Lanny Sommese Photo

Lanny Sommese


Born in East Moline, Illinois in 1943 Lanny Sommese has been a member of the Penn State University faculty since 1970 and is currently a Distinguished Professor and Head of Graphic Design. Sommese is a graduate of the University of Florida where he received a BFA in painting and a Bachelor of Design Degree. He earned the MFA in Graphic Design at the University of Illinois. Sommese is a fellow of Penn States Institute for Arts and Humanities, an honorary member of The University and College Designers Association, a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and was recently selected as the AIGA Philadelphia 2010 Fellow.

Outside of teaching Sommese and his wife, Kristin, have their own firm, Sommese Design, specializing in corporate, print and packaging as well as poster design. They live in Port Matilda, Pennsylvania with their two kids and four cats.

Sommese has had a number of one-man shows at places such as Plakat Museum in Emmerich, Germany, the University of Illinois and Colorado State University. His work has been included in many prestigious exhibitions, including the Warsaw, Lahti, and, Taiwan Poster Biennials, the Toyama and Hong Kong Poster Triennials, the Festival D’Affiches de Chaumont, the Golden Bee, the Brno Biennial of Graphic Design, the Ogaki International Invitational Poster Exhibition, and the New York Type Directors Club and Art Directors Club Shows.

His posters were awarded Gold Medals in the International Biennial of the Poster of Mexico, the Triennial of Stage Poster Sofia, the Colorado Poster Biennial and the Poster Biennial of Bolivia. Feature articles about Sommese have appeared in Graphis, Idea, Communication Arts, Step-by-Step and Novum Gebrauchsgraphik. In addition, his work was the subject of books entitled “Lanny Sommese: World Master” and Lanny Sommese: X-ray Vision, published in China, and since coming to Penn State he has lectured on his work and the Penn State Graphic Design program, all over the globe.

His images have been reproduced in hundreds of periodicals and books including Graphic Design, Studio, New York Times Sunday Magazine, How, Applied Arts, Idea, Print, Various Graphis Annuals, Creativity Annual, The Design of Dissent, Graphic Agitation, Poster Collections of Contemporary American Designers, A History of Graphic Design, editions one and two and A History of Contemporary Graphic Design.

Sommese’s posters are included in numerous collections including the Museum for Deutsche Geschichte, Berlin; Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie, Warsaw; Musee D’Histoire Contemporaine, Paris; The Central Institute of Fine Art, Beijing; Moravaska Galerie, Brno; Kanazawa University, Japan; The Museum of Applied Art, Helsinki; and in the Library of Congress National Poster Collection.

In addition, Sommese has written extensively about graphic design and has been the North American Correspondent for Novum, a German design periodical, since 1976.

Fang Chen Photo

Fang Chen


Fang Chen graduated with a Bachelor of Graphic Design from Hubei Institute of Technology and received his MFA in Graphic Design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wuhan. He is now a professor at The Pennsylvania State University.

Chen’s work has appeared in many international prestigious exhibitions and publications, and he has received numerous awards, include the First Prize of the 9th Chaumont International Poster and Graphic Arts Festival, the Top Prize of the 11th Colorado International Invitational Poster Biennial, the Grand Prix of the 4th Trnava Poster Triennial, and the Gold Award of the 1st Hong Kong International Poster Triennial. Other awards include the Golden Bee Award of the 5th Moscow International Biennale of Graphic Design, the Distinctive Merit Award of the 2nd Tokyo Internet Graphic Design Competition, the Third Prize of the 6th Tehran International Typography Poster Exhibition, the Co-Winner of the 2007 Milan Good 50x70 International Social Communication Project, and the Second Prize of the Szajna Multimedia Festival, Poland in 2008. In addition, his students’ work has also been recognized with a number of prizes, include the First Place of the 40th Print magazine’s International Student Design Competition in New York and the First Prize of the 3rd World Biennial of Student Poster in Novi Sad.

Chen has had laureate one-person exhibitions in the 1999 Chaumont International Poster and Graphic Arts Festival of France, the 2003 Trnava Poster Triennial of Slovak Republic and the 2007 Colorado International Poster Biennial of the United States. His artworks are in the collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, Die Neue Sammlung in Munich, Museum of Modern Art in Toyama and Hong Kong Heritage Museum, etc. Feature articles about Chen have appeared in World Graphic Design (London), New Masters of Poster Design, Idea (Tokyo), Novum (Munich), Print and Graphis (New York).

Chen has also served as a juror for many international graphic art competitions, such as the Chaumont Festival, the Colorado Biennial, the Mexico Biennial, the Ningbo Biennial, the Trnava Triennial and the Poster for Tomorrow 2010 at Paris, etc.

Kristen Sommese Photo

Kristin Sommese


Kristin Breslin Sommese received her MFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Graphic Design in 1989 and immediately joined the faculty at Penn State. She and her husband Lanny are partners of the award-winning firm Sommese Design, which specializes in corporate, print, and packaging design.

Breslin Sommese’s work has been featured in hundreds of highly selective books including: Graphis Packaging, Graphis Logo Design 4 & 5, Graphis Design, Graphis Corporate Identity, Graphis Poster Annual, Graphis Ephemera, Graphis T-shirt,1,000 Type Treatments: From Script to Serif, Letterforms used to Perfection, Color graphics: The Power of Color in Graphic Design; Logo Lounge, Maximum Page Design: Pushing the Boundaries of Page Layout Under Real World Conditions, Color Graphics: The Power of Color in Graphic Design, Graphic Design Solutions, Logo World, 1,2, & 3 Color Design Collection, Minimal Graphics: the Powerful New Look of Graphic Design, Branding: the Power of Market Identity, Art Forms, Corporate Identity Designs, Creativity, Logo 2000, Cool Cards, American Corporate Identity, Package and Label Design, Smile in the Mind, Logos for American Restaurants, Logos and Trademarks, The New American Logo, Print’s Best Logos and Symbols, and Trademarks and Symbols of the World.

