Drew Kugler visits Communication, Design & Innovation


Today, my international students at Tseng College were treated to an insightful and dynamic presentation by Drew Kugler (center, in white shirt), a communications and leadership counselor. I'm very grateful that Drew took some time out from a globe-trotting practice to expound on his principles of Constructive Candor.



Design Thinking & Innovation

These post-graduate students from Brazil, Colombia and Peru took part in a new two-week module, Design Thinking, that I wrote and taught this summer for the International Business School at CSUN's Tseng College. The class did phenomenal work.—AS



Professional Development

“Alex Swart and Ellen Considine are the perfect mentors. Their unwavering support and invaluable guidance played a pivotal role in my artistic and professional development. They helped me hone my design skills while preparing me for the challenging nature of the entertainment industry. I am so fortunate to have interned at SwartAd and I highly recommend this program to other aspiring designers!” —Michelle Schuman, CSUN Graduate, Professional Designer



Alex King Completes SwartAd Internship


“Ellen [Considine] and Alex Swart were always professional and gave me challenging work. SwartAd was an excellent resource, and Mr. Swart himself is an encyclopedia of design knowledge. A+” —Alex King, CSUN Senior



Design Talks: Connecting the Dots

This Design Talk at CSUN’s Design for Entertainment Advertising class focused on creative services staffing agencies and how they help bridge the gap between a design education and getting work. 24/Seven’s Cortney McMahon, VP of New Business Development, and recruiter Missy Stella described the services and opportunities their company offers new graduates. They addressed my class of seniors with great enthusiasm, and stressed the importance of skill proficiency and a resilient mindset. Their presentation was punctuated by a spirited Q&A. 

Students shared their take-aways from the event: “Small jobs can create your future path to the big ones.”—Sabrina Perriard. / “Don't be afraid to take on new opportunities that come your way. You never know what can happen.”—Maria Rosales / “Dress like a designer, not like a lawyer.”—Edward Hernandez / “Know your [Adobe] Creative Suite, and learn some web if possible.”—Tabrek Seyssel / “Have an online portfolio”—Hanieh Jafary —AS


Internship Program

“Ellen, I cannot thank you and Alex enough for giving me such an incredible summer!” —Madisen Bathish, University of Michigan student.

Madisen Bathish (pictured) successfully concludes her for-credit summer internship. SwartAd will miss her talent, positive attitude and presentation skills! —EC

Communication, Design and Innovation / Tseng College at CSUN

Design is where brand strategy comes to life—I had the unique opportunity to expound on that idea by writing curriculum and teaching for an accelerated program offered by the Tseng College at CSUN.

An exceptional group of students participated; comprised primarily of post-graduate women and men from Brazil and Colombia, with backgrounds in business, marketing and journalism.

During my week with this extraordinary class, they designed corporate identities and wrote positioning lines for the companies they conceived. The work they produced in such a compressed time period was very impressive. —AS



Design Talks: Christian Struzan

Speaking to a rapt audience of CSUN students enrolled in my Design for Entertainment Advertising* class, award-winning creative director Christian Struzan presented some highlights of a long career designing movie posters, including key art for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and Sideways. 

During the lively Q&A session that followed, I asked Struzan what lessons he learned from his father, renowned illustrator Drew Struzan. “Believing in yourself and working really hard,” Struzan answered, “which sound kinda like clichés, but they're not.” And expounding on what he picked up from mentor Tony Seineger, Struzan advised, “Always have a concept. The concept has got to be there, man.”

Jason Iby, a CSUN senior, asked what to include in a portfolio—“I look for somebody who can make something out of nothing,” Struzan explained, “How did you get that out of that?” Reflecting on his own work, Struzan affirmed, “My life comes out on the page. Your experiences will come out in your artwork and your creations.” —AS

*Offered by the Department of Art at California State University, Northridge. 

Design for Entertainment Advertising

Dec. 9, 2014 was a memorable evening for CSUN students enrolled in Design for Entertainment Advertising (ART 345) when Dreamworks Animation executive (and my former student) Jess Linares visited class to critique their latest work. Dreamworks had generously provided the creative brief and the digital assets for the assignment.

Initially I conceived and taught the course as an experiment at Cal State LA—now a permanent part of the curriculum at California State University Northridge. It’s a fifteen week exploration into the history, theory, and practice of design that promotes content for the screen. —AS  



Ryan Rutherford and Daniel Botero celebrate the completion of their internship at SwartAd. We wish these talented, soon-to-be CSUN graduates much success in their design careers. —EC & AS