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Interview with recent DCA graduate Trinidad Suazo

“How design can improve people’s perceptions of life and experiences is what makes me feel passionate.” –Trinidad Suazo

Congrats to Trinidad Suazo for completing the DCA program! She tells us more about her experience here:

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

Design plays a key role in my life! It inspires me and makes me happy. I started my journey through design in Chile, where I am originally from. I got my bachelor’s degree in integral design from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and after that, I decided to look for my first experience in the professional field. I worked for 4+ years in a company dedicated to the design of educational material for children. In parallel, I also worked as a freelance designer. That mix of experiences was fantastic and helped me realize how much I like the experience of designing. I feel very passionate when I am doing it. Furthermore, what I really like and was challenging at the same time is the fact that the design field requires you to be on the cutting edge. That is why I am always looking for new courses and experiences that could boost my skills and knowledge.

Study abroad was always one of my dreams. That is why I decided to look into innovative design programs. In this sense, the DCA program at UCLA Extension fit perfectly. My motivation for this program was immediate. The DCA program was a perfect complement to my skills and purposes for my future plan. Certainly, it was the best choice.

What were your favorite courses and why?

This is always a tricky one, hahaha. But, if I need to choose only a couple of them, I would say my favorite courses were Media Experimentation with Michelle Constantine, Design II: Collateral Communication with Henry Mateo, Design IV: Capstone with John Beach, and Motion Graphics I with David Dodds. These instructors made me get the best out of myself, and they help me to look at graphic design from new perspectives. Exactly what I was looking for!

Media Experimentation was one of the first and most exciting classes of the program. I had the opportunity to explore different experimentations (collage, transfers, etc.), which was very special since I was able to boost and show my illustration abilities.

Design II was sensational and really fun. I enjoyed creating a speaker and a set of cooking tools. It helped me to remember how interesting it is to create new products from the basics to the whole concepts behind them.

Motion Graphics I, wow! It definitely opened my mind to a new field of design. I wanted to learn how to animate concepts and create stories, but I never thought that I was going to love it so much.

Finally, Design IV: Capstone was my last class and definitely one of the best ways to finish the certificate. It was a very complete class with exciting challenges, especially with respect to the creative skills required. I enjoyed every single part of the course, but mainly the importance of working in teams and the steps required to complete a whole project.

You’ve lived in several different countries and are now based in Switzerland. What’s it like pursuing your career in different international settings?

It has been very challenging and exciting, but without the absence of difficulties. But that’s what makes it even more exciting. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to study and work abroad. In my opinion, these are experiences from where you grow up professionally but most important personally. In the case of the DCA program, being involved in courses with classmates from all over the world, with many different backgrounds and cultures was an enriching experience.

Today, living in Switzerland is like starting once again, but with much more experiences already learned. I am very motivated by the challenges that come ahead. I have to admit that I have been lucky (which is always welcomed), especially in these pandemic times. When I finished the DCA program I received a job offer from Chile to work remotely as a designer, which has allowed me to apply all my design skills. I am very happy doing that. In parallel, I am learning French, which is the local language, and therefore preparing myself for the upcoming personal and professional challenges here.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I see myself doing my own design and illustration projects. I dream of creating my first designed and illustrated book. Additionally, I picture myself working in a company with a design team in a position of leadership, having the opportunity to create meaningful designs, and guiding other designers as well. For me, design is key in people’s lives. How design can improve people’s perceptions of life and experiences is what makes me feel passionate. I hope to be able to transfer that energy and passion through my designs.

Congrats again, Trinidad!

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!

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: Design a Brilliant Career and Find Your Professional Purpose

On Tuesday, June 22 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 Vesna Petrovic 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.

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, Design III: Branding, and Portfolio in the DCA program.

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!

Interview with DCA graduate Laura Ángel

Congrats to Laura Ángel for completing the DCA program!

We previously featured Laura for her packaging project that was published on the influential blog Packaging of the World. She tells us more about her time in the DCA program:

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

After a bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual Communication and two years working as a web designer and QA, I realized I wasn’t really happy. I discovered that design was the only aspect of my job that I really enjoyed, so I decided to steer my professional career in a different direction without knowing exactly where it was going to take me. After a lot of research, I found the DCA program and I remember thinking that there wasn’t a single class that I wouldn’t enjoy, so I made the decision to move to LA and pursue my passion for graphic design.

What were your favorite courses and why?

Typography and Design II: Collateral Communication were my favorite courses, although I really enjoyed the program as a whole. I found that the Typography course really helped me understand and appreciate how letterforms work with each other and with other elements of design and taught me how to think creatively to achieve many iterations on the same subject, which is something that as designers we should excel at.

In Design II: Collateral Communication, I was able to put into practice all of the different aspects of design that I had learned, like typography, color theory, layout, hierarchy, etc. and the importance of the relationships between them in a single piece.

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

530 Craft Beer was a project that I created in Design II: Collateral Communication. It reflects the very first stages of my creative style and vision as a junior designer, and it gave me the confidence and motivation to continue creating and sharing my work with others, which in the beginning is a really hard thing to do.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I’m currently focused on gathering as much experience and knowledge as I can from other great designers. I think that having in-house experience is incredibly important to understand all of the details that go into producing great design, but long term I would love to create an independent studio where others can also learn, grow and share their creative vision.

Thank you, Laura!

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!

Future of Work Conference: 2 free Visual Arts sessions

Don’t miss either of the two free, upcoming sessions of the Future of Work Conference hosted by UCLAx and presented by members of the Visual Arts department:

Wed. May 19: What’s Your Brand Story? by DCA instructor Shirin RabanClick here for details and to RSVP

Thu. May 20: The Future of Design is Immersive, and Really Fun by Visual Arts program director Scott HutchinsonClick Here for details and to RSVP

These two sessions are open to any Extension Student.

In addition, UCLA Extension certificate students and alumni are welcome to attend the entire conference. See the schedule for the entire series and learn how to enroll here.

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