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.

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.

What were your favorite courses and why?

Hmm there were so many! Off the top of my head, I really enjoyed Photoshop I with Hakon Engvig, Design II: Collateral Communication with Henry Mateo, Graphic Design Career Launch Pad with Pash, and ALL of John Beach’s classes.

If I had to pick one, it would be Design II: Collateral Communication because it was so challenging yet rewarding. The class was hands-on, practical and well structured. Henry helped push my logo, brand identity, and package design skills to the next level. I left the class with 2 solid portfolio pieces that I was proud of. The icing on the cake was being able to present our work to critics at an actual design office (for us it was at BMW Designworks). Thank you, Henry (and all my instructors), for inspiring me and getting me to where I am now.

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’m currently a senior designer at a creative agency called Wondros, and this wouldn’t have been possible had I not attended the DCA program. I’m also really interested in branding and brand building. So my dream job would be to work at well-established brand consultancy and design firms like Pentagram, Collins, or Wolff Olins.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

In 5 years, my goal is to become a Creative Director—either at an agency or in-house at a company that values innovation, creativity and design.

Great work, Kevin! We are wishing you every success.

You can contact Kevin at hello@kevinkwokdesign.com.

Interview with Recent DCA Grad: Xinyi Yang

Learn how recent DCA graduate Xinyi Yang combined a background in advertising with design skills in the DCA program, her favorite courses, and more:

Tell us about how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.
My background is in advertising. After graduation, I got a job in one of the tour operators as a marketing specialist. My daily job required me to do the design of newsletters and banners, which I hadn’t learned a lot in my school. I decided that it was time for me to improve my working skills. Friends of mine suggested to me to take design classes in UCLA extension. I am glad that I took the class and enrolled in the DCA program.

What were your favorite courses and why?
Typography and Design III: Branding. I always had the problem of choosing the typo in the banner. Typography class really helped me a lot with that. The professor of Design 3 is awesome. He always pushed us to improve and inspire our potentials.

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 be in the entertainment or gaming industry. To help them work on their products and branding makes me excited.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
I see myself as a product manager.

Thank you, Xinyi!

Spring Quarter Getty Design Studio Placement

Work done by previous DCA intern, Naomi Hotta

Work done by previous appointee, Naomi Hotta

Applications due Monday, March 9.

THE WORK
The student will partner with a lead designer to develop graphic design solutions for various print ephemera connected with the Getty, including Education and Performing Arts. Work will involve collaborations with internal clients, production and web staff to coordinate deliverables. The Design Studio is a fast-paced, deadline-driven, creative environment that develops high quality design solutions.

THE SITUATION
The Design Studio at the Getty will offer a fully set-up MAC workstation for the successful student candidate. Work must be carried out at the Getty Center Design Studio.  The position is 12 hours per week, with preference for 2 six hour days (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday 8:30 – 3:30 with 1 hour lunch break).

PAG 39-40

Getty Center

QUALIFICATIONS
• Working knowledge of InDesign and other Adobe CC programs.
• Ability to generate a design solution quickly and carry it through to completion.
• Strong communication skills.
• DCA certificate candidate.

APPLY
Send your resume, cover letter and three work samples to dca@uclaextension.edu by Monday, March 9.

Need help with your cover letter? Kate can help: dca@uclaextension.edu

Course Spotlight: Code Literacy

Curious what you’ll learn in our new Code Literacy course? Instructor John Selig tells us more:

Why is this new course, Code Literacy, important for my design education?
There are countless advantages to understanding even basic programming concepts in today’s world. In many modern jobs, the difference between a good designer and a great designer is an understanding of not just how the product should look, or what it should do, but how the product will be built; there are synergies you can capitalize on, and issues you can avoid, by designing with an eye toward the technical details. Not everyone needs to be a developer, but anyone who works with one can be a little better at their job by speaking this language! And learning about programming can also help improve your logical reasoning, systems thinking, and sharpen your eye for detail.

Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?
Well, I’ll give you two! The first week, students will be tasked with a new spin on the classic “robot” exercise, where they’re asked to teach a robot how to make a peanut butter sandwich; it’s not as simple as you might think! But another project that I’m particularly excited for is a team exercise where students will work together to design a simple playing card game—first on paper, and then in code!

What will I take away from this course?
My main goals for the course are:

1. To reduce the anxiety that many people feel when faced with the intricacies of complex technical systems. I’ve taught hundreds of students of all levels, and this is a real thing: nobody likes to face something that they see as confusing and scary! But it doesn’t have to be that way!

