Karen Kavett: Getting Geeky With Graphic Design [YouTube NextUp Creator Profile Series]


Graphic design is a topic that doesn’t get enough love on YouTube, yet the products we use and the website we see every day aren’t possible without people like Karen Kavett, the star behind her Xperpetualmotion channel. If you’ve always wondered about the difference between monochromatic colors and complementary colors or wanted to know how to create fonts that stand out, Kavett’s vlogs every Tuesday and Thursday will explain how make your project worthwhile.

Kavett is unique among YouTube creators in the fact that she was at one time a YouTube employee. After graduating from college, she worked as a visual designer for YouTube from July 2011 until September 2012, when she left the company and decided to dedicate her vlog full-time because “working for such a big company isn’t what I want to be doing right now.”

Still, her year-long YouTube stint has helped her understand how the video-streaming site works, and now Xperpertualmotion boasts around 35 thousand subscribers and more than 2.5 million video views. Kavett is currently one of the 30 YouTube creators selected in this season’s NextUp program and hopes that her experience will bring more collaborators to her channel and vice versa.

Tell us about your channel and who you’re trying to appeal to.

Karen Kavett: I make videos about graphic design, crafting, and other random nerdy things. I am also a freelance graphic designer, and it is my philosophy that if everyone knows at least the basics about graphic design, the world will become a more beautiful place. And the crafting and DIY videos that I make use mostly just basic materials that anyone has access to so that everyone can make their own version of my craft projects.

How did you become interested in graphic design?

I went to a high school that was focused around the arts, and I learned Photoshop when I was freshman there. From there, I just fell in love with it and eventually realized that I could make a career out of the skills I was learning by making things in Photoshop every day after school for four years, so I went to RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design) to major in graphic design.

How did you begin your career on YouTube?

I started making videos in early 2008 because I was a part of the Harry Potter community and I had seen some of my online friends, such as Kristina Horner and Lauren Fairweather, making YouTube videos. I also started watching the Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green in early 2008, and I decided I wanted to be a part of the YouTube community. My first vlogs were really awful (7-minutes long, no jump cuts), but over the years I learned how to edit, upgraded my cameras, signed with the network Big Frame, and now I have a good system down for making two videos each week.

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