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Interview with DCA and UX graduate Yuiko Majima

Yuiko Majima

Congratulations to recent graduate Yuiko Majima, who has completed both the DCA and UX programs to best leverage her interests and strengths to position herself in the workplace.

She tells us a bit more about her experience in the programs:

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

I think that great design can maximize an experience. It can help make things extremely useful and improve how we go about our day. It can create delightful moments or long-lasting positive impact that completely changes our behaviors. Having lived in Japan and the US, I’ve also been intrigued by how lifestyle and culture can affect the design and how design assimilates to users’ needs and behaviors. The impact that design can make on our lives and businesses’ success interested me in a career in design.

I discovered design in my past role creating strategic partnerships to help corporations go through digital transformation. I experienced how design thinking can help facilitate product innovation which interested me in a career path in UX or Product Design. My goal was to transition careers which brought me to the DCA and UX program. I had little design experience that I wanted to learn from the fundamentals to build a foundation and also learn about the concepts and processes of UX Design.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I enjoyed many of the classes, but my favorites were ones where we designed together with our classmates. The students in the DCA program were very international from places like Brazil, Canada, Chile, and Hong Kong, so collaborating with them was fun. Design II: Collateral Communication was a class where we practiced product design by creating branding and prototypes. Each week we got into groups to brainstorm and critique each other’s work which was a great way to learn and I made many designer friends!

The UX classes taught me methods and processes which I use today working as a designer. User Experience IV: Capstone was a class where we worked on case studies every week. We researched, designed, and presenting to the class. It helped me apply the concepts we had learned into a more practical setting that helped me define my UX process which I use in my current work.

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 be thrilled to be considered for any opportunity! I am interested in roles globally where I can make an impact as a Product Designer. One of my motivations is seeing our work materialize and seeing how it affects people. Creating a positive impact with the work we do makes my job fulfilling so I’d like to continue working in places where we can drive impact. I also enjoy collaborative environments since I think great ideas come from a sum of many brains that I appreciate company cultures where teammates of different disciplines can work together throughout the entire process.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I hope I can be leading teams and mentoring designers. I think it’s important as a designer to understand the user’s need but also add business value. I hope I can become a design lead that drives the product strategy as well. I think the learning never stops but it would be great to pass on any of my knowledge to others through mentorship.

Congratulations, Yuiko!

UCLAxOpen Panel Discussion: Portfolio Review

This coming Tuesday, February 9 from 12-1pm the Visual Arts presents: Portfolio Review, a free opportunity for DCA and UX certificate students to 1) learn about what makes a strong portfolio and 2) receive feedback on their portfolios or works-in-progress.

Topics include:
–Our panelists will answer the question: What do they consider to be a great portfolio and why? They will show examples.
–A few pre-selected students will receive feedback on their work. And critiques will be open so other attendees can benefit from hearing feedback on others’ work.

Panelist: John Beach

John Beach brings twenty five years of experience to the graphic design field. His clients in branding, packaging and consumer products, textile design and trend forecasting include Starbucks Coffee Company, Disney Consumer Products, and the Hillstone Restaurant Group (formally the Houston’s Restaurant Group), Smilebox, Inc., RoomsbyYou.com and the Ocean Park Community Center. He has worked in the entertainment industry, in most capacities, from title design for motion graphics, to advertising with the networks and movie studios, to custom printed props for film, television and theater. He has acted as an expert witness in the field of intellectual properties for law firms. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.

He has taught a plethora of courses in the DCA program and was the recipient of our departmental Outstanding Instructor award. This spring, John is teaching Publication Design and Design IV: Capstone.

Panelist: Diana Barraza

Diana Barraza is a seasoned UX/UI/Product designer with over 10 years of experience in technology. Specializing in mobile and enterprise design, Diana currently focuses on building internal products at Flyhomes (an end-to-end real estate startup). Simultaneously, Diana investigates how her work impacts and improves the home buying experience for customers. Previously with Heal–an in-home, doctor on-demand provider–Diana’s work contributed to Heal being named App of the Day in the App Store. With an academic background rooted in the social sciences and arts, Diana is eager to share her knowledge and experiences as an educator at UCLA Exchange. Diana is also proudly Latinx and an LA native. 

She is teaching User Experience II: Iteration in spring quarter.

Moderator: Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson is the Program Director of the Visual Arts at UCLA Extension. Currently he is organizing TEDxUCLA.

More about Scott: I work for the design, studio, photography and art history programs at UCLA Extension, in addition to consulting and teaching in the area of commercial design. My training is as a designer, with a BA and MFA from UCLA’s Design Media Arts program, and I specialize in identity work for a variety of non-profits, mainly in branding, identity systems, social media and web development. Board activity includes National AIGA Design Educators Committee, AIGA Los Angeles Education advisor, United Designs, UCLA Volunteer Center, and sustainability committees on campus, UCLA Extension, and the Green Observers Foundation. I have spoken at a variety of conferences on design, visual literacy, semiotics, and social media.

If you haven’t already, enroll in our free speaker series today!

