCA journey below. All work samples are hers.

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.

I was working as a Diplomat for the Mexican Consulate and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of being in LA. I was looking to complement my career in marketing by learning graphic design and UCLA Extension was a great option for me since they offer great opportunities to international students.

What were your favorite courses and why?

Color Methodologies was a very fun learning experience and I discovered how much I love illustration and it stirred my interest in playing with different materials. I found it fascinating how we humans are heavily related to color psychology.

Drawing for Communication (Kate: no longer offered) was a very joyful and thoughtful class. I enjoyed learning the role that drawing plays in the art and design process. I liked how the teacher highlighted the benefits of freehand and how this kind of communication requires a special amount of empathy towards the addressee of the message.

Design History and Context was very interesting to me, learning the value of the history of design and the metamorphosis of the field throughout the years around the world. I enjoyed finding inspiration from the past and rediscovering ways to apply it pushing it in a fresh, modern direction.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

UCLA Extension helped me to discover my passion for illustration. I also love myths and legends so I see myself illustrating my own books for adults and children.

Congrats again, Monica! You can view Monica’s inspiring portfolio here.

Go Behind the Scenes of the LA Art World with Brenda Williams

This fall we’re looking forward to working once again with Brenda Williams to offer Contemporary Los Angeles Art. Brenda is a local art adviser and independent curator specializing in emerging contemporary artists. Her class will meet over six Saturdays, and explore areas in the Los Angeles art world not usually accessible to the public. Visits will focus on private home collections, artists’ studios, and curator-led gallery tours. Each six-hour meeting will include multiple location visits.

To read more about the class, and register for fall, click here.

We spoke with Brenda about her background, and what artists she’s watching now.

How did you get interested in art collecting, and what were your first experiences in the art world?

While living in Italy I worked for Bonomo gallery where the owner and her daughter honed my taste for contemporary art. When I returned to the states, I became more interested in African art and textiles. I fell in love with the masks and statues from various tribes in Africa. The textiles by makers from around the world (Africa, Asia, South and North American tribal areas) were so amazing (ikat, tie dye and embroidery), I couldn’t resist their beauty. Later I collected various types of tea services.

What artists or galleries are you excited about right now?

It’s been a very difficult 2 years trying to see art in person. On the few occasions when the city let down it’s Covid restrictions, galleries permitted visitors with an appointment. I got to see a few in-person shows. Galleries and museums pivoted quickly to offer viewings and other programing online. Art seen through the lens of a camera is very different than seeing it in person. No one is happier than me that we can return to viewing art in person. I visited UTA Gallery, Nicodim Gallery and the new spaces by jil moniz, downtown on Spring and Stefan Simchowitz on Beverly Blvd. As for artists, Amy Sherald really opened my eyes. Simphiwe Ndzube is beyond brilliant. Another rising star is April Bey who’s current exhibition is at the California African American Museum until January 2022.

What do you feel is something unique Los Angeles has to offer art lovers?

The unique thing LA has to offer art lovers right now is an overwhelming amount of resources to find new, emerging and established artists, at new galleries and museums. You can begin viewing and collecting art, from the lowest to the top spectrum of the art market. The city has exploded in artists and galleries over the past 7 years and you can see work from local and world renown artists in under a 25 mile radius. There is literally a gallery or small museum in every neighborhood.

Which collections or works are you looking forward to sharing with your students?

The current exhibitions at the California African American Museum (CAAM). The upcoming portrait show at LACMA that will include the portrait of Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley. Many galleries have not yet posted their upcoming fall exhibitions but, I am looking forward to sharing the adventure of exploring the galleries and museums with my students.

For those who are interested in learning more about the art world in Los Angeles, how would you recommend getting started?

Visit as many museums and galleries as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Read local art based publications like CARLA and Artillery. There are other more established worldwide publications, I think art enthusiasts can find those. And if that leaves you wanting more, take my class Contemporary Los Angeles Art this fall.

Interview with UX Graduate Larry Nguyen

Congrats to recent UX Grad Larry Nguyen! Read about Larry’s UX journey below (all work samples are his).

Tell us about how you got interested in user experience design and what brought you to the UX Certificate.

What got me interested in UX Design was actually networking with UX Designers when I was a Technical Recruiter, recruiting Front End Engineers and UI/UX Designers. By talking to them, I learned about an incredibly interesting industry and how designers helped create the modern digital world we live in. I was intrigued by how designers would simply empathize with users and facilitate that information to stakeholders in order to redesign products with the user in mind. In broader terms, designers help users and stakeholders’ lives easier and I thought this would be a fulfilling career.

What brought me to the UX Certificate program at UCLAx was the interest in bootcamps and certification programs available for people like to me change careers. Personally, I wanted to take my time to strengthen my design fundamentals with the year long program at UCLAx compared to other bootcamps and shorter certifications. It also helped that I attended UCLA for my undergrad, therefore I was extremely comfortable expanding my education with my alma mater.

What was your favorite course and why?

I had two favorite courses, UX III and UX IV. Both of the instructors I had for these courses have impressive backgrounds and I felt that I learned so much from both of them. I had built the foundation of my skills with the first two courses, but UX III and UX IV was what elevated my design skill set and mindset towards human centered design. Both courses helped me push myself to improve and continue to learn more about the diverse industry that UX has been trending to. Therefore both of these projects are featured in my portfolio.

Can you tell us about a project you completed that you’re proud of or challenged you?

A project I’m proud of was the mentorship project I completed with my team under Adam Fischbach. It was such a unique opportunity to partner with a real company and apply what we learned from the program to a company with needs that could actually implement our design solution. It was challenging because it was a project that we could not afford to make mistakes on, therefore we painstakingly ensured that all of our deliverables and presentations to our client was work of our highest caliber.

What advice would you have for anyone interested in getting started in UX?

Advice I would give for anyone interested in getting started in UX is to never be afraid of making mistakes. Design is about iteration, and constantly improving on your designs. This goes with always asking questions when you’re unsure of anything.

Interview with recent DCA graduate Lina Beijerstam

Congrats to Lina Beijerstam for completing the DCA program! She tells us more about her experience below:

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.

My background is in marketing, and I’ve been working in marketing for most of my life. I moved here from Sweden and enrolled in the Digital Marketing certificate. But after getting in touch with people who were students in the DCA program, I knew I always wanted to be on the more creative side and switched careers. Best decision I’ve ever made in my life.

What were your favorite courses and why?

Tough question, but I must say Typography. John Beach who taught the course was amazing. I never would have thought that I would end up becoming a typography nerd.

What’s a project (student or professional) that you’re particularly proud of?

I like my poster designs; they reflect the deepness in me. And my jewelry designs. However, I love making graphics, so the children’s books project I’m also proud of. That’s one of the next projects I have going on, making a fun children’s book with all the presidents of the United States.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I want to start my jewelry business and do more children’s books. I see myself doing that and some freelance work.

Thank you, Lina!

Interview with Stephanie Landregan: UCLAxOpen course Photographing Natural Phenomenon

Photography by Stephanie Landregan

Join us Thursday, July 22 at 6pm PT for Photographing Natural Phenomenon, a free UCLAxOpen short course taught by Program Director for the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program and the Horticulture and Gardening Program Stephanie Landregan.

Stephanie tells us more about herself and this exciting area of photography:

You’ve got quite an eclectic professional background as a photographer, a landscape architect, and a project manager. How has photography been a thread throughout your career or was it something recently reawakened?

I have enjoyed photography throughout my life. In fact, I was a darkroom technician in college and ran a large-format photogrammetry photo lab in New Mexico. But outside of functionally recording spaces, I’ve become obsessed with nature and capturing those fleeting moments.

What makes a camera phone your preferred tool to capture? How has it shaped your work?

I had some fine cameras when I was younger, but with the exceptional quality of the pixel, I focus on using the phone camera. Traveling with larger format cameras and concern about theft makes my phone preferable, and a new tool to master.

Do you manipulate your images or do you prefer to capture natural phenomena as an unfiltered moment in time?

I only crop images, and light images when necessary. Nature doesn’t really need manipulation!

What are two things you hope students will take away from your seminar?

I hope to inspire students to look closely at nature, to be open to using what is on-hand to capture the moment. I’ve learned that, with my phone, I can often be in the moment, capture amazing natural phenomena, and share it with others. I also hope that I inspire folks to challenge their misconceptions, which sometimes prevent us from seeing beauty.

Thank you, Stephanie. Enroll in Photographing Natural Phenomenon today!

Interview with Photography Graduate Jonathan Mark Hedrick

Congratulations to recent Photography Certificate grad Jonathan Mark Hedrick! We spoke to Jonathan about his path to photography, and where he hopes to take his practice. All images included are his.

