Two BGSU students recognized as ‘2023 Students to Watch’ by Graphic Design USA
Eddie Santiago Vázquez and Lindsy Buser ‘09 received the distinct honor alongside 98 students nationwide
By Laren Kowalczyk ‘07
One of the creative industry's premier publications recently named two Bowling Green State University students to its distinguished annual list of the country's top emerging graphic designers.
Eddie Santiago Vázquez, a first-generation college student and senior, and alumna and graduate student Lindsy Buser ‘09 were recognized as 2023 Students to Watch by Graphic Design USA and are the first students from the University's Division of Graphic Design to make the list.
The BGSU pair received the distinct honor alongside 98 students from public and private colleges and universities nationwide. BGSU was one of only three Ohio public institutions on the annual list. Graphic Design USA has served graphic designers and the broader creative community for 60 years.
"It was an honor for our division to nominate Eddie and Lindsy for this recognition as they exemplify talented, empathetic, thoughtful and engaged designers who are mindful of design’s unique position to shape people’s experiences and behaviors," said Jenn Stucker, chair and professor of the BGSU Graphic Design Division. "Through the design lens, their coursework has addressed complex issues in politics, identity, grief and education.
"Eddie and Lindsy’s works touch, move and inspire their peers, faculty and community. Student success is a priority in our program, and we are delighted to celebrate Eddie and Lindsy during their educational journey at BGSU."
Eddie Santiago Vázquez
Vázquez, a native of Puerto Rico who moved to the United States around middle school, discovered his passion for design in high school.
He learned the basics of design in class and applied his skills by working with teachers on various projects, such as posters and T-shirt designs.
“After awhile, my teachers recognized that I had a talent and started giving me more projects,” Vázquez said. “Anytime I had free time, I worked on design projects and built up that experience.”
Vázquez said he chose to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design at BGSU because of the demonstrated work of its students.
The University’s graphic design program is consistently recognized among the country’s best, ranked in 2022 as No. 24 in the Midwest and No. 5 in Ohio by Animation Career Review.
“When I started looking at colleges, I judged design programs based on the work the students were producing,” he said. “As soon as I saw what BGSU students were creating, I was drawn to it. The students were doing great work, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Throughout the design program at BGSU, Vázquez said he’s valued the focus on design theory and learning how to become a curious thinker. Both have strengthened his design skills and contributed to his growth in the field.
“I think graphic designers are often categorized as the people who make things look pretty,” he said. “What we do is much deeper and more meaningful. We design experiences and elevate brands. There’s strategy and critical thinking involved.”
For Vázquez, the recognition from Graphic Design USA represents his parents' sacrifices in moving to the U.S. to provide him with more opportunities.
“Seeing the person they raised be recognized and celebrated makes them extremely proud, and that’s honestly what makes me the happiest,” he said.
Buser, who completed her undergraduate degree in graphic design from BGSU, worked in the creative industry for more than a decade before returning to the University to study a Master of Design in Integrative Design in Fall 2021.
Buser was an ardent supporter throughout the development of the program and has continued in that role as a student in the first cohort.
“Collaboration, feedback and reflection have always been a crucial part of design,” Buser said. “I am familiar with the faculty and undergraduate program, which allows me to draw upon my previous and current experiences to provide helpful feedback as the program grows and evolves.”
Buser said she started noticing a shift in her creative work about five years ago. It was becoming less about visuals and more about strategy and intentionality in what was being communicated.
“I was having more conversations with my clients about the intangible,” she said. “It was more about the structure, the organization, what was needed and not needed and the analyzation of things rather than strictly the visuals.”
Buser said the master’s program has continued broadening her interests and sharpening her critical thinking skills and strategic approach to creative problems.
“In my opinion, one of the issues in design is this urge to continue applying the same ‘modern’ solution to every problem,” she said. “Those ‘modern’ solutions aren’t always applicable to every situation. As designers, we must challenge ourselves to dig deeper, and this program lays the foundation for that kind of reflection, critical thinking and adaptability.”
As for the honor of being named a 2023 Student to Watch, Buser likened it to drinking a Gatorade midway through a marathon.
“Design is really challenging, but it can change the world,” she said. “This honor gave me a jolt of momentum, and it felt really good to receive it.
“At the end of the day, I hope people see BGSU and the Division of Graphic Design as a place where really wonderful, important and challenging things are happening. This recognition speaks to the caliber of the University’s design program, and I’m honored Eddie and I are bringing this well-deserved attention to BGSU.”
Updated: 03/13/2023 03:09PM