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October 3, 2019

Meet Karen Brazell

As Creative Director, Interactive Engagement Group, Karen Brazell designs or oversees the creation of assets that extend THIRTEEN’s reach beyond broadcast. She and her team create a wide variety of social media graphics, including tune-ins, quote cards, fact cards, digital event graphics, Instagram Stories, social channel headers for local and national programs, digital ads, program artwork and original logos for Media Manager, website design and implementation – and much more.

“We also create Apps for Apple, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, original online video series and animated social videos. All of these things are created by the amazing IEG developers, video team, producers and my talented design team of Victoria Malabrigo and Arianna Bollers. It’s an exciting group to work with and I’ve really grown as a creative with this team,” Karen says.

Read on to learn about the path that led Karen to WNET, her favorite places in Inwood, and more.

What is your background, and how did you land at WNET?

My background is print design originally. I’ve had positons as a print designer for a wide range of places, from a t-shirt company creating graphics, to print shops where I not only did the artwork, but helped out with pre-press, as well. I transitioned to web design pretty early, and designed and coded my first website in 1997. I moved to New York City in 1998 and worked at Family.com (owned by Disney), which began my digital design career. I had several brief jobs before landing at Morgan Stanley in 2000 as both a print and web designer. I came to WNET in 2010 as a web designer for Need to Know and transitioned to IEG after about a year or so.

Are there any current or upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?

I wouldn’t say I’m excited about it, but the big PBS re-brand is coming next month, so all my focus is there at the moment. Down the road though, I’m looking forward to, with my team, reevaluating our web and digital properties with an eye towards accessibility, so that we can serve our audience better.

For our Media with Impact campaign, we’ve been asking viewers to share stories describing how THIRTEEN has influenced their life. How has THIRTEEN (or the PBS station of your childhood) inspired you?

I grew up in California, so my PBS Station was KQED. I learned a lot about expressing my creativity through the local and national programming they broadcast there. I wanted to be a puppet builder because of Sesame Street. I also remember learning about diversity and appreciating the differences between the many cultures residing in Silicon Valley, but also what they all shared as well, like love of family and friends.

Which three shows airing on our stations this month are you most likely to watch, stream, or record?

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit too busy to watch much television lately, but I’m hoping to catch Country Music by Ken Burns before it stops streaming. Plus, there’s always Passport so I can catch up when time permits.

Where do you live, and what are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood?

I live in Washington Heights just south of Inwood, so Fort Tryon Park is my favorite place to spend warm afternoons. Nearby is the Tryon Public House for after-park ciders and nachos. To the south of me is an great Irish pub called Le Cheile (which got a shout-out from my fellow North Manhattan IEG buddy Chelsea Rugg). There’s not much beyond that, as I happen to live in a part of the neighborhood that doesn’t have many offerings due to the fact that I’m on top of a hill.

What book are you currently reading?

At the moment, the books on my kitchen table are how-to books on creating assemblage projects, with cringy titles such as Altered Curiosities, Art in a Box, and Secrets of Rusty Things. I do enjoy science fiction novels when I can get to one.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work? If so, tell us about it!

I’ve been learning to sculpt and cast resin lately, thanks to YouTube videos. I also create plush dolls, soft sculptures and macabre plush toys for cats and sell them at craft fairs, comic book conventions and at my Etsy shop Life with Tigers.

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