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Graphic Design Student Sienna Forsyth Shares How Taking Risks Allows Art to Thrive

Forsyth will speak at the Department of Art and Department of Design Convocation at 12 p.m. on April 26

When Sienna Forsyth applied to the graphic design BFA program, she doubted her ability to get in. She remembers feeling incredibly nervous, even though she knew that she had given her all to the application. “I remember looking around and thinking, ‘oh my goodness, my peers have the most amazing portfolios, there’s no way I’m ever going to get in,’” said Forsyth. After she was accepted into the program, she had a paradigm shift. “I remember from that moment, I thought ‘okay, I’m good enough to be here,’” said Forsyth. However, Forsyth’s journey through the program wasn’t smooth after her acceptance. One of the biggest challenges she had to overcome as a student was getting over her fear of making mistakes. My first year in the BFA was really rough for me. I felt like none of the work I did was really working, and I wasn’t quite getting it. I was really hard on myself for that,” said Forsyth. “If I had just lightened up a little bit, I would have been less afraid to make mistakes and more willing to explore and try new things — and I might have been a lot more successful.” Forsyth also had to learn how to be a mom during her senior year. Although balancing motherhood and schoolwork was difficult, Forsyth said she was able to pull it off with the support of her professors and peers. “With the BFA program, it’s not just getting into a program, it’s getting into a family, a group of people that you can rely on and trust in and lean on for inspiration and motivation,” said Forsyth. She also credits her professors with most of the opportunities she has had as a student. “I’ve gotten to have an intimate mentorship with multiple graphic design teachers and, through that, I’ve been able to make connections, network and get internships,” said Forsyth. She added that her professors are “the ones that make it all worth it for us. They work really hard. I think there are more opportunities every year because the teachers are just trying to make the program better and better.” Forsyth said one of her favorite opportunities was getting to work on a pro bono project for a pig farm in Madagascar that was founded by BYU alumni. Along with other students, Forsyth took on the challenge of creating a brand that would appeal to both the people of Madagascar and the Americans who invested in the farm. “We had to learn how to brand a company that would interest people in Madagascar, so we used lots of bright colors and things that are maybe not normal here,” said Forsyth. “We also had to make a brand that was interesting to Western culture. It was a fun challenge.”


Looking back on her time at BYU, Forsyth says she would encourage other students to realize it’s okay not to know everything. “I wish I had known that before because can be sort of intimidating,” said Forsyth. “You might think ‘should I even try it?’ And I’m glad I did because I’ve learned since then.” In the future, Forsyth hopes to land a job at an art museum. “I would really love to do the designs for a museum — some of their branding and focusing on the gift shop and promotional materials for gallery shows.” In the meantime, Forsyth is moving to San Francisco with her husband and son after graduation. She plans on taking time off work for the summer to focus on her son and making art.

Q&A with Sienna Forsyth, BFA ‘19 Design | Graphic Design | Portfolio

Where are you from? 'New Hope, Pennsylvania.' What did you want to be when you were a kid? 'I never knew; I was never one of those kids. I think for a long time I wanted to be a teacher, but I was an extremely indecisive child.' What are your hobbies? 'I really love traveling with my husband. I also like photography.' What is your favorite snack in between classes? 'I normally bring a protein shake and an apple or a clementine.' What is your biggest inspiration? 'My mom because she is the person who is not afraid to be herself and own her own space. She’s very funky and out there. She doesn’t bat an eye at anyone who would think her style isn’t fun or cool. She just knows how to rock it, and she’s my ultimate example of how to be unique and be yourself.' Where do you spend most of your time on campus? 'The Harris Fine Arts Center, a hundred percent. I don’t even have classes in other buildings anymore. I haven’t set foot in other buildings for a long time.'