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Join Our Visual Arts Open House on Nov. 15th

Direct Zoom link:

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, November 15th
12-1pm PDT

Enroll here today!

Interview with Recent DCA Graduate Ceylin Kocagöz

Congratulations to recent Design Communication Arts graduate Ceylin Kocagöz! She shares some of her projects and tells us more about her experience below:

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

I studied Media and Visual Arts as my minor in college, back in Istanbul, Turkey. When I fell in love with Los Angeles, and decided to move here to enhance my career in Entertainment and Design, I found out about the DCA program at UCLA Extension. I’ve always got inspired by generating a design from an idea, emotion or theme as a creative, and help people to get more traction with their brands, personal identities, or just simply inspire them on a daily basis. The DCA program is such a broadening environment with a rich variety of courses and an engaging and inspiring environment. It gave me a great opportunity to develop as a creative designer and initiated such enlightening opportunities.

What were your favorite courses and why?

As a creative who is also passionate about the entertainment industry, one of my favorite courses was Entertainment Graphic Design. Also, in Advertising Design, I got to widen my knowledge in different areas of design and discover my passions and talents. On the other hand, I also really enjoyed taking Design III: Branding and Design II: Collateral Communication classes because they really helped me developing a vision that would increase my creativity in both my professional and personal projects. Last but not least, even the basic design software courses were really inspiring due to their unique structure in which I got to collaborate with colleagues and my instructors.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I love combining my two passions, which are entertainment and design, and these inspire me to create a career that reflects this. In five years, I would love to be the founder and creative director of an agency where I get to produce entertainment production projects. I can design all of the branding materials for each project. I can also implement strategies to help other brands create a better identity while being their most authentic and creative selves.

Congratulations again, Ceylin! Check out two more of her projects below:

Catching up with DCA instructor John Beach

Though he’s super busy, John was kind enough to answer my questions and share some of his recent projects (all images his).

Raw Sugar Branding / Packaging

What projects have you been working on lately?

Well, I’m actually still working with my long term primary client more so than ever. I started with them around 2013 when I was referred to them through my client at Disney. I’ve been with them ever since. They started as a small shop, brand building for the personal care industry, soaps, lotions, hair care, etc. It’s natural and organic and made in So Cal. It was a goal of the two owners to get their product into Target, as the “house brand.” Fortunately, through good marketing, some great teamwork, smart brand-building and frankly, good design, they landed a really great place on their shelves. Basically, after years of hard work, the brand exploded to what it has become today. It’s called Raw Sugar (not the little brown sugar packets) and has expanded to all the big drug retailers, in addition to all Targets, and a new online presence.

It was recently purchased by WM Partners. I stopped working on Raw Sugar after about 5 years, and became the designer for all the other products created by their parent company, Bolero Home Decor. Our primary client now is Dollar Tree. We do over 100 SKUs a year. This is my happy place, as it utilizes not only good branding, but tons of fresh surface design. I don’t ever get bored, as every collection (there’s around 7 or 8 a year) is completely reimagined. I’m truly fortunate to have found the best clients on the planet.

Four Seasonal Illustrations

How did COVID impacted your career, if at all?

Boy, COVID was a mixed bag for me. As with everyone, it came with highs and lows. From a career standpoint, my studio work never slowed down. It might have even increased as mass market became more affordable to those unemployed for so long, dictating a need for more available, affordable product. We were there to keep up with the demand.

As far as UCLA Extension goes, I believe everyone is aware of that very scary week in March 2020 when the world closed its doors and we were forced to move all classes from in person to online in a matter of a weekend. Most of us had never taught online, and to be honest, the idea terrified me. I was concerned that the educational experience online would never compare to in-person. I was terrified that I couldn’t actually make the class experience engaging. After some bumps in the road, overcoming technology issues, perhaps a new attitude, and some retooling of the course structure, and we realized that this had to continue as much as possible, in a normal setting. It actually worked out. Ultimately, many lessons were learned. However, it is SO nice to be back in the classroom.

Seasonal Collection / Endcap

Are there any trends or developments in the design world that you’re especially interested in lately?

Yes. It’s kind of interesting how COVID affected the design world. Because many designers had tons of unemployed time on their hands, and because designers tend to be folks that need to stay busy, there was a tremendous amount of experimentation happening through personal projects. We are now seeing a huge influx in typographic experimentation, and for the first time in a while, we are seeing new fonts and experimental branding emerging. It’s feeling super fresh, and I’m happy to report this trend is being reflected in much of the student work I’m seeing. I would also say motion has really taken a strong position in design. As a tool, we are seeing motion everywhere. Branding, digital, advertising: it’s the new media go-to, and again, I’m seeing tons of great creative from our students to support this trend.

Thanks so much, John!

Take a peek at what John is teaching today.

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

On Tuesday, October 4th 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
-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 selfie

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!

Interview with Recent DCA Graduate Charlotte Potter

Congratulations to recent Design Communication Arts graduate Charlotte Potter! Charlotte began her UCLA career as an undergrad, then came back to UCLAx to earn her DCA certificate. She tells us more about her experience below:

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

After earning a degree in International Development Studies from UCLA, I gravitated instead toward positions that drew on my longtime love of art and design. From assisting in set dressing on television shows, to designing merchandise for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, to creating the brand identity for my own sustainability business; I loved the creative processes involved in each. I started taking classes in graphic design on Skillshare and watching Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials on YouTube and pretty quickly fell in love. I knew it was the direction I wanted to take my career in so I enrolled in the DCA program to get a more structured education.

What were your favorite courses and why?

