Designing a better future: Graduate improves community through artistic leadership

May 08, 2024

Sean Formantes smiles against a tree in a blue shirt.

Sean Formantes ’24, MS ’25, took a leap of faith and followed his dreams as a graphic designer at Quinnipiac. Now after three years, he has made a tremendous difference in his fellow Bobcats’ lives, professionally and creatively.

His interest in graphic and interactive design began at a young age when he would attend church every Sunday with his family. The bulletins handed out each week stood out to him and inspired him to create hand-drawn bulletins of his own. Little did he know, this first spark of creativity would lead him to his future career.

Formantes didn’t even initially plan on pursuing art studies in college. Quinnipiac was the only school that he didn’t apply to as a business major — but as a graphic design major. Then all the pieces fell into place. Without that decision, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“Quinnipiac has prepared me for future success by giving me the opportunity to explore, create and define my own journey,” said Formantes.

When discovering his path here, he felt like something was missing from the artistic community on campus. So, he took it into his own hands. The driven student founded the Student Artists League (SAL) and has now served as president for the past two years as well.

This organization’s purpose is to promote and advocate for the arts at Quinnipiac, through highlighting student work and developing a safe space for artists across campus.

“It has been both challenging and rewarding at the same time,” said Formantes. “Challenging because it weighs heavily on me that the experience members have in the group will forever be a part of their memories when they think about Quinnipiac. Rewarding because I get to see my dream turn into a reality.”

The members of SAL hold an annual arts festival and recently have begun forming a new magazine that will be circulated across campus for the years to come.

Not only has Formantes founded this brand new student organization and built it from the ground up, but he has been heavily involved with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and The Legends A Cappella group during his undergraduate career.

These organizations have helped him to build upon his leadership skills and provide him a source of happiness like no other, said Formantes. Since joining The Legends, the group has placed in their quarterfinal for three consecutive years and are ranked in the top twenty percent of collegiate a cappella groups nationally.

In AIGA, the club has now seen a record number of submissions for their annual showcase and Formantes has contributed to that major success.

“None of this would have been made possible without the amazing and incredible friends and professional connections that I’ve made through all of these groups,” said Formantes.

Aside from student involvement, he served as the vice president of graphic design for The Agency at Quinnipiac. He was given the opportunity to lead efforts to design the Defend the Den bystander effect campaign on campus. In this role, he designed the logo and branding for the campaign, along with stickers and t-shirts that have made their way around the Bobcat community. The campaign received two awards at the PRSA Greater Connecticut chapter’s Mercury Awards. Formantes’ time and commitment to The Agency opened many doors for him to secure internships and grow his career further.

He has left a phenomenal mark on this university and the community around him that will impact artistic students for decades to come.

After graduation, he will be pursuing his masters degree in interactive media and communications. He will also be building his freelance design business and working part-time. The Bobcat has dreams to create content for a variety of individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations in the future, eventually working his way up to starting a communications agency.

Formantes offers advice to students considering a similar career path.

“Don’t be concerned about getting things perfect. The beauty actually lies in the imperfection,” said Formantes. “Believe it or not, the first try is typically never good. Keep pushing it. Keep asking  'what if?' This field is about getting things wrong so you can learn how to do it right. The more times you fall, the more opportunities you have to pick yourself up. Creativity allows for mistakes, because creativity is inherently human. This all works in life too, not just design.”

As Commencement approaches, he bids farewell and reflects on the past few years filled with new possibilities, memories and fruitful opportunities.

“I’m really thankful to have found my place at Quinnipiac,” Formantes said. “My experience here has taught me much about myself and my passions. It has been my second home for the past three years and I wouldn’t have had my college experience any other way."

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