City College alumna takes graphic design program to new level (with video)

Archana Verma’s submission earns international ranking

Archana Verma

Archana Verma designed a science magazine for her entry into the World Brand Design Society competition. Graphic by Jillian Fortner

Jillian Fortner, Multimedia Journalist

Every year, graphic design students from around the globe are asked to design a magazine for a major international competition.

City College alumna Archana Verma knew many of her competitors were selecting fashion or food publications. 

She chose to create a science magazine because the subject is integral to everyday life.

That decision led to San Diego City College earning 10th internationally as Best Design Education Institution 2020-21 by World Brand Design Society. It was mentioned alongside schools and universities in the United Kingdom, Russia, South Korea and Australia.

“It was a feeling of beyond happiness,” Verma said.

Some science magazines, Verma believed, contain bland graphics and are overall hard/difficult to understand. Her goal was to design something that everybody can read and take an interest in.

Choosing a subject matter that was so different from her competitors could have been a risk, but the judges praised her editorial layout.

“Excellent use of visual cues more recognizable from high-fashion and design publication, applied to a hardcore science publication – execution is superb and very engaging,” wrote judge Jos Harrison, Brand Experience & Design Global Head of Reckitt Benckiser, on the award website.

The former City College student has been working in design for many years. She started as a textile designer before transitioning into the field of graphic design. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is a graphic design specialist at Trovata, an open banking platform based in San Diego.

“I think graphic design gives more opportunities to explore different medias,” Verma said.

Verma’s submission to the competition was private, meaning City College graphic design faculty had no idea one of their students had entered until results were announced.

“I just opened my email up one day and saw that,” Professor Sean Bacon told City Times reporter Rachel De La Torre in an interview in March. “It was incredibly shocking, a huge surprise, but again, something we’re very proud of, very excited about.”

Verma expressed her appreciation for the graphic design program at City College.

“Students are great, teachers are great,” Verma said. “They go above and beyond to provide their help to us so we can progress in our career and in our life.”

Multimedia journalist Rachel de la Torre contributed to this report.

Jillian Fortner was a student in DJRN 200, Newswriting for Multimedia, during the spring 2021 semester.