Archive by Author

An Interview with Recent DCA graduate Renee Roos

Renee Roos

Congratulations to Renee on her recent graduation! Hear about her experience and see some of her projects below:

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

I was interested in taking the DCA program at UCLA Extension because I wanted to take a more creative route in my career path after completing my undergraduate degree in business and marketing. I thought that learning more about graphic design would compliment my degree while allowing me to do more of what I actually enjoy. 

What were your favorite courses and why?

Design III: Branding and Typography were definitely my favorite courses. I really enjoyed Design III: Branding because it allowed me to see the bigger picture for how a brand’s aesthetic must align with the brand’s identity and goals for it to appropriately communicate who they are and what they offer to their consumer. I also really enjoyed Typography because I didn’t know anything about it prior to taking the course and it made me fall in love with type. I find myself constantly searching for new typefaces and font trends in the design space.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

In 5 years, I see myself working for a very established graphic design agency that works with many CPG brands. I am currently looking for an agency role because I believe that I will learn the most as a designer in that environment. I am really excited to see how I evolve as a designer and where my career path goes from here. 

Congratulations Renee!

UCLAxOpen Free Course: Idea to Image: Illustration for Designers

Join us Tuesday, June 7th from 3 – 4:30pm PST for Idea to Image: Illustration for Designers a free short-course taught by Design Communication Arts instructor Patrick Hruby.

Illustration and graphic design have a long history of connection and oftentimes the line between the two are less defined than we think. Still, illustration can seem intimidating to many designers. In this short course, you will discover that illustration is less about technique and more about communication and connection. If you can tell a story, you can make an illustration. We will explore editorial illustration, surface design, and illustrative entrepreneurship.

Patrick Hruby

Patrick Hruby
Patrick Hruby

Patrick holds a BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design; illustrator and designer. Mr. Hruby’s clients include The New York Times, The Guardian, WIRED, Target, Sprint, The United Nations, and Taschen.

Enroll in Idea to Image: Illustration for Designers today!

Join us for TEDxUCLA on Saturday June 4th

Our annual TEDxUCLA event will be held on Saturday, June 4th from 1:00-4:30 pm at UCLA Northwest Campus Auditorium. Presenters have been polishing their presentations for months on the theme of Certainty. The afternoon promises to be full of “Ideas Worth Sharing.”

You can view a slideshow of this year’s speakers here. Talk titles include everything from, “The Adolescent Brain: a Thriving Look” to “30 Days of Wearing my Trash.”

And you can purchase tickets here.

An Interview with Recent DCA grad Rachel Hogg

Rachel Hogg

Congratulations to Rachel on her recent graduation! Learn more about her background and experience in the DCA program here:

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

I have always had a love for design. Whether it was editing my own photos for social media or laying out blogs on Tumblr, I enjoyed being creative at a young age, but never had an opportunity to really dive into it and learn from professionals. I received my undergraduate degrees from Cal State Long Beach in Dance and Journalism. As a journalism student, I was able to take a media design class, where I learned more about editorial and print design. I enjoyed this side of journalism, as it really allowed my creativity to flow and I was able to narrow my focus in the department to design and multimedia.

After graduating in the midst of COVID, pursuing a career post-college became difficult. I decided to utilize my time and broaden my knowledge in design to other areas. After much research, I found the DCA program and immediately knew it was exactly what I was looking for! The classes allowed me to go back to the basics and really get a grasp on what graphic design was. The program exceeded my expectations and truly prepared me for a career in graphic design.


What were your favorite courses and why?

My favorite courses in the DCA program were Design II: Collateral Communication, and Package Design. These two classes were challenging and helped me really see my true potential. The projects were a lot of fun and the instructors allowed the students the freedom to choose industries they were interested in working in. I was able to create work for my portfolio that really showcased my skills. I learned about the process of branding and gained experience in receiving feedback and pitching my work, and it really prepared me for the real world.


Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

In five years, I would love to be a full-time freelance brand designer. I enjoy working one-on-one with clients and bringing their visions to life. I want to create a name and brand for myself, with the potential of hiring others and being a small agency for local companies.

