February of my freshman year I sat outside Strong Hearts, a vegan café near Syracuse University’s campus, sipping on a chocolate, peanut butter smoothie as I waited for a new friend to arrive. By chance, she ordered the same smoothie and that was the first in a long list of similarities that we discovered during that meeting. Natives to New Jersey, we discussed our mutual insistence on the term “Taylor Ham” and disgust for the term “Pork Roll.” We gushed over our favorite bagel shops from home and she told me all about her major and creative passions. And I learned that she is her name: Joy.
Joy Scull is a rising senior studying Communications Design at the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. For those of you who may not know what communications design is: The first time I went to hang out with Joy at her dorm, she was executing a concept she’d created for a new type of hair conditioner – but the conditioner wasn’t the main idea. She had constructed an actual, physical display, created labels for the little pots of fake conditioner and made up a description like you’d read on the back of a real bottle of conditioner. It seemed tedious and time consuming (okay it didn’t just seem time consuming, it absolutely was), but at the same time very, very cool.
“I wanted to go to a school that had the best of both worlds: amazing design / art school but also a campus that offered a lot of different majors where I would meet different people since most of my friends from high school were not art nerds like me. When I decided I wanted to go into graphic design, I specifically wanted to be a package designer. Communications Design at Syracuse really focuses on that along with art direction so that’s what really hooked me. When I was in high school I really did love to draw and paint, but I knew that I wanted to be in a creative field that would also have some business aspect to it which is exactly what design is – especially for branding, marketing and advertising.“
Joy is a creative in that she creates on her own and possesses a deep appreciation for other art forms spanning from fine art to music to comedy – and she’s always been this way. Her father, a photo editor for the New York Times, kept all of the drawings and stories she made as a kid, and in high school she became absorbed by drawing and painting. In college, she frequents off-campus house shows at venues like the late Goon Lagoon and Scarier Dome, and art shows at venues like Spark Contemporary Art Space.
Art wiggles itself into every facet of her life whether it’s intentional or not.
Last summer Joy was a multimedia intern at the Clinton Global Initiative for the Clinton Foundation – the following Halloween she dressed up as Hillary Clinton. Her sense of humor is quirky and lovable and she never misses a chance to share a funny post with someone she thinks will appreciate it. On a more serious note, her design talents have brought her to other internships, including Smith Design and Ralph Applebaum Associates. While at Syracuse, she spends her time designing for WAER and the student publication, Student Voice. Joy spreads herself pretty thin, but she enjoys every last second of it.
“I really am so thankful to love what I do so much. I get a high off of coming up with a really good idea for a new project or being really successful in something for my jobs or classes. Design is such a powerful tool to change and influence the decisions that people make, and being able to be a part of that to make a positive change, or make people see things in a new way is exactly what I want to do.”
Syracuse has played a huge part in Joy’s growth as a designer – and person – and it’s given her many opportunities to indulge all aspects of her creative self.
“I feel like Syracuse has really helped me become the person that I have always been, but maybe did not start out as coming from the town that I grew up in. I love my friends from home and I wouldn’t change anything about myself, who I was, or the kinds of decisions I made before I went to college, but I will say that so many of my experiences in central NY have changed me and really helped shape who I am. Some of the most impactful moments that come to mind are just going away to school: the transition into college was not an easy one. I had no idea how nervous I would be not knowing anyone around me, and forcing myself to try to put myself out there. You constantly hear only about the “fun” aspects of college, but nothing really prepares you for the initial start. This new start really made it clear to me the kinds of friends that I would want to have, which has been huge for me.”
Joy’s choice to come to Syracuse University where she would have the opportunity to mingle with students of all different interests is totally apparent in the people she surrounds herself with. She’s found friends in Greek life, friends through design, music, writing and many more areas of expertise – and she is always open to learning from all of her different friends.
While her first love is design, she cares deeply for people and life itself. Her ability to look at situations objectively helps her in design and in her relationships, and she is one of the people I can actually count on to give me unbiased advice and tell me what I need to hear rather than what I might want to hear in a given situation.
“I’m really good at seeing different perspectives. I try to dissect everything from all angles, which can be exhausting, and really ask myself what was right or wrong in that situation. I would describe myself as someone who really looks for substance and meaning in life, whether that be in my relationships with people, passions or experiences. I really care about people, and I want everything that I do or every relationship that I have with someone to be meaningful.”
It is an indescribable joy to know Joy. She is lighthearted enough not to take herself too seriously but passionate enough to know that her work is serious and meaningful. She’s a girl who loves cats and never misses a chance to send a Snapchat of eggs benedict yolk breaking; a girl who has absolutely no problem defying the status quo. Joy does things that make her happy for that reason alone, which is a skill many of us still need to learn. Her capacity to be silly yet well-composed is impressive and it’s quite remarkable the focus she already has for the path she’s following. She’s a young woman worth knowing and learning from, and I can’t wait to see where her future takes her because I know I’ll be right there cheering on my best friend from the sidelines.