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Career Stories: Ani Avanian, MFA '11

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Ani Avanian is a designer based in Seattle and Boston with a long track record of designing products and brand identities providing “simple, memorable, and intuitive solutions.” In describing her process, Avanian says, “At the core, my process is always driven by user experience and human psychology.”

We recently caught up with Ani, and she shared the latest on her art practice, inspiration, and recent work:

After graduating with my MFA degree, I continued working at the small design agency where I was employed throughout my education at SMFA. Shortly after graduation I joined Education First/Go Ahead Tours, where I worked for nearly 4 years as the Interaction Design Director. I took on my next career challenge at Wanderu as VP of Design and UX, where I helped the travel startup get off the ground by creating their brand identity and Android and iOS apps, as well as their e-commerce web presence.

Beyond the practical skills I obtained by taking a diverse set of courses through SMFA and across Tufts, and with other institutions in the ProArts Consortium, the critique sessions hold a lasting value. These provided foundational skills for giving and receiving feedback. This component of communication is an absolute necessity for collaborative product building that I use daily. Not to be overlooked is SMFA’s location. Boston is a diverse city that is consistently leading creative exploration across industries from the arts to tech to scientific research. This provided a constant stimulus to consider how my fine arts education can impact and integrate into the broader landscape of the world’s progress and challenges.

The reason I chose SMFA over other institutions was quality and flexibility. I wanted to be in a place where I could curate my own curriculum. I was able to develop as an artist and have my own art practice, while also learning about design, typography, human to computer interaction, and entrepreneurial marketing. This ultimately provided me with the practical skills I needed to excel in the design world.

My current role is a Product Design Manager at Facebook, supporting two teams under the Developer Platform Org. The products we create empower engineers and businesses around the world to build for the future with safety and integrity in mind. I'm energized by the idea that we are building tools to keep user data safe. I joined the team to help solve some of the toughest social issues facing the internet today and feel honored to be in the position to contribute in this capacity.

You can learn more about Ani’s practice at aniavanian.com.

Image courtesy of Ani Avanian.