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Steven Xue BFA’19: Meet the designer behind some of the biggest brand campaigns

by Sophie Cipolla,

PNCA influence can be seen in Xue’s ads for Nike

Steven Xue BFA‘19 is a powerhouse graphic designer who has carved out a niche for himself working with brands like Nike and Adobe.

If you’ve ever thought graphic design existed in a vacuum, you’d be wrong. Xue said he made the most of his time as a student at PNCA, exploring a wide range of art disciplines that have informed his design portfolio. “What helped me in college was the freedom to explore and fostering a love for various disciplines,” he said. Art History classes were a frequent source of “insight and inspiration” as he developed his own artistic style.

Steven Xue, BFA‘19

One of the most unexpected light bulb moments in his art journey, however, came with taking a printmaking course. “I really enjoyed classes like Letterpress which brought the tradition of typesetting, manual layout, and printing to our contemporary design practice,” he noted. That influence can be seen in Xue’s ads for Nike, which are bold and captivating. The value of his PNCA education is evident in his work, and how it incorporates elements of mediums from printmaking to abstract art.

Xue cites Assistant Professor David Chathas’s Independent Typeform class as an especially valuable experience. “That class complemented [my journey] very nicely in covering everything from tradition to contemporary practice,” he said. What Xue emphasizes the most for current and future students is the value of internships. “I recommend everyone to seek out internships their junior and senior year,” he encouraged.

PNCA faculty are resources that Xue urges students to take advantage of. “It’s great to ask design professors and Career Services for help in your internship search, as they can usually refer you to opportunities, which was the case for me for my very first design internship,” he shared.

The cross-disciplinary nature of PNCA’s curriculum, coupled with easy access to mentors and career support services, is what Xue considers the key points of his college experience, and what has helped his career to take off. “From there, it was about socializing and making connections in the industry,” he said, which is what being at PNCA prepared him to do. “Those connections can take you to your most interesting opportunities.”

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