Hanna Karraby

Visual Designer
Sydney, Australia
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I grew up in San Jose, California, the child of two immigrants who dreamed of their daughter being a lawyer. Apparently as a child, I had a lot to say. My parents would eventually reconcile with the idea that I was more interested in art and history than math. I have been privileged to grow up in a multicultural city, rarely did I feel out of place in my community. In 2013, I left my hometown and moved across the country to Philadelphia for “something di􀃠erent”. Honestly, it was extremely hard. Suddenly, I did feel out of place in many ways, and that experience has impacted the way I see the world, and also has translated into my design work. “Di􀃠erent” is something I always look for, and the search has led me to some interesting experiences. I helped planned a 5,000 person concert (twice) in college, I spent 3 months excavating for fossils in Mantua Township New Jersey, and I traveled to Edinburgh to work as a curatorial intern during the Fringe Festival. Each of these experiences turned out to be nothing like I expected. What I have learned from these experiences over past years has been to stay 􀃖exible and focused, and do what you feel strongly about. I am a designer because I am passionate about telling stories and creating meaningful experiences for others. I enjoy the process of creating and because of this, my other interests in 􀃕lm, history, and social issues have found their way into my work naturally. I am excited by the future of the design as we technologically advance as a society, and look forward to my place in this industry, whatever that will be.

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Work Experience
EY Intuitive
User Experience Designer
Aug 2018 – Present
Manayunk, PA
Graphics Group at Drexel University
Sep 2016 – Dec 2017
Philadelphia, PA
BookSwap (Student Start-up)
Aug 2018 – Present
Manayunk, PA
Drexel University
Illustration, Silkscreen, Bookbinding, Editorial Design, Extended Identity Systems, Animation, Environmental, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, HTML & CSS, Sketch, InVision
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Featured work
You should select me because

I have one year of experience in a multi-disciplinary studio after graduating last year and being named one of GD USA's Students to Watch of 2018. My passion is in Branding and Typography in both print and digital mediums, and I was recognized by my University faculty for my typography. In the past year, I have developed an interest and working knowledge for animation and AR, and enjoy working with motion, which my studio has utilized me for.My greatest strength is in my conceptual thinking, which is my favorite aspect of design. I enjoy pushing the limits of every project. Developing and expanding my concept has pushed my work across different mediums, which is why many of my projects involve material and mechanical exploration. Every design decision I make is tied back to my core concept, and I don't believe in designing for only visual gratification. My craft is evident in my portfolio because all of my projects are hand-built, a result of my own engineering and printing. As stated by OMSE, one of my favorite type foundries, "concept and craft demand equal consideration for any project to reach its full potential", which matches my own philosophy and approach to all my work.I believe what makes me the best fit for WGI is that I am unafraid to take risks, I am equally confident in my skills as I am open to improvement and mentorship, and I am as independently driven as I am a team player. My upbringing has given me a global perspective and determination to succeed, which has driven me to throw myself into what I feel most passionate about. If chosen for WGI, I know that I would take advantage of every opportunity thrown my way.

1. Why are you interested in wgi?

I have always looked for ways to put myself in situations that I am intimidated by. When an idea sounds both compelling and terrifying, I know that I must do it, or attempt to do it. It is how I approach my work, and my life so far. When I heard of WGI, I immediately began to follow Maddy and Whitney, watching and reading about their journey. I enjoyed cheering them on, happy for these two women who seem so talented and genuine, but I also began imagining myself in their shoes. I want to be a part of WGI because I believe in its mission of connecting young creatives with design communities from around the world. I believe that better design will arise out of people swapping ideas and sharing experiences, fostering creativity through connectivity. WGI is the ultimate example of that. I want to learn about the different design processes of different studios, see the role of a not only a designer in action, but also content creators, developers, etc.

2. What are you looking to gain from an experience such as WGI?

I’m looking to expand my community, to learn and improve upon skills I have and want to have, to gain a better insight into myself. I loved my education experience because it was always full of opportunities to grow, and experienced people to learn from. Post-graduation, I have been seeking a way to emulate this outside of my day job. To recapture that feeling of growth in an industry where everything seems to move so fast and without mercy. I am excited by the idea of being able to pick the minds of the teams at these agencies, to learn from their processes, and establish connections. I want to be challenged and tested, to be put in situations where I question everything I know, because I will emerge a stronger designer and, most importantly, a better team player. Post graduation, I have been curious about the studio model. School can feel so much like a bubble, focused on that deadline and whether or not your vectors are smooth and your binding is clean. In the past months, I have taken it upon myself to reach out to studios that I admire in Philly and ask for 10 min, 30 min, an hour if they can spare it. I never did this with the intention of getting a job. I wanted to ask them questions, about them, about my work, how they got to where they are, what mistakes they made, etc. From each meeting, I met wonderfully talented people, strengthened my portfolio and expanded my community. Most importantly, I felt empowered. I think it’s important that when you are feeling lost, that you empower yourself to seek your own opportunities. With WGI, I see this as an chance to connect with other creative agencies and their intelligent teams on a global scale.

