Porcasi ’12 Discovers Sustainability Abroad and the Entrepreneur Within

By Purnell T. Cropper | May 10, 2012

There is always something new to learn in the field of Graphic Design. Jon Porcasi ’12 knows this better than most. After four years of study, including three study abroad experiences and three internships, he’s emerging from Arcadia with much more than a B.A.—he’s familiar with the pace of this breakneck industry and has the plans for a company of his own.

Porcasi chose Arcadia because as a designer it’s as vital to be well rounded as it is to be visionary.“The Department of Art and Design at Arcadia is a very tight knit community,” he says, not just of the relationships between fellow students but also students with faculty members. “I have gotten to know many faculty members on a much more personal level than I would have elsewhere.”

“[Design] is an artistic expression that is exploratory and ever changing,” he says. “There is power in words and images. They have the ability to communicate a message to the viewer and in turn become a language in itself. As a designer it is my responsibility to create this form of language.

As an artist, Porcasi discovered inspiration abroad. He participated in Spain Preview and two short term learning experiences, first with Arcadia’s Alternative Spring Break in Tijuana, Mexico,and later with an ID course, Sustainable Development in Costa Rica. He also studied for a full semester at Goldsmith’s University in London, during which he travelled to Wales, Ireland, and many Western European nations, such as Italy, France, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

“Study abroad changed me greatly,” says Porcasi. “It ignited my passion for travel and gave me a better understanding of the world around me. It also impacted my thesis topic, which is on eco-friendly design practices.  ”

The inspiration for his Senior Capstone project came during an adventure weekend in Pembrokeshire, Wales, through Arcadia University’s College of Global Studies. Visiting Preseli Venture, Porcasi was inspired by their sustainable lodge, which included everything from timed showers ground source heating and locally grown food to environmental- and animal-friendly shampoo.

“The surrounding area was extremely beautiful and completely untouched by pollution, wild horses roamed freely, as we hiked along soaring cliffs along the Atlantic Coast. All this made me think more about the idea of helping our planet, and how this can pertain to design.”

As part of his Senior Capstone Project, Porcasi developed a tea company, The Greener Tea, for which he created a logo identity, as well as a packaging system. All the materials used reflect a sustainable lifestyle—the teabags are made of reusable muslin, the containers are metals tins that can be kept and used over and over again, and the labels are made from recycled paper. In addition, Porcasi developed a lifestyles publication that corresponds to his company, The Greener Print. The publication is completely paperless and interactive, adapted for the iPad. It invites consumers to “Take a journey without getting tea stains on your paper.”