Visually Speaking

Jiani Su ‘17 traveled 7,000 miles from her home in China to discover a love of graphic design at Nazareth.

Jiani Su '17 Visual Communication Design

After studying broadcast journalism at a university in China for two years, Su planned to improve her English at Nazareth’s English Language Institute and then major in communication and media.

But as she worked on her second language skills and took notes in two languages, she discovered a love for communicating in a more universal way through pictures and designs.

Without Words

    A new major

    Su began to concentrate on graphic design and appreciated both the nature of that work and the small classes at Nazareth.

    In China, many of her college classes had 200 or more students, and every project involved a large group. While Su learned how to collaborate in that environment, she had very little control over the creative direction of the projects.

    Su loves being able to own her work from start to finish. Her graphic designs are not constrained to a digital screen, and she can create for clothes, posters, or advertisements. This artistic freedom and ownership compelled Su to change her major to visual communication design.


    “They ask who designed this, and I say it was me!”

    “My design can change someone’s behavior, or change their mind,” said Su. She created a T-shirt graphic for the College’s #NazBound Days events and enjoyed watching as incoming students picked them up and commented.

    “They say, who designed this? And I say it was me!” Su said with pride. She said some students left their tour group to change into the shirt right then. This kind of feedback from professors, classmates, or customers pushed her creative development forward.

    Internship: Contributing and Proving Herself 

    Su completed an internship with Nazareth’s marketing department, creating designs featured on the website and in print. Her internship supervisor, Kim Dunay, said, “At the start of a project, Jiani sought clarification of objectives for the design. Then, informed by the facts, she made careful and intelligent choices that resulted in more than just attractive designs, but designs that solved problems. She understands that good design doesn't simply 'make pretty', it supports function and can make or break a communication effort."

    After graduation, Su will continue on to graduate school for a master’s in graphic design, and one day hopes to teach the skills she’s learned. “I really like teaching,” said Su. “I think I’ve been a student for a long time; it would be good for me to teach.”

    Why Nazareth

    • Pace: Growing up in a busy city of seven million people, Su welcomed a campus with a slower pace.
    • Internationally accessible: Nazareth's proximity to Toronto and New York City make it an easy travel destination from anywhere in the world.
    • Friendliness: "My friend took me to Wegmans and lots of people said hi to my friend," said Su. She assumed her friend knew all these people and was surprised to find out they were actually strangers.
    • Kindness: "People are kind, and they hold the door open for you," said Su. She felt very welcome, like she was home with family.
    • Beauty: She fell in love with the shady trees, blankets of grass, refreshing air, and clean environment of Nazareth's campus. Soon, she found the people were as enjoyable as the landscape.
    English and Chinese mixed

    Taking Notes

    With the fast pace of lectures in her degree program, Su decided to take notes in a way that helps her keep up and make sense of it later. She writes the more complex phrases in Chinese and the harder-to-translate words in English.