Name: Anna Karpinski
Position: Senior Art Director and AIGA President
Company: Osborn Barr Paramore
Anna is a graphic designer and illustrator who grew up in St. Louis, MO. After going to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for her bachelor’s in Graphic Design with a minor in Art History. She currently works at Osborn Barr Paramore as a Senior Art Director. She’s served on the AIGA St. Louis board for 5 years as Student Conference Co-Chair, Design for Good Chair, and (now) President.
How did you get started in design?
My father is a graphic designer and my mother is an illustrator – so I’ve been exposed to creativity and design from before I can even remember, so being a graphic designer was kind of inevitable. Though I will say, it’s taken a drastically different turn than I would have ever anticipated as a freshman going into college.
To be completely honest, I feel like I’m still in the “starting” phase – is it fair to use the past tense yet? I jumped into the workforce right after college and I’ve used the past 5 years to continually push myself and discover who I am through both my “day jobs” and my work with AIGA and the other partnerships I’ve been fortunate enough to foster here in St. Louis.
I feel like in no way have I actually landed anywhere, which is fine. I want to use this time in my life to learn, grow, and discover. And someday, all of these experiences will play into my “I started from…” story.
What is something you’re most proud of?
I’m pretty proud of how much I’ve stepped up into leadership situations and positions over the past few years of my life. It’s never something I anticipated or wanted for myself, but it’s just kind of developed and grown and I’m happy that I made the leaps that I did to get here.
Who are your creative heroes?
This is a hard question for me because it shifts every day. What has appealed to me lately are creators that extend beyond their box – De Nichols is a perfect example of this. Someone who can think through a problem in so many different ways, and has the commitment to study it and follow through.
Where do you find your inspiration?
To be honest, a lot of it is through Instagram these days.
What is the best part of working in your profession?
I love that I get to be creative every day. From drawing dinosaurs to doodling landscapes, there’s something refreshing about getting to step away from emails for a while to do something fun, and get paid for it.
What piece of advice would you offer fellow creatives?
Take a risk. Even if it’s small, or takes a while to manifest, or results in a mistake of some kind. It’s so, SO hard to put ourselves out there. We put our souls, our hearts, and our tears into our work, and putting it out into the world means that it’s out of our hands. The audience will interpret it the way they want to interpret it, good or bad. And that’s so tough to come to terms with.
But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just tried something – big or small – because I have to move forward somehow, I have to grow and change and become better. It helps both professionally and personally to step out of your comfort zone or say yes to things you never thought you would (like being president of a non-profit…).
What is one book that all creatives should read?
Creative Strategy and the Business of Design by Douglas Davis
What was the last song you listened to?
Spotify is telling me it was something by Julien Baker
What is your favorite place in St. Louis?
There are too many!! Tower Grove Park is a go-to.