Alumni Spotlight: Juan Diego Soto

I'm currently part of the creative leadership team at BX Brand Experience Design Group, a recently launched agency built on the success of the branding group at FCB (Foote, Cone and Belding). We have broadened our focus from serving FCB Health Network's comprehensive roster of pharmaceutical and healthcare clients, along with some general market clients from FCB New York, to position ourselves as the health and wellness leading branding agency.

I have so many great memories of the MFA Design program but one that definitely stands out was when I once felt incredibly proud and humbled during a very complimentary project review by Milton Glaser one week; and then being publicly scolded by him in front of the class for being late the week after!

I've had the privilege to be invited to several SVA events either as a panelist, jury, or speaker; but maybe more importantly, to beautiful weddings and other family milestones of some of my closest friends I made in the program. It has given me the opportunity to collaborate with fellow classmates in projects that have taken us as far as the Middle East; and also support our program's top talent when I had the chance to help hire an alumnus from a more recent year, to a position in my agency.

All in all, I've not only been able to stay active in the New York design community – an almost impossible feat if it wasn't for the program's dedicated chairmanship, staff, and faculty– but I’ve also been lucky enough to build solid lifelong personal relationships.

I don't think there's one easy way describe the challenges of the program. My experience was absolutely beyond professional, challenging myself as an individual and ultimately contributing to my personal growth. As a young international student in his early 20s, I can hardly think of a more fulfilling experience than being able to absorb all the creative energy the program has to offer, and take advantage of its position as part of NYC's design heritage.

Being part of the SVA MFA family opened so many doors and opportunities that, at the time, a recent designer transplant with no US professional experience could only yearn for. It helped me develop the self-confidence needed to succeed in the city's competitive branding creative industry; which, to this day, gives me the opportunity to be involved in projects of such large scale and impact that I still have pinch myself a few times a week.

The SVA MFA Design "do it all" approach was precisely what lured me to the MFA Design program in the first place. Being myself academically formed by architects, my design sensibilities had always extended beyond the 2D space, making the program's approach a perfect match for me. By helping me solidify that diverse foundation, the program allowed me to blur the lines of all design disciplines even further, ultimately impacting every aspect of my professional life.

What advice would I give to incoming students? Don't be afraid to step into unknown territory, be it for your thesis project or your first job after graduation. Sometimes, finding out what you are not passionate about is as important as knowing what inspires you.

Visit Juan Diego Soto's website toes more of his work.