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Design II final presentations: fall 2018

One amazing benefit of taking Design II: Collateral Communication with Henry Mateo is the opportunity to present your final project at a design studio or cultural institution around Los Angeles. So far, DCA students have been invited to present their work at:

• Hammer Museum
• Clever Creative
• Looking
• Hunt Design
• Gensler (Los Angeles)
• Brand Knew
• Edmunds
• Design Works (BMW)
• RKS Design
• The Creative Pack

By being exposed to these great design venues, our students have found employment and have expanded our network of designers from our program.

As Henry put it, “I’m always beaming with pride when they’re able to deliver quality work to our design community.”

Congrats to these students, and thanks so much to Henry Mateo for all his hard work and dedication!

Check out a few of the students’ work in the gallery below:


Interview with DCA instructor Masaki Koike

We’re delighted that our award-winning instructor, Masaki Koike, sat down with us to share more about his design life. His answers to our questions and a gallery of his work are below, but first, his official bio:

Masaki Koike is the principal of Phyx Design founded in 2007. His work in the music industry has earned him a Grammy Award and multiple Grammy nominations – this year for The Grateful Dead – Get Shown the Light box set! His work has been published in various design books and magazines. Over the last decade Masaki has worked at various companies such as Rhino Records, Smog Design, Nokia Design Center and Saatchi&Saatchi. He is a native to Los Angeles and currently works and lives in the beautiful city of Pasadena. He also teaches at UCLA Extension’s DCA program.

What brought you to the field of design?
As a kid, I enjoyed making things so working in the creative field should’ve been obvious. My focus in college was initially Psychology ’cause it seemed more legitimate as a major. I came to the realization that it wasn’t what I wanted to do so I dropped it with 2 classes left to fulfill my degree. I switched my major to art and never looked back!

Please tell us about an especially rewarding project you have worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
I think the enjoyment of what I do IS the reward. It sounds idealistic but I hope that everything I work on is rewarding in some way. It can be creatively or financially rewarding and it rarely goes hand in hand!

The Recording Academy has recognized your outstanding work many times. How does a love of music inform your visual designs?
I’m not sure that it does. Of course it helps if I’m familiar with the artist but doing research is always a good starting point weather I know the artist or not. Every project is different in that the information comes from many sources. Sometimes it’s the title or the concept of the album. Sometimes the band wants me to use a piece of artwork or photo. Some artists, especially an established act, have their own brand assets. Sometimes, it’s a culmination of all these things and I just run with it. When the information comes from data and strategic marketing, it can be very unrewarding!

What will students take away from your course, Design Fundamentals?
Since it’s a beginners’ course, I firmly believe in teaching the prose of design. How to best communicate an idea by distilling the information so that it is concise and direct. How to think, analyze, and problem solve. To heighten your visual awareness. Developing good work habits and understanding the importance of trying, failing, and trying again.

Final thoughts?
I’ll leave you with a quote from designer Lou Danziger: “Work. Think. Feel. Work: No matter how brilliant, talented, exceptional, and wonderful the student may be, without work there is nothing but potential and talk. Think: Design is a problem-solving activity. Thinking is the application of intelligence to arrive at the appropriate solution to the problem. Feel: Work without feeling, intuition, and spontaneity is devoid of humanity.”

Thank you, Masaki!


Interview with recent DCA grad Elizabeth Melnitzky

Elizabeth Melnitzky

Big thanks to recent DCA graduate Elizabeth Melnitzky, who shares her thoughts on the DCA program and some of her outstanding projects below:

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

I grew up loving art and enjoyed going to museums with my dad who worked as a painting conservator. I studied Art History in college and contextualized how artists effected change in society; I also gained a visual reference library that is crucial in my design work. After working in Public Relations in New York for a few years, I consistently saw the need for good design that could contribute to better communication and results.

I absorbed everything possible about the design industry but felt I needed to gain a fundamental skill set to break into the industry. I moved to Los Angeles for a bit of freedom, space and light to study design after falling in love with the landscape: the vintage signs, the bright colors, and what felt to me like an abundance of nature after living in New York. The location along with the ability to work while learning new skills attracted me to the DCA program. To bring things full circle, learning about Design History at the DCA program brought new life to my art history background, designers were behind so many of the technical and cultural advances that made many of the great art movements possible.

If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream design job, who are they, where do they work, and what’s the job?

As a designer, I embrace the opportunity to work across multiple industries, mediums and platforms. The most important element in my dream job is being part of a team that uses design as a tool for a change and helps clients tell their story to make a positive impact. In the current climate, it is no longer acceptable or financially effective to ignore issues of sustainability. My dream design job would involve developing identities and products for brands and communities that are working towards a better and more efficient way of doing things. I’m attracted to companies that are looking to disrupt industries and agencies that are providing the creative work to help achieve their goals. I want to work closely with other designers and team members who are using analytics, goals, and strategies to define how their designs will help solve a problem.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

In 5 years I’d love to be working as a designer at an agency that is using their wide reach to effect tangible change in the world, or in-house at a company that is solving issues that will determine the course of the next generation. I want to have measured successes in building brands and helping communities through design and be surrounded by team members that are as passionate about effecting change as I am. I want to have built on all of the skills I’ve gained at the UCLA program and to never remain stagnate in my pursuit of good design.

What were your favorite DCA courses and why?

The wide array of course offerings was another element that drew me to the DCA program. While picking up the basic tools of the trade, Adobe Creative Suite, Photography, Drawing for Communication I loved the opportunity to focus on niche areas of expertise throughout this program. Learning the fundamentals of UX thinking and design along with practical skills such as HTML and Java allow me to better understand the channels a consumer will connect with my graphics on. Having the ability to communicate with other designers in this area on projects is invaluable and the teachers at the UCLA made complex subject more approachable.

