A community perspective

Tapping into his playful side allowed graphic designer and PSU alumnus Kyle Vsetecka to develop the art for Portland State of Mind’s (PSOM) two-week celebration. “I put shapes together and took them apart, then played with color until the sum of the parts became the whole image,” Vsetecka says. “The result is a bit quirky, but it gives a definite community vibe.”

A lifetime of perspectives on Portland’s community inspired Vsetecka’s design direction for PSOM’s art. Native to the region, Vsetecka has enjoyed the city’s cultural experiences since childhood, and he drew upon these memories as the basis of his design.

Vsetecka was one of several PSU graphic design alumni invited to submit preliminary concepts for PSOM. Although he became hooked on making art with computers in high school, his route to PSU was a circuitous one, first attending The Art Institute of Portland and Portland Community College before enrolling here. “PSU was the perfect school for me,” Vsetecka says. “The program was incredibly valuable, and they helped me get my job right out of college.”

Rise to the challenge

Vsetecka is in now his third year at the branding agency, Airtype Studio. Based in North Carolina, the agency has a small Portland office where Vsetecka is its sole graphic designer.  The role challenges him professionally and personally.  “I have a ton of creative freedom and I’m doing the exact type of design and style work I want to. But I’m a visual communicator and interfacing with my colleagues via the internet for work was hard at first. I needed to step up my oral communication skills,” Vsetecka says. “Now the agency is growing, and there’s a lot of new excitement around that.”

In addition to his freelance work on PSOM, Vsetecka remains connected to PSU by attending graphic design events throughout the year. “I like to stay involved in the community, and the freelance projects are a fun way to do that.”

Several things in Vsetecka’s life manage to pull him away from the computer screen, however. Three years ago, he married his high-school sweetheart and they live in Southeast Portland with their two cats. He enjoys tennis, just learned how to golf this summer, and plays on a city basketball league.

Vsetecka follows his PSU classmates on Instagram. “I like to see where they’re at and what they’re doing now,” he says. “There’s no one ‘right way’ – just find something that interests you in a place where you feel comfortable and have opportunities for growth.”