Interview with Recent DCA Grad Ashley Chan

It’s that time of year again when many DCA students begin wrapping up their studies and we have the privilege of reviewing some very strong portfolio work. Ashley Chan dazzled us with her passion and talent for entertainment design. Don’t be suprised if some of those movie billboards you drive past on Santa Monica Boulevard are soon designed by her! She shares her thoughts on the DCA program and beyond:

Prop design by Ashley Chan

Prop design by Ashley Chan


What brought you to the DCA program?

Graphic design was in the back of my mind as a potential career since I taught myself Photoshop as a teenager, but it was always something I was unsure of. I went back and forth about it for a while, and ended up studying economics as an undergraduate at UCI. I spent nearly a year after school working as a publicist’s assistant and realized I wanted a more creative job. I still wanted to learn more about design and improve my skill set. When I began looking for classes, I found the DCA program and was drawn to its long list of course offerings. After I signed up for Design Fundamentals to test the waters, I jumped in and never looked back!

Entertainment design by Ashley Chan

Design by Ashley Chan

What were your favorite courses and why?

Design Fundamentals with Jag was great because it pulled me into the DCA program. I really learned about having a strong concept to back up a design, which is something I’ll never forget. I also built confidence in myself as a designer in that class. Graphic Design for Film and Television with Geoff Mandel is also at the top of my list because it was exactly the type of work I was interested in, and is the type of work I’m mostly doing now. I was able to create graphics that were actually used on a television production, and it was very exciting to see my work used outside of the classroom.

As a designer, what does a potential project need to have for you to feel passionate about it?

When I’m creating graphics for film and television, such as props and set decoration, I get excited about the variety and range of graphics needed. I love when I get to try new techniques and adapt to different styles to suit the look or setting of the show. I also have fun trying to create purposely bad design for the sake of the story. In general, I’m passionate about projects when there’s a challenge. The projects that really push me and force me to problem solve and try different approaches are the truly exciting ones.

"Atonement" poster design by Ashley Chan

“Atonement” poster design by Ashley Chan

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

If all goes well, I’ll be designing graphics for film and television productions with a long list of credits under my belt!

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