Student Spotlight: December 11, Week 17

Photo of Anna Richard

Education Abroad Profile: Anna Richard

Anna Richard is a Kent State University alumnus who graduated in 2017 with a BFA in Visual Communication Design. She participated in a two-week study abroad program in the spring of 2017, during which time she went to Dublin, Glasgow, London, and Paris. Anna wanted to study abroad in order to broaden her perspective on design and experience Europe in an authentic setting, but she didn’t expect it to be such a profoundly meaningful experience. “It was probably the best thing I did during my college career,” she says. “Truly, it changed my life.”


Now, Anna is a graphic designer specializing in branding and typeface design, and she credits much of success to the education she received at Kent State. As she explains, “Without Kent’s typeface design class, I would not know how to make fonts, which is now my favorite thing to do. Kent’s faculty, especially my mentor Professor Aoife Mooney, have also been incredible resources and references for me as I continue to evolve as a designer.” In the VCD program, she explored all forms of visual communication—graphic design, illustration, motion design, and package design—with a focus on understanding how to relay several layers information visually using design.


Anna believes that the educational opportunities she was given during her time studying abroad helped to shape the unique artistic voice she has today. She says, “I liked how the program encouraged me to think, the strong emphasis on Swiss design, and the variety of upper division classes that allowed me to focus on my areas of interest and strength. All of these put me in a good position when I graduated to have a strong portfolio and good design thinking.” Anna says the international frame of mind taught her universal principles of visual communication as well as interesting local trends which she continues to incorporate into her work today.


Her favorite parts about studying abroad were the visits to other design schools and learning about their curriculums, because this allowed her to explore her interest in design education. She also really enjoyed visiting Dublin museums and going shopping in the city. She says that the hardest part for her was the time limitation that prevented her from interacting with the local culture on a deeper level; she was only able to tour Glasgow for less than 48 hours, which wasn’t even long enough to adapt to the jet lag. Looking back, she wishes she had done more than one study abroad experience so she could have had more time learning in international settings.


Anna advises current students to study abroad if they can afford to, regardless of what their major may be. She says, “I think getting different perspectives is good preparation in any field. It also can be a great chance to network with people.” She explains that if you commit yourself to trying new experiences you otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to do, studying abroad can change your life the same way that is changed hers.


You can check out some of Anna’s design work at her website or on Instagram.