Tell us about how you got interested in photography and what brought you to the Photography Certificate

My interest in photography began in an organic way. Visual stimuli has always been a means of comfort, inspiration, and education for me. I have always been artistically inclined, drawing and building worlds with things like Legos when I was very young, to taking art classes through my youth and studying art formally in college. I have always been an observer, probably due to the nature of my life as an Army brat and later as a sailor in the US Navy. Furthermore, being adopted has contributed to my preference of observing things, so watching the world in real life and in media is something I respond to. Photography seemed like the logical step for me and my pursuit to find a means to create and express myself.  I learned about the certification program at UCLA Extension and I decided that I wanted to pursue photography in a serious capacity and enrolled for the certificate to learn about the craft.

What’s something about photography that beginning students might not realize?

Beginning students might not realize that photography involves more than making a pretty picture, or the type of camera one uses. Beginners can be overwhelmed with the logistical aspects of photography along with the diverse disciplines that make up the genre, before they find the thing or things they want to photograph. My experience in the time I was enrolled in the program has led me down many paths that photography can offer, and I believe that it will be a constant learning experience. One can learn how to operate a camera and operate lights, read a scene before them, compose it even. I think photography is more than that, and a large component is what the person behind the camera is doing it all for. I know I didn’t sign up with that in mind when I wanted to learn “photography”. 

For your portrait series, can you share what you were exploring with these images, and how you approached the project? 

My conceptual works stem from current and past experiences, observations, and the feelings I personally have about those experiences. During my Photography II class with Natasha Rudenko, I was introduced to works by Cindy Sherman, Gregory Crewdson, Carrie May Weems, and other conceptual photographers. It had a profound effect on me. It was exhilarating and inspirational that a distinct messaging style of portraiture could be created by using allegory and visual metaphors. I like to understand and explain things with analogies and I suppose this is why I gravitated to this sort of composition.  

I am exploring the human experience through my eyes, using analogies that inform me of the ways I can express what it’s like to be unseen, consumed, distant, oppressed, afraid, etc. 

Where do you hope to take your photography practice in the future? 

At this point, it’s challenging to decide on one thing to do or where I see myself. There are so many aspects to photography that I deeply enjoy and am attracted to. I would love to work as an editorial/portrait photographer like Richard Phibbs, or do long projects like Alex Soth and grand tableaus like Gregory Crewdson. I can only stay dedicated and hope that will lead me to creating meaningful work aside from just doing photography as a conventional job. I want to contribute to the world and it feels like I’m just getting started. 

Enroll now! Frontend Web Coding Boot Camp: FAQ

Design by DCA graduate Laurie Racicot

***Now starting Thursday July 1st. Enroll today!***

Curious what you could learn in the 8-unit DCA elective, Frontend Web Coding Boot Camp? Instructor Mitch Gohman shared specifics about it with us:

Course Description

Learn to powerhouse web languages and toolsets to create immersive and impactful web-based environments in this intensive web coding boot camp. Become fluent in HTML (content), CSS (presentation), and JavaScript (behavior), the essential tools of a front-end web developer. Explore framework integration to speed up development and build responsive, grid layouts that meet today’s requirements for mobiles, tablets, and desktops. Examine contemporary design trends and real world practices to design and build a fully functional, modern, responsive website from scratch.

Outcomes

Students will develop a real-world website that leverages the concepts covered throughout the course and meets modern industry demands.

Course Competencies

  • HTML. You will be able to identify and generate key HTML language ingredients for more meaningful and semantic documents.
  • CSS. You will be able to create Cascading Style Sheets that expands on the functionality and appearance of HTML documents.
  • JS. You will be skilled in the fundamentals of JavaScript as a foundation for the interactivity of Web Applications.
  • Web Hosts and Publishing: You will be skilled in obtaining hosting space, managing domains, and publishing web content to a public server.
  • Web Application Design Considerations. You will be skilled in creating websites that meet the common constraints found in Web Design.

Outline

  1. Hello HTML, CSS and JS
  2. HTML Building Relationships
  3. CSS Selectors
  4. CSS Responsive Media Queries
  5. CSS Navigations
  6. CSS Positioning
  7. CSS Layouts (Flexbox, Floats, and Positioning)
  8. JS Fundamentals
  9. JS Syntax
  10. JS Class Switching
  11. JS Tabs
  12. JS Lightboxes
  13. JS Arrays, Loops and Automation
  14. JS Slideshows
  15. JS Scope and This
  16. jQuery
  17. Publishing Websites
  18. Final Project Workshop
  19. Final Submissions

Please contact Kate at dca@uclaextension.edu with any questions. Thanks!

UCLAxOpen Free Course: New Media Landscape for Creatives: Alternatives to Traditional Media Spaces for Getting Work

Join us Thursday, July 8 at 12pm for New Media Landscape for Creatives: Alternatives to Traditional Media Spaces for Getting Work, a free short course taught by design instructor Joel Austin Higgins.

Getting work means getting noticed. You are your own portfolio, and your work shows up in different places, just like you do. The contemporary portfolio is no longer one static experience. Today’s designers secure jobs through social media conversations, self-initiated work, and an ever-lengthening chain of past clients. In this course, we’ll start by looking at a traditional website portfolio. We’ll then compare it to contemporary iterations including those found on social media, as well as a few of today’s emergent platforms. We’ll explore how working within a stylistic or technological niche focuses the would-be designer’s opportunities, potentially leading them to work in the cutting edge fields of Expanded Reality, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality. We’ll also explore practical applications of these concepts by looking at some of today’s most intriguing and popular platforms, including: Gather, Mandy, UpWork, and more. Join in to discover examples of work that gets noticed and learn why and how its creator(s) achieved that goal. You don’t have to wait—just create, share, and with the strategic tips we’ll explore, let the connections unfold.

Joel Higgins
Joel Austin Higgins

Joel is an editor specializing in the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. Mr. Higgins has executed After Effects projects for clients like D.A.R.E. International, Mercedes-Benz, and Hasbro and is a recurring editor for a myriad of YouTube creators and online enterprises. He is also a writer, actor, and filmmaker.

Enroll today!

UCLAxOpen Free Course: Create a Simple Still Life with Charcoal and Eraser

Join us Monday, June 14 at 12pm for Create a Simple Still Life with Charcoal and Eraser, a free short workshop taught by studio arts instructor Stephanie Pryor.

Come prepared with:

A piece of charcoal (Alphacolor or any other compressed charcoal)

Sketch pad or drawing paper

A kneaded eraser

Several light-colored still-life objects (such a a bowl, cup or piece of fruit)

A light source such as a desk lap

Nitrile gloves

Stephanie Pryor is an artist who has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows in Los Angeles, New York, and Europe.

UCLAxOpen Free Course: Choosing and Using a Digital Camera

Join us Tuesday, June 14 at 12pm for Choosing and Using a Digital Camera, a free short course taught by photography instructor Dr. Craig Havens.

This course covers digital camera features including camera bodies, sensors and lenses, as well as brands, quality and price comparisons. Get recommendations for a variety of different needs. The 90-minute course ends with a Q&A session.

Craig Havens (US/DE) is a visual artist working in the lens-based media of photography, video, installation and projection. He lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin. His practice is concerned with expanding the function of photographic and moving images beyond the role of documentary monuments through the use of counter monumental strategies derived from post-war German public sculptural practice. 

From the DCA program to a Thriving Freelance Career: Interview with DCA graduate Gabrielle Merite

“I am still discovering the bliss, pain and coffee addiction that come with being your own boss!” – Gabrielle Merite 

Designer Gabrielle Merite, who completed the DCA program two years ago, is becoming quite well known for her work in info-design. This is an article/infographic designed, written and produced by Gabrielle. And you can see her Behance here and her website here.

She was kind enough to take the time to catch up with us:

You completed the DCA program in 2019. Where has your career taken you since then?

When leaving the DCA program, I started working as a brand designer: first for a cosmetic company, where I had done my internship, then for a technology startup in the restaurant industry. Parallel to these in-house positions, I developed my focus on information design, working with clients as a freelancer. Last June, I quit my full-time job and started this exciting (but terrifying) adventure that is being a full-time independent designer.

What’s a project that you’re especially proud of?

That is a tough question. I am a harsh critic when it comes to my own work. I’d say that my main pride is becoming a (somewhat) competent designer in the very specific field of data visualization and information design. Coming from a non-design background – I was a scientific journalist before the DCA – it was definitely an ambitious project. This field is very niche. There are no traditional career paths to follow to get there. I am grateful that I was given so many opportunities to develop my design skills and portfolio, despite my atypical profile, while working with people making a positive impact on the world. If I had to pick my most favorite project… I probably would have a hard time choosing between my data illustrations series for WePresent because of how much fun it was to use mixed media, my latest piece in the MIT Technology Review for having the freedom to explore scrollytelling, or my ongoing work with the United Nations (all the above and more).

What’s one positive thing that you’ve learned about the design industry? What’s one thing that’s been more challenging than you expected?