3. What would be your goals after completing WGI if you were selected?

If I was selected, my goal after completing WGI would be to take what I have learned and inject it into my next step in my career. At this point, like many other young designers, my path is somewhat fuzzy. I know that I am passionate about typography, branding, and creating work that makes more than a visual impact. I also am uncompromising in my wish to be surrounded by passionate people who care about what they produce and how they produce it. After completing WGI, I know that I would feel more confident in recognizing my strengths, and what kind of environment would best suit them. I would be more fearless after having experienced wokring in so many agencies, in different rhythms and styles. Armed with my WGI experiences, the learning curves, and cultural exposure, I would take the initiative to put them to good use, either at a studio or independently.

4. How did you hear about wgi?

I heard about WGI through Instagram, specifically in my Discover pages. I do my best to follow and support many small agencies on Instagram, and it has been a surprising tool for inspiration and discovery. There are so many creatives doing incredible work, and exchanging ideas through this app. I have messaged with a few, exchanging type recommendations and congratulations. WGI popped up one day, and I was intrigued by your handle. I then immediately followed Whitney and Maddy, and cheered them on along the way and dreaming of an opportunity like this for myself.

5. Share an example of a time you were most motivated and a time you were most demotivated.

I feel most motivated when I am working on an idea I am passionate about and a design approach I am excited about. A specific time that I remember feeling most motivated was when I was tasked with presenting to my design team about a passion I want to share. These lunchtime presentations are meant to be educational and fun, and interactive. I wanted to present on Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality and the impact that it is and will have on the industry. I worked on creating an hour long presentation, and an accompanying activity to really immerse my team members. After two months of preparing, the presentation was a success and now I am working on a studio-wide version that will span 4 weeks and be open to the public upon completion! A time I felt the most demotivated was when I was working on my thesis, The Theater of State: The Rise of King Henry VIII and Public Displays of Power. The concept came together fairly seamlessly, but the execution was challenging. During this project, I taught myself After Effects, and the learning curve was steep. One particular poster, the Anne Boleyn execution, was not coming together as I had hoped, and I had hit a roadblock with research into the technique. There were a couple low points where I felt extremely demotivated, and struggled to remain energetic. What helped was stepping away from my work periodically, and having the support of people around me who were also working tirelessly on their own projects.

6. In your opinion, what creates a great culture at a company?

I believe great culture isn’t about free food, casual dress codes or weekly lunch yoga, but has to do with the support of the studio’s team to each other. Everyone is competitive in some way or another, and I believe it’s healthy to some extent. But a company with a great culture does not promote competitiveness at the expense of your coworker, and rather is an environment that helps individuals become better and achieved great things together. Free food is always welcome though.

7. What brands and companies do you admire and why?

The ones that immediately came to mind was NURX and Brownbook. Both of these companies are involved in causes and missions that I admire and support. NURX is an affordable healthcare prescription and testing service, providing everything from pills to HIV tests to your door with or without insurance. They operate with the belief that healthcare should be affordable, easily accessible and shame-free. Their identity design is clean and friendly, and, having used them myself, user-oriented. I admire their work and forward-thinking ideas, which translates seamlessly into their brand. My parents are from Iran, and always made sure to provide their own footnotes to my history textbooks. I learned from an early age that just because something is written down and approved, does not make it always true. Everything has sides. My parents taught me that my culture is beautiful, and my ancestry is something to be proud of. As a child, I wish that I had a magazine like Brownbook. Brownbook is an independent team that publishes a beautifully designed magazine on North Africa and the Middle East that focuses on design, travel, and culture. A magazine like this instills pride, and fosters more awareness. It is something incredibly powerful for a people who see themselves misrepresented by the media every day. From a design standpoint, it is well thought-out and curated. From my standpoint as an Iranian-American, it is a source of joy.

8. What do you do to stay sharp and improve your craft?

I see the design world as this living entity, one that is constantly shifting and changes shape each time you look away and back. As a student, it felt unfathomable to try and stay ‘on trend’, and constantly create work that felt relevant. Over the past years I have learned that spending hours on inspiration sites is not a productive way to improve my own skills, nor is creating work with the concern of gaining views. Instead I like to step out of my comfort zone and embrace the skills of those around me by connecting with other creatives. I look to aligning myself with other designers, seeking local partnerships and learning through skill trading. I believe that people are just as important as online communities and can be even more rewarding. However, I do have subscriptions to sites like Skillshare to learn tools I know nothing about, and new tricks in programs I thought I knew a lot about. I frequent sites like BP&O, Behance, EyeonDesign, Thisispaper, and It’sNiceThat to keep my finger on the pulse of what is going on in this industry. To keep my skills and craft sharp, I attend workshops, events and do small side project to flex my muscles.

9. What’s your favorite quote?

“If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even a stone can be worn down with enough rain.” This quote is from one of my favorite authors, Arthur Golden. These words speak to me because it has taught me to let go of what I cannot change, and to move on from it knowing that dwelling will only hold me back. It also has helped me during moments of frustration and helplessness when projects aren't working out the way I envisioned. I have had to “pivot” my strategy many times, and quotes such as that one helps to give em the energy to keep pushing forward.

10. If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

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