Design x Industry

Pop-up showcases graphic design student publications shown at the Boston Art Book Fair
Students in the Publication Design course wearing the group's orange aprons, smiling and laughing together in the design lab
Professor Kristen Mallia provided opportunities for students to take charge of the production process. “How do you start that conversation, figure out what you want, test out paper stocks, think about binding materials, all the mechanics of that. And then for the collective project, students had to figure out how to work together toward a very real-world end goal.”

Suffolk University graphic design major Nick Zujus, Class of 2024, has seen his work out in the world before—on banners and even clothing he’s designed. But showing his work alongside classmates at last fall’s Boston Art Book Fair felt different. 

“I had never stood before my work as guests viewed and contemplated purchasing it,” he says. Promoting his pieces on social media ahead of the event and engaging with the public in person gave Zujus greater professional confidence and a new sense of pride in his work, which will serve him well when he graduates this spring. 

That’s the goal, says Graphic Design Professor Kristen Mallia, who applied to the large juried fair to give her publication design students experience in both the creative and commercial sides of the industry. Building on that success, students will show their work at a pop-up show from March 18-29 in the Suffolk University Gallery on the sixth floor of the Sawyer Building from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

On top of learning design theory and skills like typography in class, students were responsible for seeing multiple projects through to completion. “I was excited to expose students to the realities of design,” says Mallia. “How do you budget, work with vendors, and prepare files for the printer? What price do you put on your finished piece?” 

Each student created two independent pieces and contributed to a collective class project. They created buzz beforehand through their class and individual Instagram accounts, then showed their work alongside indie artists and publishers large and small during the three-day fair at the bustling Boston Center for the Arts’ Cyclorama.  

“As a designer, if you know how to work for yourself to execute projects and promote them and network, those are skills that translate whether you work in a boutique small studio or in house at a large company,” says Mallia. “If students learn how to make those connections and put out work that they love, I feel like they can do so much more.” 

Nick Zujus and Elaine Jue stand behind the Suffolk table at the Boston Art Book Fair
Graphic design students Nick Zujus and Elaine Jue staffed Suffolk's table at the Boston Art Book Fair.
Karis Hakala holds her work, a booklet, in the design lab
Graphic design major Karis Hakala, Class of 2024: “This whole collaboration project, tabling experience, and promoting our work on our social media has shown me the level of professionalism that I have to meet as a graphic designer. The book fair experience put me in a professional mindset and made me realize that there’s a lot of great design opportunities out there for all of us! It also was a great lesson about how it’s so important to network at these events and make connections with other creatives.”
Shaan Kahn wears an orange apron created by the Publication Design course students
Shaan Kahn, MAGD Class of 2024: “Working on the collective [project] was one of the most rewarding group experiences I have had in the course of this program. It’s always a wonderful feeling when a group works in harmony, where everyone’s input enhances the project but also helps improve your own work in the best way possible. I also learned a lot by observing how Professor Mallia mentored our group, and I would use the methods and subtle techniques she employed for any future group projects that I am a part of.”
Shaan Kahn's work sits on a table, with the top publication showing an illustrated cup of tea with the words, 'Tea's a Charm'
Kahn came to the field of graphic design through her passion for picture books and early childhood education. Driven by a desire to see authentic representation from her region, Khan, who is from Pakistan, says she has dedicated herself to studying traditional Islamic arts such as calligraphy, sacred geometry, biomorphic design, and manuscript illustration. Now she wanted “to use those skills in a way that would help me achieve my goal of actually illustrating, writing, and producing books,” she says. “The process of brainstorming, curating, and then actually producing self-published books has demystified the concept for me.”
Hands hold open a physical booklet as the same artwork appears on a laptop screen beyond
Graphic design student Genesis Garcia, Class of 2025, showed one of her publications as the class made final preparations to their designs.
Rudy Gutierrez makes precise cuts to the airplane boarding pass element of the group’s passport-style book
Rudy Gutierrez, Class of 2024, makes precise cuts to the airplane boarding pass element of the group’s passport-style book.
Student helps customers see work at the Suffolk table at the Boston Art Book Fair
Suffolk graphic design students showed their work alongside indie artists and publishers large and small during the three-day fair at the bustling Boston Center for the Arts’ Cyclorama


Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs

Andrea Grant
Office of Public Affairs