One positive thing: once you find it, among this huge field that is design, your niche community will change your life! In the past two years, I have had the chance to connect and become close friends with talented designers and other creatives. Our exchanges on design, freelance, creativity… and their support have been invaluable. They have truly helped me be a better designer and a better person. I wish this type of support would be accessible to any new designer, including those from underrepresented backgrounds in order to build more inclusive communities. This relates to what has been particularly challenging : finding a place where I can design for people, not for profit. Us designers cannot afford to ignore our role in detrimental systems and processes any longer. Our work is embedded into business models, organizational structures and policies. This is a constraint. It can also be an opportunity to push, from the inside, a change towards a more sustainable future.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I am not sure yet, I am still discovering the bliss, pain and coffee addiction that come with being your own boss! There are so many options from there. Whether it is to keep growing my solo practice, building an agency with collaborators or, who knows, going back to a 9-5?
Hopefully, then, I will still be creating designs (with data!) that fill my soul and tentatively help build a more compassionate world.

Congrats Gabrielle!

Interview with DCA and UX graduate Keita Aoyama

Keita Aoyama

Congratulations to recent graduate Keita Aoyama! He tells us a bit about his experience in both the DCA and UX programs:

Tell us how you got interested in design and user experience and what brought you to our programs.

Prior to coming to The States to study at UCLA Extension, I was a software engineer in Tokyo. I enjoyed writing codes and building products with other people and learned a lot from that experience. The desire to work more closely with the actual users really fueled my interest in design. While working on projects I realized what I really wanted to do was to talk to people and see how products I work on actually improve their lives. At that point I had already heard about UX and product design, and I knew I wanted to pursue my career in that field. I started doing some research to find a program where I can learn both visual design and UX design to help with transitioning my career, and that is how I came across UCLA Extension.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I really enjoyed all the classes I have taken here. Learning with other classmates who are in similar life stages as me was encouraging, and their creativity and passion helped me become a better designer. But if I had to choose, Typography with John Beach and User Experience III: Applied with Adam Fischbach kept me on the edge of my seat.

In Typography class, instructor Beach created a safe environment where students got to experiment with different typographic compositions and styles. This helped me develop an ability to distinguish what works and what does not, as well as establish my own way of approaching design from a typographic perspective. User Experience III: Applied incorporated a full term team project. Throughout the course, instructor Fischbach encouraged us to think about how to approach problems on our own instead of following directions. This sort of strategy cultivated the ability to sense the real-life environment and come up with best solutions in a given situation. Working with other people always comes with pros and cons, and thanks to this experience I was able to learn much more than I would have if I were to work on the project by myself.

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?

I would like to work in an environment where I would be able to make an impact on a global scale and work collaboratively with people from different backgrounds and cultures. I believe that great products come from multi-disciplinary teams that consist of different kinds of people with a shared goal and passion. Designing products in that kind of environment has always been my goal since the beginning.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I would like to lead my own design team and make people’s lives better through the power of design. There are a lot of problems as to how we use technology, and I think we designers have contributed to it. With that in mind, I would like to be a designer who can match business objectives and user needs in a sustainable and ethical way. I hope I can design products that make people’s lives better while achieving business goals. Additionally, I would like to contribute to the design community. I learned a lot from designers out there sharing their knowledge and skills and would like to give back to the community by sharing my own experience.

Congratulations, Keita!

UCLAxOpen Free Course: What’s Your Brand Story?

Join us Thursday, May 13th from 2 – 3:30pm PST for What’s Your Brand Story?, a free short-course taught by Design Communication Arts instructor and Outstanding instructor Award winner Shirin Raban.

Have you ever struggled to quickly explain what you do to someone you just met? Did you ever wonder how people come up with short and effective descriptions about their creative careers or activities? Explore examples of professional and student brand stories and learn how to articulate the value and tone of your brand through a message that moves your audience.  

Shirin Raban

I am a brand strategy designer and documentary maker who teaches courses and workshops in branding and visual storytelling. My expertise is articulating the purpose of stories and visually communicating their messages. My passion is helping my clients and students project the authentic voices of their brands and stories.”

Enroll in What’s Your Brand Story? today!

Interview with DCA graduate Maureen Keeney

Congratulations to recent graduate Maureen Keeney! She tells us a bit about her experience in the DCA program:

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.

Ever since I could remember, I always loved looking at interesting design. Mostly, I was drawn in by the illustrations, if any. But there were these other elements all working in harmony that made it capture my attention. At the point that I decided to join the DCA program, I had already completed some college for illustration and I was pretty good at choosing typography, but there were other things I didn’t quite understand. I chose the UCLA Extension certificate program because it seemed like a promising opportunity to gain more knowledge in the realm of design without having to make the commitment of an undergrad degree.

What were your favorite courses and why?

My favorite courses in the program were the Design Software Intensive Boot Camp with Hakon Engvig, Design IV: Capstone with John Beach, and Portfolio with Michelle Constantine. These instructors made the classes memorable because they gave us the freedom to experiment while also sticking to the curriculum. The software boot camp was one of the first classes I took in the program so I could brush up on the programs used for design. In Design IV: Capstone, I learned how to properly rebrand and pitch. Then, everything came together in Portfolio, where I worked on my own brand and decided which direction I wanted to go in, career-wise.

If the phone rang right now with your dream job, who’s calling and what’s the job?

My dream job would probably be designing and illustrating movie posters, book covers, or children’s books. I would be satisfied at any job where I could use both of these skills to my advantage. A New Yorker cover would probably be the ultimate dream.

Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?

In five years, I hope to be freelancing full time and making enough money to support myself with my art. The end goal has always been to work for myself and be in place where I can pick and choose which projects work best for me. I’m hoping that, by this point, I will have designed and illustrated at least one children’s book.

Congrats, Maureen!

Interview with DCA graduate Elizabeth Gilmour

Congratulations to recent graduate Elizabeth Gilmour! She tells us a bit about her experience in the DCA program:

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.

I came to design indirectly. I have a background in art, languages, teaching, and marketing. My love of the written word was the connecting thread. I decided on taking the DCA program to improve my visual communication skills in my marketing career.

I like to think of the visual shapes of words as graphic elements in and of themselves. In early childhood, I lived in a place where the main language was foreign to me, and before I could understand what was written on store signs and parking lots, I was drawn to the outlines of the words and the emotion they seemed to convey. As soon as I became literate, I became a type nerd, inventing alphabets and secret codes, collecting rubber stamps, scrutinizing international postage stamps, and creating homemade posters and booklets on the history of printing. One of my memorable childhood experiences was visiting a linotype printing press and casting my name in a line of metal type.

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with the visually represented word. For me, a book is the perfect design object because it combines functionality and beauty; it is also a tactile, visual, and a personal object that links one’s past, present, and future.


What were your favorite courses and why?

All my UNEX courses were amazing. I particularly enjoyed Typography, InDesign, and Design History and Context. Typography is foundational, as type is the anchor on which effective design communication lies.

InDesign is a compact yet complete course to improve layout and typography skills. I learned efficient work flows in design software and even tried my hand at book-binding techniques!

Design History and Context helped me further develop professional presentation techniques and helped expand my Eurocentric perception of design into one that is more inclusive and historically aware.

In addition to the DCA certificate, you’ve also pursued certificates in marketing and business at UCLAx. Please tell us about the rationale behind your pursuing the different fields of study, and what you hope to accomplish?

At the beginning of my UCLA Extension certificate in Business Leadership, I had no idea this path would lead me to marketing and design! I took the Business certificate initially to help transition from a teacher mindset to one of a businessperson in my new life in the US.

I took a social media marketing course as an elective in the Business certificate, and soon after opted to pursue the Marketing Certificate with Concentration in Social Media and Web Analytics. The energy of collaborating with teams in these courses was infectious: marketing in the digital era was an exciting channel for verbal/visual communication and creativity. After completing the Marketing certificate, I began my OPT (Optional Practical Training for international students on F1 visa status) as a marketing communications coordinator for a non-profit. I soon realized that I loved the graphic design side of my new job but needed to improve my skills to create original and professional-looking materials. That’s where UCLA Extension’s certificate in Design Communication Arts came in. The very name of the certificate echoed my belief that good design is as much a form of communication as it is an art.

Extension helped me find my true calling as a marketer and designer.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I’ve lived in Canada and Germany, and travelled extensively. I think a lot of us who have lived internationally and have been engaged in many different fields find it hard to see how all our experiences tie together at first. UCLA Extension gives students the practical skills and personal connections to help them distill their diverging experiences into something compelling and unique.

I see myself channeling the skills and practices I’ve learned into visual communications that help people and organizations improve their stewardship of the natural world. We are facing a grave climate crisis; we need to learn effective communication techniques to bring conservation awareness to individuals and corporations. Language can empower, give hope and enable positive transformation. Language amplified through beautiful design can spark positive action and change.

Congratulations, Elizabeth!

UCLAxOpen Free Course: Inclusive Design

On Saturday, April 3 from 12 – 1:30pm PST, the Visual Arts presents Inclusive Design: Designing for All, led by User Experience instructor Michelle Matthews.

