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DCA Graduates: Where Are They Now? An Interview with Dahye Chung

The next DCA graduate in our Where are they now? series is Dahye Chung, who can’t believe it’s been seven years since she graduated.

Where has your career taken you since leaving the DCA program?
I moved back to my home country, Korea, and worked a few years in marketing for a company that curates designer furniture and lighting which was really amazing because I got to work first hand with timeless classics. Then, a couple years ago my husband and I started a small interior design firm. I can incorporate my background in architecture and everything I’ve learned at the DCA program into my work because it ranges from space design to signage all the way down to menus, pamphlets and business cards.

What’s one thing you’ve learned the hard way since leaving the DCA program?
If I don’t like it, the client won’t like it.

What’s one thing that’s been easier than you expected?
Styling and staging interior spaces. I love finding, arranging and organizing things to make the space look as beautiful as possible.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
I think I’ll still be working with my husband, running our studio, but hopefully we can move out of the city, and into the countryside, find a big old warehouse that we can renovate the heck out of and make into our home. We will be travelling regularly and not working as much 🙂

Thank you Dahye!

Check out her and her husband’s studio here: www.studio-ua.com

And instagram: @studio_ua_

DCA Graduates: Where Are They Now? An Interview with Kelley Cobb

Kelley Cobb

Next up in our Where are they now? series is designer Kelley Cobb, who said, “I can’t believe it’s been 5 years already!” Not only has Kelley built a successful career, but she’s also won awards with her design work.

Where has your career taken you since leaving the DCA program?
I have been working at Interact Brands in Boulder, Colorado for the past five and a half years. I started there as an intern and have since become a Senior Designer. We work on anything from food and beverage packaging and branding to now expanding into the larger CPG space and into digital touchpoints. In these last years I’ve been able to work on projects for pre-revenue start-ups all the way up to some of the largest food companies in the world. I’ve even been honored with winning the Designalytics Award twice — once for the Boulder Canyon redesign and the other for the Fat Snax redesign. This is an award that recognizes redesigns that had a significant tangible impact on the brand’s sales. 

What’s one thing you’ve learned the hard way since leaving the DCA program?

I’ve learned how subjective design can be. Your designs may not always be someone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay! There will be plenty of people out there who see the value in what you bring to the table – that’s the beauty of design, there’s something out there for everyone!

I also think the pace at which design changes can be a challenge — both in terms of client needs as well as design trends. Everything is so fast-paced in this industry that you alway need to be keeping up on what is working, what’s not working and what is the next skill you can learn to take your designs to the next level.

What’s one thing that’s been easier than you expected? Discovering other talents that help make me a well-rounded designer. For example, I’d never even thought about copywriting in the past but I’ve discovered my love for it as I was concepting designs and by adding just one extra touch of copy or a quippy tagline can give your designs a whole new dimension and meaning.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
I still see myself designing five years from now but I also see much more involvement at the Art Direction or Creative Direction level. I never want to stop designing but it’s also very rewarding to be able to lead and work in a collaborative environment with younger designers who are just getting started in the industry.

Congratulations, Kelley!

Instructor David Dodds to Present at Adobe MAX 2021 – Free to Attend!

Great news from instructor David Dodds:

I’m excited to announce that I am presenting for the first time at the Adobe MAX 2021 conference! I love to get people excited about creativity, so presenting at this prestigious conference has been a dream of mine for years. I’ll be discussing how anyone can leverage Adobe’s Character Animator to create professional-quality animated explainer videos that rival the animations of major brands.

The best news of all is that this year’s virtual Adobe MAX conference is completely free to attend! All you have to do is sign up by clicking the link below and log into the virtual conference on October 27th when I’ll be presenting. I look forward to seeing you there!  

https://portal.adobe.com/widget/adobe/am21/sessions?search=dodd

DCA Graduates: Where Are They Now? An Interview with Matheus Spinelli

We were thrilled to catch up with 2015 DCA graduate Matheus Spinelli, who also shared some of his team’s recent work from Mother’s Market in Costa Mesa:

Where has your career taken you since leaving the DCA program?
Wow! 6 years since I got my DCA Certificate! Well, a lot has happened in my professional path. After the Getty Studio Placement, I worked for years for GrubMarket and helped shape their brand by designing many assets in different media. Then I was hired as creative director at Mother’s Market to refresh a 40-year-old pioneer brand in the natural grocery industry. Today I lead a lean team of designers dedicated to offering the best-in-class creative solutions for Mother’s. We conceptualize brands and campaigns and design all the assets from emails to websites and flyers to billboards.

What’s one thing you’ve learned the hard way since leaving the DCA program?
My biggest challenge was transitioning from a graphic designer interpreting briefs and focused on production to a creative leadership role with added responsibilities in a cross-functional environment. I learned that clear communication and project management skills are critical.

What’s one thing that’s been easier than you expected?
To become agile with the software was easier than I expected. It sounded challenging to remember all the tricks and shortcuts, for all different software, but it became more natural with practice, and I got savvy!

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
I love the creative process in branding – from strategy and concept to execution and production. In 5 years, I want to be involved with creativity and innovation, doing much of what I do today, playing with infinite creative resources to design identities that shape brands and connect people. The goal is to make everything look and feel good and keep having fun doing it.

Thanks for touching base, Matheus! Wishing you every success!

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

On Tuesday, October 12th 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
and
-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!

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

On Tuesday, September 21st 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. 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 August 17th

Direct Zoom link: https://ucla.zoom.us/j/98463221573?pwd=MUx5VXZhSTQxaWNQbFJwd0hMYnhQdz09

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, August 17th
12-1pm PDT

Enroll here today!

Interview with Recent DCA Graduate Monica Catalan

Congrats to recent Design Communication Arts Grad Monica Catalan! Read about Monica’s DCA journey below. All work samples are hers.

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

I was working as a Diplomat for the Mexican Consulate and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of being in LA. I was looking to complement my career in marketing by learning graphic design and UCLA Extension was a great option for me since they offer great opportunities to international students.

What were your favorite courses and why?

Color Methodologies was a very fun learning experience and I discovered how much I love illustration and it stirred my interest in playing with different materials. I found it fascinating how we humans are heavily related to color psychology.

Drawing for Communication (Kate: no longer offered) was a very joyful and thoughtful class. I enjoyed learning the role that drawing plays in the art and design process. I liked how the teacher highlighted the benefits of freehand and how this kind of communication requires a special amount of empathy towards the addressee of the message.

Design History and Context was very interesting to me, learning the value of the history of design and the metamorphosis of the field throughout the years around the world. I enjoyed finding inspiration from the past and rediscovering ways to apply it pushing it in a fresh, modern direction.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

UCLA Extension helped me to discover my passion for illustration. I also love myths and legends so I see myself illustrating my own books for adults and children.

Congrats again, Monica! You can view Monica’s inspiring portfolio here.

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!

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