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Interview with DCA graduate Novia Elvina

Congrats to recent DCA graduate Novia Elvina, who’s next step is the Master’s program in Human Experience Design Interactions at Cal State Long Beach.

Check out her design portfolio here and her UX portfolio here.

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

I always had a passion for art when I was a little girl. My interest started from gaming, drawing, and creating my own book illustration/comic books when I was 8 years old. To be honest, I never pursued art as my passion because where I came from, those fields are not really encouraged by family or even the community.

Then, I flew to the US to start college. I realized in this land of opportunity, I could achieve my dreams and passion to do what I love as my professional career. Thus, I pursued Animation/Entertainment Art for my Bachelor degree at CSUF. After graduating, I worked with several companies as a Graphic Designer and a Graphic Artist. I really enjoyed my job, and I got to draw for 8 hours or more every single day. However, I realized that I’m nothing more than an asset of a big wall-art company, and a role like mine, is easy to be replaceable, as they weren’t supportive enough to sponsor my working visa in the US.

Long story short, I realized I needed some sort of certification at least before going back to my home country, since Animation is not really a successful career over there. That’s when I decided to go to UCLA Extension for DCA Certification because I never really had proper graphic design courses during my Undergrad years.

What were your favorite courses and why?

There were quite a lot of favorite courses at UCLA Extension. To be honest, I grasped more skills here than during my Undergrad years, but again, I’m not trying to compare or regret every choice I made because that’s what made me who I am today. I really enjoyed Entertainment Design with Jeff Aguila because not only did he show us demo and new skills that we should know for entertainment industry, but he also pushed us as students to think more or think outside the box. What I’m aiming is not to be the most skillful person in Photoshop/Illustrator/other softwares, but what I want to learn from him is how he thinks and sees a problem to solve it in a professional and creative manner.

I also gained new skills from motion graphic classes that were taught by David Dodds. His passion for motion graphics and character animation really inspires students. Not to mention After Effects is one of the most challenging animation software to learn, but he’s really full of patience (and passion) covering the materials over and over again.

Then, I also took UX I course with Chris Cirak, and even though I never met him in person, I remembered how helpful he is as an UX Instructor. It was my first time taking a UX course and I didn’t even know what UX meant back then, and look where I am now! I’m pursuing a Master’s in Human Experience Design Interaction which is similar to UX. Then I met Thomas Dillman, another UX Instructor whom I adore so much because of his experience and how he shares his knowledge in the UX industry. Again, my aim is not to learn the powerful UX tools in the career because softwares are always changing, and I believe as long as we have the right mind to learn and grasp on something, we shouldn’t be worried of anything.

How did you decide to go from UCLA Extension to graduate school?

I decided to go to Graduate school for UX because I like to learn what’s beyond UX. I mean, I learned UX from UCLA Extension, and that will always be my starting point when I share my stories to everyone. Then, understanding concepts around Human Relationship with Technology and Arts, it just gives me chills and passion to explore more, and to apply all the skill that I have learned as a designer.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I hope in 5 years, I’ll be working in an Entertainment company where my works will have a huge impact for the company, the audience, and the community. Then I’d also be willing to hustle when I still can, I don’t mind taking some freelance jobs as a Graphic Artist: creating movie posters/flyers, etc. because that’s what started my passion as an artist as well.

Congratulations, Novia! Wishing you every success!

DCA student Laura Ángel has project published in Packaging Of The World!

530 Beer package design by Laura Ángel.
“Life and beer are very similar. Chill for best results.”

DCA student Laura Ángel’s beer packaging project, created in instructor John Beach’s Design II: Collateral Communication course, has been published on the influential blog Packaging of the World.

We’re thrilled for Laura that, not only did she take the leap and submit her work (which we strongly encourage students to do) but also her project was chosen for publication!

Laura says, “I’ve never submitted work before to be published because it is always hard to share your personal work for the first time. But this certainly gives me motivation to keep going.” 

Mega congrats Laura!

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!

Interview with DCA Graduate Kevin Kwok

Designer Kevin Kwok

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

I first dabbled in design when I discovered Photoshop in high school. Back then, I was interested in drawing and design but didn’t really consider making a career out of it. I went on to study Law and Business for my Bachelor’s degree—a total 180, I know. After I graduated, one thing I knew for SURE was that practicing law was not for me.

I explored the idea of working in branding/graphic design, but realized I didn’t have the right education and experience for it. That’s when I decided to attend the DCA program—with the goal of brushing up my technical and conceptual skills, and building a strong design portfolio.

What were your favorite courses and why?

Hmm there were so many! Off the top of my head, I really enjoyed Photoshop I with Hakon Engvig, Design II: Collateral Communication with Henry Mateo, Graphic Design Career Launch Pad with Pash, and ALL of John Beach’s classes.

If I had to pick one, it would be Design II: Collateral Communication because it was so challenging yet rewarding. The class was hands-on, practical and well structured. Henry helped push my logo, brand identity, and package design skills to the next level. I left the class with 2 solid portfolio pieces that I was proud of. The icing on the cake was being able to present our work to critics at an actual design office (for us it was at BMW Designworks). Thank you, Henry (and all my instructors), for inspiring me and getting me to where I am now.

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?

I’m currently a senior designer at a creative agency called Wondros, and this wouldn’t have been possible had I not attended the DCA program. I’m also really interested in branding and brand building. So my dream job would be to work at well-established brand consultancy and design firms like Pentagram, Collins, or Wolff Olins.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

In 5 years, my goal is to become a Creative Director—either at an agency or in-house at a company that values innovation, creativity and design.

Great work, Kevin! We are wishing you every success.

You can contact Kevin at hello@kevinkwokdesign.com.

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