Joe Pilcavage

Art Director and Senior Graphic Designer


Wilton, CT

What kind of work are you doing now?

I’m currently employed at AMG in Wilton, CT. I work as an Art Director/Senior Designer, primarily developing design campaigns for clients such as Georgia-Pacific and Starbucks. I also work as an Art Director for Blatt, LLC, where I do both branding and digital design.

What is the best thing about being a designer?

That’s a tough one! I think the way design requires you to see everything on a deeper level. Design is EVERYWHERE, and just being able to recognize and appreciate the thought and skill behind every piece is awesome. I also love a career where you create a product and get to see it brought to life out there in the real world. Each finished project is like a milestone in your career that you can look back on to see how you’ve grown and evolved. I couldn’t even imagine an office job where you do the same thing every day for your entire career. I’m not cut out for that kind of routine — design allows me to do something different and new every day.

How did the graphic design program at SU prepare you for the real world?

I graduated well equipped to not just enter the professional world, but rise quickly through the ranks. More than anything, it taught me how to be quick on my feet with strong conceptual development and idea generation. I learned to look at things critically, and how to tackle pretty much any design assignment asked of me whether it was a logo, publication, website, product design, whatever — in the few years since I graduated I can already see that very few — very few — design programs teach students this way.

What are your favorite memories of the graphic design program at SU?

Favorite memories? Oh man! Everything from classes where we learned and laughed out loud the entire time, to high rolling at all the design competitions that we dominated! Remember when we all wore black suits and sunglasses to the AAF ADDY awards? Probably my favorite memories are of taking to the design studio with Sheetz or Taco Bell in hand (or in one case, an oversized tub of animal crackers), to work on my design projects with my friends. We were like some bad iteration of the Justice League! Looking back, I’m still figuring out how we managed to do so well at our work and have such a good time. It was pretty legendary.

What advice do you have for someone choosing a college design program?

My advice? Don’t be deceived by how super “artsy” or large a program looks — that’s not going to make you a rockstar designer. In my job as an art director I’ve reviewed portfolios from a LOT of design programs that graduate students who are, frankly, unemployable. If you’re smart, talented, or just have a good eye for art, you need a program that teaches the right tools, trends, techniques — then gives you the competitive edge to put you on the path to success.