USM Students Named in Prestigious Graphic Design Magazine’s Students to Watch List

By Ivonne Kawas

Two students in The University of Southern Mississippi’s Art and Design program, housed in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, made the 2022 Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) “Students to Watch” List.

GDUSA, a prestigious magazine, recognized 101 outstanding art and design students from all over the country including undergrads, graduate students, and recent graduates.

Keely Trail, a senior graphic design major from Northern Virginia, and Hannah Cantrell, a senior graphic design major from Hattiesburg, Miss. were both recognized for their talents and demonstrated professional growth through their programs.

“The graphic design program has a storied history with alumni who have achieved the very heights of the industry like founding major design agencies major design agencies, advertising firms, and winning AIGA Medals, the most distinguished honor in the profession of communication design,” said Jacob Cotton, assistant professor in the Art and Design program. “Much like the AIGA, GDUSA is recognized as an authority in the graphic design industry.”

Trail says she has learned how to create strong and successful designs through the graphic design program at Southern Miss and believes “as a designer you need a strong basis in the theory and foundation of design to create successful, consumer engaging pieces.”

As seen in GDUSA magazine, Trail, in addition to her studies, works as a part time designer for Creative Distillery, a design agency in Jackson, Miss. She is also on the executive board as the Secretary for the student-led graphic design club Creative Collective. She plans to begin working at a large design agency upon graduation in May 2022.

Cantrell says she wasn’t expecting to gain national recognition in a well-known publication such as GDUSA as a student. “Through the graphic design program, I feel as though I’ve gained the ability to collaborate with my peers, as well as both give and effectively apply constructive criticism backed up by long standing principles of design,” said Cantrell. “I hope to carry these skills into a workplace setting in the future as the thought of collaborating and helping my coworkers just as I do with my classmates excites me for my future design career.”

As seen in GDUSA magazine, she is a member of the USM Honors College and will be completing a thesis concerning these very design problems within the next year. Upon graduation, she hopes to explore the full range of her design capabilities and broaden her experiences within the art world.

Cotton also emphasized, “The graphic design program has been working very hard for a very long time to reach this pinnacle and to maintain that storied history. The inclusion of these two incredible students is a testament to their amazing hard work and an affirmation that our design program is heading in the right direction.”

Graphic Design USA has served as an information source for graphic design professionals since 1963. In addition to the “Students to Watch” list, GDUSA also recognizes “Designers to Watch” and provides other information regarding design education.

See the 2022 GDUSA Students To Watch list.