This workshop will introduce topics of designing for accessibility and inclusion. Participants will learn about how differently abled users navigate mobile apps and the internet using various assistive technologies and how designers can optimize their design process to ensure their work is usable by all. Additionally, this workshop will cover how we ensure our design process is inclusive of various types of people, cultures and viewpoints through human-centered design methodologies. This workshop will include both lecture and interactive collaborative learning.

Michelle Matthews

UX and product design leader with 10 years of experience designing mobile and responsive experiences. She is currently Head of Product Design at Hatch, designing solutions to improve sleep for families. Previously she led design for the health subsidiary of Headspace, one of the world’s leading mindfulness apps. She has also served as the Head of User Experience at Soothe (on-demand home massages), introducing the company to the practice of design research and user-centered design. Before that she was notably the UX Lead at Heal (on-demand doctor home visits) and for the award-winning fitness app, Studio Tone It Up. She has also spent many years working at award-winning agencies, designing experiences for clients such as Lexus, Gerber and Purina. She uses her behavior change and motivational therapy skills acquired as a therapist and social worker to design truly human-centered, intuitive experiences with empathy.

Join our online hackathon!

This quarter, User Experience IV students created a free, public, online hackathon to try and improve vaccine registration. 

Community Jam: Rethinking the Vaccine Registration Experience  
Fri, Mar 26, 2021, 4pm  – Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 6:00 PM PDT

Check out and register for this free event on Eventbrite:

About this Event

Let’s apply user experience (UX) principles to improve the Covid-19 vaccine registration process and get everyone vaccinated!

The United States is on track to reach 200M vaccinations by May 1st, 2021. However, in order to reach herd immunity, we need to ensure that everyone signs up to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.

This Community Jam is open to everyone who wants to facilitate immunity in their communities.

Who are we?

Volunteers in Los Angeles, mainly UX designers with backgrounds in public health, business, sociology, design, programming and computer science.

Our Goal

To create design solutions to address bottlenecks in vaccine registration.

For more information, please visit our website at https://uxjam2021.github.io/

You can also reach us at communityjam2021@gmail.com

We’ve set up a Slack workspace for the event. Once you’ve registered, you will get an invitation.

Icebreaker events will be hosted virtually before the event to facilitate team forming. Details will be shared on Slack.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Interview with DCA graduate Gözde Onaran

Congratulations to recent graduate Gözde Onaran! She tells us a bit about her experience in the program:

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.
I was a writer and editor for a film magazine in Turkey and I had just finished a PhD in Cultural Studies. Which means that I had been mostly reading and writing for several years, and I just had enough. Because I am actually a very visual person, and have always been deeply interested in arts and design. So I decided to reconnect with my visual side and skills (I am also a painter). I did some research on how I could improve and focus these skills. I considered doing an MFA but felt that I didn’t want to go through another full academic program. The DCA program at UCLAx was exactly what I needed in terms of flexibility and quality.

What were your favorite courses and why?
I enjoyed almost every course. I learned as much from the course material as I did from many of the instructors as people, and also from being in a creative environment with many inspiring classmates. But there is one course that I really wish I had taken: Grace Magnus’ Typography course. Still regret having missed that.

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?
There are three (not in this specific order): One would be someone from an independent movie studio (neon rated, A24, etc.) asking me to do posters for their films. The other would be someone from an NGO working on women’s or minority rights and they want me to do their brand identity. Another one would be someone from a publishing house asking me to design book covers/dust jackets.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
I wish to use my skills in meaningful ways – by contributing to the well-being of humans, animals, nature… Or by creating inspiring visuals that may brighten the moment for those who see it. Actually, the ideal for me would be to be able to do both.

Congratulations, Gözde!

Welcome New Photography Instructor Baz Here

We’re happy to welcome new instructor Baz Here to our photography program. Baz will be teaching Photography I this coming spring. Let’s get to know Baz with a few questions below…

How did you get started in photography, and what drew you to this art form? 

I started taking photographs when I was about eight years old after my grandmother gave me her old Nikon. I continued exploring photography through the courses my high school offered and just never stopped taking pictures. Oddly, I never considered myself a photographer as music was my primary endeavor. It wasn’t until my twenties when my journey with photography shifted. I needed promotional photography taken for my music career and started hiring different photographers—I never got the photos that I imagined in my head. I decided to start taking my own portraits. Through that process, my obsession with achieving my own perfect aesthetic led me to further my education and obtain my MFA in Photography.

Baz Here

What are you focusing on in your current practice?

I am interested in the sound current and its effect on visual aesthetics. The amalgamation is somewhat nascent in my practice, as in the past the two artforms seemed somewhat separate for me. I am fascinated by how sounds can alter meaning in a photograph. My most recent work has been mostly an exploration of religious iconography (and Christianity in general) and the psychological weight it can impose on a young queer person. But of course, as a white male artist, considering my privilege is impossible to not weave into all that I do at this point. I’m on my path making art, loving teaching art, and trying to be aware as possible of the spaces I occupy.

Baz Here

You’ll be teaching Photography I – what can students expect in your class? Can you show us a sample assignment?

I love the basics. One of my favorite parts of teaching the basics is that I get to relearn them all of the time. In my class, we will, of course, learn all the basics of photography—exposure, composition, lighting, post-production, and editing—but we will also begin to explore what it means to photograph something and the difference between “taking” and “making” photographs.

As far as sample assignments go, we will do all of the exercises one would expect in a Photo I class—learning how to use the camera in manual mode, and understanding how to compose an image—but perhaps my favorite assignments are introductions to portrait patterns (e.g., Rembrandt, butterfly…) and exploring light and shadow—using shadows of interesting objects to create abstract compositions.

Baz Here

What do you hope students take away from your class as they continue on with their photography education?

Whether my students journey into portraiture, fashion, landscape, food photography, etc., I hope the students will be inspired to think about all of the aspects of photography making—the technical, the aesthetic, the psychological, and of course, the incredible joy of clicking that shutter. I hope we can have a dialogue that will encourage motivation to improve but also the reliance on failure to find success.

Baz Here

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in photography but not sure how to get started?

Well, my advice would be quite simple. Just start making photographs!

Baz Here
Baz Here

UCLAxOpen free course: Character Animation is Your Super Power to Bringing Stories to Life

On Tuesday, March 16th from 2-3:30pm, motion graphics instructor David Dodds presents: Character Animation is Your Super Power to Bringing Stories to Life.

This free workshop is for anyone interested in bringing stories to life with animation. Corporate videos, entertainment, and explainer videos are increasingly using animated characters. Learn the process of creating your first animation, and explore the tools professional animators use on TV shows such as The Simpsons, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Tooning Out the News.

Topics will include:

· Overview of compelling video creations currently being created
· Discuss the demand in the industry and how these skills are needed
· 4 work spaces in Character Animator
· How to start a project
· Rigging basics
· Puppet preflight
· Customizing with Adobe Illustrator
· Backgrounds
· Audio recording and editing
· Face recording and editing
· Exporting video files

Like what you see? David will also be teaching a full 11-week course on Character Animator this spring: Adobe Character Animator: How to Make Your Characters Walk and Talk.

David Dodds is a Los Angeles-based motion graphics designer. His experience spans a decade in motion graphics, special effects, broadcast design, character animation, and infographics. He has worked for studios such as Stardust, Mirada, Logan, and NFL Networks. Author of Hands-On Motion Graphics with Adobe After Effects CC: Develop Your Skills as a Visual Effects and Motion Graphics Artist.

The one-day opportunity is part of UCLAxOpen, your gateway to no-cost personal enrichment and professional development courses and seminars offered via UCLA Extension.

Interview with DCA and UX graduate Yuiko Majima

Yuiko Majima

Congratulations to recent graduate Yuiko Majima, who has completed both the DCA and UX programs to best leverage her interests and strengths to position herself in the workplace.

She tells us a bit more about her experience in the programs:

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA and UX programs.

I think that great design can maximize an experience. It can help make things extremely useful and improve how we go about our day. It can create delightful moments or long-lasting positive impact that completely changes our behaviors. Having lived in Japan and the US, I’ve also been intrigued by how lifestyle and culture can affect the design and how design assimilates to users’ needs and behaviors. The impact that design can make on our lives and businesses’ success interested me in a career in design.

I discovered design in my past role creating strategic partnerships to help corporations go through digital transformation. I experienced how design thinking can help facilitate product innovation which interested me in a career path in UX or Product Design. My goal was to transition careers which brought me to the DCA and UX program. I had little design experience that I wanted to learn from the fundamentals to build a foundation and also learn about the concepts and processes of UX Design.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I enjoyed many of the classes, but my favorites were ones where we designed together with our classmates. The students in the DCA program were very international from places like Brazil, Canada, Chile, and Hong Kong, so collaborating with them was fun. Design II: Collateral Communication was a class where we practiced product design by creating branding and prototypes. Each week we got into groups to brainstorm and critique each other’s work which was a great way to learn and I made many designer friends!

The UX classes taught me methods and processes which I use today working as a designer. User Experience IV: Capstone was a class where we worked on case studies every week. We researched, designed, and presenting to the class. It helped me apply the concepts we had learned into a more practical setting that helped me define my UX process which I use in my current work.

