Karen Ng graduated from the DCA Program in 2008 and is still in touch. Yay! Not only did she answer a few questions for you about how she's doing now, but she is donating her art supplies to a current DCA student. Thoughtful! Here is a photo of the supplies she's giving, some of which are used:
Are you taking color or drawing in the new year? Are your supplies are running thin? The first DCA Certificate Student (as in you've paid your fees) who emails firstname.lastname@example.org with either one compliment about the program or one way to make it better (or both) gets the supplies. They will be available for pickup at 1010Westwood.
Highlights of this interview include her overall enthusiasm for the field - which is always such an attrative quality in a designer - to her memories of getting UCLAx Design off the ground with Christina Felix. I remember that too! It was shortly after I had started here and was an exciting delight, just as Karen says. Our AIGAx Design leadership makes a big difference in your experience (thank your current leaders, Lutska and Shirin, next time you see them).
Thank you, Karen! Be sure to check out her portfolio site at karenngdesign.com. She uses color in a way that makes me wish it were summer!
1. What are you doing now and how did the DCA program help you prepare for it?
Currently I'm working at Murad as a web designer, and I love it! The team is great, and so is my creative director. There is definitely room to grow if I want work on other projects besides the web. It's one of the reasons why I was very interested in this position! The DCA program provided me with a good foundation of design skills, such as learning about typography, using the software (Adobe suite), and developing an eye for design and color. The DCA program also taught me about discipline and patience, that becoming a designer doesn't happen over night, that it is a life long journey.
2. What direction are you moving in/excited about?
Originally when I enrolled in the DCA program, my heart was set on pursuing PRINT. However, through this process, I found myself doing more and more web work. It wasn't what I wanted to do initially, but I'm beginning to love it! Web is so much fun, in the aspect that you don't have to master printing and print production, it's easier to work with (72 dpi as opposed to 300 dpi) and it's interactive!! Also the world wide web has grown SO much from the dot com era, and it's constantly evolving! There is always stuff to learn and one of the biggest challenge is keeping up with the technology and the web trends. There's so much you can do and in terms of creativity, the possibilities are endless.
3. What is memorable about your experience with DCA?
Hmm... I'll have to say when I met Christina Felix and she was appointed the President of the DCA AIGA UCLA Extension Chapter. We met with a few people with our class to talk about things we wanted to do, see and learn. It was exciting to see everyone so passionate and excited about the process, and how we wanted to create a community for designers and students. Before Christina, there was no AIGA UCLA Extension Chapter for a long while... and it was great that we were trying to provide a resource for our fellow students.
4. What advice would you offer to students in the DCA program?
I was a bit disappointed when an instructor told me that my break in the graphic design industry was to start freelancing. Freelancing is difficult when you're a new designer learning, and it's hard to live off of if you don't have a steady client base. However, it's the reality of the world. But at the same time, it's a good reality too. This is where you do start off, and there's a bit of a struggle, but I have to tell you, it's all worth it!! Projects that you get here and there, there is much to learn from them... and eventually one thing leads to another. You build skills and start meeting more people and one thing tends to lead to another. I thought I was never going to make it here as a graphic designer because it's a competitive field. But discipline and patience is everything!!
5. If you have suggestions of things we could do better, we’re always open to hearing those too!
Perhaps a design library resource - design books donated to UCLA Extension? As a student it was hard to fund all the books, materials and software I needed. Also in terms of a library, there is no library resource for design. I'd check out the local and university libraries around the area... and always had to resort to the bookstores, or finding the money to buy the books I needed.
Scholarships? I'd be more than happy to donate some money for future DCA Students too.
Great suggestions, Karen! What do you want, dear reader?