2. To demonstrate ways that even a basic understanding of code can make your life easier, with real world examples including Gmail, JIRA, Slack, common computer tasks, finances, spreadsheets and much more.

And finally, 3. No matter what your background, I believe the skills, concepts, and tools presented in this class can help make you better and more effective in your career, whatever it might be. We’ve got something for everyone!

Thanks, John!

Enroll in Code Literacy today.

Interview with Recent DCA Grad: Laurie Racicot

It’s not hyperbole to say that design can change the world. Arguably no previous DCA student has better coupled top-tier design communication with a pressing social issue–in this case, the climate emergency–to enact change. We’re thrilled by what Laurie Racicot has produced in the DCA program, and by the role she will play in enacting climate justice.

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

I’ve been interested in design for as long as I can remember. I believe it relates to every subject, every issue, every part of the world. So when I decided I wanted to create a career that could make an impact for good, it was a natural choice. I chose the DCA program for its amazing flexibility. I live in a small town and have small children. The options for challenging academic programs that fit into my life were pretty slim. I’m thankful that I found this program that let me build my skills remotely and on my own timeframe.

What were your favorite courses and why?

Typography II was one of my favorite courses. I had a great instructor and I really enjoyed getting into the nitty-gritty of how type communicates on the micro and macro levels. We got to refine letterforms and design magazine spreads.

I also really enjoyed the Publication Design course, which I completed as a mentorship because it’s not yet offered as an online class. It was fascinating to build a magazine concept from the ground up. I got to choose a subject I was passionate about, research the audience, and write a creative brief from scratch. Then I got to stretch my art direction, illustration, and typography skills.

I enjoyed Art Direction Boot Camp for the same reasons. I like the strategic thinking that goes along with writing a creative brief and doing all of the research that goes along with it.

And I can’t forget to mention Color Methodologies, one of the very first courses I took. I just really love working with color!

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 have many dream design jobs at the moment, here is one: I would get a call from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or maybe someone at the Sunrise Movement, asking me to be Art Director for a campaign to promote the Green New Deal.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I will be a freelance art director and design strategist with enough professional connections that I can choose to work exclusively on projects related to climate justice.

Congratulations, Laurie!

DCA Graduates: In Their Own Words

Publication Design by recent DCA graduate Stella Musi

Happy Holidays, Visual Arts community!

Before we leave for our annual office closure (Dec 23 – Jan 1) I wanted to share some of the thoughtful words that recent DCA students have said upon completing the program.

Enjoy your break, and we’ll see you in the New Year!

–Kate, Cristina, Ana, Nathan and the rest of the Visual Arts team

“The DCA certificate has made an enormous impact on my professional experience. It has contributed not only to my creativity, but to truly think outside the box and deal with a project in a fast but elegant approach.”
–Marta Carissa Castillo Vasquez

“The DCA program helped me explore the whole other side of the design world, figuratively and literally. It helped me learn and develop my skills. It helped me figure out what I was passionate about and where my strengths and weaknesses are as a designer. I think it’s amazing to have professionals from the industry teach us. They helped us get ready for the outside real world with the most updated tool set available. And finally, this program introduced me to so many amazing people who I can now call mentors, friends and colleagues and for that I’ll be always grateful! “
–Maitrayee Punjabi

“The DCA Program helped me realize exactly what field I want to work in, as well as show me a number of techniques and skills I didn’t even imagine I’d learn or know.”
–Harrison Bradford Huss

“It was a leap of faith. I was in a completely different field when I decided to take classes at UCLA Extension. At first I was hesitant, but my instructor was amazing and very encouraging, and so I took that leap and I don’t regret it. I’ve met many great designers via the DCA Program that I know I’ll keep in touch with in the future. Now I’m in a happier place and am confident to go through with my career change. If you can afford to make that leap, I say go for it!”
–Judith Park

“I have gained a good foundation and the skills to successfully pursue what I am most passionate about- Graphic Design!”
–Monica S. Rawlins

“The DCA program transformed my career from fashion to graphic design.”
–Odul Saroz

“I really enjoyed the DCA program from learning the various design tools of the trade, to understanding the entire design process, and expanding my creativity techniques and critical thinking skills. Also, the instructors bring tremendous real world experience to each class.”
–Stacy L Kupcheni

