This is one of a series of profiles featuring the DAC Capstone cohort of Spring 2020.
My name is Juliana Rattin and I am from Grayslake, Illinois. I am currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee completing a BA in Digital Arts and Culture with a minor in Design. I love anything creative – from painting to sculpture to film. I grew up in an environment where my creativity was constantly being encouraged. If I ever got an idea my family was always around to help me execute my vision. When I am not creating you can find me outside either rollerblading or playing catch. . As well as growing up in a creative family, I was also encouraged to play sports and grew up playing a bunch of different ones like softball, soccer, basketball and volleyball.
I probably looked at almost every school in the Midwest and the majors they offered when I stumbled upon the DAC program. At first was a bit hesitant about going into digital arts because I had never even attempted it before and the fear of loss of physical manipulation of my projects. However, I began talking with family members who work in the digital realm. They said that I didn’t have to give it up but incorporate my analog drawings into my design process. Before DAC, I have never even heard of an interdisciplinary major before, but the opportunity to have such a versatile major excited me. Instead of having to choose one school the interdisciplinary major would allow me to take class in three colleges: School of Information Studies, Peck School of the Arts, and College of Letters and Science. I visited the University and discussed the major with an advisor and from then on I was sold.
From my first day in class at UWM, I have been trying to soak up as much information as I can. I started with learning the Adobe Creative Suite. After learning how to work with Adobe products I began to learn web design working with HTML, CSS, and WordPress. It is amazing to think that less than 2 years ago I knew nothing about digital arts and now I can’t get enough of it.
The Creative Process
At first was a bit hesitant about going into digital arts because I had never even attempted it before and the fear of loss of physical manipulation of my projects. However, I began talking with family members who work in the digital realm. They said that I didn’t have to give it up but incorporate my analog drawings into my design process.
Before I began designing any project, I start with research. In the case of the airport tag, I looked at images of [Cairo], what it was known for, common shapes, etc. Following my research, I start by sketching on paper. Any ideas that come to mind I get on paper. I first started by focusing on the wordmark. I tested out different fonts, thickness, and letter positions to express the essence of the city (1).
I then get feedback and choose my top 3 designs and move them into Adobe Illustrator. Once working digitally, I made tons of different versions testing out different spaces and expanding on my original design (2).
I then chose my favorite design and made more refinements (3). After I have my completed wordmark I begin work on the airport tag. I originally took colors directly from hieroglyphics however when I printed it out the colors looked different. I went back to the drawing board and used the computer color book to select the colors I wanted. Lastly, I aligned my wordmark on the tag and made the final adjustments (4).
I failed a lot in the beginning. I was more focused on the letters themselves then showing the location through the typography. When I showed my designs to others they helped me realize that I need to look at the project from a new angle that ultimately pushed me in the right direction. I am really proud of the improvements I was able to make from my original design. I learned to adapt to issues I was facing which ultimately worked in my favor in the end.
Thoughts About DAC
DAC is such a unique major full of like-minded creative people. The fact that everyone in the major has such diverse interests makes the experience all the better. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I applied for the DAC program and, to be honest, I couldn’t even describe what it was. The more time I got to spend in the classes and work my professors the more my voice as an artist began to appear. DAC has helped me to where I am today and for that, I am truly grateful.
To someone new to DAC I’d say, do not be afraid to experiment. Any idea you may have, write it down. An idea that you had years ago might be exactly as you need. It is important that it takes time to learn these skills and you will continue to learn every day. You will hit roadblocks and question your work but continue to push through. Don’t be afraid to start over and try a new direction because it may be all it takes for you to make your next great work. Take this opportunity to take a wide range of classes. It is because of the DAC program that I was about to get experience in graphic design, coding as well as cultural classes helped me become more well-rounded overall. By learning about key cultural milestones and different digital platforms work it allows you to know how to best create your work. DAC is truly a unique and personalized experience that I would highly recommend.