Jason Pun is a third-year Media, Information and Technoculture student. He's also one of the prominent graphic designers in the world of professional and competitive video gaming.
"People are surprised you can make a living playing video games," says Jason about what it's like to work in the industry. "It’s also really exciting to work in a sphere like this full time. Not everyone gets to say they work with people who play video games as a profession. It’s something I really cherish.”
Jason's passion for the world of graphic design started in 2012 like any other kid, watching and playing sports and video games in his free time. This was when he was introduced to the world of eSports.
"I remember at one point my brother or a friend showed me that people played the games competitively for millions of dollars making full-time salary," says Jason. "So I started getting into it and watching and realized that I could start designing and contributing to the space."
Competitive video gaming allowed him to work in a sphere that he was interested in. He first started designing on an online soccer forum which was directly intertwined with his interest in sports. Working in a space that he feels passionate about is a luxury he is grateful for.
Jason started freelancing for well-known organizations in the industry doing social media design, jersey design, apparel design, web design and branding. Eventually he landed a gig at Red Bull, a job that has allowed him the opportunity to travel to places like New York, Atlanta and Washington for work.
Jason rose in the eSports graphic design scene by being motivated by success.
"You gotta just do a lot of projects for free and send out a lot of emails in the off chance that people actually read it," Jason explains. "A lot of it is being proactive and finding a space that you feel like you can offer something."
His passion for graphic design grew out a natural creativity.
“I think I just naturally am a creative person so it provides a medium for me express that creativity,” he says.
Juggling school, work and extracurriculars can take its toll, especially in the midst of midterm season. He's also the vice-president communications for the Canadian Asian International Student Association.
"It’s really busy at times," Jason admits. "It’s easier with work because there’s deadlines and people pushing me to hit those deadlines whereas with school I know I have deadlines but no one is pushing me to make those deadlines. You definitely feel a lot of pressure."
It's important for him to remain passionate about graphic design to avoid burning out amidst the rigours of the job.
"You really enjoy doing graphic design for fun but when you start doing it for work it’s like what people say – that you don’t enjoy [it] quite as much especially when you stop pushing yourself and you start to see your quality of work go down," he says.
Jason is not solely focused on pigeon-holing himself with graphic designing. He currently works as the Chief Marketing Officer of Elevate, a premier North American eSports organization where he runs social media campaigns, meets marketing deliverable from sponsors and covers events.
Jason loves what he does and the opportunities that arise from his work.
"Getting involved in eSports is something that’s not very mainstream and not a lot of people understand," says Jason. "But I’ve gotten a lot of job experience and I get to meet a lot of different people from all over the world."
In the end, it's the creative aspect of the job that is what keeps Jason passionate about designing.
"One of the best parts of graphic design is actually getting to create something," he says. "Whether it's seeing your work online where a lot of people get to see it, getting a physical copy of a poster or shirt I made or going to an event and seeing your work hanging on the walls, those are probably some of the greatest moments and feelings as a designer.
"Personally, that can't really be quantified," he adds. "It feels really good to see your work appreciated and come to life and I think it's what keeps me coming back."