Professor of Design at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Natalia Ilyin teaches design history and criticism, design for social activism, and transition design. In 2012—and again in 2015—she earned Cornish’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Natalia is Founding and Core Faculty for the MFA in Graphic Design here at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She advises our students on design history, critical and contextual issues, and writing.

She’s taught at Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, The Cooper Union and the University of Washington, and has acted as Critic for the MFA in Graphic Design at Yale University and Rhode Island School of Design.

Natalia spoke recently at the AIGA’s Design Educators Conference in Michigan, and at the Seattle PechaKucha 20×20, and less recently at Art Center College of Design’s Toyota lecture series, Microsoft, Boeing, Rhode Island School of Design, Maine College of Art, California College of Art, the Wolfsonian Museum, The Henry Art Gallery, and at many other places interested in the relationship of design to culture.

Natalia is co-editor of the 2019 publication Parallel NarrativesAnnotated Student Bibliographies Toward a Broader History of Design, Vol.1. In her preface, she outlines the curricular strategies she brings to her current teaching of design historyAnother of her books, Chasing the Perfect: Thoughts on Modernist Design in Our Time, questioned the tenets that still underpin most design education.

She contributes regularly to various design sites, and has published articles in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Portland Oregonian, the Miami Herald, Architecture Daily, Metropolis Magazine, Gray Magazine, Adbusters, Eye Magazine, Communication Arts, 2+3D, and in several anthologies of design criticism, including the recent Visual Strategies for the Apocalypse, designed and edited by Ian Lynam.

Her third book, Writing for the Design Mind, a guidebook to writing, was released in Fall 2019 by Bloomsbury Academic. Designed by Robert Baxter, it was included in the AIGA’s most recent 50 Books/Fifty Covers exhibition.


MFA - Graphic Design | RISD

BA - British Literature | Dominican University

Matthew Monk

Academic Dean; Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Ramon Tejada

Visiting Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Natalia Ilyin

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Lorena Howard-Sheridan

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

David Peacock

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Silas Munro

Faculty Co-Chair, MFA in Graphic Design