Computer Graphics Students Learn from a Design Pro

April 12, 2018

With clients like Sony Music and the Jimi Hendrix estate, it is no wonder that Phil Yarnall, owner of Smay Design, had the full attention of Computer Graphics students at The Tech Center recently.
Yarnall, who designs music-album covers, box sets, posters, and a lot of other “cool stuff,” according to his website, works mostly from his home office in North Salem. He visited students on the Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES campus to share his road to success and talk about what his workday is like now.
“I can work in my pajamas,” he said, as students asked questions about how he got his first job and the education needed to get there.
“It really is important to connect with people, because the more people you know in this or any other business, the more chances you have of getting work,” he said. Yarnall told students about his experience in the Tyler school at Temple University and how designing has changed over the past 20 years. He also brought samples of his work.
“This is one of my favorites—it was for a Hank Williams album,” Yarnall told students as he showed them a box set he designed in the shape of an old-fashioned radio. The box even included a chip that actually plays one of Williams’ songs.
Intrigued students passed around designs of book covers, record albums, and posters while a slide show displayed more of Yarnall’s work, ranging from the psychedelic to the more subdued.
Yarnall said that he gets some of his best inspiration for his designs while walking his dog.
“It is important to keep to a schedule when you work for yourself,” he told students, “but it is also really important to remember to take time to think. That’s how you get your ideas.”
Phil Yarnall shares his designs, including a box set shaped like an old-fashioned radio.