Senior visual-arts major Tyler Pate has spent his time at Francis Marion University (FMU) creating award-winning graphic designs as well as opening doors of opportunity through internships, business conferences and international studies.
Pate’s awards include four American Institute of Graphic Art (AIGA) South Carolina InShow awards, two in both 2012 and 2013. He has also earned four Addy Awards (advertisement): including one gold, two silvers and a best in show.
Pate is now nominated for the Addy’s once again and is awaiting results for the 2014 awards season.
For Pate, advertising design is not just about selling products or placing a brand; it is a true work of art that means something to society at large.
“We’re surrounded by advertisement; we see it everyday, all around us through logos and brands,” Pate said. “There’s a reason for it, and they each have a unique story to tell.”
The pursuit of a career in graphic design has taken Pate to conferences across the United States, from an “eye-opening trip to the Silicon Valley,” to freelance work in Germany, France and Ecuador.
“Experiencing these things first-hand is inspirational,” he said. “Knowing that what has always seemed like a fable to me … is a reality for me.”
During the summer of 2013, Pate took the initiative to move to Charleston and personally hand his portfolio to multiple design agencies without any guarantee of landing a job.
However, Pate said several agencies were “stoked” about his potential, and just like that, he was in a position to choose the internships he wanted to take on.
Pate has completed internships with Blue Ion, a website design and marketing agency, as well as Hook USA, an advertising agency, both located in Charleston.
“The internships had a huge influence on me,” he said. “You’re able to learn a lot while you’re having fun. It’s a whole different world.”
After graduation, Pate plans to find work as a graphic designer in an advertising firm, and after years of experience and dedication, open his own design agency.
Pate said he knows that many students struggle with the notion that Francis Marion is a smaller university and is sometimes perceived as relatively unknown on a national level.
Of this notion, he said that it is not a factor when it comes to individual success and personal progress as a professional.
“It’s not about your background, your finances or any of that stuff,” he said. “You just have to want it. You just have to put in the work and say to yourself, ‘Yeah, this is good.’”
He added that if one is willing to put in the time and effort, he or she will eventually benefit from his or her hard work. It is not always about what one has done, he explained, but what one can and is willing to do.
“All the awards and trips are great and helpful, but at the end of the day, it’s all about what you can do,” he said. “For me, that’s designing. Great design is always going to be great design, and that’s what people are going to remember.”
To view some of Pate’s artwork, visit his website at www.tylerpatedesigns.com.