Forever Orange: Matt Brodsky Explores Intersection of AI and Graphic Design 

Matt Brodsky is fascinated by questions about how generative artificial intelligence can be used to foster his creativity as a graphic designer. 

How can responsible use of AI provide visual examples that spark new ideas? How can AI be used to turn a static website design into a fully working digital product?  

Matt Brodsky (Photo by Genaro C. Armas)

Brodsky’s talents have been recognized by Graphic Design USA, which named him a 2023 Student to Watch. In fall 2022 during his senior year at the Newhouse School, three of his digital portraits celebrating sneaker culture were displayed at the Sneaker House art installation in Detroit.  

But, after graduating from Newhouse in May with a bachelor’s degree in visual communications in the graphic design track, Brodsky thought he had much more to learn about the role of AI in his field. He didn’t go far.  

Brodsky enrolled in the advanced media management master’s program at Newhouse in fall 2023, opting to continue studying the emerging technology with Adam Peruta, the program director and associate professor of magazine, news and digital journalism. Peruta also served as a mentor to Brodsky as an undergraduate.  

“I thought there were really big shifts happening in the world and, quite frankly, if I wasn’t going to pursue a master’s degree now, I would have to do it later anyway,” Brodsky said.  

But developments in AI can emerge quickly. And Brodsky feels he and others like him who are part of Generation Z (classified generally as those born between the late 1990s and early 2010s) bear an urgent responsibility to lead the way in the responsible use of AI and other emerging technologies. 

“We’re a generation that was old enough where we still had to learn to write with pen and paper, and learned reasoning, critical thinking and other real skills that the generations before us had to learn,” Brodsky said. “But we’re young enough to adapt to this generative AI transformation.”  

Two people stand together with a framed photograph between them
Brodsky and Adam Peruta (right) stand with one of Brodsky’s digital portraits celebrating sneaker culture. (Photo by Genaro C. Armas)

Brodsky was also eligible for a Forever Orange Scholarship, which provides half the tuition for students who enroll full-time in a qualifying graduate degree or certificate program at Syracuse University. The scholarship is automatically available to graduating seniors who are eligible for admission and commit to attend graduate school immediately after graduation. 

Brodsky’s interest in graphic design started while growing up in Chicago, where sneaker culture is strong because of NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. He started making sneaker art in high school, eventually creating an independent study project making sneaker portraits and creating art on commission for family and friends. 

His passion for graphic design has expanded as he learned more about visual media and different ways to incorporate emerging technology into his skillset. 

Brodsky is grateful for how Newhouse faculty members like Peruta, Reneé Stevens and Ken Harper fostered his creativity and encouraged him to explore. He credits the interdisciplinary focus of Newhouse’s visual communications program with honing his storytelling skills through design.  

“Matt’s approach to integrating AI with graphic design is not only innovative but it’s also reshaping how we think about creativity in the digital age,” said Peruta. “His ability to harness AI to enhance and expand his graphic design talents has set a new bar for what is possible, making him a standout student here at Newhouse.”  

Now, Brodsky still gets to interact with his mentors, especially Peruta, as an advanced media management master’s student. The Fall 2023 semester included an internship as an AI and design specialist at Get Real XR, which describes itself as a company that leads businesses into the metaverse.   

a person sitting looking at a laptop computer
“We’re young enough to adapt to this generative AI transformation,” Brodsky said of his generation. (Photo by Genaro C. Armas)

Brodsky arrived at Get Real XR just as key members of the company’s marketing department had left. Drawing in part from what he was learning at Newhouse about emerging technologies, Brodsky said he helped the company fill some of the responsibilities left uncovered by the departures, while also contributing new AI-driven marketing content. 

“My background in graphic design has been really helpful in testing generative AI,” he said. “If you don’t get the response you want (from an AI platform,) you go back and tweak. It’s kind of a similar process to design.”  

He plans to continue working with Get Real XR and the AI framework he created to produce content in the spring. At Newhouse, he’s excited about taking a course on launching digital media ventures with Sean Branagan, executive director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Newhouse.  

Brodsky is also curious about issues around copyright and generative AI, including questions such as whether he can copyright AI-generated artwork if he trains an AI model to produce designs or artwork based only on his style and previous work.  

“Why can’t I set that precedent,” Brodsky asked. “It’s something that I’m looking forward to try to achieve in the future.”