Natalia Ilyin is a professor of Design at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She teaches design history and criticism, design for social activism, apparel design, apparel design history, and wearable tech interface design there.

In 2012—and again in 2015—she earned Cornish’s Award for Teaching Excellence. She and her co-teacher, Elisabeth Patterson, have created a publishing program at Cornish that is dedicated to making design history more inclusive. Natalia is also Founding and Core Faculty for the MFA in Graphic Design here at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She advises grad students on writing, design history and critical and contextual studies. She’s taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Yale University, 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 has lectured and given workshops at Seattle PechaKucha 20×20, Microsoft, Boeing, Rhode Island School of Design, Maine College of Art, California College of Art, Art Center College of Design’s Toyota lecture series, the Wolfsonian Museum, The Henry Art Gallery, and other very appealing places. Natalia is a member of the Authors Guild, The American Semiotic Society, and The Design History Society. Her articles have been published in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Portland Oregonian, the Miami Herald, Metropolis, STEP, Adbusters, Eye, Communication Arts, 2+3D, on several blogs and in several anthologies of design criticism.
Her first memoir, Blonde Like Me, was published by Simon and Schuster. Just starting out as a writer, Natalia became so worried about future criticism that she froze into a ball of anxiety while finishing it. Her agent had to walk down to her apartment and take the manuscript from her cramped hand. When she moved to a cottage near Seattle, Natalia looked back at her time in the East, and wrote Chasing the Perfect: Thoughts on Modernist Design in Our Time. Published by Metropolis Books, it’s a personal look at the philosophy of modernism and its effect on life in our era. Her third book, Writing for the Design Mind, has benefitted from her years of experience as a writer and teacher. It was released in Fall 2018 by Bloomsbury Academic.


MFA - Graphic Design | RISD
BA - British Literature | Dominican University

Nikki Juen

Faculty Co-Chair, MFA in Graphic Design

David Schatz

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Silas Munro

Guest Advisor, MFA in Graphic Design

Ziddi Msangi

Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

Matthew Monk

Academic Dean; Faculty, MFA in Graphic Design

David Peacock

Faculty Co-Chair, MFA in Graphic Design