Recognition on an International Platform

Creative Quarterly issues 39 and 40 feature winning work from students in the School of Graphic Design


'Fluidity' poster series by M.F.A. graphic design student Hsuan-Yun Huang. Courtesy of Hsuan-Yun Huang.

Several students from Academy of Art University’s School of Graphic Design were named winners and runners-up in Creative Quarterly magazine’s most recent design competitions.

“This is a highly sought after publication in the art and design field so it’s very visible,” said Tom McNulty, undergraduate associate director for the School of Graphic Design. “It’s very, very significant making it as a winner in this publication or as runner-up. It’s international and national.”

Creative Quarterly was recently named one of the top 100 art and design publications in the world. The publication strives to not only showcase great work but also asks the question, “Where does your inspiration come from?”

Creative Quarterly’s editors search the web for interesting projects in art and design from advertising to architecture, fashion, sculpture and jewelry. 

“We’re all inspired by different things, it’s usually either a person, place or thing. Finding that source of inspiration helps you establish your own voice, which influences the work you do professionally,” stated Creative Quarterly’s Design Director Charles Hively on the magazine’s website.

Each issue of Creative Quarterly hosts a competition and receives entries from around the world. The winners are showcased in each edition and this supports the work of emerging artists and designers as well as practicing professionals.

“One of the things that I really look at is that the Academy’s School of Graphic Design tends to be out in the forefront against all the other players,” said McNulty. “That speaks highly of the School of Graphic Design, the school as a whole and more importantly the work that’s being produced by our students.”



'Unread Language' by M.F.A. graphic design student Hsuan-Yun Huang. Courtesy of Hsuan-Yun Huang.

Graphic design M.F.A. student Li Li, from Lanzhou City, China, was named winner in CQ39 for her poster series for a fictional architecture design exhibit. 

“I am surprised and glad that I sent in my entry,” said Li. 

Li’s project targeted architecture that blends with nature. The three sections of her project are Under The Earth, Below The Water and Amid The Woods. Each poster exhibits how architecture harmonizes with different natural environments. 

“I have to say [that] I gained a lot support from my instructor, Kathrin [Blatter] and my classmates,” Li said. “I came a long way before I decided the final execution. I tried so many materials, and together with Kathrin and my classmates, we generated many ideas each time I failed. Without their help and encouragement, I would not have kept trying hard till the last day.”

M.F.A. student Hsuan-Yun Huang, from Taiwan, was named a winner in two different entries in CQ40. One was a series of posters created to represent the word “fluidity” and the second involved recording her daily dreams for two weeks.

“Obviously I was really surprised when the Creative Quarterly competition told me that [two of my entries won],” said Huang. “Now, I still cannot believe that, and I feel wonderful and thankful.”

For her dreams project, she was inspired by psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung, who believed that certain dream symbols possess the same universal meaning for all people. Dream pictures reveal something about ourselves, our mood, our relationships with other people and what is going on in our current lives. 

“Dreams are the rejected and repressed aspects of myself,” explained Huang. “I used a variety of materials that combined my photographs with my painting and illustrations to convey this idea.”


L-R: 'Below The Water,' 'Amid The Woods' and 'Under The Earth' by M.F.A. graphic design student Li Li. Courtesy of Li Li.

Huang loves the Academy’s graphic design program, because she feels that no matter what background you are from, all students start at the same point and that every instructor she has worked with is incredible. 

“They selflessly share their knowledge with us, and they always encourage me to try new things or take risks,” said Huang. “Seriously, I have learned a lot from them, not only design skills, but also how to be a great designer.”

M.F.A. student Yu Rong, from Zhuhai, China, also submitted two projects to Creative Quarterly and was named winner for both in CQ40

“It is absolutely an honor,” said Rong. “I was happy! More than surprised.” 

Her first project, Happy Land, is a 16-page booklet/brochure that summarizes her idea for a hostel set in the future. 

“I depict the future hostel being built with sustainable materials and having a reclaimed water system,” explained Rong. “I made the illustrations with screen printing texture to convey an organic, comfortable and environmentally friendly vibe.”

The second project, called Underground Architecture Exhibition, is a series of three posters depicting a wine cellar, a bomb shelter and a subway integrating the words “calm,” “safe” and “link,” respectively. 

“My inspiration for these projects came primarily from research and self-reflection,” said Rong. “I usually start with knowing the audience and defining the goals and structure of the project. Meanwhile, I look up other people’s works on Creative Quarterly, Designspiration and Behance for context. This helps me to set the tone and style for the project.”

Other Creative Quarterly winners included Peihua Lee and Yuya Yoshida for CQ39. Natasha Katz was named a winner in CQ40 and Yi Shi, Chin I Lee, Yifan Wu and Jingfang Chen, Jana Heyer and Aaron-Harper Lee were named CQ40 runners-up.


Above: M.F.A. graphic design student Yu Rong’s 'Underground Architecture Exhibition' posters. Courtesy of Yu Rong. Below: 'Happy Land' by M.F.A. graphic design student Yu Rong. Courtesy of Yu Rong.