August 15, 2018

Five Questions with Randy J. Hunt: Head of Design

Before he joined Artsy as Head of Design in 2017, Randy J. Hunt founded Citizen Scholar Inc., co-founded and designed Supermarket, and built and led a creative team as VP Design at Etsy. He is also the author of Product Design for the Web. Even with all of his accomplishments—including a 2014 National Design Award with his team at Etsy—he says he’s “just getting started.”

Randy is a sought-after speaker, and we can’t wait to hear what wisdom and insights he has to share with us at the 2019 In/Visible Talks conference in San Francisco. As a preview, we asked him to talk with us about his creative process.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“It’s difficult to tease it out as a separate and discrete activity from a personal standpoint. Everything feels like part of the creative process. In a professional capacity, my hope it to create and nurture the conditions for a healthy and productive creative process for others.”

How or where to you find inspiration?

“At work, I’m most often finding it in two places: in the needs of our customers and audience, or in the long-term vision we’re pursuing. In a day-to-day sense, I’m inspired by the variety of people around me and what they make and are interested in. That’s everything from a good song in my headphones to someone with a sense of hospitality to the awe a great public space creates.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“Helping teams and people through times of change is probably the most challenging. It takes hard work to move through change, yet reaching the destination can be so rewarding.”

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

“I don’t think that I ever thought I wasn’t going to be. When I was younger, I had a dream of being a musician. Over time that evolved into other creative pursuits, but that was always in my mind for as long as I can remember.”

Who is one of your heroes and why?

“I think Solange is one of the best creative forces in our culture right now. The clarity of vision and adventurousness of what she’s doing in songwriting, performance, and stage production is very inspiring and motivating to me. When I saw her perform live for the first time, I teared up from the power and talent. It was overwhelming. I’d feel very proud if I could create even a hint of that emotional experience for someone.”

BONUS ROUND: What was your first job?

“I did phone support for a dial-up internet service provider in the late ’90s. I learned a lot about interacting with people, especially when they were anxious, frustrated, or confused. I also came to appreciate just how unintuitive so much technology was, even though it made sense to me.”