Staff Spotlight: Sienna Parmelee

I’m Sienna Parmelee, and I’m the face behind the design of the paper you’re holding.

As a senior in the design program, being a designer means being a visual storyteller, something I do through layout, graphics, apps and more. The Torch has allowed me to expand my creative thinking and apply it in new ways, from updating the design of the paper, to branding the special editions you’ve seen this year.

Over the summer, I interned at Instrument, a digital agency in Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon. There I had the opportunity to work for Apple TV, working with a team to brand collections that went live on the app. The experience was engaging and left me thinking about applying what I’ve learned to school and work.

I applied what I learned to creatively brand our special editions, such as our October voting guide, Black History Month insert, and Women’s History Month edition on page 8. On top of branding the special editions, I also brought my illustration skills to complement the stories.

Photo by: Sienna Parmelee | Production Manager

My process included a lot of research. Like our reporters, I take my time to find inspiration, learn facts and apply them to a visual solution. For this month’s special, I aimed to create a brand that strayed away from a gendered design. You’ll notice the use of yellow and black to call attention to the heavy topics being discussed.

When I’m not designing, I’m telling stories in new ways. For example, I’ve directed a short film that will be released in the next few months, focusing on how anxiety and depression can affect overwhelmed college students. In addition, I illustrate and create art that pulls inspiration from comic books, and I’m even writing and illustrating my own comic series that calls attention to climate change.  When I’m not telling stories, I’m consuming them. If you’ve read my articles in the paper, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of television and video games.

In the future, my goal is to use my skills to assist directors and writers in telling their narratives through production design in films and television. My favorite designer is Annie Atkins, who created the branding for Mendl’s Bakery in a personal favorite of mine, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” 

Telling a story is something all of us at the Torch value, and we’ve all taken this job to improve our skills. But remember, creating and sharing a narrative is much more than words on paper. A story can take shape in any medium that takes a reader, user or viewer on a journey.