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Marc Mertens, SESO & TED-Ed

Yesterday, we were excited to learn of the launch of TED’s new educational platform, TED-Ed.  Better still, Seso, the experience design firm founded by UCLA Extension instructor Marc Mertens, was instrumental in bringing this dynamic project to fruition. Marc will share his expertise in our upcoming summer course; User Experience Design.

The TED-Ed platform provides educators access to TED’s growing library of carefully curated educational videos, and the ability to build unique lessons around ideas.  These lessons can then be tracked through unique URLs, allowing educators to individually measure the efficacy of their teaching.  The TED-Ed site is an engaging new component in the educator’s tool box, and represents a forward thinking development in the continually evolving world of education.

TED-Ed has already garnered glowing praise from The Washington Post, The Atlantic, GOOD, and The Chronicle of Higher Education among others.  The Atlantic calls the new platform “Big” and maybe even “revolutionary.”  While The Washington Post remarks that TED-Ed uses “sophisticated animation, professional editing and high-quality production values to produce online lessons that are hard to forget.”

Check out this feedback from Marc’s former UX Design students:

“This was the best class I have ever taken, period. The subject material was really interesting and something that I can use in my career. I felt challenged, yet fully supported by Marc and the class. Out class also felt really cohesive and aligned. Awesome networking!”

“I wish Marc taught more classes! He is a great teacher, 110% knowledgeable, and really engaging. He makes a class in user experience a totally awesome user experience. I can’t thank him enough for all the advice, support and direction.”

“While he was an authority on everything we discussed, I liked that he also embraced other’s knowledge and expertise in the field.”

Apart from his upcoming User Experience Design course, you can also catch Marc at Big City Forum’s Mapping LA: Design Based Thinking, taking place May 2nd at the Armory Center for the Arts.


A Look into Martin Venezky’s Creative Process

Venezky's Studio

“The term “experimental” is often used as a code for unusable, weird, “crazy” or “going wild”. But I think that is a big misunderstanding, and something I try hard to correct in the classroom. When I teach an experimental class, I am quick to explain that experimentation is a methodology.” 

-Martin Venezky

Mr. Venezky put his own methodology to work for our Summer 2012 catalog cover, which you may have noticed popping up lately around the UCLA Extension building and campus.  Just released last week, we were excited to finally see the colorful and intricate design Venezky had created for us.

Martin Venezky is the mastermind behind Appetite Engineers, a small, internationally recognized design firm.  His interest in intricacy, complexity, ornament, and handwork has caused many wary employees to nervously inch their way toward the exit. But before taking flight, they have helped him create some wonderfully entertaining work for the Sundance Film Festival, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, Princeton Architectural Press, and Blue Note Records, among others. 

Typographic Construction

His work has been featured in Eye, How, émigré, and Graphis.  Martin also was art director of the late, great Speak, a magazine of popular culture, literature, music, and art.  In 1997 he was listed among ID magazine’s “ID40” list of influential designers and, in 2001, an exhibit of his collected design work, Martin Venezky: Selections from the Permanent Collection of Architecture and Design, was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  A monograph of his work, It Is Beautiful . . . Then Gone, has been published by Princeton Architectural Press.  Mr. Venezky has taught at CCA, California Institute of the Arts, and Art Center College of Design.


Final Catalog Cover design

Venezky shared some snapshots of his studio and the process involved in the creation of our cover image.  From the precise typographic cutouts to the carefully assembled ribbons and orbs, the handiwork involved in constructing the final image is quite impressive.

“I think that decoration, for its pure visual stimulation and wonder, is a fantastic thing. Our response to it is part of being human. Pattern, variation, texture, color, qualities of light and shadow, figure and ground – all of these things produce sensations in us that are based more on biology than rationality. The elevating of engineering to an aesthetic ideal is based on the purity of rational and mathematical thought.”

