Interview with CollegeHumor’s Designer Anna Hiort
I’ve enjoyed the many funny things I have seen on the internet: Photoshopped images and amusing/stupid videos seem to spread like viruses through social media sites.
Collegehumor is a great site for hilarious videos, but it also has an active community and attractive web 2.0 design.
Anna Hiort is a designer for CollegeHumor, designing banners and site revisions as well as user interface designs.
I recently interviewed CollegeHumor’s main graphic/web designer to discuss what things were like working for the company, her inspirations, and where she sees herself going in the near future. Check out this inspiring interview with a woman who has climbed through the ranks at one of today's most successful comedy websites!
How long have you been working for CollegeHumor, and how did you land a job as one of the Designers?
I have worked here since April 2008—about a year and a half. A friend of mine referred me to the job listing online, I interviewed with the guys, and they brought me on board!
What is it like working at CollegeHumor? Is the atmosphere as fun and energetic as the videos make it seem?
The videos may seem like over-the-top advertising, but that same enthusiasm has rubbed off on everyone. We all get drinks together after work, so we’re a close group and I think it makes us feel relaxed here at the office.
Can you take us through a typical day in the office for you?
I arrive at the office around 9:30/10, go through my emails while eating Corn Pops with a lot of powdered sugar sprinkled on top (it definitely gets me through the day). I continue working until maybe 1 or so when I grab my group and we head out to fill ourselves with unhealthy food from Chipotle or Taco Bell.
Work all afternoon. People sometimes feel antsy around 5 p.m.—just as elementary school students do when they know school is almost out (and so throw a few random dance parties and Nerf ball fights). Most of us are gone by 6:30 every evening.
What is it that you work on most of the time, be it website design, graphic design, logos, icons…?
The majority of my time (maybe 80%) is spent on advertisers campaigns. Most of our ad sales work involves making custom sites; we create each skin by hand, and sometimes micro-sites as well.
Besides that we’re constantly improving the usability of the actual interface of the site. Other fun things include fake logos and product labels for use on the CH Original videos.
Where do you get your inspiration for your design?
I read a great deal of blogs, but when it comes to inspiration for my own work I find that real life is the best teacher. Photography, graphic design and fashion all serve as sources of constant stimulation; walking up and down city streets with your eyes open wide can be enough to make you want to pick up your camera or sketch pad in order capture an idea before it disappears into thin air!
Aside from CollegeHumor, what are some of your favorite websites?
I’m a huge fan of Tumblr. I spend too much time on Facebook. I shop online more than I should. My favorite design blog would probably be Web Designers Wall (webdesignerwall.com) or DesignM.ag (designm.ag).
I’m sure designing is a huge passion of yours, but can you share any other interests or hobbies you have?
Other than my shopping addiction, I’m pretty laid back. I love having afternoon tea with friends in the park and relaxing with a cocktail after work.
What is one fact about you that nobody could guess just by looking at you?
I was raised in Dallas but I didn’t get my first pair on cowboy boots until I moved to NYC when I was 20!
If you had any words of wisdom for aspiring designers out there, what would they be?
I was a bit of an the odd one out at the beginning, because I'm quite young and most people didn’t really see me as having much potential.
After I graduated high school, it took a lot of persistence and effort on my part to get people in the art world to take me seriously. My advice is this: don't be afraid to hound people with emails or phone calls until they give you an opportunity—you never know where your next big break might come from! And try your very hardest because people can see when you don’t.
I want to thank you again for having this great interview. Do you have any closing thoughts or comments for our readers?
Thank you for your time. The one thing I would remind others is not to give up on their dreams! (Sappy, maybe; but its 100% true.)
I would like to thank Anna for taking the time out of her busy schedule to talk with us, and I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into what makes her tick. As a treat for all our readers, here’s an exclusive video from Anna's Vimeo account!
Since I enjoyed it so much, I figured I would share with all of our readers. Enjoy!