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Fall 2014: About the Catalog Cover Designed by David Young

fall2014_cover_david_young_triplecodeFor Fall 2014, David Young (Triplecode) created a cover using data; this is the first cover in the series to include an interactive version as part of the release.

The data represents students that took UCLA Extension courses over the past year (names and any private information have been removed). The design was generated by a program Young wrote in the programming language Processing. Through manipulation of the code, he settled on the final connections between data values and design attributes.

“I wanted to create a cover that expressed the diversity and energy of the students enrolled in UCLA Extension classes” said Young.

“It was intended to be a kind of explosion of optimism because I think that anyone who enrolls in continuing education is doing an incredibly exciting thing. Rather than doing an analytical data visualization, I used the data to control how the design was generated. So, every student is represented by a dot and a line. The horizontal position of each dot is determined by the student’s distance from UCLA. The number of circles and squares that make up each dot is determined by the departments of the courses, the semester they were taken, and if they were in-person or distance learning. Essentially every aspect of the design is controlled by some part of the data.”

On this page, Young has created an interactive version of his cover generator. It allows non-programmers to get a feeling for how changing a few design parameters can make a big difference in the resulting image.

The controls are divided into two categories: Data and Design:


Data Points: Because the full set of data would be too slow to display here, the data set has been reduced to one student per zip code.

Departments: Choose which departments to display.

Semesters: Choose which semester to display.


Color: There are three different color palettes to choose from. ‘Department’ uses a specific color for each department, ‘Distance from UCLA’ sets the color based on how far the student lives from UCLA, and ‘Random’ uses a random color for each object.

Dot Size: This determines the size of each student dot. Use ‘None’ to hide all the dots.

Line Style: Choose from a variety of styles.

 Click here to check out the interactive cover


TEDxUCLA is an opportunity for innovative thinkers to spread their ideas throughout our UCLA community. We have been organizing this event for the past 4 years because it goes hand in hand with what we teach here in our design programs: to think outside the box and to find solutions creatively.


Instructor Van Ditthavong wins Best Independent Short Film at IFS Film Festival

LOS ANGELES & BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The 19th Annual Independent Filmmakers Showcase (IFS) Film Festival will be showing films May 27th, 28th, and 29th at Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills, CA and May 30th – June 10th 2014 at the BV Cinemas Screening Rooms in Los Angeles, CA.

Van Ditthavong’s short film “You’re There in the Sun Let Go” won BEST INDEPENDENT SHORT FILM at this years IFS Film Festival and will screen Thursday May 29th at Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills as part of the awards program.  The highlight of IFS Film Festival programming will also happen that night with the 2014 Awards Ceremony, with IFS HONORS going to Kenneth Anger, Lars von Trier, Frank Pavich, and James Franco, and the IFS 2014 BEST PICTURE going to “Finding Neighbors” which stars IFS BEST ACTOR winner Michael O’Keefe and BEST DIRECTOR winning film “The Age of Reason” starring Tom Sizemore, who receive his award for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR.

The 2014 IFS Film Fest includes event screenings for the director’s version of “Nymphomanica Vol. I and Vol. II” starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Christian Slater, and Willem Dafoe and a special screening of Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers”.

The Independent Filmmakers Showcase Film Festival showcases an extensive collection of undiscovered independent films from around the world, alongside work from Hollywood’s best-know directors, featuring over 100 films from 25 countries.

MAY 27th, 29th, and 29th tickets available at Laemmle.comwww.laemmle.com

MAY 30th – June 10th tickets available at Eventbrite: www.ifs.eventbrite.com

Screening times and more information can be found at: www.ifsfilm.com or email Press@ifsfilm.com

Spring 2014: About the Catalog Cover Designed by Simon Johnston

Simon Johnston explains his design for our Spring 2014 course catalog: “The focus of the cover design is Education itself. Knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge is at the heart of the Extension class program and my design concept is based around creating a kind of stream of consciousness poem based on phrases and terminology from the courses offered. The intention is to surprise and jar the mind of the reader, and pull their thoughts in as many different directions as possible to suggest the depth and breadth of subjects available.

With research and specialized knowledge at the core of the list, terminology is taken from deep within a subject, but also adding humor and friction and a sense of the poetic through juxtaposition and the way the terms feed off one another—a sort of intellectual chopped salad. All terms have footnotes to explain the source and then to link the reader to the relevant course and page inside. Lists and footnotes are of course forms of visual/typographic rhetoric associated with intellectual pursuits and learning and are thus a kind of ‘native language’ in this situation. The design is trying to be a linguistic/typographic equivalent of the classic description of surrealism as ‘the chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on an operating table’. Some of the phrases perform double duty, with footnotes linking the phrase to two sets of relevant courses.”simonjohnstoncover

Introducing Photo Instructor Van Ditthavong

Ditthavong_Bio PICThis upcoming spring quarter, we’re excited to welcome Van Ditthavong as our new instructor for Photographic Portraiture.  From his lauded short films which have been screened at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, The Independent Filmmakers Showcase, and more – to his range of editorial photographic work featured in Stern Magazine, Men’s Health, Psychology Today, Texas Monthly, Ladies Home Journal, and many others, Ditthavong is an accomplished image creator who brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the classroom.  We took a moment to ask Ditthavong a few questions about his background and career, and what students can expect from his Portraiture course.

