Friday Fives: Kara Haupt, '15

March 15, 2019

Every Friday we give #highfives to a different designer from our extended family of PNCA students, faculty, alumni, and guest lecturers. 🙌🏾🙌🏻🙌🏽 We ask them five questions.

Kara Haupt, '15 has been busy since graduating in 2015. She co-led Content and Social Design for the Hillary Clinton campaign, worked as web art director for The New Yorker, and is now Art Director for NBC News Digital.

Kara is back at PNCA to talk about what she’s learned, in a lunchtime lecture on Friday 3/22 at 12:30. And she’ll stay to discuss portfolios and self-promotion with illustration and graphic design students one-on-one.

Follow the series @pncadesign, and see more of Kara's work on her website.

Art direction for The New Yorker online.

Q: What music (or podcasts) are you listening to?

A: I’ve been listening to Niki and The Dove pretty much nonstop for the last few months. They are this fantastic Swedish band that sounds like if Stevie Nicks made a summer dance album.

Kara's Pep Talk Generator collected 80+ pep talks written by a variety of women (with developer Paige Lewis, for Babe Vibes). Since launch, The Pep Talk Generator was viewed 100,000+ times and featured on Time, Hello Giggles, and more.

Q: What is your favorite trick for “keeping it all together”?

A: It wasn’t until after graduation and I went to therapy for the first time when I was really not keeping it all together that I learned my “negative self-talk” was a not only unhealthy, but was unhelpful when it came to my work and my productivity. In the past years I have learned to speak to myself with kindness and patience and only then am I in a good place to really accomplish anything.

Some of the illustrations Kara art directed for The New Yorker.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: Today I just finished Blue Nights by Joan Didion (damn) and am also reading Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. I usually have one paper book for home-reading and one e-book going for train-reading. I would recommend both books!

Kara co-led Content and Social Design for the Hillary for America campaign.

Q: How do you want to shape design?

A: In my professional life, I’ve really enjoyed taking the tenets of design—solving the right problem, considering all contexts and executions, and serving the “user” (people!!)—and applying that to all the parts of my job. I think being a designer has served me well as an art director, for both photography and illustration.

From Her: An Archive. "[After my grandmother passed away] I photographed all her supplies—hundreds of brushes, tools, and paints—and turned the photos into this piece, an archive of an artist and a woman."

Q: What or who inspires you?

A: Reading books. Fine artists, and taking a break.

Q: Do you have any advice to share with designers who are trying to make meaningful work, and work in a way that matters? And/or do we have a responsibility to do that? Do you feel a responsibility to do that?

A: Hmm. I think everyone should do a hard, meaningful, and life-changing job at least once in their life. There are many reasons why designers can't quit their work and take a likely less-paying and "world-changing" job permanently, but I do think that if you have the opportunity, or space to find the opportunity, you should do meaningful work for a period of time. My time on the campaign changed my life—it changed how I designed, who I designed for, and it made me an active citizen. If there is any advice I could give, it is look around in the room you are in now and make sure you are not being used as a tool for harm and to change it or leave if you are. I think that's the responsibility.

From April–November 2017 Kara was a freelance designer for Stand Up America, a progressive political advocacy group based in New York City.

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See more of Kara's work on her website, and follow her on instagram @karahaupt. And come see her talk on Friday 3/22 about everything she learned SINCE school.

Follow along with our #fridayfives on instagram @pncadesign.