The graphic design course at Leeds Arts University appealed to Tyler McFaul because of the independence it offered and how it gave him the freedom to explore different areas of design.
“I really appreciated this aspect of the course, we were trusted to find our own path and solve problems on our own which is a valuable skill to have as a designer,” McFaul tells CR. “The course overall was rewarding, but mostly due to the amazing people I met there that helped me grow as a designer as well as a person.”
McFaul’s studies overlapped with the pandemic and it had an impact on the way he was initially educated and his social life, so it was a different experience to what he thought it would be. The first year was predominantly all online, meaning McFaul didn’t know anyone on his course and only made real-life friends halfway through his second year.
“Despite the negative effects it has had on the last three years, it has ultimately made me work even harder to get where I want to be,” the designer says. “It has taught me a lot about resilience, and that’s something I’ll be taking along with me for my next steps in the industry.”
While his work is varied, McFaul has developed a core visual style which feels considered and sophisticated. “I believe a considered use of type and colour are my current strengths, as well as a strong sense of self as a designer,” he says. “As a process-based, experimental designer with a passion for editorial, publication, and type-based design, my work is driven by a desire to communicate powerful messages to diverse audiences.”
An opportunity for McFaul to put this into practice was through the identity he created for the Leeds Arts University End of Year Show, which was selected via a competition with his peers. “The most fulfilling part of working on a real professional brief was to see my work actually out there in the world,” reflects McFaul. “Seeing huge posters around the city centre, online adverts and the branding put up all around campus; it was all very exciting.”
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Through internships, McFaul has got a further taste of professional life, working with big brands and real clients. “It’s been a crazy experience actually being in the room where the magic happens, and it has taught me so much about the inner workings of such projects,” he says.
Having now graduated, McFaul’s focus is to gain even more experience, and to find a rewarding role that gives him flexibility to work on growing his freelance practice.
“I know where I want to go with my career and have many aspirations for my work in the future, such as travelling the world, and possibly running my own studio one day,” he says. “My main ambition is to just keep doing what I love and to hopefully inspire others to do the same.”
What’s helped him through the challenges is the advice his mum reminds him of regularly, which is about knowing your worth, something that’s increasingly vital in this industry. “It’s a mantra that always helps me to stay grounded and focused in my design career and those words are a great comfort to me in times of self doubt or low self esteem.”