©Winnie Westergard

©Winnie Westergard

Natalia Ilyin

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, and transition design. Her method of teaching history and criticism differs from the ways it has traditionally been taught: her emphasis is on mapping nodal relationships rather than on timelines. She and her co-teacher created the Parallel Narratives publishing program at Cornish, which is dedicated to making design history inclusive by growing historical data from the student up, rather than from the historian, down. In 2012--and again in 2015-- she earned Cornish's Award for Teaching Excellence.

Natalia is also Founding Faculty for the MFA in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts. There, she advises grad students on writing, design history and critical and contextual issues. 

Natalia has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, 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 at Rhode Island School of Design.

A former National Director of Programs for the American Institute of Graphic Arts in New York, she recently presented at Seattle's PechaKucha 20x20, and has given talks and workshops at 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 at many other very nice 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, Adbusters, Eye, Communication Arts, 2+3D, 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 became a frozen ball of anxiety while finishing it. Her agent finally walked down to her apartment and pulled 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's due out in Spring 2019 from Bloomsbury Academic.