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University of Suffolk in Ipswich students Sammi Wong and Maria-Teodora Dragomir longlisted for 2024 World Illustration Awards





An Ipswich student who designed a project to help people reconnect with her hometown is one of two graduates in the running for a prestigious global award.

Sammi Wong, who graduated with a degree in graphic design from the University of Suffolk (UoS) in 2023, has been longlisted for 2024 World Illustration Awards.

For her project, Sammi said she wanted to use images to improve the visual brand identity of the town and restore a sense of belonging and pride in the local community.

Sammi Wong, of Ipswich, has been longlisted for her design. Picture: UoS
Sammi Wong, of Ipswich, has been longlisted for her design. Picture: UoS

She created eye-catching maps showcasing well-known parts or people from Ipswich, which were then digitally superimposed over buildings such as the Town Hall or the Purple Shop.

Sammi said she did not expect her designs to be longlisted for the award, having seen how strong previous submissions were.

“I still can’t believe that out of 5,300 entries that I made the top 500,” she said.

One of Sammi's maps superimposed over R. & W. Paul Ltd on the waterfront. Picture: UoS
One of Sammi's maps superimposed over R. & W. Paul Ltd on the waterfront. Picture: UoS
Sammi's design on the side of the Purple Shop. Picture: UoS
Sammi's design on the side of the Purple Shop. Picture: UoS

“It has generated such a positive buzz and elevated my confidence as a designer and illustrator.”

Sammi is in the running for the New Talent Site Specific category of the awards.

Her work was titled ‘Re-imagine Ipswich = Discover. Connect. Belong’.

Another of Sammi's designs. Picture: UoS
Another of Sammi's designs. Picture: UoS
Sammi's mural on the Town Hall. Picture: UoS
Sammi's mural on the Town Hall. Picture: UoS

Sammi praised her lecturers at the University of Suffolk, who continued to offer support after he graduation, she said.

She added: “I required extra tuition as a mature student and there was always someone I could reach out to for help or advice.

“I couldn’t ask for a better environment in returning to study and I’m so thankful for everything I have achieved during my time on and after the Graphic Design and illustration course.”

The 'Lost in Ipswich' map, designed to help residents find their own stories from the town. Picture: UoS
The 'Lost in Ipswich' map, designed to help residents find their own stories from the town. Picture: UoS
Picture UoS
Picture UoS

A full list of Sammi’s designs can be found on her website.

Maria-Teodora Dragomir, of Bucharest, who also graduated from the University of Suffolk in 2023, has been longlisted for the 2024 World Illustration Awards, in the New Talent Book Covers category.

Her work, a book cover, was created under the brief for the BBC Studio book cover industry, for which she also received a commendation award.

Maria-Teodora Dragomir has also been longlisted. Picture: UoS
Maria-Teodora Dragomir has also been longlisted. Picture: UoS

She said: "I am absolutely thrilled to have been longlisted for the World Illustration Awards.

“It's an incredible validation of the hard work and dedication I've put into honing my craft over the years.”

Maria praised the University of Suffolk for helping her push boundaries and hone her skills.

Maria's book cover design.
Maria's book cover design.

“I'm immensely grateful for the wonderful experience I had at the University of Suffolk, and I'm excited to see where this recognition takes me on my creative journey,” she added.

Featuring on the award longlist offers the chance for designers to get their work out to a wider audience.

The pair will find out whether they’ve made the shortlist for the awards next month.

Vassiliki Tzomaka, course leader for UoS’s graphic design and graphic illustration courses, said: “We couldn’t be prouder of Sammi and Maria, being longlisted for these prestigious awards demonstrates that their exceptional talents are recognised at a global level.

“It is a significant success just one year after graduating.”