An Evening with Louise Sandhaus
A Happy Medium: California and Motion Graphics 1936 – 1986
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Herman Miller Studio
3641 Hodrege Avenue, #100
Los Angeles, CA 90016
“Join us later this month as we celebrate California design history. Who better to join us than Louise Sandhaus, chronicler of the golden state’s rich design history. For this special evening, she’ll share a visual extravaganza of design’s hefty contribution to motion graphics—from early abstract films to film/tv titles, commercials, concert light shows, music videos, and even video games. You’ll see the familiar along with the little known and unknown, but all of it eye-popping! Regardless of your own profession or stage of your career, you’ll be leaving inspired and proud to be a part of this buoyant creative community.”
Shaina, or just Shane, is a UX designer here in Los Angeles. Below, she talks about her experience taking classes in UCLA Extension’s UX program.
Tell us about how you got interested in UX, and why you chose UCLA Extension.
I guess in order to tell you how I got interested in UX I’ll have to start from the beginning. I graduated university with a degree in Journalism/Media Studies thinking I would become the next Barbara Walters. I was able to land a job as an obituary writer in San Diego and soon realized I was starving, literally. Sharing half a room with four other people in a two-bedroom apartment, barely able to afford rent and/or food was.. eye-opening. I taught myself how to code (thanks MySpace) and landed a gig as a back-end engineer (coding in PERL and Regular Expression). After about a year and a half I knew I wanted to transfer into Front-End Development. Being able to create websites and not stuck in Terminal’s Homebrew all day sounded like a dream come true. With a lot of late night studying and really pushing myself I was able to land my dream job at NBCUniversal/Fandango as a front-end developer. I worked there for around two-and-half years, and while I was there I was able to interact with our UX/UI Team. Immersing myself and asking millions of questions I knew UX/UI was really the career I wanted to shift into. I was fortunate enough to take UX 1: Introduction to UX Design with Thomas at UCLA Extension. While taking his course I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Easier said than done, no one wants to hire a front-end developer for a UX/UI position. I bit the bullet, took a pretty heft pay-cut, moved to the Bay Area and became a Product Designer. The year I spent up there gaining my UX knowledge and soaking up every single interaction, layout, design, feature, cat .gif was probably the hardest year I’ve endured in my life. I left the Bay Area and relocated back down to sunny So Cal and now work as a full-time UX/UI designer for a tech start-up company called Laurel & Wolf. Recently, my company sent me back to UCLA Extension to start training in native mobile app design which I took with the ever-talented, Julia. I have never been happier in my life and I really have UCLA Extension, Thomas, and Julia to thank.
For someone who is new to UX, what should they know about getting started?
Think lazy. I read somewhere that the best designers are the laziest people (metaphorically, of course). And I couldn’t agree more. The best designs come from those who want to make a service/platform more intuitive, easy, and accessible for others to understand and use.
Also, do not take anything personal. When I first became a product designer I remember being told this nugget of information, not yet understanding, and my first client meeting I was ripped to shreds. I cried quite a bit when I first started out. But I picked myself up and immersed myself in the UX/UI world: signing up for daily newsletters, reading, going to meet-ups, collaborating with other designers from different industries, participating in UX challenges, and working with multiple client projects… you grow a thick skin. Clients/stakeholders aren’t here to coddle you with how “ok” your designs are. They’ve come to YOU because YOU ARE THE EXPERT. If your user flows don’t make sense or your layout doesn’t work responsively it’s not a ding to your ego it’s a challenge to your skills. And that’s the beauty of skills.. they’re ever evolving!
What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?
All of them! The professors (I’ve had Thomas and Julia) are the most passionate individuals you’ll ever meet. They truly love what they do and further love sharing their knowledge. This is what makes the UX/UI Community amazing. Between their amazing personalities, Thomas’ vast knowledge and Julia’s understanding of the industry and users’ psychological process, this power-house team is an unstoppable force at the UCLA Extension! Both are so humble and genuine one can not help but to become just as excited as they are about learning User Experiences and User Interfaces!
What would be your dream job?
No need to dream it when I’m living it! Is it really a “job” when you love what you do?
What are you working on right now?
I had the honor of redesigning our homepage which we just launched with our new company rebrand a few weeks ago. I can not be more proud of our Product and Dev Team for being able to launch such a wonderful product together!
Check out her final project for her UX: Mobile class below!
Beginning Feb. 13th and running through the 22nd, SKYLINE 2014 is a “free, annual architecture and art event that showcases site specific, experimental, interactive installations that embrace Los Angeles’ ever-evolving cultural landscape. During SKYLINE, architects, designers and artists transform unique, hidden spaces within Downtown Los Angeles into destination places for visitors and locals alike.”