UCLAxOpen Panel Discussion: Careers in Graphic Design

This coming Tuesday, February 2 from 12-1pm the Visual Arts presents: Careers in Graphic Design, a free panel discussion on current design trends and how to find your place in the industry.

Topics include:
• Jag and Vesna’s careers to date and what a day in their lives looks like
Finding your place:
• Focus — how to target areas
• Careers in design now and in the future
• Portfolios and storytelling — tips on putting together
• Careers in design — tips to land where you can excel

Panelist: Jeff Aguila (Jag)

Jag has been an Art Director for the entertainment advertising design industry for more than 20 years, specializing in print and digital campaigns designing for some of the best entertainment studios such as Art Machine, A Trailer Park Co., BLT & Associates, and A Squared Design Group working on theatrical, home entertainment, television and video game projects. In 2006 he received the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Award for Home Entertainment – Special Recognition Print for his work on the SAW:UNCUT Edition DVD packaging design. He has taught Design Fundamentals and Entertainment Graphic Design for the DCA program since 2000.

Student feedback:

“Jag was an excellent instructor. He built an interesting, informative, and well-structured class centered around the main pursuit of teaching us to begin thinking like designers. He picked assignments, chose demonstrations, asked guided questions, and shared materials that all pushed towards this goal of getting us to think, see and conceptualize as a designer does. I also appreciated his choice to share personal projects to provide us with real-world examples. And he specifically showed all the steps of the process, from design brief through ideation to final versions. Jag also made himself available, gave us good, pointed, and constructive feedback and seemed really invested in our learning. At the end of the quarter, he left us with workable advice, concrete next steps, and took the time to present us with all the work we had made as a class. It made me feel proud of our accomplishments as a group.”

Panelist: Vesna Petrovic

Vesna Petrović is the founder and owner of VESNA DE3IGN studio. She is a graphic designer and educator. Vesna served for several years as a board member in AIGA in two separate chapters—Los Angeles and Orange County—and its national center for Cross-Cultural Design. She also participated in design portfolio reviews for AIGA LA, AIGA OC, CSUN, Otis College of Art and Design, and here at UCLAx.

Her work has been published and shown in graphic design publications and exhibitions, and is included in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s permanent graphic design collection. Vesna has organized and curated two graphic design exhibitions—L.A. Design in Belgrade (AIGA) and Everyday Design From Around the World (AIGA), the latter traveling from Los Angeles to New York to Mexico City. She served as a judge at several design competitions including Art Directors Club of America, AIGA LA and AIGA OC. Vesna was trained both as an architect and a graphic designer and holds B.A./M.Arch degrees from the University of Belgrade.

She teaches Design Fundamentals and Design III: Branding in the DCA program.

Moderator: Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson is the Program Director of the Visual Arts at UCLA Extension. Currently he is organizing TEDxUCLA.

More about Scott: I work for the design, studio, photography and art history programs at UCLA Extension, in addition to consulting and teaching in the area of commercial design. My training is as a designer, with a BA and MFA from UCLA’s Design Media Arts program, and I specialize in identity work for a variety of non-profits, mainly in branding, identity systems, social media and web development. Board activity includes National AIGA Design Educators Committee, AIGA Los Angeles Education advisor, United Designs, UCLA Volunteer Center, and sustainability committees on campus, UCLA Extension, and the Green Observers Foundation. I have spoken at a variety of conferences on design, visual literacy, semiotics, and social media.

If you haven’t already, enroll in our free speaker series today!

Student Work Spotlight: Design Fundamentals with Vesna Petrovic

Check out these inspiring projects from instructor Vesna Petrovic’s Design Fundamentals course.

Design Fundamentals is our introductory course. It covers the foundations of the elements of strong visual communication, explored via a series of hands-on projects. Many–if not most–of the students in this course have had no previous art or design experience. Look what they’ve achieved in just 11 weeks:

Excellent work!

Enroll in Design Fundamentals today.

Free event with David Dodds – Color Changes Everything: Racial Diversity in Animation

Join DCA motion graphics instructor, artist, and author David Dodds on Thursday October 29th from 7 – 8:30pm for “a Zoom panel discussion featuring multi-talented animators, writers, & artists.” Click here to learn more and sign up for free.

From the event web page:

Animation has not been traditionally an inclusive or representative medium for people of color, and its creative work force has not been diverse. When people of color have appeared in animation, they have often been portrayed with demeaning characterizations and with negative stereotypes. This is changing, and you will meet at this event some of the people helping to lead this change, creating animation content that is more representative of all of us, and working to build a diverse workforce in animation.

“This event will be of interest to parents, who are interested in what their children watch and want their children to grow up in an inclusive and anti-racist society, to those working in the industry who are looking for ways to make animation more reflective of our culture and society and to reach new audiences, and to so many young people of color whose creative talents were nurtured by their experience of animation and who are looking for a way to pursue careers in this remarkably creative and vibrant medium.”

Join David and the rest of this distinguished panel on Thursday October 29th from 7 – 8:30pm. Sign up today!

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!

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