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?

I would be thrilled to be considered for any opportunity! I am interested in roles globally where I can make an impact as a Product Designer. One of my motivations is seeing our work materialize and seeing how it affects people. Creating a positive impact with the work we do makes my job fulfilling so I’d like to continue working in places where we can drive impact. I also enjoy collaborative environments since I think great ideas come from a sum of many brains that I appreciate company cultures where teammates of different disciplines can work together throughout the entire process.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I hope I can be leading teams and mentoring designers. I think it’s important as a designer to understand the user’s need but also add business value. I hope I can become a design lead that drives the product strategy as well. I think the learning never stops but it would be great to pass on any of my knowledge to others through mentorship.

Congratulations, Yuiko!

Portfolio Rapid-Review Sign-up

Fill out my online form.

UCLAxOpen Panel Discussion: Portfolio Review

This coming Tuesday, February 9 from 12-1pm the Visual Arts presents: Portfolio Review, a free opportunity for DCA and UX certificate students to 1) learn about what makes a strong portfolio and 2) receive feedback on their portfolios or works-in-progress.

Topics include:
–Our panelists will answer the question: What do they consider to be a great portfolio and why? They will show examples.
–A few pre-selected students will receive feedback on their work. And critiques will be open so other attendees can benefit from hearing feedback on others’ work.

Panelist: John Beach

John Beach brings twenty five years of experience to the graphic design field. His clients in branding, packaging and consumer products, textile design and trend forecasting include Starbucks Coffee Company, Disney Consumer Products, and the Hillstone Restaurant Group (formally the Houston’s Restaurant Group), Smilebox, Inc., RoomsbyYou.com and the Ocean Park Community Center. He has worked in the entertainment industry, in most capacities, from title design for motion graphics, to advertising with the networks and movie studios, to custom printed props for film, television and theater. He has acted as an expert witness in the field of intellectual properties for law firms. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.

He has taught a plethora of courses in the DCA program and was the recipient of our departmental Outstanding Instructor award. This spring, John is teaching Publication Design and Design IV: Capstone.

Panelist: Diana Barraza

Diana Barraza is a seasoned UX/UI/Product designer with over 10 years of experience in technology. Specializing in mobile and enterprise design, Diana currently focuses on building internal products at Flyhomes (an end-to-end real estate startup). Simultaneously, Diana investigates how her work impacts and improves the home buying experience for customers. Previously with Heal–an in-home, doctor on-demand provider–Diana’s work contributed to Heal being named App of the Day in the App Store. With an academic background rooted in the social sciences and arts, Diana is eager to share her knowledge and experiences as an educator at UCLA Exchange. Diana is also proudly Latinx and an LA native. 

She is teaching User Experience II: Iteration in spring quarter.

Moderator: Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson is the Program Director of the Visual Arts at UCLA Extension. Currently he is organizing TEDxUCLA.

More about Scott: I work for the design, studio, photography and art history programs at UCLA Extension, in addition to consulting and teaching in the area of commercial design. My training is as a designer, with a BA and MFA from UCLA’s Design Media Arts program, and I specialize in identity work for a variety of non-profits, mainly in branding, identity systems, social media and web development. Board activity includes National AIGA Design Educators Committee, AIGA Los Angeles Education advisor, United Designs, UCLA Volunteer Center, and sustainability committees on campus, UCLA Extension, and the Green Observers Foundation. I have spoken at a variety of conferences on design, visual literacy, semiotics, and social media.

If you haven’t already, enroll in our free speaker series today!

UCLAxOpen Panel Discussion: Careers in Graphic Design

This coming Tuesday, February 2 from 12-1pm the Visual Arts presents: Careers in Graphic Design, a free panel discussion on current design trends and how to find your place in the industry.

Topics include:
• Jag and Vesna’s careers to date and what a day in their lives looks like
Finding your place:
• Focus — how to target areas
• Careers in design now and in the future
• Portfolios and storytelling — tips on putting together
• Careers in design — tips to land where you can excel

Panelist: Jeff Aguila (Jag)

Jag has been an Art Director for the entertainment advertising design industry for more than 20 years, specializing in print and digital campaigns designing for some of the best entertainment studios such as Art Machine, A Trailer Park Co., BLT & Associates, and A Squared Design Group working on theatrical, home entertainment, television and video game projects. In 2006 he received the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Award for Home Entertainment – Special Recognition Print for his work on the SAW:UNCUT Edition DVD packaging design. He has taught Design Fundamentals and Entertainment Graphic Design for the DCA program since 2000.

Student feedback:

“Jag was an excellent instructor. He built an interesting, informative, and well-structured class centered around the main pursuit of teaching us to begin thinking like designers. He picked assignments, chose demonstrations, asked guided questions, and shared materials that all pushed towards this goal of getting us to think, see and conceptualize as a designer does. I also appreciated his choice to share personal projects to provide us with real-world examples. And he specifically showed all the steps of the process, from design brief through ideation to final versions. Jag also made himself available, gave us good, pointed, and constructive feedback and seemed really invested in our learning. At the end of the quarter, he left us with workable advice, concrete next steps, and took the time to present us with all the work we had made as a class. It made me feel proud of our accomplishments as a group.”

Panelist: Vesna Petrovic

Vesna Petrović is the founder and owner of VESNA DE3IGN studio. She is a graphic designer and educator. Vesna served for several years as a board member in AIGA in two separate chapters—Los Angeles and Orange County—and its national center for Cross-Cultural Design. She also participated in design portfolio reviews for AIGA LA, AIGA OC, CSUN, Otis College of Art and Design, and here at UCLAx.

Her work has been published and shown in graphic design publications and exhibitions, and is included in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s permanent graphic design collection. Vesna has organized and curated two graphic design exhibitions—L.A. Design in Belgrade (AIGA) and Everyday Design From Around the World (AIGA), the latter traveling from Los Angeles to New York to Mexico City. She served as a judge at several design competitions including Art Directors Club of America, AIGA LA and AIGA OC. Vesna was trained both as an architect and a graphic designer and holds B.A./M.Arch degrees from the University of Belgrade.

She teaches Design Fundamentals and Design III: Branding in the DCA program.

Moderator: Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson is the Program Director of the Visual Arts at UCLA Extension. Currently he is organizing TEDxUCLA.

More about Scott: I work for the design, studio, photography and art history programs at UCLA Extension, in addition to consulting and teaching in the area of commercial design. My training is as a designer, with a BA and MFA from UCLA’s Design Media Arts program, and I specialize in identity work for a variety of non-profits, mainly in branding, identity systems, social media and web development. Board activity includes National AIGA Design Educators Committee, AIGA Los Angeles Education advisor, United Designs, UCLA Volunteer Center, and sustainability committees on campus, UCLA Extension, and the Green Observers Foundation. I have spoken at a variety of conferences on design, visual literacy, semiotics, and social media.

If you haven’t already, enroll in our free speaker series today!

UCLAxOpen Panel Discussion: UX Now and In the Future

On Tuesday, January 26 from 12-1pm the Visual Arts presents: UX Now and in the Future. A free panel discussion on current UX themes, and the future of the industry.

Topics include:

Behavior Design

  • What is it and how can you use it?
  • Enabling habit formation
  • Application to business settings
  • Design Ethics – responsibility when creating addictive systems

The Future of UX Design: Non-Visual UI, AR, VR and VUI 

  • What is their current state?
  • Where are they going?
  • How to crack the code of design prompts that are non-visual

Moderator: Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson is the Program Director of the Visual Arts at UCLA Extension. Currently he is organizing TEDxUCLA.

More about Scott: I work for the design, studio, photography and art history programs at UCLA Extension, in addition to consulting and teaching in the area of commercial design. My training is as a designer, with a BA and MFA from UCLA’s Design Media Arts program, and I specialize in identity work for a variety of non-profits, mainly in branding, identity systems, social media and web development. Board activity includes National AIGA Design Educators Committee, AIGA Los Angeles Education advisor, United Designs, UCLA Volunteer Center, and sustainability committees on campus, UCLA Extension, and the Green Observers Foundation. Speaker at a variety of conferences on design, visual literacy, semiotics, and social media.

Panelist: Thomas Dillmann

User experience architect with 15 years practical application in user experience and information architecture. His focus is on creating useful products and enjoyable site experiences. He has held positions as head of experience planning and lead information architect at interactive agencies and new technology ventures such as MRM Worldwide, UnitedFuture, and Threshold Interactive. Thomas has provided substantial user experience architecture for clients such as Harbor Freight Tools, SDCVB, HollandAmerica, Alpine, State of Washington, SAP, Autodesk, Microsoft, GM, Red Lion, Sony, MPAA, FOX, NBC, ABC, and Playboy. Thomas has participated in several early start ventures focused in on-demand video over IP for Hilton, LodgeNet, RespondTV and FasTV. Thomas holds a BA from UCSB and a MBA from Pepperdine University.