Featuring installations that range from nightly dance performances by Heidi Duckler Dance Theater, to a Cerebral Hut (pictured) that tries to “establish a direct connection between the thoughts of its user and itself in order to reconfigure its physical boundaries accordingly,” SKYLINE 2014 promises to be an engaging showcase for the historic buildings and overlooked places throughout Downtown Los Angeles.
This free event occurs nightly from 6 – 10pm, and you can view a map and more installation info at the Skyline 2014 event page.
This Wednesday, AIGA UCLAx members convened at 72andSunny for an insightful tour of their studios with Maria Scileppi. From a talk with the brand team that oversees Skylanders, to indispensable career advice from Scileepi, the visit was a great opportunity to connect with one of the many design trendsetters who are making an impact globally but based right here in Greater LA.
Their timely visit to the new office space came as the advertising agency’s profile continues to rise. As noted by Amanda Lewis in the latest edition of LA Weekly, “72andSunny is at the top of the heap, landing clients like Smirnoff and Carl’s Jr. and recruiting stars such as Megan Fox and Jonah Hill. The agency hires curious self-starters while eliminating ego and scoffing at expertise, so everyone contributes. At “Yes and” meetings, inspired by the improv-comedy mantra that prevents shutting down others’ ideas, brand teams spitball without judgment or doubt. Mock-ups are quickly affixed to the office’s translucent walls with magnets, a system taken from Dutch design culture, which invites honest feedback and avoids hurt feelings by divorcing the work from its creator. Later, when the script or the visual is more refined, the team rigorously evaluates what it has done in the manner of an art-school crit.”
Besides impressing us with her excellent portfolio, we were also delighted to learn Molly landed her dream job at Williams Sonoma only days after finishing her coursework in the DCA program. We recently caught up with her via email to discuss her thoughts about the program, pursuing the design field, and advice for those of us just getting started.
Tell us about your background and what led you to pursue a design education?
I have been interested in design for as long as I can remember. Growing up I was really drawn to interior design, although I always considered that just a hobby. I ended up studying Sociology as an undergraduate at UCLA, not knowing what I wanted to do after. I had an itch to be more creative, though. I interned with an event designer and producer and also for a wedding designer in LA. I fell in love with weddings – the details, the design, the branding, the paper – it really excited me. I worked on blogs, storyboards, concepts, etc. and I increasingly saw the importance of a background in graphic design. After much thought, I decided that was the logical next step for me.
Looking back, what are your thoughts about the DCA program and why did you choose UCLA Extension?
I researched programs and found that UCLA had both relevant course offerings and a schedule that allowed me to continue working while taking classes. I was very interested in learning calligraphy at the time, and stumbled upon the work of Molly Suber Thorpe. I read that she was a graduate of the DCA program, so I emailed her and asked her some questions about it. All answers were positive and exactly what I wanted to hear before signing up. The program ended up being perfect for me. My instructors were phenomenal, my classmates were smart and creative, and the courses were very relevant to the real world. The program was thorough, but I never felt like it was dragging on.
L’Olivo project for Design II by Molly McGlone
What was your favorite class and why?
This is a tough one. Design II with Henry Mateo is at the top, along with Publication Design with John Beach. Both instructors really made my DCA experience what it was. They taught us to think like designers and really pushed us to create amazing work. They were wonderful creative directors. I actually wish I was still taking classes with them today!
Tell us about your current position and what led you there?
While I do love the wedding world, I wanted corporate experience when I finished the DCA program. Williams-Sonoma was always a dream company for me; I felt like my style and passions were in line with their brand. I ended up getting an interview 2 weeks before classes ended, and started working there right after I graduated. I am a designer on the e-commerce team, so I design for web all day, everyday. It is actually very different from what I thought I would end up doing, but it has been a wonderful experience so far. I am learning a ton, and it is great to work on a large creative team. There is a lot to learn from everyone!
L’Olivo project for Design II by Molly McGlone
As a designer, what does a potential project need to have for your to feel passionate about it?
I definitely have a style and I always tried to stick with it when designing in class. Henry used to tease me because I wouldn’t want to stray from it. If I am not interested in what I am designing, it’s hard for me to be passionate and creative. But ultimately, that is a problem a lot of designers face. We don’t always get to pick our projects – we design for a client, not for ourselves.
Any advice for budding designers just starting out?
Keep designing! Update your portfolio and have an online presence. Take the job even if you think it isn’t the perfect one. You will end up learning something new and it will likely be something that will be very useful for you going forward.
With a focus on creative projects and impeccable craftsmanship, Handmade Book Structures with Erin Zamrzla offers a comprehensive introduction to book binding – from concept to completion. Techniques covered include accordion construction, pamphlet binding, Japanese four-hold binding (including examples of kangxi, hemp-leaf, and tortoise-shell variations), Japanese stab binding, and coptic sew binding.
