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Q/A W Tyler Sinnott

In the second of a series of Q&A sessions with SFUAD students, Jackalope Magazine speaks with Graphic Design Department Junior Tyler Sinnott. Sinnott tells us about his start in graphic design, his hat collection, and whether or not he’s a Masshole.

Jackalope Magazine: What made you pursue graphic design in the first place?

Tyler Sinnott: It all started back in high school. I originally wanted to be a cook. I got a cooking job in high school, but got fired because it was a small restaurant and the woman had a set way of doing things. And that ruined that dream. Then my dad bought a new computer that had Photoshop Elements, which is like the Microsoft Word version of Photoshop. I started taking the pre used images they had and put them on shirts and my friends started getting interested in what I was doing.

JM: Were you just doing that as a hobby?

TS: Yeah yeah yeah. Just doing it after school. Started making shirt designs that were garbage, they were terrible, but I posted them on Facebook and on MySpace and kept getting good feedback. Then I started my own shirt company. I did three designs and had 25 of each design and looking back they were like the worst things I ever could have printed on a shirt.

JM: Why did you choose SFUAD?

TS: You know, I was just looking for something different. I was an East Coast kid all my life: New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey. I wanted something different and the opportunity arose to come here. I came out here and looked at it and it seemed like my kind of thing.

JM: You lived in Massachusetts. Are you a Masshole?

TS: Am I a Masshole? (Laughs) I guess I would say when it comes to some things I would consider myself a Masshole, yeah. (Laughs) One of my friends, he has this little emblem on the back of his truck, like a dealer plate, it says Masshole. People never call me that, but if someone asked, I figure I’d been there long enough, I would consider myself a Masshole. (Laughs)

JM: How is the graphic design department?

TS: It has some strong talent, especially with the new class that came in. I saw some freshmen work and it’s really impressive. It seems like every year it’s getting better and better. Which is always cool. These freshmen that come in now seem like they know half the stuff I already do and they just started. It’s extremely reassuring to know that good talent is always coming in. You see other people’s work and learn new styles. I think you learn more from other students than what you do in class.

JM: Is it competitive or collaborative?

TS: It depends. It depends on the person. I think if you want it to be competitive, it can be competitive. It’s basically what you make it.

JM: Are you competitive or collaborative?

TS: I would consider myself to be competitive because I always want to be the best that I can be, and seeing others do better just makes me strive to do something I’ve never done before. Digital painting is something that I’ve never done. I saw other kids doing it and said to myself, ‘I want to start doing that kind of stuff.’ Yeah, I definitely consider graphic design competitive, even though it’s not supposed to be.

JM: What would you say is your graphic design style?

TS: My style specifically would be logo branding. I like to take something that doesn’t exist and make it exist. Whether it’s doing logos for the school, Artists for Positive Social Change. Recently I just did sports branding for the Santa Fe youth hockey team, so my logo will be on all their jerseys. Logos, I’d say, is what I have a knack for.

JM: How many hats do you own?

TS: (Laughs) OK. I would say the recent number would be around the high 40s or the low 50s. This summer I probably collected around 12 hats, so that was a big improvement for me. Some of the work I was doing this summer I just had them pay me in hats. I would do like a cheap flyer or something and the person would have to send me money through PayPal. I was like, ‘instead of doing that, why don’t you just buy me a hat and send it.’ So yeah, I got paid in hats, which was the first time for that. (Laughs)

JM: Why hats?

TS: It started out with this Russian company called Mnwka (Mishka). It means little bear, fun fact. They had this hat called Hallelujah in Rastafarian colors and I’d never seen anything with such a bold design before. So I bought that hat, it was the first one I owned, and if I lost that hat I would be devastated. From there it was just finding creative logos on hats. It’s impressive taking something so complex, like a baseball team or a clothing company and representing it so minorly on a hat. Shirt designs you can put text, pictures, anything you want because of so much canvas space. When it comes to hat’s you have such little space. That’s why I collect hats, and like to design them for that matter.

JM: If you were in a band, what kind of music would you play, and what would be your band’s name?

TS: OK, I’ve thought about this for a while. In high school I thought I could play guitar, but I never actually could, so I would always think of creative band names. I was driving on the Jersey parkway, down by Seaside, and there was an exit for this town Marmora and I just thought that would be a cool name for a band. What was the second part?

JM: What genre?

TS: Pop punk, obviously. Pop punk for life. (Laughs)

JM: Ok last question. Who would be your dream client?

TS: I want to say the Boston Red Sox, but I wouldn’t want to rebrand that franchise. But if I was to rebrand another team, I’ve always been fascinated with the L.A. Dodgers. I feel like that team, not that they need a new design, but it would be cool to completely rebrand them.