Congrats, Rachel!

An Interview with Recent DCA grad Tommy Evich

Thomas Evich

Congratulations to Tommy on his recent graduation! Hear about his background and see some of his projects below:

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

I had already begun teaching myself Photoshop when I met someone at a party who was taking an intro course in the program. We talked about design and she recommended the program. A couple of weeks later, COVID hit and I impulsively registered for three classes to fill up my time. From there I just fell more and more in love with design and ended up completing the entire program.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I really enjoyed Typography taught by Grace Magnus—she was so detailed and really took the time to offer feedback. I also really enjoyed Design History and Context. I found it really inspiring and gave me the freedom to explore different styles and aesthetics in my own design with awareness and knowledge of where those came from.

Please tell us a bit more about these stunning monthly playlist pieces you’ve shared here. What was the assignment and what was your process like, from inspiration to production?

This was actually a personal project that wasn’t assigned in class.

In September of 2019, I went to Paris to teach English and listened to a playlist I had made the entire time I was there. After leaving, I was struck by how easily transported I was back to the emotional state I was in while I was there every time I listened to it—I guess sense memories could be one way of thinking about it. This experience really got me thinking about the relationship between music, time, and emotion and the importance of those things to me.

During the pandemic, when it was easy for the days and months to bleed into each other, I wanted a way to remember everything as vividly as I possibly could, explore stylistically within my design, and share music that inspires me.

So, I decided to curate a playlist and design cover art for each month of 2021 and now also 2022. Through this project, I’ve been able to track my growth, interests, and progress and feel that each month serves as a touchstone for my journey as a designer and creative. I look at it as documentation—almost journal entries even. Each song I add takes me back to a certain place and time. One of the best parts of this is that through sharing these each month it’s led to new friendships and meaningful connections.

In terms of the process, the playlists are reflective, meaning that I make them at the end of each month. Throughout the month I collect bits and pieces—maybe find a new typeface I want to test out, new textures I want to play with, or a new layout idea. It all sort of builds up and I listen to the music and just create. The covers are definitely inspired through the music. Some of them are more planned than others, but I don’t really put any guardrails on it, just sort of do whatever I want to do and follow what inspires/ excites me. After they’re finished I can go back and revisit different moments in time and feelings through all the different playlists and cover art.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

In 5 years I see myself working in design/ art direction in the music industry.

Thank you, Tommy, and congrats again!

UCLAxOpen Free Course: What’s Your Brand Story?

Join us Thursday, May 12th 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 Recent DCA Graduate Frederic Chang

Frederic Chang

We’re grateful to recent DCA graduate Frederic Chang for sharing more about his academic and professional journey with us. You can view his website here and his online portfolio here.

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.
I was firstly interested in fine arts and architecture, but I did not think much about the future until my last year of high school. I saw that my intellectual interests and artistic/crafting hobbies could be linked through design and desired to explore this field further. After discovering my passion for furniture and interior design during my BA in industrial design, I decided to study further in the same field in Europe to see different points of view and how design there differs from East Asia.

My vision was opened greatly while completing my master’s degree in London. Critical and speculative design was a very intriguing topic for me to work on during my degree. It involved multiple design disciplines in order to create an experience of an alternative world. When I became a product designer back in Taiwan, I thought about going further with my interest in creating experiences. Instead of doing another degree, I wanted courses that would have more connection to the professional world. I found the DCA program after my first visit in Los Angeles, which I thought would be a great place to learn more about designing experiences and sharpen my skill in conveying more abstract design concepts to an audience. The opportunity of an internship in the Getty (although the pandemic prevented this), and gaining further knowledge in visual communication were also incentives. So here I am!

What were your favorite courses and why?
Despite the fact that the pandemic lockdown came 5 months after I started the program, I enjoyed many courses and began to realize what I needed and where I wanted to be involved in communication design.

Unity I: 3D Game Design and Game Engines with John Selig was a great experience. As I wanted to obtain a better sense of digital interaction and how game design process works, I chose to learn about Unity. There was a lot for me to learn including all the coding, interactions, and visualization in the software, and John really helped us a lot both technically and conceptually. Seeing my classmates’ diverse project ideas was very inspiring and that kept me thinking what digital experiences do in a physical world.