Panelist: Michelle Matthews

UX and product design leader with 10 years of experience designing mobile and responsive experiences. She is currently Head of Product Design at Hatch, designing solutions to improve sleep for families. Previously she led design for the health subsidiary of Headspace, one of the world’s leading mindfulness apps. She has also served as the Head of User Experience at Soothe (on-demand home massages), introducing the company to the practice of design research and user-centered design. Before that she was notably the UX Lead at Heal (on-demand doctor home visits) and for the award-winning fitness app, Studio Tone It Up. She has also spent many years working at award-winning agencies, designing experiences for clients such as Lexus, Gerber and Purina. She uses her behavior change and motivational therapy skills acquired as a therapist and social worker to design truly human-centered, intuitive experiences with empathy.

Student Work Spotlight: Design Fundamentals with Vesna Petrovic

Check out these inspiring projects from instructor Vesna Petrovic’s Design Fundamentals course.

Design Fundamentals is our introductory course. It covers the foundations of the elements of strong visual communication, explored via a series of hands-on projects. Many–if not most–of the students in this course have had no previous art or design experience. Look what they’ve achieved in just 11 weeks:

Excellent work!

Enroll in Design Fundamentals today.

Free event with David Dodds – Color Changes Everything: Racial Diversity in Animation

Join DCA motion graphics instructor, artist, and author David Dodds on Thursday October 29th from 7 – 8:30pm for “a Zoom panel discussion featuring multi-talented animators, writers, & artists.” Click here to learn more and sign up for free.

From the event web page:

Animation has not been traditionally an inclusive or representative medium for people of color, and its creative work force has not been diverse. When people of color have appeared in animation, they have often been portrayed with demeaning characterizations and with negative stereotypes. This is changing, and you will meet at this event some of the people helping to lead this change, creating animation content that is more representative of all of us, and working to build a diverse workforce in animation.

“This event will be of interest to parents, who are interested in what their children watch and want their children to grow up in an inclusive and anti-racist society, to those working in the industry who are looking for ways to make animation more reflective of our culture and society and to reach new audiences, and to so many young people of color whose creative talents were nurtured by their experience of animation and who are looking for a way to pursue careers in this remarkably creative and vibrant medium.”

Join David and the rest of this distinguished panel on Thursday October 29th from 7 – 8:30pm. Sign up today!

Interview with User Experience Graduate EunMi Kim

Tell us about how you got interested in user experience design and what brought you to the UX Certificate.

As a graphic designer, I have always been interested in technology and interface design. One day, my marketing manager asked me to redesign the company website and mobile app layouts. For this project, my final design did not come out the way that would be the best for the consumers because I focused too much on designing visual elements rather than functions of the website.

After reading about the UX design certificate of UCLA Extension, I know that it would help me find answers to why my previous design was not suitable for the consumer experience. (And it did!) The curriculum explained well what I would study from each UX course, and I was very excited to learn from professional instructors with many experiences.

What was your favorite course, and why?

My favorite course was UX II: Iteration. In UX II, I had the chance to build practical experiences of how UX actually solves problems from the user’s perspective. At the beginning of this course, it was very challenging to figure out how to approach the solutions, but I was able to find the answers by working together with other students as a group.

How are you using your certificate experience in your current professional life?

As a professional graphic designer, now I care more about the user’s needs from the products and services that I create as much as visual aspects of my design.

What advice would you have for anyone interested in getting started in UX?

The core of UX design is not a matter of style, but how it works, and it’s something we can always improve more. If you are often annoyed by things that were not designed in the best way they could be, this UX course might be right for you.

Interview with DCA graduate Novia Elvina

Congrats to recent DCA graduate Novia Elvina, who’s next step is the Master’s program in Human Experience Design Interactions at Cal State Long Beach.

Check out her design portfolio here and her UX portfolio here.

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.

I always had a passion for art when I was a little girl. My interest started from gaming, drawing, and creating my own book illustration/comic books when I was 8 years old. To be honest, I never pursued art as my passion because where I came from, those fields are not really encouraged by family or even the community.

Then, I flew to the US to start college. I realized in this land of opportunity, I could achieve my dreams and passion to do what I love as my professional career. Thus, I pursued Animation/Entertainment Art for my Bachelor degree at CSUF. After graduating, I worked with several companies as a Graphic Designer and a Graphic Artist. I really enjoyed my job, and I got to draw for 8 hours or more every single day. However, I realized that I’m nothing more than an asset of a big wall-art company, and a role like mine, is easy to be replaceable, as they weren’t supportive enough to sponsor my working visa in the US.

Long story short, I realized I needed some sort of certification at least before going back to my home country, since Animation is not really a successful career over there. That’s when I decided to go to UCLA Extension for DCA Certification because I never really had proper graphic design courses during my Undergrad years.

What were your favorite courses and why?

There were quite a lot of favorite courses at UCLA Extension. To be honest, I grasped more skills here than during my Undergrad years, but again, I’m not trying to compare or regret every choice I made because that’s what made me who I am today. I really enjoyed Entertainment Design with Jeff Aguila because not only did he show us demo and new skills that we should know for entertainment industry, but he also pushed us as students to think more or think outside the box. What I’m aiming is not to be the most skillful person in Photoshop/Illustrator/other softwares, but what I want to learn from him is how he thinks and sees a problem to solve it in a professional and creative manner.

I also gained new skills from motion graphic classes that were taught by David Dodds. His passion for motion graphics and character animation really inspires students. Not to mention After Effects is one of the most challenging animation software to learn, but he’s really full of patience (and passion) covering the materials over and over again.

Then, I also took UX I course with Chris Cirak, and even though I never met him in person, I remembered how helpful he is as an UX Instructor. It was my first time taking a UX course and I didn’t even know what UX meant back then, and look where I am now! I’m pursuing a Master’s in Human Experience Design Interaction which is similar to UX. Then I met Thomas Dillman, another UX Instructor whom I adore so much because of his experience and how he shares his knowledge in the UX industry. Again, my aim is not to learn the powerful UX tools in the career because softwares are always changing, and I believe as long as we have the right mind to learn and grasp on something, we shouldn’t be worried of anything.

How did you decide to go from UCLA Extension to graduate school?

I decided to go to Graduate school for UX because I like to learn what’s beyond UX. I mean, I learned UX from UCLA Extension, and that will always be my starting point when I share my stories to everyone. Then, understanding concepts around Human Relationship with Technology and Arts, it just gives me chills and passion to explore more, and to apply all the skill that I have learned as a designer.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I hope in 5 years, I’ll be working in an Entertainment company where my works will have a huge impact for the company, the audience, and the community. Then I’d also be willing to hustle when I still can, I don’t mind taking some freelance jobs as a Graphic Artist: creating movie posters/flyers, etc. because that’s what started my passion as an artist as well.

Congratulations, Novia! Wishing you every success!

DCA Instructor Shirin Raban’s film to be screened, followed by director Q & A

I am very proud to announce the Sinai Temple Men’s Club will be presenting my film, “Between the Shells”, followed by a director Q&A next Tuesday September 22 at 6:30 pm (PST). The film was recently selected as Official Selection by Film Girl, Lift Off and YoFiFest Film Festivals.   For registration and info please see link and flyer below. 

“Between the Shells” tells us through art and interview the story of the Jewish People, from Biblical times to the present as seen through the eyes and unique artwork of Moosa Haim (Jalil) Harooni. Harooni is a brave and talented Persian Jew who lived through Iran’s Islamic Revolution, migrating to the United States after the Iran Iraq War.

This is a free event and open to all. 

To participate, you must register online: https://lnkd.in/gDH589k

See you there!

Shirin Raban

DCA student Laura Ángel has project published in Packaging Of The World!

530 Beer package design by Laura Ángel.
“Life and beer are very similar. Chill for best results.”

DCA student Laura Ángel’s beer packaging project, created in instructor John Beach’s Design II: Collateral Communication course, has been published on the influential blog Packaging of the World.

We’re thrilled for Laura that, not only did she take the leap and submit her work (which we strongly encourage students to do) but also her project was chosen for publication!

Laura says, “I’ve never submitted work before to be published because it is always hard to share your personal work for the first time. But this certainly gives me motivation to keep going.” 

Mega congrats Laura!

Interview with User Experience Graduate Leo Peng

Tell us about how you got interested in user experience design and what brought you to the UX Certificate.

I was interested in UX design after listening to a lecture in a digital media class in college and after I created digital designs for an internship. I chose UCLA Extension’s UX Certificate program after reading about the positive experiences students had with the program and the job placement stories. What appealed to me was the opportunity to learn from industry professionals over the span of a year, to develop professional relationships, and to choose from a curated curriculum that’s constantly adapting to the needs of the industry.

What was your favorite course, and which was most helpful to your professional development?

My favorite course was User Experience IV: Capstone because the instructor and the class environment made me excited about the industry and reignited the fun I had in looking at the user experience of technology giants through a critical lens. The most helpful course was User Experience II: Iteration because it taught me not only the principles needed to get a job, but the in-depth knowledge of various tools I still use at my job every day.

