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About the event:

Q and A with Natalia Ilyin
Moderated by Ian Lynam and Dave Peacock

Design, writing, and life can actually mix, and they do in the world of Natalia Ilyin, acclaimed author and founding faculty of VCFA’s MFA in Graphic Design Program. She helps people start–or restart–writing about design, and wonders if you’d like to, too. Current students, alumnx, and regular people are invited to pelt Natalia with questions about ways to start, or continue, a practice of writing about design.

Here at VCFA, Natalia advises students on design history, critical and contextual issues, and writing. A professor of design at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, she teaches design history and criticism, design for social activism, and transition design there. In 2012—and again in 2015—Natalia earned Cornish’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Natalia has taught at RISD, Yale University, The Cooper Union, and the University of Washington, and has acted as Critic for the MFA in Graphic Design at Yale University and RISD.

She spoke recently at the AIGA’s Design Educators Conference and at Seattle PechaKucha 20×20, and–less recently–at Art Center College of Design’s Toyota lecture series, Microsoft, Boeing, RISD, Maine College of Art, California College of Art, the Wolfsonian Museum, The Henry Art Gallery, and other places she can’t remember right now.

Natalia contributes regularly to various design sites and has published in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Portland Oregonian, the Miami HeraldArchitecture DailyMetropolis MagazineGray MagazineAdbustersEye Magazine, Communication Arts2+3D, and in several anthologies of design criticism, including the recent Visual Strategies for the Apocalypse.

She is co-editor of the 2019 publication Parallel Narratives: Annotated Student Bibliographies Toward a Broader History of Design, Vol.1., a bibliographical reference for people interested in researching design not formerly found in the Design History “canon.” In her memoir, Chasing the Perfect: Thoughts on Modernist Design in Our Time, she questioned the tenets that still underpin much of design education as we know it. Her third book, Writing for the Design Mind, is a writing handbook for designers. Designed by Robert Baxter, it’s included in the AIGA’s 50 Books/ Fifty Covers exhibition this year.

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