Alumni Profile: Pani Fooladvand

  • Pani at work at T-Mobile

Pani Fooladvand is a Senior Experience Design Manager at T-Mobile. She’s one of our favorite grads (Class of 2016). Originally from Iran, she took a chance on Seattle when her fiancé got a job opportunity here. The move was supposed to be a temporary adventure in this world traveler’s life, but they fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and ended up getting married in Kerry Park at the top of Queen Anne Hill. She is now happy to call Seattle home. We talked to Pani about her current role at T-Mobile, how her path led her to (literally) stumble upon Seattle Central Creative Academy, her passion for creating useful design, her perseverance, and the community she’s built along the way. 

A designer from the start 

Pani knew from the time she was tiny that she wanted to follow a creative path in her life, even earning the nickname “little artist” in elementary school. One of her prized childhood possessions was a set of 24 Faber-Castell colored pencils and she harbors fond memories of drawing flowers and animals with her grandmother, her first artistic influence. Pani’s mom told her that she drew animals all over the walls of their house (and her cool mom wasn’t even upset about it). She always thought she’d be an artist – but at 10 she got a book on something called graphic design. Looking at the logos and layouts in the book she remembers thinking “This is a design for a purpose. Paintings are great but I also want to make things that people can use.” She held onto that goal and graduated with a BFA in Visual Communication Design from one of the best Art Universities in Tehran where she learned typography in Farsi, studied illustration, web design, and design history. After graduation, she continued her education in Art History and worked as a visual designer, web designer, art director, and UX design lead both in-house and at design agencies as well as large corporations in Iran, including Iranian television.

A life-changing discovery – found on a walk. 

When she moved to Seattle she was able to continue her design work, but it was not the “step-up” she’d been hoping for. Working alone, she realized she was missing being a part of a community of like-minded people like she had in Tehran. She began research on going back to school, hoping it would help her level-up her skills, and find a community like the one she’d left behind. One day on a walk she happened upon Seattle Central College, went inside, and asked about the programs available. The woman she spoke to said, “We have a design program upstairs!” Surprised and curious, Pani ventured to the 5th floor and talked to a few students in the hallway. She returned for an open house, applied, and started the program in 2014. “From the very first moment I walked in, I realized this was for me.”  (more…)

Highlights from Jill Vartenigian’s Graphic Design V Class

Hoa Hong’s WEME Magazine was praised by Jill for “seamlessly integrating one of her illustration styles to fit the vibrant brand style of her magazine.”

Instructor Jill Vartenigian’s  Graphic Design V class, also affectionately known amongst second-year students and SCCA alumni as “Magazine Class” turns out amazing work year after year. Each student designs a magazine from concept to completion in just 11 weeks (and on top of 4 other classes).

In Jill’s words “The magazine class is an opportunity for students to curate information and imagery around a subject that interests them, develop an aesthetic for visualizing their collected content, and use a grid system to organize and give structure to their work.”


Jill recognized Erika Morales’ Comeback Magazine for “…designing a delicate rhythmic balance between text, imagery, positive and negative space while using standard columnar grids.”

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching this class Jill replied “Each student gets the chance to work on content they are invested in and showcase their own point-of-view. It’s exciting to be able to help them realize their vision. For me, personally, I really enjoy seeing the variety of visual styles and reading about the different subjects — there is always something new or delightful to learn from my students about the world around us.”

Highlights from Erik Fadiman’s Interactive Design Class

Martin Brendecke and Lyria Shaffer-Bauck

Erik had plenty of praise for his second-year student’s fall quarter group projects from his DES 251 Interactive IV Class. Martin Brendecke and Lyria Shaffer-Bauck’s wine project Glō featured “visual design that was based on research, and was very business-like.”


Anders Hanson, Roderick McClain, Nicole Bucaro, and Kamaria Daniel

Anders Hanson, Roderick McClain, Nicole Bucaro, and Kamaria Daniel’s 9 to Thrive, Defund the Police project was recognized for its “successful communication of a difficult subject.”


Frankie Ostello and Ryan Tizai

Frankie Ostello and Ryan Tizai impressed Erik with their School UX Portal project for their “great use of design systems, and a great example of design thinking.”


Katherine Toombs, Heather Manning, and Cory Oneill

Katherine Toombs, Heather Manning, and Cory Oneill’s School UX Project featured “great use of design systems and a great example of user research.”

Highlights from Lori Peck’s Advertising Class


Local Yokels: Tom Van Deusen and Evan Hughes.

This fall, second-year design students got to work creating a number of exciting advertising campaigns in Lori Peck’s Advertising Class. We asked Lori to highlight a few of the most successful solutions from the quarter.

Aimed at convincing younger Seattle shoppers to order from Local Yokels, Tom Van Deusen and Evan Hughes “found a unique, memorable and likable solution that would stand out in the category.”

Bike Works: Heather Manning and Catlin McCartney

Heather Manning and Catlin McCartney’s work for Bike Works, was recognized by Lori for “tapping into the spirit of Bike Works and working within the brand to create compelling outdoor and social media that cuts through the clutter, and motivates the target audience to get involved and join the revolution.”

Local Yokels: Geeta Sadashivan and Lyria Shaffer-Bauck

Geeta Sadashivan and Lyria Shaffer-Bauck’s team “found a unique way to break through the clutter of the category to show that Local Yokels is the best path to putting farm-fresh food on your table.”

Bic: Ricardo Castro-Garcia, Ryan Tiszai, and Dan McCoy

Challenged with finding a way to make buying an unplugged-retro pen appealing to a tech-driven audience, Ricardo Castro-Garcia, Ryan Tiszai, and Dan McCoy’s Bic 4 Color Pen Outdoor Campaign featured executions successfully designed to appear in an outdoor space. Lori commented, “this is one of those projects that I wished would run because it would be so fun to see it in real life!”