-Martin Venezky

Course Spotlight: HTML5 and CSS Layout for Designers

New this summer, the intermediate course  HTML5 and CSS Layout for Designers makes the perfect compliment to  Web Design I, II or III.  This course will present a variety of web layout challenges and develop the skills needed to successfully integrate your design across the many user platforms that access the web.  Instructor Mitch Gohman answered some questions for us:

How did the idea for this new course come about?

When students complete the Web Design 1: HTML & CSS course a very common response is “I feel like I really understand the world of Web Design, now I need to develop the muscles that address the common considerations of modern Web Design.” This class was specifically designed to build on the core concepts of the first class and take you deeper into the world of HTML & CSS as it applies to responsive web design (mobile to screen), scalable grid systems, and cross-browser testing.

Why is this course important for my design education? 

Responsive Design is cutting edge for the world of Web. Instead of designing 3 separate websites for mobile, notepad, and screen, Responsive Design, gives you one scalable/flexible solution that adapts to all devices–even devices/dimensions of the future.

 What will I take away from this course?

  • How to develop websites using responsive web design techniques (mobile to screen)
  • Advanced command of HTML5 (mark-up) & CSS3 (presentation)
  • Advanced layout conversion from Photoshop to your website
  • How to design for all browsers, even if you are developing from a Mac

Do you have a sample exercise/assignment?

Yes indeed…  HTML5 What You Should Know, which you can start in a plain text file.

Happy Earth Day! (from Keith Haring)

First observed on March 21, 1970 in San Francisco, Earth Day is now a globally coordinated event celebrated in more than 175 countries.  This year, Earth Day occurs on Sunday, April 22nd, and UCLA Extension Visual Arts is taking the week to increase our awareness of the natural environment, and implement further sustainability efforts as part of the UCLA-wide initiative to reduce waste and save energy.

We’re also celebrating with a little help from Keith Haring!  Featured above is a doodle from one of his journals, recently made available by the Keith Haring Foundation and the Brooklyn Museum.  They’ve started an insightful tumblr that will be posting one journal page a day, for the duration of Haring’s exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum; Keith Haring: 1978–1982The exhibition runs through July 8th.

Advanced Package Design Workshop

Coming up in just three weeks, Shirin Raban’s Advanced Package Design: Concept to Completion is an intensive 2-day course that will cover a range of contemporary consumer packaging practices and methods.

This hands-on workshop is open to all design students, and you don’t need previous packaging experience or courses to attend.

Advanced Packaging Design will provide the opportunity to create a branding portfolio piece consisting of three items. The workshop includes a comprehensive overview of the package design process from concept to completion through audio visual lectures, a field trip to Whole Foods, group exercises in defining objectives, critique, individual sketches and computer design that will then be transformed into real, 3D packages through production and mock up processes demonstrated and practiced in class.

Advanced Package Design is taking place over two Saturdays, May 12th & 19th from 9am to 5pm.  Please click here to enroll.

Michael Bierut in LA

Coming up next week are two great opportunities to see the renowned Michael Bierut share profound insights on design and his experience as a designer. Bierut is a partner at Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy.  Prior to joining Pentagram in 1990 at the firm’s New York office, he worked for ten years at Vignelli Associates, ultimately as vice president of graphic design.  He’s also the co-founder of Design Observer, a leading blog dedicated to all things design.

On Thursday, April 19th from 7 to 9 pm, Bierut will present his talk, “Learning on the Job: 10 Lessons from 35 Years in Design” at the Downtown Independent Theater.  Visit the AIGA event page for more information and to register.

The following morning, April 20th at 11am, Michael Dooley opens up his Loyola Marymount University design history class to Bierut for a freewheeling discussion in an informal atmosphere.  Come hear Bierut cover a wide variety of topics beyond his “10 Lessons from 35 Years in Design” presentation.  Admission is free and no reservations are required.  Please visit the event page for more information including directions and parking.

DIY: Physical Computing at Play


Last month, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo hosted the latest event in their Science Cafe series of talks and workshops.  Using the Kennedy Library stairwell as their gameboard, co-presenters Michael Newman and Scott Hutchinson guided participants through the design and construction of a game using open source electronics and circuits.   Check out more video from the event below.

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