Q&A: Kristin Breslin Sommese & Lanny Sommese

A powerhouse partnership behind the award-winning Sommese Design, Kristin Breslin Sommese and her ex-husband, Lanny Sommese, currently belong to the graphic design faculty at Pennsylvania State University. They muse upon their work in preparing students for today’s marketplace.


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Tell us about your program.

We believe a graphic design program should emphasize the analytical and conceptual with an understanding that the changing marketplace demands a familiarity of other disciplines. Courses in philosophy, psychology, sociology, writing, economics, business, communications and literature are crucial to the graphic designer’s preparation. The lesson of today’s marketplace is that students who have strong creative, intellectual, conceptual, and career potential. The goal of the graphic design program at Penn State instills those beliefs and skills in our students. We can’t promise our student that they will land a job right after graduation. We can promise that they will be competitive entry-level designers.

What is your proudest achievement in teaching so far?

Lanny: Our proudest achievement is the graduation ceremony. As our fledglings line up to receive their degrees, we feel like proud parents! The hair on the back of my neck stands on end and Kristin’s eyes water up a bit. We want to hug each of them and congratulate the faculty design team that has been crucial to their preparation.

Kristin: Well, it is quite an honor to be featured in Graphis and to see my student’s work in your publication. I feel it’s an achievement to help my students get internships and jobs at top firms throughout the country  It has also been quite rewarding to receive positive feedback from the professional world where many of my students are interning and working.

What is your biggest fear about sending your students out into the profession?

Lanny: I have no fear. I say shoot for the moon. Who knows, you might get there. Many Penn Starters have.
Kristin: I worry that they will settle something that is beneath their brilliance in order to find employment.

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The above excerpt is a sneak peek into our Design Annual 2013, which is available in our store today. Order one while they are still in stock.

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Author: Rachel Lowry

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