Boston University presents nine graphic design student projects

Dezeen School Shows: a graphic design project that examines how branding has become a consistent feature of daily life is included in Dezeen’s latest school show by students at Boston University.

Also included is a poster that conveys the complex emotional and physical hallmarks of going through puberty, and a magazine aimed at women with a strong emphasis on graphic design trends popular in the 2000s.

Institution: Boston University
School: Boston University School of Visual Arts
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Tutors: Kristen Coogan and Christopher Sleboda

School statement:

“The Master of Fine Arts Graphic Design program provides a two-year sequenced studio approach to advanced design thinking and problem-solving for visual communication, preparing students to thrive in a dynamic and creative professional environment.

“During the first year of study, students are challenged to articulate a design perspective and method through studio projects, emphasising the key principles of form, communication, authorship, audience and medium.

“Students are invited to think creatively and strategically – developing content, defining an audience and determining an optimum communication platform.

“This development of a body of work culminates in the second year of study with the master’s thesis, a personally driven creative research project that presents the individual student’s visual and critical methodology and examines topics relevant to contemporary design practice.”

Poster showing various plants and brightly-coloured patternsPoster showing various plants and brightly-coloured patterns

MFA Thesis by Mengdi Wang

“This project showcases a captivating poster, encapsulating the essence of teenage girls navigating the complexities of puberty.

“It features an integrated design approach, including packaging, 3D modelling of toys, augmented reality design and posters, all reflecting the tumultuous emotions of adolescence.

“The designs vividly portray the confusion about the future, the hesitation in making decisions, and the hopeful aspiration of realising a cherished dream.

“Inspired by a beloved childhood animation about a girl with the power to transform into various fairies through magical eggs, the project evolves this concept into something both recognisably nostalgic and refreshingly unique.”

Student: Mengdi Wang
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: mengdiwang2015[at]

Complex pattern of white lines on blue backgroundComplex pattern of white lines on blue background

MFA Thesis by Dhwani Garg

“Dhwani Garg is an Indian-born designer currently living in Boston, MA.

“Dhwani’s practice centres on exploring how type scale can intertwine through emotion, form and system in various frameworks.

“She is always willing to create new challenges for herself within the creative process and transform them into unexpected ideas.

“Her designs transcend mere aesthetics; they are systematic, strategic, and imbued with a sense of purpose.”

Student: Dhwani Garg
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: dhwanigarg2[at]

Open magazine on red backgroundOpen magazine on red background

MFA Thesis by Bella Tuo

“Bella Tuo is a designer who cherishes diversity of all kinds and values the importance of community through her design practice.

“Originally from Beijing, China, Bella is interested in catalysing new kinds of interactions and engagements between people to inspire conversations and spark collective imagination.

“Her thesis, ‘Between Waves’, serves as a comprehensive exploration and guide for reimagining design spaces to foster inclusivity and community engagement.

“This thesis delves into collaboration with a focus on individuals or groups blending diverse talents – artists, children, families, community members and even strangers – to create impactful visual content and projects that transcend conventional boundaries.”

Student: Bella Tuo
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: mengqituo[at]

Hands holding phone taking a picture of a presentation boardHands holding phone taking a picture of a presentation board

MFA Thesis by Kristina Shumilina

“Kristina Shumilina is a multidisciplinary designer with a background in journalism, marketing, media design, communication design and graphic design.

“Originally from Moscow, Russia, she explores multilayering as a general design approach.

“Kristina’s interests include creative collaboration with AI, augmented reality (AR), branding, physicality of design, typography, motion and interactive design.

“She finds joy in the design process as much as in the final result and is absolutely in love with laser cutting, Riso printing and everything holographic!

“Pushing the boundaries of traditional poster design, Create New Layer for the ‘Side B’ exhibition intertwines analogue and digital spaces by incorporating AR technique as an interactive layer of complexity, transforming a static poster into a dynamic experience.”

Student: Kristina Shumilina
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: kdshum[at]

Exhibition image with colourful shapes on wallExhibition image with colourful shapes on wall

MFA Thesis by Carolina Izsák

“Carolina Izsák is a Boston-based multidisciplinary designer interested in exploring broadly and aiming to find connections between various design disciplines.

“CMY no K(ey), her thesis exploration, encompasses her current interests in seeking a balance between structure, emotions, constraints, freedom and the tri-dimensional and bi-dimensional while creating symbioses with the audience.

“The initial public installation, a colourful and interactive display, is a playful invitation for discovery and free creation, fostering serendipitous outcomes.

“It is also a bountiful source of future creations, part of a series of permutations designed across various mediums unified by a single concept – all belonging together yet able to stand individually.”

Student: Carolina Izsák
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: hello[at]

Various long, thin images arranged in rowsVarious long, thin images arranged in rows

MFA Thesis by Arjun Lakshmanan

“The perception of space and time has always been elusive.

“The premise of understanding such a vast topic is difficult to represent with words and visuals but this fluke of an encounter helped me summarise this eerie curiosity.

“This project is a representation of a journey which I had on a train, and when you stare out the window, everything is a blur.

“But there are certain moments where these blurs form beautiful swatches of colour and all of a sudden, that moment in time and space freezes.”

Student: Arjun Lakshmanan
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: lakshmanan.arjun04[at]

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MFA Thesis by Yingchen (Molly) Zhou

“Zhou Yingchen was born and raised in Yangzhong City, Zhenjiang, China.

In 2020, she received her BA in Art.

“Then she began studying graphic design in depth at Boston University, starting with a certificate program and moving into the master’s program.

“As a graphic designer, she finds designing books as both the most challenging and rewarding part of her practice.

“How to make books professional and interesting is an essential topic discussed and studied in master’s courses.”

Student: Yingchen (Molly) Zhou
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: yingchen.zh90[at]

Various web browser windows in front of a background showing a hill with cows on itVarious web browser windows in front of a background showing a hill with cows on it

MFA Thesis by Alexina Federhen

“Alexina is a Vermont-grown, Boston-based designer who specialises in branding, packaging design, web development, editorial publication and sometimes even art.

Her BS in Design and Environmental Analysis is from Cornell University, with a minor in Health, Hospitality and Design.

“Her honors thesis examined optimal design for behavioural health facilities.

“She went on to pursue a MFA in Graphic Design from Boston University.

Her master’s thesis, Building A Better Brand, explores how branding has become our built environment and impacts our daily lives, for better or worse.

Student: Alexina Federhen
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: atf39[at]

Hands holding a book on a picnic blanketHands holding a book on a picnic blanket

MFA Thesis by Veridiana Victorelli

“This publication was born with the combination of my love for romance novels and cooking.

“Inspired by the rebellious spirit of teenage years and the quiet strength of a shy girl, Escapista provides a safe and inviting space for women to explore their emotions and experiences.

“Drawing from the essence of early 2000s teen magazines, Escapista’s mission is to empower and inspire young women by offering thought-provoking content that resonates with their journey into womanhood.

“In each issue, readers will find a delightful mix of articles, features and tips designed to nourish both body and soul.”

Student: Veridiana Victorelli
Course: MFA Graphic Design
Email: veri[at]

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and Boston University. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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