“I’ve made great progress after learning in Design Communication Art program. The DCA program taught me not only design skills but also the strategy of problem solving. It’s an approach to a higher level design. I will recommend UCLA Extension to my friends and coworkers.”
–Li-Yuan Selina Liu

“I like the fact that it covers a wide range of courses which prepares me to be a well-rounded designer.”
–Man Ting Kong

“Leave Behind” Design by Maitrayee Punjabi

Course Spotlight: Motion Graphics III

Our Motion Graphics sequence consists of three courses, includingMotion Graphics I, Motion Graphics II, and, new course this winter: Motion Graphics III. Instructor David Dodds tells us more about it:

Why is Motion Graphics III important for my design education?


In Motion Graphics III you will learn to work faster, smarter and more creatively. Learn the latest features in After Effects, and efficient ways to get things done. Through mentorship I’ll help you develop your creative voice, and actualize your ideas. In addition to advanced motion graphic assignments, I will help you develop 3 independent projects. We also will focus on career and Motion Graphic portfolio development.

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


One assignment will be to animate Futuristic HUD Elements. These types of user interface elements are seen in Iron Man or the Star Wars movies. After setting up our layers correctly in Illustrator, we will transfer the Illustrator HUD assets into After Effects and animate each layer professionally. Finally we will add a camera, depth of field, a motion track, and composite the HUD in a video. The skills learned in this project can be used to create professional motion graphics for video games, movies, and infographics.

What will I take away from this course?


Tips and tricks for advanced animation techniques
Keyboard shortcuts and mapping techniques to maximize any workflow
Motion Graphics portfolio and career development
Career Research skills
How to tackle complex design and creative challenges and bring them to fruition
Practices for finding or refining your unique creative voice

Thank you, David. Enroll in Motion Graphics III today!

Interview with Recent DCA Graduate: Odul Saroz

Recent DCA graduate, Odul Saroz,has successfully blended her background in fashion design with the DCA program to create a powerful, unique skill set. After her final portfolio review, program director Scott Hutchinson described her work as, “Insanely good.”

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

“My interest in design evolved around my interest in art, specifically drawing and painting by my mother’s encouragement. Later on, I studied fashion design and worked as a fashion designer for several years, then I started discovering and making graphic design-related projects and realized that it excites me more. To enhance my design vision and skills, I wanted to study abroad and found the DCA program which was a perfect fit for my goals. The variety of courses offered in the program helped me a lot to get a customized education and made me feel comfortable using graphic design tools and concepts when I was switching my career.”

What were your favorite courses and why?

Design II: Collateral Communication class with Henry Mateo had a broad impact on my design approach and taught me to think from a different perspective while I was making design decisions and managing the process. The task he gave us was creating two completely different products and their brand identity. Therefore, I found out a better understanding of the process and demographic information are as important as the project itself. When I was taking the class it was challenging; however, after I completed it I was definitely more confident in design and felt that I can finalize any kind of project from vision to product.

Also, Typography class with John Beach was one of the most fundamental class in the program. His specific profession and sensitivity in type led me to grasp typography deeply and constantly incorporate my knowledge from the class to any task I would get now or in the future. Last but not least since I always wanted to work in entertainment-related projects Jag was a great instructor. His style, experience and critiques as my mentor in the program were very crucial.”

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?

“Before I started the program I envisioned myself doing exceptional designs for movie posters and creating album arts for my favorite musicians. Also, I am very passionate about museums and contemporary art so anything related to those fields would fulfill my goals as a designer. I’m hoping to have the opportunity to work for all of them!”

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

“To be an art director in an agency or a company that has similar ethics to mine and prioritizes being creative. At the same time, I’d like to do personal projects and keep growing as a designer and artist. I would rather consider myself as more than one thing, so my expectation is to never stop learning and utilize my design skills for good reasons and bring awareness to good causes.”

Congratulations, Odul!

Frontend Web Coding Boot Camp: FAQ

Design by DCA graduate Laurie Racicot

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!

Photos: DCA field trip to NBC Universal Telemundo

Kudos to DCA instructor Shirin Raban for organizing a field trip for her Design II and Design II students to NBC Universal Telemundo! And thank you to her student for the invitation.

Shirin says, “It was really interesting to see how they deal with on air graphics and to be in that environment. They also shared personal stories and info on internships and resumes and work place expectations which was super valuable. “

Here are some photos from the event:

Nice work!

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