Natalia is Founding and Core Faculty for the MFA in Graphic Design at VCFA. She works with students interested in writing about the critical and contextual issues of design.

Professor of Design, Design History, and Criticism at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Natalia teaches about design, design history and criticism there, strangely enough, as well as about complex systems, design for social activism, the semiotics of brand, and transition design. She’s been awarded Cornish’s Award for Teaching Excellence twice.

Natalia has 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.

Her most recent book is Writing for the Design Mind, a visual approach to learning to write. She co-edited Parallel NarrativesAnnotated Student Bibliographies Toward a Broader History of Design, Vol.1, a series that seeks to build design history from the student up, rather than from the historian down. Her book 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, Print, 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. She is currently at work on a community-imagined history of design.


MFA - Graphic Design | RISD

BA - British Literature | Dominican University

James Chae

Faculty Chair, MFA in Graphic Design

David Schatz

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Ramón Tejada

Visiting Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Ian Lynam

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Natalia Ilyin

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Ziddi Msangi

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design