Natalia Ilyin writes about design and its effect on the ways we live and think. She teaches design history, semiotics, design theory and criticism, and a course called Design for Social Change at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. For the past ten years, she has led a workshop in semiotics every fall at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
Ilyin was named Critic for the MFA in Graphic Design at RISD in 2009-10 and at Yale University from 1996-1999. She has taught at Yale, Cooper Union, and the University of Washington. Ilyin consults on brand-story development with nonprofit and NGO clients. She also co-directs a refugee-relief program that provides micro-grants on the Thai-Burmese border.
Ilyin has been a graphic designer, art director, creative director as well as the National Director of Programs for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) in New York. She has given lectures and workshops at Microsoft, Boeing, RISD, Maine College of Art, California College of Art, Art Center College of Design's Toyota lecture series, the Wolfsonian Museum, The Henry Art Gallery, and various conferences. Her articles have been published in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Portland Oregonian, The Miami Herald, Metropolis, STEP, Adbusters, Communication Arts, 2+3D, and in several design writing anthologies. Her most recent book, Chasing the Perfect: Thoughts on Modernist Design in Our Time, is a personal look at the philosophy of modernism and its effect on life in our era.