School of Art, Media, and Technology

BFACD Alumni Feature: Mike Tully

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The cover for the first issue of S.L.U.M. Lab (Sustainable Living Urban Model), Last Round Ecology.

Since graduating Parsons in 2012, Mike Tully has gone on to work with several small design studios to contribute in creating striking designs. He currently works for Etsy in New York as a freelance graphic designer. We interviewed Mike to get some deeper insight on what he has done after Parsons.

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The website for New York-based industrial design studio, Visibility.

 

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A spread from the travel guide, Jetsetter.

 

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Typeface design for SoHo restaurant Jack’s Wife Freda.

How has Parsons helped shape who you are as a creative?

Parsons helped shaped the foundation of my perspective and abilities as a graphic designer, which is essential to how I work now. Specific teachers, mentors and classes helped me discover what matters to me in the the process of designing and the work that I do. That’s had a lasting effect on me and is hopefully is apparent in the work that I do now!

What were your favorite classes at Parsons?

Information Design taught by Julia Wargaski, Typeface Design taught by James Montalbano and Thesis taught by Michael Greenblatt were some of the most challenging and exciting classes I took at Parsons. The classes led and assignments put forward by each of those teachers were amazingly challenging to myself as a designer and individual. I still think about the ‘dot exercise’ in Julia’s class all the time…

What did you wish you knew as a student that you know now?

I’d like to have encouraged myself to explore more through the work that I was doing as a student. I think this can manifest through not just design work, but also in reading and writing. It might be easy to stick with an instinct of what may seem like the ‘right’ design to work on. However, I think there’s a lot of liberty in pushing work as far as possible to places that even feel ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’. That might illuminate what qualities of work to engage with further, particularly before clients, budgets, and further restrictions become involved with projects.

Who do you look up to in the design community?

I look up to people in the design community who participate particularly through writing and work that pushes the discipline forward as a whole. There are obvious leaders who have been doing that for quite some time. Laurel Schwulst, Eric Hu, Juliette Cezzar and the current AIGA leadership are doing work that I appreciate personally but that I also think benefits our entire community at large in sparking discussion.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with amazing creative directors, art directors, designers, architects and peers. The most humbling experiences for me have often been learning so much from the work I’ve done with and listening to those around me, clients included. Like the amazing TC Crew song goes, ‘I Can’t Do It Alone’.

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