Congratulations to Tommy on his recent graduation! Hear about his background and see some of his projects below:
Tell us how you got interested in design and what brought you to the DCA program.
I had already begun teaching myself Photoshop when I met someone at a party who was taking an intro course in the program. We talked about design and she recommended the program. A couple of weeks later, COVID hit and I impulsively registered for three classes to fill up my time. From there I just fell more and more in love with design and ended up completing the entire program.
What were your favorite courses and why?
I really enjoyed Typography taught by Grace Magnus—she was so detailed and really took the time to offer feedback. I also really enjoyed Design History and Context. I found it really inspiring and gave me the freedom to explore different styles and aesthetics in my own design with awareness and knowledge of where those came from.
Please tell us a bit more about these stunning monthly playlist pieces you’ve shared here. What was the assignment and what was your process like, from inspiration to production?
This was actually a personal project that wasn’t assigned in class.
In September of 2019, I went to Paris to teach English and listened to a playlist I had made the entire time I was there. After leaving, I was struck by how easily transported I was back to the emotional state I was in while I was there every time I listened to it—I guess sense memories could be one way of thinking about it. This experience really got me thinking about the relationship between music, time, and emotion and the importance of those things to me.
During the pandemic, when it was easy for the days and months to bleed into each other, I wanted a way to remember everything as vividly as I possibly could, explore stylistically within my design, and share music that inspires me.
So, I decided to curate a playlist and design cover art for each month of 2021 and now also 2022. Through this project, I’ve been able to track my growth, interests, and progress and feel that each month serves as a touchstone for my journey as a designer and creative. I look at it as documentation—almost journal entries even. Each song I add takes me back to a certain place and time. One of the best parts of this is that through sharing these each month it’s led to new friendships and meaningful connections.
In terms of the process, the playlists are reflective, meaning that I make them at the end of each month. Throughout the month I collect bits and pieces—maybe find a new typeface I want to test out, new textures I want to play with, or a new layout idea. It all sort of builds up and I listen to the music and just create. The covers are definitely inspired through the music. Some of them are more planned than others, but I don’t really put any guardrails on it, just sort of do whatever I want to do and follow what inspires/ excites me. After they’re finished I can go back and revisit different moments in time and feelings through all the different playlists and cover art.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
In 5 years I see myself working in design/ art direction in the music industry.
Thank you, Tommy, and congrats again!