Student Experience | Mary Colpo, User Interface Design

By BrainStation August 22, 2016


Click here to learn more about BrainStation’s User Interface Design course.

“Every experience is a stitch in the fabric of your character” – Gary Clausing

Now, I’m not necessarily a big ‘quote’ person, but for some reason, this one has always stuck with me! Taking UI Design at BrainStation has been such an incredibly fulfilling experience and I’m very thankful for everything I learned in the last 10 weeks. Going into the course, my priorities and goals were to learn as much as possible and gain a solid understanding of all the different elements of UI Design. My exposure to the topic was extremely limited and I considered ‘UI Design’ to be synonymous with ‘designing in Adobe Photoshop’. Needless to say, I was way off in this basic interpretation of what UI Design entails, and am pleased to say that not only do I have a strong foundation in UI Design topics but also finished the course with a full desktop website design for a mock business.

Why I Chose BrainStation

From their monthly Block Parties, weekly Lunch & Learns, to part-time courses, I find BrainStation’s key differentiator (from other tech education platforms or organizations) to be the strength of their partnerships and network as well as their contagiously fun culture. For example, every Block Party features a local artist, Lunch & Learns are conducted by well-known local social influencers or prominent companies (like Aritzia, Slack, Hootsuite, and Shopify… to name a few). But my favourite thing about BrainStation is that industry experts teach their courses. My 5 other classmates and I were very lucky to take our UI Design course with our awesome instructor Hubert, who works at Slack. Hubert’s impressive level of knowledge, extensive UI experience, and witty French mannerisms and characteristics kept us fully engaged throughout the past 10 weeks (more on Hubert here!).

What I Learned & Created in 10 weeks

I really loved the course structure – where we focused more heavily on UI Design theory, history, and trends in the first few weeks to establish a UI Design foundation to serve us in later weeks when we were working more extensively on our course projects. I was thoroughly pleased with the depth of our 10-week UI Design journey, where we covered the following topic areas: Photoshop, typography essentials, font anatomy, visual & type hierarchy, colour theory, UI elements, interaction design and wireframing, responsive design fundamentals, mobile design fundamentals (for iOS and Android), and how to build a portfolio and present/pitch a project. For my course project I designed a desktop website for a mock business I called “Parabowla” – an açai berry bowl company. While this mock business started off as more of an idea/side-project/hobby, I left this course feeling hungry to learn more. Beyond UI Design, I now have other BrainStation courses on my radar that would further increase the feasibility of actually launching Parabowla.


Advice for Future Students & Final Thoughts

My one piece of advice for future students (and something I wish I had known going into the course), is to make sure you have a Mac and get Sketch (you’ll get a student discount with your BrainStation course). Sketch is an amazing professional digital design tool that is built specifically for designers and is incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. It is definitely a game-changer for UI Designers and was an absolute necessity for completing my course project (and I didn’t have any experience with the program prior to taking the course). Looking back on my time at BrainStation, I’m happy to leave with a great sense of accomplishment at what I learned and created in 10 weeks. I’m sad to see this chapter close but excited to apply what I’ve learned and continue to explore in my journey of UI Design!

Mary is taking User Interface Design at BrainStation in Vancouver.

Mary is taking User Interface Design at BrainStation in Vancouver.

User Interface Design
1110 Hamilton St.