Alumni/Student Stories

Interview with DCA Graduate Nihel Mouelhi

Designing a UI/UX career at UCLAx.

Nihel Mouelhi is a recent Design Communication Arts (DCA) graduate, who came to the program with a passion for fashion design, degrees in interior and global design and an aptitude for UI/UX design. He chatted with us about his background, his experience in the program and how he hopes to share what he learned as a student.

Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the Design Communication Arts (DCA) program.

I have always been fascinated by design, particularly fashion design, and enjoyed keeping up with the latest trends and sketching outfits. However, due to the limited job market for fashion designers in my native Tunisia, I pursued a bachelor's degree in interior design. Then I moved to France to complete a master's degree in global design. After graduation, I found it was challenging to secure a job in the field, so I pivoted to UX/UI design and earned a second master’s degree in digital project management. I worked in this field for over three years in France, honing my skills and gaining valuable experience. 

From France, I went to visit my boyfriend in LA and fell in love with the city. After my visit, I enrolled in English classes while searching for American universities with UX/UI programs. Many of them were very expensive; others were only open to U.S. citizens.

Fortunately, I discovered the UCLAx Design Communication Arts (DCA) program, which offered a wide range of courses. I was particularly drawn to the program's flexibility, which allowed me to tailor my educational journey toward specific interests and goals.

Why did you decide to incorporate UX courses into your studies?

My goal was to broaden my skill set and obtain a thorough understanding of design principles by including UX courses in my studies. I was also interested in comparing differences between UX design instruction in France with classes here. Additionally, I saw the DCA program as an opportunity to enter the UX/UI industry in the United States.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I thoroughly enjoyed all the courses offered in the DCA program, although some of them didn’t seem relevant at first. Upon reflection, I realized that each course had a specific goal and taught me valuable skills. Among all the courses, Design IV: Capstone, Typography, User Experience I, and Design Fundamentals stood out the most to me. Design IV: Capstone was an exceptional course because it covered all aspects of design, from fundamental principles and communication to UX/UI. Typography was also an interesting course because I initially struggled with pairing typefaces and lacked knowledge of their history. Design Fundamentals and UX courses taught me how to ask the right questions, develop excellent concepts/products, and sharpen my presentation skills.

What is your professional five-year plan?

Within the next five years, my aspiration is to hold an executive position within a multinational corporation, where I'll be responsible for managing multiple design teams and driving business growth through innovative design solutions.

I would also love to teach at UCLAx, where I can share my knowledge and inspire the next generation of designers.

View some of Nihel's Coursework:

Capstone course: We were tasked with selecting a non-profit organization and enhancing its brand, website, and more. I chose Shelter as my organization.
capstone project for Nihel Mouelhi
capstone project signage for Nihel Mouelhi


Design History course: We were tasked with creating an invitation for an event. I decided to focus on the brand Balenciaga and designed an invitation specifically tailored for their fashion week event.
design history project for Nihel Mouelhi


Left/First: UX course: We were tasked with selecting an app that exemplified a poor user experience. I chose to revamp the GasBuddy app, aiming to enhance its overall UX through a comprehensive redesign.
Right/Second: Typography course
UX project by Nihel Mouelhi
typography project by Nihel Mouelhi
UX Designers at office meeting

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