Designing Experiences with Robert Checchi was another one of my favorite courses. The focus of the class was exactly what I needed and Robert provided lots of information on both technical and methodological details with professional examples, as well as lectures by professionals from the industry. The weekly discussions after each student’s project progress presentation were the most mind-blowing part of the class, because everyone was working on very different projects and we got interesting ideas and inspired each other a lot.

Motion Graphics I with David Dodds was an adventure. We had a lot of freedom to work on our weekly projects and that encouraged great diversity of visual styles. The healthy competitiveness kept you wanting to be better. We learned from each other how to use the software creatively. I gave myself many challenges such as making my own music for most projects and experimenting with other 3D programs, in order to have a more comprehensive sense of video production. This class was also a great practice in creating narrative experiences.

What’s a project that you’re particularly proud of?
If I had to choose one, I would say the museum exhibition experience design project “Age of Imagination” was my most confident and ambitious work in the DCA program. The project was done under the mentorship of Robert Checchi. It contains a tremendous amount of research on English history, decorative arts, exoticism, industrial revolution…etc., as well as planning the message I was trying to deliver to the audience and why it mattered. I attempted to create an experience showing how English people saw foreign cultural influences in 18-19th century and how we see English culture of that period nowadays in popular media such as movies based on Jane Austin novels or the TV show Bridgerton. I kept my own playful design approach while solving technical problems related to the actual Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) site and museum exhibit curation.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
My experience in the program has confirmed my plan to become a multidisciplinary experience designer in the future. There is always more to learn in any field, and gaining solid professional experience will be the most important mission of mine in the next few years. As I already have some experience in product design, working in environmental graphics, installation design, or exhibition design will be my next step, while maturing my applied skills in digital interaction on the side for use in future professional projects.

Congratulations, Frederic!

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

On Tuesday, March 29th 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. In January 2022 he was recognized with one of the California State University’s highest honors — the Wang Family Excellence Award. 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 March 28

Direct Zoom link: https://ucla.zoom.us/j/94788709251?pwd=SjFraVhLVWdEcDVlTUNlbDlQRi9oZz09

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.  

Monday, March 28th
12-1pm PDT

Enroll here today!

Poster Design Opportunity: Stand With Ukraine

L to R: design by Ghazal Hosseini, Iran / Anett St. Esther, Hungary / Tomaso Marcolla, Italy

Olga Severina, who will soon join the ranks of the internationally-renowned designers in our UCLAx cover series, tells us more about this important opportunity:

What’s your connection to the Stand With Ukraine curated poster series on Posterterritory?

I am a Ukrainian-born graphic designer, curator, and lecturer. For half of my life, I was involved with poster art exhibitions and events in Ukraine and abroad.

In 2010, I founded Posterterritory.com, a take-off platform for graphic design campaigns and poster shows all over the globe. Last fall, I was invited to teach a DMA UCLA course “Social and Environmental poster – Zone of Experiment.” I am also a member of the Graphic Design Association The 4th Block, founded by my professor and good friend Oleg Veklenko. 

Following the terrible events that plunged Ukraine into darkness, the “Stand With Ukraine” slogan became known around the world. It inspired Oleg Veklenko, who is currently in Kharkiv, hiding in bomb shelters, to create this open-end poster call where artists and designers could tell the world how they feel about this horrifying and devastating war.

What is your hope for the series?

Our hope is to give the voice to the artist, who cannot stay quiet in the face of these atrocities and help this voice reach those who are brainwashed by Putin’s propaganda machine. People are free to download and share these posters. This week one of the posters will be a cover for the “Capital” economic magazine in Germany. Anything we can do to help stop this war!

If you are interested, my brother and I are working with an association that helps Ukrainian refugees resettle and help anyone in need with medications, food, and other basic necessities. Here is the link: http://kunst-ogb.org/

Thank you, Olga.

Students can access the curated series here, including instructions on how to submit your own poster design: http://www.posterterritory.com/stand-with-ukraine/

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