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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.

Recent DCA Graduate Interview: Felipe Farme D’Amoed

Learn more about Felipe, and the unique skill set he’s leveraged in his stand-out portfolio:

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

My relationship with design started with drawing while in class at school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although I did that often, I never thought that was something I would pursue. After many years and different career paths I was introduced to design while working to create the visual identity and branding of the InvestEGGator, a 3D printed faux turtle egg with a tracking device. I worked alongside an Australian design agency who opened my eyes about how design really worked. That was the moment I decided to switch to what I love doing now, designing to tell a story. I knew about UCLA Extension through a friend and found the DCA program, which opened the doors for me to begin the transition to where I am now.

What were your favorite courses and why?

What I loved about the program was how gradual students were introduced to the techniques and eventually using them to express what they envisioned in their minds. It felt liberating to be able to hone the skills to put the ideas into a physical form. With that said, so many courses inspired me. To name a few, Design III: Branding, Package Design, Design II: Collateral Communication, Advertising Design and Designing Experiences were the most enticing to me by the depth of concept they relied on. These courses allowed me to focus on the message I wanted to come across and use design as the medium to attractively convey that. I believe these courses together with Publication Design were crucial to shaping me into understanding the world that Design has to offer in all its aspects.

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?

That’s a tough one. I can imagine myself in so many different roles, but that’s what fascinates me. As I said, a job that would allow me to visually convey the message in a unique way to the end user would motivate me every day. This job would definitely be related to the environment and conscious consumption, teaching people in unorthodox ways about problem solving as a community. Unorthodox is where environmental design comes in, where the experience would shock and entice, giving the correct awareness to the issue in place. I am deeply motivated by plastic and ocean pollution, and conscious consumption. I would love to work in a place where this was the focus, as there is a lot of room to prosper and educate people about consuming the right products and services that bring us together and create positive social and environmental impact.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

Having my own business addressing social and environmental issues with unique experiences and innovative design that breaks the norm we unfortunately see very so often out there today. I would love to take Palo Audio further and use that as a medium to connect us to nature. I also want everyone in the world to have access to clean water. Not sure how yet, but I’ll get there. Let’s catch up in 5 years…

Thank you, Felipe. And best of luck with your worthy goals!

Interview with Recent DCA Grad: Xinyi Yang

Learn how recent DCA graduate Xinyi Yang combined a background in advertising with design skills in the DCA program, her favorite courses, and more:

Tell us about how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.
My background is in advertising. After graduation, I got a job in one of the tour operators as a marketing specialist. My daily job required me to do the design of newsletters and banners, which I hadn’t learned a lot in my school. I decided that it was time for me to improve my working skills. Friends of mine suggested to me to take design classes in UCLA extension. I am glad that I took the class and enrolled in the DCA program.

What were your favorite courses and why?
Typography and Design III: Branding. I always had the problem of choosing the typo in the banner. Typography class really helped me a lot with that. The professor of Design 3 is awesome. He always pushed us to improve and inspire our potentials.

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 would like to be in the entertainment or gaming industry. To help them work on their products and branding makes me excited.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
I see myself as a product manager.

Thank you, Xinyi!

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