Ditthavong Work_Family at home

What drew you to photography and how did you get started?

Growing up I really didn’t think about being a professional photographer. I didn’t even realize the possibilities that photography had to offer until I bought my first camera at 25. Once I got my first roll developed and saw how awful they looked, I was completely obsessed on trying to improve. It’s been well over 10 years now and I’m so thankful I didn’t throw the camera out the window with those pictures that day… and believe me I was very tempted. Photography has become a great vehicle to tell my stories. It has given me the opportunity to think differently. It has allowed me to observe the world with an open mind while seeing people and places from different angles and perspectives – and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Much of your work deals with critical social issues of today.  What role do you feel photographers or artists have in advocating for positive social change?

It’s an amazing time to be a visual artist. Photographers today have a great opportunity to push for social change and awareness through their work – especially with the multiple outlets available out there. I have always thought that language can only describe so much – and that visual images often can leave more of an impact. The wonderful humanitarian Bill Gates, Sr. has said that success is directly correlated to showing up for people you love and causes you believe in – “we are all in this life together and we need each other.”  I truly believe him. I believe photographers and storytellers can really make a difference with the stories they tell and create.

Ditthavong Work_Park RangerTell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

One of the most rewarding project I worked on was commissioned by Texas Monthly Magazine. They wanted me to do a photo essay consisting of portraits of people on all sides of the polarizing issue of Immigration. I traveled 5,000 miles all over Texas in 21 days and made 18 portraits. As a refugee, I have always been interested in the issue of immigration and the pursuit of the American Dream and its definition. What made this assignment so amazing, besides seeing every nook and cranny of Texas, it was that I was able to spend time with people who had strong opinions about their position on the issue. I got to see the passion from both sides and learn a ton from them. Personally, that’s one thing I find important – the ultimate goal isn’t really to make a pretty picture but to learn. For that month I learned a great deal from a mayor, a sheriff, a high school teacher, an ER doctor, a Latina republican, an undocumented worker, a border patrol agent, a rancher, a pastor, an immigrant worker and a student. It was terrific.

What can students expect from your approach to Photographic Portraiture this spring?

I’m excited to be teaching Photographic Portraiture this spring.  I hope that students will not only increase their understanding of camera and lighting techniques but more importantly, expand their conceptual approaches and methods to produce compelling images. Through a series of discussions and assignments that cover emotional content, subject matter, lighting, intent, mood and personal vision – students will develop the ability and confidence to create impactful portraits from his/her own unique voice. But most importantly, I hope we will all be able to learn and get inspired by one another – and have fun in the process.

Ditthavong Work_Contractor in HomeAny advice for budding photographers just starting out?

Everyone has a unique voice and their own personal and life experiences. It is that essence that will make your images “yours” – so continue being curious, making mistakes, and asking questions. Once you understand the technical aspects and basics of photography and light – then all you have to do is focus on what it is you want to say. When that happens your photos will soar to greater heights and your voice we be stronger and clearer.

For more of Ditthavong’s work, please visit his website here.

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Feb. 4th | Michael Lejeune talk @ USC Roski

Micheal LeJeune_Metro Creative Director_Billboard Campaign

On February 4th, USC Roski School of Art and Design hosts Michael Lejuene, Creative Director for Metro (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority) for a talk on his design career and current projects with Metro.  Metro’s 30-person Creative Services group creates award-winning core communications elements for the nation’s third-largest transit agency, including advertising, wayfinding and environmental graphics, timetables, maps, fare media and customer information, bus and rail fleet design, web and mobile presence, and merchandising.

Prior to joining Metro, Michael was Project Director at KBDA, the award-winning design and branding studio in West Los Angeles. He managed projects for Acura, Nike, 3Com, UCLA and Hilton Hotels, as well as writing for the City of Monterey, La Opinion and MicroTherapeutics. He also served as Creative Director for the 32-member in-house marketing agency of City of Hope Cancer Center. Freelance projects include work with The Music Center, The Natural History Museum of LA County, Crossroads School and The Brentwood School.

February 4, 2014
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
University Park Campus
Gin. D. Wong Auditorium
Harris Hall

For more information, visit USC Roski’s Calendar of Events.

Spring Enrollment began Feb. 3rd

Edgar Degas_Woman Seated besides a Vase of Flowers_1865

Edgar Degas, “Woman Seated besides a Vase of Flowers” 1865 via The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Why wait until the last minute?

Spring quarter courses open for enrollment on Monday, February 3rd.  We encourage students to enroll early not only to guarantee your spot in a course, but also to take advantage of our early enrollment period – which offers a 10% discount on most course fees.  Please visit our website to browse Spring courses and enroll.

Spring quarter begins March 31st and concludes on June 22nd.

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