Alumni Spotlight: Heather Brantman Torpey

Heather Brantman Torpey

Tell us about yourself. What do you do?

Independent designer - I worked as one of nine members of collective MK12 for 10 years as a designer and animator and then opened up my own freelance design studio 4 years ago. I mainly design and animate visuals for films, do graphic design for agencies or brand/rebrand companies.

Quantum of Solace opening screenshots

What led you to this profession or why did you choose it?

I come from a family of artists but I was always good with computers. I was a fast learner and problem solver. When I was 18, I saw work by famous designer Paul Rand and then was hooked on graphic design. I loved that his work was visually bold and graphic, but also tactile and expressive. I finally saw how art could make its way into design and I wanted to be part of that world.

Screenshots of opening sequence for Oz the Great and Powerful

What does a typical day look like at your job?

I start the day very early – before the sun rises, because that's when my brain is most focused and things are quiet. I hit the ground working on design and doing creative tasks first and then I schedule calls and time for answering emails later in the day. That's just a schedule that works best for me. If there's time, I organize my computer files, write invoices or take tutorials.

What is a favorite project you have worked on and why?

A lot of people would assume my answer would be working on a James Bond film and although that was incredible, I absolutely loved working on the documentary film Particle Fever. It's a film following world-renowned physicists launching the Large Hadron Collider for the first time - the most expensive experiment in history. I was taught some particle physics by John Hopkins professor David Kaplan and was tasked with branding the film and creating graphics that visualized complex particle physics theories to the layman. It felt like such an important project and I was so honored to be part of the whole film.

Movie poster for Particle Fever

What advice would you give your college self?

Get on social media and share your work! I still need to take this advice...

What makes you proud to be a KU Alumni?

KU has such an incredible design program. I really felt like we were able to grow and expand out while learning key design principles. The professors do a great job of pushing you forward and mentoring.

World War I Museum graphics

Anything else you would like to share with a prospective student:

Don't be afraid to aim high - challenge yourself, learn a new technique, design something completely different than anyone is expecting.

Learn more at Heather Brantman Torpey's website