How are you using your certificate experience in your current professional life?

The most important skill I took away from the certificate was working in a team environment with other designers. I was not able to experience this in my Bachelor’s program… And I work with other designers every day!

What advice would you have for anyone interested in getting started in UX?

If you’re interested in transitioning your career, think about whether or not you’re passionate about technology and design. In UX, you are constantly juggling your desire to be innovative in both of those.

COURSE SPOTLIGHT: Designing Experiences: Exhibit, Retail, Event, and Environmental Graphic Design

We’re thrilled to welcome instructor Robert Checchi to teach this popular elective, inspired by our program’s long partnership with the Getty Design Center. This exciting course will travel the world, with projects inspired by the masterworks of experience design. Several guest speakers will bring a unique real-world element to the class as well. Robert tells us more:

Why is this course, Designing Experiences: Exhibit, Retail, Event, and Environmental Graphic Design, important for my design education?

Tim Hawkinson’s Uberorgan at the Getty Center

Through real-world examples and hands-on assignments students will learn to identify and resolve design challenges in order to create successful interactive experiences for cultural and commercial applications. The course will also address the changing visitor experience as public spaces transition from pre-Covid-19 to a post-Covid-19 world. At its core experience design is interdisciplinary incorporating a variety of diverse design skill sets that include graphic design, spatial design, industrial design and digital design. Students will learn how each of these design fields are employed to create cohesive experiences that account for both the physical and emotional demands of the visitor/customer.

Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?

Life of Art at the Getty Center

Throughout the course students will design a complete Covid-19 Traveling Exhibition (specific subject to be determined by the individual student groups) incorporating graphics, floorplan, display furniture and a digital experience. Each week smaller hands-on design projects will be assigned building towards a final end of term portfolio-ready presentation.

What will I take away from this course?

By the end of the course students will be able explain the role environmental graphics play in setting context. Students will be able to compare models of spatial design and recognize the impact of customer/visitor flow on the experience narrative. Creative technology is an increasingly important aspect of experiential design. The course will examine the roles of digital immersive experiences and emerging technology in designing experiences and describe the benefits and dilemmas of each technology. Finally, and most importantly, students will understand how people interact with designed environments and be able to apply that knowledge to create successful exhibitions, retail spaces and digital installations.

Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas at the Getty Center

Enroll in Designing Experiences: Exhibit, Retail, Event, and Environmental Graphic Design today!

All photos by Robert Checchi.

Distinguished Instructor Series: 2020’s Biggest Tech Takeaways from the Perspective of UX with Diana Barraza

We’ll present the final talk in our series on Tuesday, August 18 at 12pm.

Room to Grow: 2020’s Biggest Tech Takeaways from the Perspective of UX

2020 has shown us that the tech world has much to think about. Join Diana Barraza, UCLA Extension Instructor and Head of User Experience at Mesh Communities as they walk through some of the challenges tech must react to during these unprecedented times. From accountability of social platforms to truly protect their most marginalized users to how junior designers can best weather the storm, Diana will present a blueprint for a better tech outlook.

Diana Barraza is a UX and visual designer with over 10 years of experience in technology. Specializing in mobile and enterprise design, Diana currently ideates how to best connect likeminded people as Head of User Experience at Mesh Communities. Previously with Heal–an in-home, doctor on-demand provider–Diana’s work contributed to Heal being named App of the Day in the App Store. With an academic background rooted in the social sciences and arts, Diana is eager to share her knowledge and experiences as an educator at UCLA Extension. Diana is also proudly Latinx and an LA native.

Distinguished Instructor Series: Unity with John Selig

On Tuesday August 11 at 12pm we will present the next talk in our Distinguished Instructor Series. Here’s an overview:

A lot of people assume that getting into game development, VR, digital art, or interactive design has to be super difficult; join us for a discussion on why that’s not the case! These fields are more important than ever, and UCLA offers a number of paths to find your spot in the digital arts—even if you never want to write a line of code. John will take you through a quick overview of the many ways you can get involved in these rapidly growing industries, and then he’ll demonstrate just how quick and easy it can be to build a scene in Unity!

John Selig

John Selig has taught students of all ages, from 6 to 65; everything from photography to programming to web design, and more. He’s got a passion for games of all kinds, and he specializes in getting new students excited about combining creativity with technology. In his free time, you can find him writing and performing rock music and working on indie games!

Enroll here for Tuesday’s free and informative talk on this exciting, emerging area of design!

Distinguished Instructor Series: Stroke of Chance with Mayee Futterman

On Tuesday, August 4 at 12pm we will present the next installment in our Distinguished Instructor Series

STROKE OF CHANCE: Wisdom of the Brush in the New Normal

In Chinese Brush Painting, the first stroke is a “happening.” The rest are a series of adjustments building upon previous ones.  In life, as in art, our foundation and mastery prepare us to take full advantage when the “happening” occurs. The global pandemic put our foundations to the test. Are we poised to take on the new normal? Brush master Mayee Futterman shares lessons from her lifetime practice with the brush: how the teachings, tools, skills, methodology, and mindset prepare one to embrace uncertainty and go beyond with resilience, agility, imagination, and spontaneity. The one hour live-on-line seminar and hands-on demonstration will focus on these themes:

  • Four Treasures: dynamic interaction and integration
  • Four Gentlemen: ABCs and virtues
  • Four Movements: composition and experience
  • Four I’s for the New Normal
Mayee Futterman

Mayee Futterman specializes in Chinese Brush Painting. It is the foundation of all oriental brush arts and has strongly influenced Western painting. The dynamic, unpredictable, and sensorial interaction of brush, ink, water, and rice paper through the artist’s hand is indeed a transformative and enlightening experience. Mayee’s teaching is strongly founded on classical Chinese brush painting skills, techniques, philosophy, and subject matter; while bringing a contemporary approach, influences from her multi-cultural experience, and a rigor and aesthetic sensibility from her architecture and urban design background.

A large selection of Mayee’s work is in the collection of California Hospital Medical Center and permanently exhibited at the Los Angeles Center for Women’s Health. Her award winning work is also in private collections in the US, Canada, Middle East, Singapore, and Philippines. Mayee studied and trained under professor and master brush artist, Dr. Ning Yeh at UCLA, Coastline College, and Cerritos College. They have co-authored five instructional art books. Mayee has a Master of Architecture II from UCLA and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Cum Laude from the University of the Philippines. To view Mayee’s work, visit www.mayeefutterman.com and www.saatchiart.com/mayeefutterman . Follow her on Instagram @mayeefutterman.

Distinguished Instructor Series: Exercise Your Design Brain with Pash

On Tuesday July 28 at 12pm we will present the next talk in our Distinguished Instructor Series. Here’s an overview:

Exercise Your Design Brain

Has your creativity been sheltering in place for the last several months (or more)?  Well there’s no time like the present to pull it out of the garage, dust it off, and take it for a spin.  Join Pash as he takes you and thousands of other designers through a series of fun, interactive creative exercises designed to get those wheels turning and remind your brain what it means to think like a designer.  OK so there won’t be thousands of people–but there will be enough for you to strut your stuff and impress them…and hopefully yourself too along the way.  Make sure you bring a pad of paper and a favorite pen or pencil.  And your brain—even if it feels a bit rusty.

Pash is a design strategist, author, and educator with 30 years of experience in the field of design. He has designed the official logo for Miles Davis, brand extensions for Playboy, products for John Varvatos, retail product strategy for Motown Records, and advertising for Perrier.  For the last 10 years he has been focused in the entertainment industry.

Pash’s work has appeared in hundreds of magazines, journals, and books.  It has sat on shelves on six continents, it resides in the Smithsonian Institution, it hangs on a wall in Oprah’s office. It has taught children, revitalized brands, secured funding, clothed celebrities, trained executives, developed platforms, modernized legacies, and of course, sold products.

From 2002 to 2004 Pash served as President of the Los Angeles chapter of AIGA.  In addition to UCLA Extension (where he has taught since 2001) he frequently guest lectures at other art schools.  He is also a popular speaker and is (used to be) on the road a few times each year to speak to creative professionals around the country.

Pash’s book, Inspirability, was published in 2005 and features personal interviews with 40 of the world’s most prominent and interesting graphic designers.

Pash lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jessica and his daughters, Mirabelle and Juliette.

Enroll here for Tuesday’s free and informative talk!



Distinguished Instructor Series: Art History with Dahn Hiuni

On Tuesday July 21 at 12pm we will present the next talk in our Distinguished Instructor Series.

Virtual Tour of LA Museums

Have you been missing the gardens of The Getty, or the paintings at the Broad? Join us for an hour-long, informal and interactive virtual tour of Los Angeles’s premiere museums. Participants visit The Getty Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Norton Simon Museum and The Broad, all online, enjoying highlights of these world-class collections. Veteran museum educator Dahn Hiuni (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Art Gallery of Ontario) welcomes you, encouraging dialogue and exchange about the art that inspires you.

