Outstanding Graduate Awards 2020

Hannah Wessel

Phoenix, Arizona
Associate Degree in Graphic Design

Phoenix area graphic designer Hannah Wessel enjoys camping, pilates, baking, playing video games, and hanging out with her husband and dog at home. During her time at Sessions College, however, you wouldn’t know Hannah had any distractions, as the April 2020 Associate Degree in Graphic Design graduate was consistently featured on the President’s List and in the student gallery.

According to Hannah…

What are your areas of strength? I really enjoy packaging design and branding. It’s so fun seeing a 2D idea come to life in a 3D package that physically exists in the world! In addition, I love the entire branding process, from doing discovery sessions with the client, researching, and brainstorming, to coming up with initial concepts, to creating a full branding suite, it’s so much work but very rewarding.

Benefits of studying online:  I loved the flexibility of online learning. While I attended Sessions full-time, I worked part-time and that allowed me to work around my work schedule which was invaluable. The freedom of making my own schedule worked really well for me.

Best thing about Sessions College: I liked how the classes were structured and how responsive the teachers were when I had questions. I also appreciated some of the initial foundation classes like Color Theory, Intro to Drawing and Art History. Looking back, the  drawing class was so helpful in getting me up to speed on how light should be accurately reflected in art and how it behaves and interacts with objects.

Art history was a very challenging course for me, although I love learning about history, I was completely unaware of how to critically analyze a piece of artwork. This class in particular was also important for learning about all the different eras of art and where we are today, you can always draw inspiration from the past and apply it to future works with your own creative flair.

When I first started the program I wondered why I had to take some of these foundational classes because I wanted to jump right into designing things, but it definitely comes full circle and makes complete sense by the end of the program.

Who made a difference? This is a hard question, because I really loved several of the classes and teachers! It’s a tie between HTML and CSS I with Piper Nilsson and the Capstone Project with Andrew Shalat. Really any course where Andrew was the instructor was one of my favorites, he had some great feedback for me on my work and really helped push me in my designs and layouts.

Creative and/or  professional goals after graduation: Right now I currently work as an Account Executive and Designer (sort of a hybrid role) at a small local agency in Phoenix, AZ, but I’d love to move into a 100% design role to really lean into my career change. One day I’d love to be a creative director, so I’m working on gaining more experience and confidence in my design work.


Looking through Hannah Wessel’s portfolio you may be struck by the clarity and the balance of her compositions. The work does not shout at you. It presents itself with declarative statement, assured of its message, and clear that it deserves your attention. This is the sign of a good design. The person who crafts this sort of work can be called a designer. This comes from balance and clarity in composition. Her work is set for the wider world.

graphic design faculty - andrew shalat

Andrew Shalat, Head of Graphic Design

Portfolio Samples