Student Spotlight: Emmanuel Adjei

Kyle Clouse and Rachael Eyler


Name: Emmaneul Adjei
Major: Graphic Design
Year: 2018
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Emmaneul “Manny” Adjei is a junior graphic design major who launched his own 365 graphic design project. Adjei creates a different design daily and posts his work to his Instagram account.

Q. How did you decide to come to Marywood?
A. Well at first, Marywood wasn’t on my schedule, like at all, for schools. I applied late to Marywood actually. I came up in February, and it was cold. It was like negative four [degrees] when I got here, but for some reason, I fell in love with the campus and the teachers, and I feel like I belong here.

Q. So two years later, do you still stand by your decision to come here?
A. Yeah, definitely. At first, it was a little different than what I was used to, but I definitely stand by my decision. I think the teachers are great. The students and friends I’ve made here [are great], and it really has had a great impact on my life and my art career as well.

Q. So you’re a graphic design major. How did you choose to go into that field?
A. I didn’t choose graphic design until my senior year in high school, mainly because I didn’t know what I wanted to become. I went to an art and design high school. I took architecture, I took fashion [and] industrial design. Senior year we had a choice of classes, and I took graphic design and then my first semester ended, and I just really felt comfortable. Then that entire year I took two other graphic design classes, and it just felt more natural.

Q. For those who might be unfamiliar as to what graphic design is, and what really it entails, could you please explain it a little bit?
A. Graphic design is basically a lot of everything. We do illustrations, ads, animations [and] web design. But to kind of boil it down, it’s basically a visual aid to communicate in [the] simplest form. We take facts and statistics and make [them] visually entertaining for people to look at and very attractive, so that when you see it, you’ll want to read it.

Q. What would you say are the challenges to graphic design?
A. It requires a lot. It sounds simple, but it requires a lot energy and time and commitment. But if you’re willing, it’s really fun once you get the hang of it … Once you get over that stage of the amount of work that goes into it and the revising of a single poster five or six times … then you’ll be fine.

Q. I noticed just walking through this building [The Shields Center for Visual Arts], there are many examples of graphic design and I see there’s many different styles. Could you talk about your own personal style?
A. Honestly, I’m still kind of figuring that out. I don’t think I’m quite there yet. But I love nature and I do a lot of nature related objects. Just this summer I realized I actually draw mountains a lot and clouds and stuff like that … I love a lot of negative space, like the most important information is right in front of your face, you read it, and the rest is like a blank canvas.

Q. When you have a blank canvas, what inspires you to fill it?
A. Being a visual person, it’s kind of hard to look at things that haven’t been touched yet … For me to see something undone, it kind [of] bothers me a little bit. I always want to add some creative touch to it.

Q. How did that your 365 project come about? What inspired you to fill the negative space on your page?
A. Like I said, I talk to a lot of artists. I follow this one artist on Instagram, Russell Scott, and he’s really amazing. He does illustrative lettering. He and I got to talking, and he was giving me pointers on how to start and how to brand yourself as a graphic designer because it’s not like a set job. You know, you graduate and… it can take months or years to really get into the field you want to be working in. So branding at an early stage in your career really helps by the time you get out. Just last year for [my] New Year’s Resolution, I was like I’m gonna do [the 365 day challenge] and I started. It was really fun. It still is fun, but I mean it’s a lot now because I have soccer now. But I still love doing it. It’s the last thing I do before bed. It’s basically like the climax of my day, so when I do that, I know that my day is complete.

Q. Have you ever missed a day and if so, how did you make up for it?
A. I never missed a day on purpose. I only missed one day and that was over the summer when I was in a car accident and I was in the hospital. I try not to [miss a day]. I just like doing it and the response I get when I do it … People will send you a message saying your work is amazing … So it’s really great to get that feedback and I really think that’s what keeps me going.

Q. You mentioned you play soccer as well. What position do you play and how much do you enjoy it?
A. I’m a defender. I’ve been playing soccer since I was little. It was another outlet for me to get away from the world. Soccer for me is like a passionate thing apart from art. Art is kind of like a different outlet for me, but soccer is like a whole different thing … When I’m out there playing, I don’t think about anything else. I just focus on the game, and I clear my head and re-energize.

Q. Do you have anything else to add?
A. I was the lead artist on the Genesis mural last semester. I was working on it the start of last fall and the exhibit was in March. It was me and four other students. I reached out to the Visual Arts Department about my idea for the mural and they were on board and told me to put a team together to work on it and I did. We worked on it nonstop … we were working on it until the very last day before the exhibit. But it was all worth it in the end because we had people from Philly [Philadelphia] who came, Allentown, Scranton- a lot of local people were here. I was very surprised. We had it in [the] Insalaco Gallery and at one point, you couldn’t walk through that gallery, there was [sic] a lot of people … this year we’re trying to do another one … hopefully that when I do graduate, and the group I started with graduates, the next Marywood art students can continue doing it.

Q. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A. I want to work at Google, so hopefully I am working at Google. Or Urban Outfitters. I like doing apparel designs, so hopefully in ten years I’m doing that and working towards my master’s [degree] because I want to be an art director.

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Twitter: @ADuncklee_TWW