Congrats, Elizabeth!

AIGA Event: An Evening with Louise Sandhaus

An Evening with Louise Sandhaus
A Happy Medium: California and Motion Graphics 1936 – 1986
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Herman Miller Studio
3641 Hodrege Avenue, #100
Los Angeles, CA 90016

“Join us later this month as we celebrate California design history. Who better to join us than Louise Sandhaus, chronicler of the golden state’s rich design history. For this special evening, she’ll share a visual extravaganza of design’s hefty contribution to motion graphics—from early abstract films to film/tv titles, commercials, concert light shows, music videos, and even video games. You’ll see the familiar along with the little known and unknown, but all of it eye-popping! Regardless of your own profession or stage of your career, you’ll be leaving inspired and proud to be a part of this buoyant creative community.”

– Los Angeles AIGA

For tickets and more information:

Course Spotlight: Art Direction Bootcamp with Anya Farquhar

We’re offering an exciting new elective online this fall called Art Direction Bootcamp. Instructor Anya Farquhar tells us more about it:

Why is Art Direction Bootcamp important for my design education?

Learn how to hone your designs skills, articulate the success of your designs, and communicate clearly with teams or clients. The research, design, communication and presentation skills learned in this class will help you grow as a leader – whether you become an Art Director or work with one.

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

We will be working on one campaign throughout the course, from research to execution. We will explore the history of art direction as well as learn how to fill out a creative brief. The final result of the course will be a completed campaign and pitch. See the sample in the gallery below!

Using your design skills, we will focus the course on bringing a campaign to life with a purposeful and thoughtful combination of imagery, typography, composition, hierarchy, and color. We will also learn how to present your work by articulating how it meets the client’s goals.

What will I take away from this course?

  • A skillset for researching any design project
  • Understanding of typography history, how to select a typeface, and how to design the written word
  • Understanding of color theory, psychological and historical
  • A keen eye for considering imagery, including illustration and photography
  • Toolkit of questions to ask your client (or yourself)
  • Toolkit of answers using your new visual skill set

Check out this sample final project:

Enroll in Art Direction Bootcamp today!

Final projects – Design II: Collateral Communication

Thank you to Henry Mateo and the students of his winter 2018 quarter Design II: Collateral Communication course for sharing their final project presentations! In this advanced course, students create a brand “from soup to nuts” including concept, target audience, brand drivers, logo, letterhead, packaging, and any other collateral the student imagines.

Check out the gallery below:


Congrats to these students on some amazing final projects!

Course Spotlight: Game-Based Learning

It’s always exciting to offer new elective courses, especially in the burgeoning field of game design and learning. This summer, we’re offering the new 2-unit online course Game-Based Learning. Instructor Randall Fujimoto tell us more about it:

Why is this course important for my design education?

This course is important for design students because of two main reasons: 1) To become familiar with game design in relation to learning, and 2) To understand the design implications of designing for the gameful mindset generation.

Game Design
With approximately 2.2 billion active gamers worldwide, games are fast becoming the most important media of our time. Therefore, any good design education needs to include the study of game design. Game designers are typically interested in designing all aspects of a game, including gameplay, art and animation, environment design, sound and music, and user interfaces, in order to make games engaging and fun. In this course, we look at the design of games not only as it relates to engagement but also, and more importantly for educators, how it relates to learning.

Gameful Mindset
In the U.S., the average 21-year-old person has played an estimated 10,000 hours of video games. The sheer amount of gameplay hours has undoubtedly had an effect on the way that today’s “gamer generation” thinks and learns. They have developed what we call a “gameful mindset,” which describes the unique ways in which gamers think, learn, and live their lives. Anyone who is designing anything for the gamer generation needs to understand how a gameful mindset affects the way these people learn how to use what they are designing. This course can help future designers become familiar with the characteristics of a gameful mindset and how they relate to learning.

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

One assignment will have teams working on designing a lesson plan or learning activity centered around using an existing video game to help students learn. In order to design such a lesson plan or learning activity, teams will have to identify one or more learning outcomes and objectives, conduct research on existing video games that can be used for these outcomes and objectives, and then create a design plan that details the entire learning process. Teams will share their completed design plans with the entire class to get feedback and improvement ideas.

What will I take away from this course?

This course will give you a solid knowledge base about the various aspects of game-based learning and how to design various learning activities that utilize games and game-like thinking. The course will cover video games, educational games, game design projects, gamification of courses, and other topics related to game-based learning, including the intrinsic motivations inherent in game-based learning activities.

Thank you, Randall!

Enroll in Game-Based Learning today.

Design IV Student Project Spotlight: Aviva Family and Children’s Services

We’re highlight three of the outstanding group projects created by students of John Beach’s fall Design IV: Advanced Design Practice course.

Next up: Aviva Family and Children’s Services by Jonas Lin, Yuling Liang, Flora Zhuang.

First John gives us an overview of the course:

Students get the opportunity to choose a real life non-profit organization to rebrand, refresh and reorganize the public’s perception of its value. We start with branding, and through web presence, social media and virtually any other method such as (but not limited to) pop up events, exhibitions, advertising, curated exhibitions (all of which the teams design), we look at ways to build awareness, extend and develop funding possibilities, or change social perceptions. The teams leave with an extraordinary brand/look book for their portfolios that chronicles the process.

Check out the students’ work below:

Great work, team!

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