Students will employ these techniques and more to create multiple books of their own design throughout the course. No prior experience required, and spots are still available for Winter quarter – to learn more or enroll, please see here.
From their press release: “The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announces its Art + Technology initiative, a new program and lab space that promotes innovative ideas and fosters collaboration across disciplines and industries. The endeavor will award grants, in-kind support, and facilities at the museum to help artists take purposeful risks in order to explore new boundaries in both art and science. The Art + Technology Lab and artist projects at LACMA are made possible by Accenture, DAQRI, and NVIDIA, with additional support from Google and SpaceX. A grant from the Los Angeles County Productivity Investment Fund is supporting the public lab at the museum to house the initiative, including artist demos and public programming.
Heralding the newly established Visionary Award along with the AIGA Los Angeles 2012 Fellow Award! Recognize and socialize with this year’s Fellow Award recipients, Agustin Garza and David Mayes and our new Visionary Award recipients lynda.com founders, Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin. Meet, greet and speak with L.A. design leaders, visionaries and influencers as well the current and past Fellows.
AIGA Member: $50
VIP Fellows Lounge: $100 (includes valet parking)
Valet or street parking available.
Complimentary valet parking with VIP ticket purchase.
For more information or to register, please see here.
We are excited to announce designer Janine Vigus will be joining UCLA Extension this summer as our new Design Fundamentals instructor. She brings with her an extensive background designing for the non-profit sector, with years of experience creating enriching design for the Greater Los Angeles area. She took a moment to answer some key questions about her Design Fundamentals course this summer.
This course is considered the first course in the DCA certificate program. What will I take away from it?
We will be looking to the groundbreaking studies from origins of modern graphic design, and exploring the ways in which an understanding of and facility with formal elements – such as point, line, and plane, rhythm & balance, scale, framing, and figure/ground relationships – underpin great design, and provide greater conceptual freedom. Through a series of projects that I hope will be challenging, inspiring, and fun, students will experience design as practice, working through exercises towards successful solutions, and finding grounds for further exercise and experimentation within those solutions.
You’ve had a remarkable career thus far with clients including Chinese American Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, Huntington Library Press, LACMA, and Library Foundation of Los Angeles. What makes you passionate about design?
I’m interested in the way that design can create conceptual and practical clarity, and in the role of narrative and ethics, which I think are intimately connected. I like the idea that emotional and intellectual work are supplementary to each other, and that discipline and freedom have equal weight. I’ve been inspired by colleagues – by designers I’ve worked for and with; by editors, curators, and clients – from my first job in a design studio working for John Coy to my colleagues at LACMA, and by projects with clients that have been rewarding collaborations.
Do you have any sample assignments?
Students will have the freedom in class assignments to find physical and/or digital solutions in a project to construct an emotive word using point, line, or plane. They will explore rhythm and balance visually through a project that looks at sequential design through construction of an accordion book, and experience the value of responding to chance through the use of accidental images and found content. We will use a course text by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips: Graphic Design, the New Basics. Class exercises will be drawn from the text, which can be found here.
This summer, creative director and DCA instructor John Beach will guide students as they examine the role that style and surface play in consumer products, and how to design their own variety of surfaces for a range of products. John took a moment to answer some key questions about Surface Design for Consumer Products:
Why is this course important for my design education?
Ultimately, it’s two fold. You learn and understand the structure and usability of a style guide, plus you will explore options in how to create your own content relevant to a target audience. As designers, we are surrounded by style guides that dictate the fundamental usage of elements used to define brands, products and services. Often we are told how to use specific elements (for instance, the logo) to maintain that strict corporate image when creating beautifully designed packaging, or consumer products (anything that people purchase). More often, we are charged with creating these style guides so major brands will maintain a strong sense of continuity within the marketplace. We will look at how these style guides are built and utilized to control those steps.
What will I take away from this course?
This course is a hands on look at how to develop that style guide, for a product (or products) of your choice. We will start by developing a concept for your line. Is it soft lines or hard lines? Is it textiles or paper goods? What is your target audience? Is it mass market or the luxury market? Each student will use a combined method of digital and hand built elements that will be turned into icons, badges and pattern work. You will be able to work in almost any medium you choose to generate your art (and then move into digital to complete the process). We will then look at how to apply those patterns and art to a vast array of consumer products that form today’s modern marketplace.
In the end, you will walk away with a beautifully built style guide, based on your own art, showing a multitude of consumer products that could be built using your creativity. You will also understand, should you need in the future, how to use a corporate style guide to build most of the “every day” consumer products you see on the shelves of stores around you, whether that be Target, Crate and Barrel or Gucci, or your favorite local boutique.