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Course Spotlight: Surface Design for Consumer Products

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.

Enroll in Surface Design for Consumer Products today!

Course Spotlight: Package Design

One of our most popular electives is Package Design, where students bring all they’ve learned in the core courses to create innovative, problem-solving designs that strengthen their portfolios.

Instructor John Beach gave us some more insight into the course.

Why is this course important for my design education?

Package Design is a crucial element in the completion of your design education. It’s one of the final steps in understanding what branding is and how it directly effects the consumers process in making a choice of what products to buy, own, eat, or use. It acts as one of the final ways a producer of products can market their product to consumers.

As designers, it’s important that we help keep the client focused on what elements will ultimately make the product memorable, and under the best of circumstances, coming back for more! This course also further explores how typography, color and image can alter and persuade the consumer decision-making process.

What will I take away from this course?

This course gives a fantastic introduction to the power of strong packaging and branding by taking a look at a multitude of tasks developed to help you gain insight into what makes a great package. We start with an entertainment package. Obviously, this is a huge market in Los Angeles (specifically) and the design field in general. We will explore how to conceptually develop an idea into a container that promotes both the producers vision of their product, but more importantly, a package that the consumer will find intriguing enough to purchase, take home and use. We will explore the various methods used to design packaging. We will digitally render the first assignment.

The second assignment will be a hand building experience. Working with different substrates and templates we will explore the relationship between packaging and the presentation of food products and the challenges a specialty food product presents.

For the third exercise, we take a look at line extensions and what happens when you have multiple elements to package together. We combine vessels such as glass and plastic with paper, wood or cardboard, or if you choose, you can explore what happens in the sporting goods world when you have a product line with different sized items, and what is the best way to solve those issues.

The beauty of this class is that it gives you the opportunity to tailor your experience with directions in packaging you are most interested in. We will of course look at how packaging is changing in today’s post consumer waste world and how different elements can be altered or explored to make your solutions have smaller footprints within global consumer waste issues.

The spring quarter section of Package Design begins April 5th.

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