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Distinguished Instructor Series: Exercise Your Design Brain with Pash

On Tuesday July 28 at 12pm we will present the next talk in our Distinguished Instructor Series. Here’s an overview:

Exercise Your Design Brain

Has your creativity been sheltering in place for the last several months (or more)?  Well there’s no time like the present to pull it out of the garage, dust it off, and take it for a spin.  Join Pash as he takes you and thousands of other designers through a series of fun, interactive creative exercises designed to get those wheels turning and remind your brain what it means to think like a designer.  OK so there won’t be thousands of people–but there will be enough for you to strut your stuff and impress them…and hopefully yourself too along the way.  Make sure you bring a pad of paper and a favorite pen or pencil.  And your brain—even if it feels a bit rusty.

Pash is a design strategist, author, and educator with 30 years of experience in the field of design. He has designed the official logo for Miles Davis, brand extensions for Playboy, products for John Varvatos, retail product strategy for Motown Records, and advertising for Perrier.  For the last 10 years he has been focused in the entertainment industry.

Pash’s work has appeared in hundreds of magazines, journals, and books.  It has sat on shelves on six continents, it resides in the Smithsonian Institution, it hangs on a wall in Oprah’s office. It has taught children, revitalized brands, secured funding, clothed celebrities, trained executives, developed platforms, modernized legacies, and of course, sold products.

From 2002 to 2004 Pash served as President of the Los Angeles chapter of AIGA.  In addition to UCLA Extension (where he has taught since 2001) he frequently guest lectures at other art schools.  He is also a popular speaker and is (used to be) on the road a few times each year to speak to creative professionals around the country.

Pash’s book, Inspirability, was published in 2005 and features personal interviews with 40 of the world’s most prominent and interesting graphic designers.

Pash lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jessica and his daughters, Mirabelle and Juliette.

Enroll here for Tuesday’s free and informative talk!



Course Series Spotlight: Unity I, II, and III

Curious what you’ll learn in our Unity course sequence? Instructor John Selig tells us more:

Why is Unity important for my design education?

Unity is, in many ways, the future; people think it’s only for games, but with Unity you can build apps, movies, augmented reality experiences, and even VR simulations. People are using it in the health industry, for interior design, and more; it’s an incredibly powerful tool, with room for every type of designer. You can get inspired by what’s possible here.

Why does it require a 3-course sequence?

You could say that what we’re learning to do in the Unity classes really combines every aspect of design; in these courses we learn to build rich interactive experiences, and with that comes the need for creativity, design sense, technical know-how, UX expertise, and so much more. Music? Check. Architecture? Check. Physics? Definitely check! Whatever you’re into, there’s a way to apply it to these projects, so although we cover a lot of ground in each class, it would be impossible to get through everything Unity has to offer in just one quarter!

How will this skill set translate to the “real world” workplace?

Interactive media and games is now the biggest entertainment industry today; bigger than movies, bigger than sports, bigger than music. Maybe that interests you, or maybe you’re just curious to see what it’s about; but either way, part of what you get in the Unity sequence is a strong foundation in programming, and every year this becomes more and more valuable, in every industry. Even if you think you have zero interest in being a programmer, knowing how to “talk the talk” so to speak can give you an edge in a great many careers today.

Can you share a sample assignment?
Sure! Here’s the final project from Unity I: 3D Game Design and Game Engines:

Final Project Unity I: GameJam!

What’s a game jam? Good question!
A game jam is an event where teams or individuals get together and each try to make a small game around a specific theme, within a specific time limit. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

Theme: Ghosts, Goblins, Monsters
You can make any kind of game you want, but it has to include ghosts and/or goblins and/or monsters in some meaningful way! If you’re looking for suggestions, see below!

Project Suggestions:
A game where you have to find and defeat ghosts in a scary forest
An app where you use the UI system to create an interactive ghost story
A game where you play as a goblin and try to drive away those pesky humans!
Literally just Pac-Man
A movie that plays out automatically, telling a story—if you go this route, make sure to use Cinemachine, animation, and potentially Unity’s Timeline system (see lecture 7 for more info)
Anything else that you can think of (as long as you can actually build it before the deadline!)

Thanks, John! Enroll in our Unity sequence today.

Join our free Distinguished Instructor lecture series this summer!

Join us over lunch for a series of live talks and presentations in the core academic areas of the Visual Arts. Each week we feature a distinguished instructor and dive into their area of expertise. Areas of focus for this series include Photography, Art History, User Experience (UX), Design, Studio Arts, and VR. Sessions begin at 12pm, last between 60-90 minutes, and are free and interactive. Bring your ideas and questions. Enroll for free today!

  • Tues., July 14   Craig Havens (Photography)
  • Tues., July 21   Dahn Hiuni (Art History)
  • Tues., July 28   Pash (DCA)
  • Tues., Aug. 4    Mayee Futterman (Studio)
  • Tues., Aug. 11  John Selig (Unity/VR)
  • Tues., Aug. 18  Diana Barraza (UX)
UCLA Extension Summer Cover by Matt at Varnish Studios

Design IV: Capstone final project – Code for America by Manoela Dowsley and Jason Acuna

Below is the Design IV: Capstone final project, Code for America, by Manoela Dowsley and Jason Acuna. The designers shared this about the project:

Code For America is a nonprofit organization that works with government agencies on tech solutions. The organization uses the principles and practices of the digital age to improve how government serves the American Public, and how the public improves government. They consider themselves to be a network of people making government work for the people, by the people, in the digital age.

Our rebrand project for Code For America focused on modernizing the visuals aspects of the organization and make those elements memorable. In addition, we worked to improve the communication and make the mission and vision as clear as possible to the public, including possible volunteers, government agencies, and most importantly, people in need of government services. We aimed to emphasize that this organization empowers communities by raising civic awareness through the use of technology. 

Our inspiration for this rebrand project was the organization’s mission to help people throughout the community through the use of technology and make government accessible to everyone. 

Our design process involved taking our favorite parts of the organization’s brand elements and making them stronger and contemporary.  

Thanks, Manoela and Jason. Excellent work!

Design IV: Capstone final project – Animal Legal Defense Fund by Payal Salot and Genesis Goertz

Below is the Design IV: Capstone final project, Animal Legal Defense Fund, by students Payal Salot and Genesis Goertz. The designers shared this about the project:

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization located in the Bay Area, CA whose purpose is to provide justice to animals as they cannot speak for themselves. We both researched the brand and identified key elements of what their preexisting branding was about and analyzed the organization’s speech to find their goals, values, and the message they want to convey.

We were inspired by the organization’s visual message of trying to position themselves as animal defenders by using key elements like the shield and animal references and decided to reinforce it making it stronger and cleaner. So we consider our project a brand refresh instead of a re-branding since we bring the preexisting design intentions of the ALDF (like their color palette, initial logo, etc) and give it a more contemporary, friendly, and iconic look to create a memorable impact in the audience’s minds.

We followed the design process given to us by our instructor Kyle Valentic in which every week we tackled different levels of design decisions. We started with design thinking and research, followed by creating a brand profile and style guide, determining identity needs (logo refresh/redesign), creating print collateral and digital assets, branding a social media channel, crafting an ad campaign, and ending with the branding of a fundraising event.

This was an extensive project we designed under the guidance and feedback of our instructor Kyle and was an excellent opportunity to deeply understand the ALDF brand and provide practical design and brand solutions that could potentially benefit their impact on the world.

Excellent work!

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