Please Judge Us by Our Covers by Dean Cathy Sandeen

Energy. Connections. Whimsy. Diversity. Imagination. Warmth. Color. Light. Dreams. Surprise.

These are the words that come to mind, capturing the essence of UCLA Extension as conveyed through the expressive works of art that appear on the cover of each UCLA Extension quarterly catalog.  Here is a small sample of the complete body of work.

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For over twenty years UCLA Extension has engaged true masters of graphic design to create unique designs for its catalog. I must give credit to InJu Sturgeon, retired Creative Director of UCLA Extension for her vision and tenacity in creating this program.

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Here’s a video documenting the design of our current UCLA Extension catalog cover for Winter 2012.

Designed by typographic conceptualist, Andrew Byrom, this cover showcases Byrom’s St. Julian typeface, conceived from furniture forms.

Since moving to the US about a dozen years ago, Byrom, an academic book jacket designer for publishing houses such as Penguin, dreamed of joining lifetime heroes, graphic designers Louis Danziger and Deborah Sussman in creating breakout UCLA Extension covers.

“This was such a big deal for me, I wanted to push things a bit,” said Byrom, who has a deep interest in typeface design. After manipulating 15 pieces of furniture, Byrom was hoisted several feet into the air to find the perfect angle. The tables used in the cover to spell out UCLA were also on display (and used by attendees) at TEDxUCLA last year, where Byrom spoke on the typography he sees in everyday objects.

 The Liverpool, England-born faculty member at Cal State Long Beach and UCLA Extension instructor, spent more than 6 months putting together the photograph, working with furniture designer Leslie Denham to construct functional pieces of art out of simple materials.

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This cover, by Augustin Garza for Winter 2007, was the cover when I first arrived at UCLA in December 2006. (I fondly call it the “Exploding Palm Tree” and a giant framed copy of the design sits on the wall just outside my office door to this day.)

Circling back to the title of this post, we all know the old saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” We disagree, at least in the case of UCLA Extension. Given the quality, excitement, and dynamism of our catalog designs—and the reputations of the designers—it’s quite all right with us if you judge us by our covers.

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