Typography and Design IV: Capstone. Apart from the excellent teacher I had for Typography (Grace Magnus!), what I loved most was exploring typefaces throughout history and learning all the basic rules when it comes to setting type. I knew very little about grid systems, kerning, leading, or tracking before the course so it was fun to see how much my designs improved after learning some of those basics.

I also really liked Design IV: Capstone (again, in huge part because of such a great instructor, Pash). But also because it was such a good experience getting to work in a group on a single project that spanned the whole quarter. We really learned how to refine both our designs and our presentation skills. I received some of the most helpful advice for my future design career from that final course.

Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?

In five years, I see myself working as an in-house graphic designer collaborating alongside other talented, driven designers, creating innovative assets for a mission-driven brand. As I begin my job search, one of my main goals is to find an inspiring team that I can learn from. Eventually, I see myself moving towards freelance work and focusing on branding.

Congrats again, Charlotte!

COURSE SPOTLIGHT: WordPress Theme Development: Deploy Professional Websites as a Front-End Developer

Thanks to long-time web instructor extraordinaire, Mitch Gohman, for telling us more about this exciting new elective he’s offering this fall:

Why is this course, WordPress Theme Development: Deploy Professional Websites as a Front-End Developer important for my design education?

WordPress is one of the most popular solutions for designing and developing websites on the market today. Equipped with a Content Management System, customers can change content without web development skills. As a web designer, being able to design custom themes for websites, means you can focus on building the look of a website, while your customers focus on the content. 

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

The following we built on a custom WordPress theme for one of my clients:

What will I take away from this course?

A better understanding of how WordPress and WordPress themes work, helping you become more versatile in the types of projects you support.

Thanks Mitch!

Enroll in WordPress Theme Development: Deploy Professional Websites as a Front-End Developer today!

Interview with Recent DCA Graduate Kristopher Bicknell

Congratulations to recent DCA graduate Kris Bicknell! You can view his work along with other outstanding DCA graduate portfolios in our gallery. He tells us more about his experience below:

Kris Bicknell

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

My background is in theatre, and I started doing graphic design years ago out of necessity. Working on small theatrical productions, there was always a need for people with extra skills, and I usually ended up volunteering to make a poster for the show. Over the years, more and more people started asking for my help with graphic design for their productions, then their personal brands, then their small businesses etc. And as I did all that work, my passion for graphic design grew. I finally reached a point where a career change to graphic design felt imminent. But I was mostly self-taught and felt like I could use some more formal training. Enter the DCA program, stage left. I had taken some other one-off courses and online bootcamps, etc., but this program fit the bill in terms of course offerings, flexibility (I took all my classes online), and getting to walk away with a certificate.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I took two motion graphics courses with David Dodds that were excellent. David is an engaging and delightful teacher, and prior to the courses I didn’t have much of an interest in motion graphics, but the coursework helped me realize that motion is a completely natural fit for my background in theatre. I got to use storytelling techniques and design together in a whole new way.

The Mentorship course is also an amazing opportunity to focus on an aspect of your work that you want to focus on, and to get one-on-one personalized feedback from an industry professional. I can’t recommend highly enough that folks find a teacher to do that with. I did mine with John Beach, and he helped me grow and find my voice as a designer.

Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?

My goal is to keep exploring the intersection of theatre/storytelling and graphic design, and in five years I’d like to be working full-time as a freelance designer in theatre, film, and TV.

Congratulations, Kris!

UCLAxOpen Free Course: Web3: How NFTs and Smart Contracts Are Changing The Digital Landscape

Join us Thursday, August 25th from 12–1:30pm PT for Web3: How NFTs and Smart Contracts Are Changing The Digital Landscape, a free short-course taught by Design Communication Arts instructor Michael Newman.

Like what you see? Enroll in Michael’s full 11-week course on these topics in fall quarter!

This talk will introduce Web3, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and Smart Contracts by sharing real-world use cases and examples such as NFT drops, Web3 websites, and the role of NFTs in the Metaverse. We’ll explore a variety of practical implementations, successful experiences, and even a few failures. The talk will include a high-level technical overview making it easy to understand the technologies and some fun, hands-on demos available to all on a free public testnet (test network).  

Michael Newman

Michael Newman is a Creative Director and Interactive Developer specializing in new media, content development and creative solutions. Michael has worked as an Executive Producer and Creative Director for companies including AT&T, VoxPop and Network Live. He has held Director of Interactive positions with companies as diverse as the irreverent and Independent Film Channel and worked at Viacom Interactive and the ad agency D’Arcy.

Michael has an eclectic background – With early access to the Apple ][ computer he spent much of his youth programming video games and tinkering with technology. He received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts where he focused on oil painting. He taught digital filmmaking at Pratt Manhattan, and currently teaches a variety of design and development courses for UCLA Extension.

An active participant in the maker movement, Michael has exhibited projects at TEDx, Maker Faires and museums, including an an SMS controlled Nerf machine gun, a hands-free skeeball game and an analog, hand drawn video game. He currently lives on an island by the beach with his wife Katharine and sons Jack Tesla and Luke Edison.

Enroll today!

Color Methodologies final projects shine

Instructor Henry Mateo is known for going above and beyond the call for his students, and this past quarter of Color Methodologies was no different. Check out some of the most notable final projects below. And here’s a description from Henry of the assignment: 

“These are fragrance bottle packaging concepts. The students chose a target market and customized a color palette for that target market and applied it towards the packaging.” 

Antonia Moure
Jason Page
Nicole Feliciano
Jesse Ren
Christopher Hager
Ratirat Kanasawat
Ratirat Kanasawat

Great work!

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

On Tuesday, July 26th 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

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.

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