Her work has also been included in some of the world’s most renowned design magazines such as Communication Arts Design Annual, Print’s Regional Design Annual, How’s International Annual of Design, Step Inside Design Magazine, and has been the subject of articles in Graphis and Novum magazines.

Her work has been internationally exhibited: The International Biennial of the Poster in Mexico; The International Toyoma Invitational Poster Triennial, Japan; The Ogaki International Poster Exhibition, Japan; The Shanghai International Poster Exhibition, China; The Korean Poster Biennale, Republic of Korea; Golden Bee, Moscow International Biennale of Graphic Design, Russia; The International Poster Biennale, Warsaw, Poland; The Annual Type Director’s Club Exhibition, New York; and The Colorado International Poster Exhibition.

Breslin Sommese is a recipient of the “Blair L. Saddler International Healing in the Arts Award” from the Children’s Hospital in San Diego. She has also received numerous Awards of Excellence from competitive design arenas such as the AIGA, Communication Arts Magazine, Print Magazine, and the Art Directors’ Club of New York. She has been invited to serve as a juror for the AIGA, American Institute of Graphic Arts Communication Graphics Exhibition and a panel member for the ADCMW, Art Director’s Club of Metropolitan Washington.

Over fifty of her students’ pieces have been featured in Graphis New Talent, a book that features the best student work produced in universities and design schools internationally. Her student work has been recognized with numerous Gold, Silver, and Merit awards from the ADCMW, Art Directors’ Club of Metropolitan Washington and has been reproduced in HOW, Print, and Critique magazines.

Keith Cummings Photo

Keith Cummings

Associate Professor, Department Head

Keith entered the field of graphic design education following several years’ work in the corporate divisions of companies that include Citibank N.A., Assessment Systems Inc. in New York City, and Paramount Pictures Corporation in Hollywood. Additionally, Keith’s considerable theatrical experience in regional and professional companies in Pennsylvania and New York informs both his teaching and his creative work. He continues to create graphic and theatrical designs for university and regional productions. Keith attended Otis/Parsons in Los Angeles and completed his BFA in 1990 in Communication Design. He received his master’s degree in Visual Communication and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1996. Upon graduating, Keith’s first teaching position was at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and he joined the faculty at Penn State in 1997. Keith teaches in all levels of the curriculum, but primarily focuses on the critical first and second year of the students’ education to ensure that they receive a solid foundation in graphic design.

Keith’s graphic design has been published in Novum Gebrauchsgraphik and the books 1000 Type Treatments and Maximum Page Design. Keith’s creative research also includes the writing and production of limited-edition books, which have been exhibited nationally. In the area of scholarly research, Keith focuses his energy on the topic of graphic design history and its position in today’s design curriculum. In 2005, he chaired a session on the topic of American design education at the College Art Association 93rd Annual Conference in Atlanta. That same year, he was a presenter at the AIGA Schools of Thoughts II conference in Los Angeles, speaking on the topic of graphic design history. His current research focus is on the contribution of graphic design to the collaborative process of filmmaking, a subject on which he has presented lectures at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and at the University and College Designers’ Association Design Educators’ Summit in Nashville. In 2006, Keith authored the article “Graphic Vision in Motion: Lessons of Silent Cinema,” for the July issue of UCDA’s Designer magazine.

Ryan Russell Photo

Ryan Russell

Assistant Professor

Ryan Russell is currently an Assistant Professor of graphic design at Penn State University. He received a BA in Graphic Design from Saint Norbert College in 2004. After working briefly in New York City, Ryan attended Penn State University and received his MFA in Graphic Design in 2006. Immediately after graduating, Ryan joined the graphic design faculty at Penn State. In addition to being an educator, Ryan has founded his own studio, specializing in brand identity design, information design, print design, and multimedia design.

Ryan’s work has been reproduced in some of the world’s most renowned design publications such as Graphis New Talent, Print’s Regional Design Annual, Step Inside Design Magazine, Graphis Poster Annual, Graphis Logo, UCDA Designer Magazine, and Communication Arts.

Ryan’s work has also been published in a number of books, including 1,000 Indie Posters, Logo Lounge, Basics Logo, World of Posters, and Letterhead & Logo Design 10 & 11. In January 2011 Ryan authored a showroom article on John Higley Design for Novum Gebrauchsgraphik.

His work has been included in many prestigious international exhibitions such as the 22nd Warsaw International Poster Biennale, the Trnava Poster Triennial 2009, the Third International Biennial of the Poster in Bolivia, the 21st Warsaw International Poster Biennale, and the GOOD 50x70 poster exhibition. Recently, Ryan’s work for the Haiti Poster Project was chosen to be exhibited in the World Bank during the Understanding Risk Conference in Washington D.C.

Additionally, Ryan’s work is included in numerous collections including the the Jan Kaniorek Gallery, Trnava; Grupo Catalografica, La Paz; Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie, Warsaw; Dansk Plakatmuseum, Aarhus; and the University & College Designers Association.

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