Dahn Hiuni

Dahn Hiuni is a Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist. His work spans the fields of visual art, performance art, theater, and graphic design. Mr. Hiuni’s work has been presented at such New York venues as The Fringe Festival/Soho Playhouse, P.S. 122, Franklin Furnace, Mixed Greens, Artists Space, Metro Pictures, and Cooper Union. Other exhibition and performance venues include the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Lancaster Museum of Art. His solo performance TWENTIETH CENTURY ART is part of the permanent collection of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. A recipient of numerous awards and major grants, Mr. Hiuni’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Huffington Post and Playbill.

As professor, Dr. Hiuni has taught at Pratt Institute, School of Visual Arts, FIT, Hofstra, Bucknell, SUNY, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and at the National Theatre School of Canada. He holds an MFA in studio art and an interdisciplinary PhD (Art History/Art Education/Performance Studies), both from Penn State. He is adjunct professor of art at SUNY Empire State College.

Distinguished Instructor Series – Craig Havens, Photography

On Tuesday, July 14 at 12pm, we are pleased to present our first talk in the Distinguished Instructor Series, weekly free presentations from core academic areas in the Visual Arts.

Benütze Foto als Waffe! (Use Photography As A Weapon!)
Reimagining Monumental Structures Through Countermonumental Strategies

Presented by Craig Havens, PhD, Photographer and Artist

Craig Havens. Butte de Leon & Dirtpile. Waterloo Battlefield, Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium.
Pigment Print on Paper. Edition of 2 / AP 1, 110 x 148 centimeters.
Courtesy of 50°49’19.50”N 4°21’25.53”E galerie de l’erg, Brussels.

The ability of Photography to memorialize a moment in time with crystal clarity was the reason for its enjoying such success in becoming the dominant visual medium from the 20th Century through today. At the same time, this singular focus on capturing monumental perspectives is precisely what has constricted the practice and possibilities of photography.

This struggle to not allow a memory to fade is the problematic underpinning of why monumental structures consistently fail. In trying to last forever they make their temporality even more apparent and their ability to preserve themselves even more futile.

Join us to explore how Photography and other visual art forms can be seen not only from a binary position of Monument or Anti-Monument, but through the multiple facets of a Countermonumental perspective.

UCLAx Instructor Craig Havens, Ph.D (www.craighavens.com) is a visual artist based in Los Angeles and Berlin working in the mediums of photography, moving images, performance, sculpture and site-specific installation. Works have been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Weserburg-Museum für moderne Kunst in Bremen/Germany, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp/Belgium, the Armory Biennial in Los Angeles/California, the Nanjing International Biennale in Nanjing/China, the Heritage Arts Space in Hanoi/Vietnam, the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg/South Africa, the Brugge Triennale in Brugge/Belgium and Galerie Andreas Schmidt in Berlin/Germany.

Join our free Distinguished Instructor lecture series this summer!

Join us over lunch for a series of live talks and presentations in the core academic areas of the Visual Arts. Each week we feature a distinguished instructor and dive into their area of expertise. Areas of focus for this series include Photography, Art History, User Experience (UX), Design, Studio Arts, and VR. Sessions begin at 12pm, last between 60-90 minutes, and are free and interactive. Bring your ideas and questions. Enroll for free today!

  • Tues., July 14   Craig Havens (Photography)
  • Tues., July 21   Dahn Hiuni (Art History)
  • Tues., July 28   Pash (DCA)
  • Tues., Aug. 4    Mayee Futterman (Studio)
  • Tues., Aug. 11  John Selig (Unity/VR)
  • Tues., Aug. 18  Diana Barraza (UX)
UCLA Extension Summer Cover by Matt at Varnish Studios

Design IV: Capstone final project – Code for America by Manoela Dowsley and Jason Acuna

Below is the Design IV: Capstone final project, Code for America, by Manoela Dowsley and Jason Acuna. The designers shared this about the project:

Code For America is a nonprofit organization that works with government agencies on tech solutions. The organization uses the principles and practices of the digital age to improve how government serves the American Public, and how the public improves government. They consider themselves to be a network of people making government work for the people, by the people, in the digital age.

Our rebrand project for Code For America focused on modernizing the visuals aspects of the organization and make those elements memorable. In addition, we worked to improve the communication and make the mission and vision as clear as possible to the public, including possible volunteers, government agencies, and most importantly, people in need of government services. We aimed to emphasize that this organization empowers communities by raising civic awareness through the use of technology. 

Our inspiration for this rebrand project was the organization’s mission to help people throughout the community through the use of technology and make government accessible to everyone. 

Our design process involved taking our favorite parts of the organization’s brand elements and making them stronger and contemporary.  

Thanks, Manoela and Jason. Excellent work!

Design IV: Capstone final project – Animal Legal Defense Fund by Payal Salot and Genesis Goertz

Below is the Design IV: Capstone final project, Animal Legal Defense Fund, by students Payal Salot and Genesis Goertz. The designers shared this about the project:

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization located in the Bay Area, CA whose purpose is to provide justice to animals as they cannot speak for themselves. We both researched the brand and identified key elements of what their preexisting branding was about and analyzed the organization’s speech to find their goals, values, and the message they want to convey.

We were inspired by the organization’s visual message of trying to position themselves as animal defenders by using key elements like the shield and animal references and decided to reinforce it making it stronger and cleaner. So we consider our project a brand refresh instead of a re-branding since we bring the preexisting design intentions of the ALDF (like their color palette, initial logo, etc) and give it a more contemporary, friendly, and iconic look to create a memorable impact in the audience’s minds.

We followed the design process given to us by our instructor Kyle Valentic in which every week we tackled different levels of design decisions. We started with design thinking and research, followed by creating a brand profile and style guide, determining identity needs (logo refresh/redesign), creating print collateral and digital assets, branding a social media channel, crafting an ad campaign, and ending with the branding of a fundraising event.

This was an extensive project we designed under the guidance and feedback of our instructor Kyle and was an excellent opportunity to deeply understand the ALDF brand and provide practical design and brand solutions that could potentially benefit their impact on the world.

Excellent work!

Interview with UX Graduate Nathdanai Somprasong

Tell us about how you got interested in user experience design and what brought you to the UX Certificate. 

I am always interested in design, especially digital product design. However, I found that creative work is usually subjective, meaning that it always partly depends on each person’s experience and perspective and it is not easy to achieve the best design solution.

After reading about the UX design certificate of UCLA Extension, I know right away that this is what I was looking for and I wanted to learn in more detail to develop and enhance my design capability. I gained not only visual problem-solving skills but also research and analytical skills to validate my work.

What’s something about UX design that beginning students might not realize? 

I notice that most people usually focus on qualitative data such as user interviews or user testing and overlook the importance of quantitative data. Both types of data could complement each other and lead to a more preferable design solution.

Knowing the limitation of the technology is also important. It is very beneficial to know some basic coding skills to know what is feasible and to be able to communicate with the web development team.

What was your favorite course and why? 

I enjoyed studying many courses here, however, User Experience II: Iteration is my favorite course. I had a chance to learn about service design which is challenging and enjoyable. I learned to look beyond the computer or mobile screens and was able to pay more attention to the end-to-end experience for a business.

Students also had a chance to work together as a team which was a valuable experience because people from different countries and different backgrounds can exchange views and experience with each other. 

If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream job, who are they, and what’s the job?

A company that provides digital product design service such as an application or website design which focuses mainly on creating the best experience for their users both visually and usability and work closely with the clients and their users for the best design outcomes.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years? 

My goal in 5 years is to be a well known senior UX designer in an agency or a tech company. I also have a strong passion for teaching, so I also would like to teach design or other subjects as much as I can and hopefully have my own academic institution one day.

Sick by instructor Dahn Hiuni read on Zoom this Sunday, 4pm

Congratulations to instructor Dahn Hiuni, whose play Sick will be read on Sunday, 6/21 at 4pm as part of One City One Pride West Hollywood Arts Festival. Reservations may be made up to 24 hours before the event at events@laplaywrights.org.

It’s 1972. Aversion therapy survivor Ron Gold’s growing resolve to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders puts him on a collision course with the psychiatric establishment.

With humor and poignancy, early 70s music, and the ghost of Freud himself, SICK recounts a pivotal moment in gay history and affirms the power of the individual in the struggle for human rights.

WITH

Cullen Arbaugh, Carrie Lynn Certa, Frank Crim, Bill Dyer,

Peter Levine, David Pevsner, Lew Temple & Nathan Tylutki 

Interview with DCA Graduate Kevin Kwok

Designer Kevin Kwok

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.

I first dabbled in design when I discovered Photoshop in high school. Back then, I was interested in drawing and design but didn’t really consider making a career out of it. I went on to study Law and Business for my Bachelor’s degree—a total 180, I know. After I graduated, one thing I knew for SURE was that practicing law was not for me.

I explored the idea of working in branding/graphic design, but realized I didn’t have the right education and experience for it. That’s when I decided to attend the DCA program—with the goal of brushing up my technical and conceptual skills, and building a strong design portfolio.