CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, KILLER INFOGRAPHICS, SEATTLE WA
Amy Balliett is the CEO and co-founder of the industry-leading visual communications agency Killer Infographics. Amy has been using digital media to grow her own companies since she was 17, when she took on ownership of an ice cream parlor and penny candy store in the middle of a summer vacation resort. She subsequently built a successful career in SEO and marketing before teaming up to co-found Killer Infographics. Over the last 6 years, Killer has partnered with some of the world’s largest brands, including Microsoft, Adobe, the National Endowment for the Arts, Boeing, and more. At Killer, Amy’s roles include new product development, marketing, and speaking at such events as Adobe MAX and SXSW. Today, Killer helps clients worldwide use visual communication to grow their brands, connect with customers, and design multi-faceted campaigns that harness the full potential of visual content.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born and raised in Cleveland. Today I live in Seattle.
DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
I majored in Cinematography and Diversity Marketing at Cleveland State University. When I moved to Seattle, a job in video editing gave me the opportunity to learn the full Adobe Creative Suite. From there, I turned my attentions to marketing, with a focus on SEO and learned front-end development. Thought I know enough to be dangerous, I don’t consider myself a designer. I’m a marketer with a passion for motion and animation.
LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU’VE ALWAYS IDENTIFIED WITH?
I often think I’m the Phil Dunphy of my marriage, but that’s about it.
ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
I used to play the guitar and sing. These days I mainly just sing along to songs on the radio or go out to karaoke, though.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD TV SHOW?
Sad ‑ but ‑ true: General Hospital. No joke, I watched that show from birth until I was 21.
LAST BOOK YOU READ?
I have a cat, but she was raised by my dog Langston so she’s basically a dog.
WHAT LANGUAGES ARE YOU FLUENT IN?
English, HTML, CSS ‒ that’s the nerdy and sad-but-true
Dancer in the Dark
FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
My aunt, Janet Waggoner
It’s been a priority of our firm to give back, and we’ve donated more than $2 million in services to nonprofit organizations. My favorite right now is WeCount, a peer-to-peer service offering a way for donors to connect directly with homeless people in the communities.
FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
Binge-watching Netflix or going to Washington wine country for tastings
WHAT’S THE LAST COMPLIMENT YOU GOT?
I was told during a recent interview yesterday that I am a great visual communicator and equally great at verbal communication.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
COLOR USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
Killer’s brand blue
TYPEFACE USED MOST OFTEN?
DO YOU HAVE A DESIGN MENTOR OR INSPIRATION?
GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
My greatest strength is identifying designs and design strategies that achieve the highest quality of visual communication.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
What we value most in a designer is adaptability. Our designers must design and illustrate in a broad variety of styles and mediums, and adapt their work to meet our clients’ needs. But that’s not all I mean by adaptability. The new visual communication is about information, so today’s designers must be comfortable creating accurate and effective data visualizations, and organizing information in a way that guides the eye and tells a story. They must be able to target their design to particular audiences. Today’s designers are also marketers and storytellers.
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
When designing for visual communication, always think about CON-text: It’s a CON when there’s too much text.