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Lanny Sommese
Distinguished Professor
photo of Lanny Sommese
Graphic Design Program
21A Borland

Born in East Moline, Illinois in 1943, Lanny Sommese has been a member of the Penn State University faculty since 1970 and is currently an Emeritus Professor of Graphic Design. Sommese is a graduate of the University of Florida where he received a BFA in painting and a Bachelor of Design Degree. He earned the MFA in Graphic Design at the University of Illinois. Sommese is a fellow of Penn State’s Institute for Arts and Humanities, an honorary member of The University and College Designers Association, a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, and was selected as the Fellow of the AIGA Philadelphia Chapter in 2010.

His work has been included in important exhibitions all over the world. Sommese’s work was awarded the Taiwan International Graphic Design award and Gold Medals in the Triennial of Stage Poster Sofia, the Colorado Poster Biennial, the Poster Biennial of Bolivia, the "To Be Human" poster competition at the Danish Poster Museum, and the International Biennial of the Poster of Mexico, where he also won the Jose Guadalupe Posada Medal for best poster in show.

Feature articles about Sommese have appeared in a number of design publications including Graphis, Idea, and Communication Arts. His work is the subject of two books “Lanny Sommese: World Master” and “Lanny Sommese: X-Ray Vision.” His work has been reproduced in hundreds of periodicals and books, such as Graphis, The New York Times, Communication Arts, A History of Graphic Design, and A History of Contemporary Graphic Design.

Sommese’s posters are included in numerous collections including the Museum for Deutsche Geschichte, Berlin; Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie, Warsaw; Musee D’Histoire Contemporaine, Paris; The Central Institute of Fine Art, Beijing; Moravaska Galerie, Brno; Kanazawa University, Japan; The Museum of Applied Art, Helsinki; and in the Library of Congress National Poster Collection, which has more than 100 of Sommese’s posters in its collection.

Finally, Sommese has lectured about his work and the Penn State Design Program across the globe and has written extensively about graphic design as the North American Correspondent for Novum, a German monthly design publication, since 1976.


  • MFA Graphic Design, University of Illinois
  • BFA/Bachelor of Design, University of Florida

Exhibitions + Presentations

  • University of Delaware
  • Graphic Advocacy - Youngstown State University - John J. McDonough Museum of Art
  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania - Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery
  • Pennsylvania State University - Palmer Museum of Art
  • 1914-2014: 100 Years of AIGA - AIGA Gallery in New York City
  • -The AIGA Collection Exhibition - Museum of Modern Art in Denver
  • EKOPLAGAT 2014 - Považská Gallery of Arts
  • Hong Kong International Poster Triennial - Hong Kong Heritage Museum
  • AGI Alliance Graphique Internationale - AGI Congress in São Paulo, Brazil
  • Drawn to Action: Posters from the AIGA Design Archives - Denver Art Museum
  • International Invitational Poster Exhibition - Isik University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Graphic Advocacy Exhibition - Pratt's Manhattan Gallery in New York City
  • The Japa Art Group - Emam Ali Museum in Tehran, Iran
  • Views-Sarajevo1914-2014 - International Invitational Poster Project in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


  • University of Delaware
  • Youngstown State University
  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania State University - Palmer Museum of Art



As the American Corespondent for Novum Magazine, a monthly design publication based in Munich, Germany, I wrote 9 articles on various designers and design offices/agencies, worldwide.

  • Graphis Poster Annual 2014 - Awarded Gold
  • Graphis Poster Annual 2013 - Awarded Gold
photo of Lanny Sommese's work
photo of Lanny Sommese's work
photo of Lanny Sommese's work
photo of Lanny Sommese's work
photo of Lanny Sommese's work
photo of Lanny Sommese's work
photo of Lanny Sommese's work