Alumni Profile: Rhys Trammel, Southwest University of Visual Arts

What is it like working at Amazon H.Q.?

What can I say, Amazon is an amazing organization. I’ve never been anywhere that demands quite so much from their people. They push you to make big goals, and then to accomplish them faster than you anticipated. It can be stressful, but once you get into it, the pace is exciting! And then, after a while, you wonder why the rest of the world moves so sloooooow. The really great thing about Amazon though is the number of super-intelligent people you can work with from all aspects of the business. There’s literally something new to be learned every hour of every day from someone.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do there?

A lot of my day-to-day tasks revolve around working to concept, design and deploy client advertising across Amazon’s media. This includes on Amazon.com, IMDB, MYHABIT and my personal favorite, the new Kindle Fire tablets which I helped to launch. My favorite projects are the interactive placements we get to make for the Kindle Fire. Seeing an animate, interactive ad experience come together on a tablet is just so fricken cool!

How is this more of a passion than just a job?

Amazon is a great place for designers! There’s so much opportunity to do cool things if you’re in the right groups. It’s exciting and challenging, and Seattle is a great place to be and to grow a career. Going to work, for me, doesn’t even feel like work most of the time. I think that’s pretty much the definition of a passionate job!

What would you recommend to others who want to follow in your footsteps?

Seek out internships through the school, on your own or both! Push the level of your work beyond the scope of the projects being assigned. When you think you’ve done enough, do more! And don’t be afraid to fail. Try new things, seek inspiration (cough, cough, designspiration), reach out to creative agencies and ask for opinions about your work. Experiment with your design styles and don’t get too settled with one look. I can’t even explain the kind of twitch I get when I hear someone describe themselves as “A Minimalist Designer.” That’s just lazy! A true designer can design in many different ways. And finally, don’t be afraid to move beyond to greener pastures if the jobs you seek are located elsewhere. New Mexico and Arizona are great places, but SUVA needs more graduates out there in other sweet places, too!

It’s been about a year since we did this interview. What has happened since then?

Well, I’ve been very busy and was just promoted to Art Director of US Advertising in Consumer Electronics for all of Amazon.  This just goes to show that with a good education and determination a person can do anything they want.

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