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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Jessi Blackham & Dina Lufti selected as 2022 Graphic Design Magazine USA Students to Watch

May 2, 2022

We are very Proud of  our Grads Jessi Blackham & Dina Lufti. Both have been listed in Graphic Design USA’s 2022 Students To Watch.

“With the help of several of America’s leading art and design schools, we once again identify top students ready to burst on the design scene. Some are undergrads, others are graduate or continuing education students, all have found personal and professional growth through their programs. Our Students To Watch feature has become tradition that resonates and renews: the students get recognized and the professional creative community gets refreshed. Given the unique challenges of the moment, we also asked the students how they perceive their chosen profession, what inspires them, and what paths they plan to pursue. Please note that in the next edition of GDUSA magazine, the institutions of higher learning from which these students come (and select others) will themselves get the spotlight.”  -GD USA

Jessi Blackham

I’m a designer, art director and illustrator with over 10 years experience elevating brands. These have ranged from internationally established enterprises to tiny baby startups. Each project comes with its own nuanced needs so I work in a broad range of disciplines, leveraging my diverse skillset to bring holistic direction to each solution. I seek to supply vibrancy and storytelling that enhances connection, whether it be between a brand and its audience or between an author and reader. In addition to branding work I also create graphic novels and comics. I enjoy long walks on the beach, the music of Muse, and anything slathered in Nutella.

WHAT ARE YOU READING/LISTENING TO/WATCHING?

I’m currently reading a lot of Jung (thanks to VCFA faculty member Natalia Ilyin haha) and The Umbrella Academy to lighten things up a bit. I’m watching Demon Slayer and I’m listening to a heavy rotation of La Dispute and DPR Live.

WHO IS SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR FIELD?

James Victore has been my hero for a while. His mix of philosophy and design methodology has pulled me out of some low points career wise. I’m here today because he told me I had something to give.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING DESIGN SCHOOL?

There’s no one right way to do this and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Dina Lufti

Dina Lutfi is a Sudanese American graphic designer, artist, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Multimedia at the Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Saudi Arabia. Lutfi holds a BS in Visual Communication from the American University of Sharjah in the UAE, a Master of Arts in Art Education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and a Doctor of Education in Art and Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She’s currently an MFA candidate in the Graphic Design program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. As a practicing artist, designer, and educator Lutfi engages in visual dialogues about form, multiculturalism, semiotics, and visual communication in the vernacular. As an educator, her academic focus encompasses art and design history in addition to contemporary perspectives. Lutfi also teaches studio-based classes centered on visual exploration and open-ended dialogue. Her current published research focuses on the development of educational pedagogies, and shedding light on Arab and African visual communication.

WHAT ARE YOU READING/LISTENING TO/WATCHING?

Reading: Your Private Sky by Buckminster Fuller and The Politics of Design by Ruben Pater. Listening: the podcast series Sudan Moves. Watching: the documentary series The Mind, Explained.

WHO IS SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR FIELD?

Ibrahim El-Salahi

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING DESIGN SCHOOL?

Design is about more than just aesthetics; it’s about who you design for and why.