Art Center College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

Julia Tsao

Graduate Media Design

5th Term

Did you have any prior college experience before enrolling at Art Center?
Yes, I received my bachelor's degree in history from UCLA. My specialization was the history of science and technology, which was both really interesting and a good foundational experience for my degree in the Media Design Program.

What has been your favorite Art Center experience?
Making amazing friendships. There are many sleep-deprived nights where you're working on a group project and everyone is frustrated and delirious and yelling at each other, but somehow you pull through and end up with an amazing project. Looking back on the past two years, I can see the extent that these experiences have changed and defined me as both a designer and a person.

What is the most valuable lesson you've learned so far at Art Center?
Learn from the failures. They often tell you more than the successes.

Why did you choose the Graduate Media Design Program at Art Center?
I always knew that my degree in history wasn't going to lead me to a career as, say, a historian. I found in myself a very disparate set of interests—design, history, philosoply, art, music, technology. Strangely enough, I found that these interests really came together and culminated in Art Center's MDP program. I remember reading the description for the program, being almost in disbelief that I had found a place that so succinctly put into words what I couldn't. It was an amazing feeling.

How do you define Media Design?
That would take all day. The short answer, though, defines Media Design as an opportunity space for designers to grapple with the existing elements in the world-whether those elements be tangible, intangible, digital, physical, cultural, social—and out of which create something new, exciting and sometimes confusing. It's making the old feel new, and the new feel familiar, yet remarkable.

Has studying in the MDP program at Art Center changed your philosophy about art and design?
Definitely. One of the things that is so amazing about MDP is the level of intellectual stimulation that you get from the program, with an emphasis on design thinking as the basis for making, and vice-versa.

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