Grad and Cana Creative Agency Co-Founder Hana Brenner-Katz Stays Inspired WFH
Graphic Design Grad Hana Brenner-Katz has been working from home since 2018 when she co-founded Cana Creative Agency, a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in social media. “Social isolation doesn’t have to be isolating,” she said. “We’re so lucky to be living in a time with technology that makes it so easy to communicate with our friends from afar.” We caught up with her to find out about some of her favorite FIDM memories and how she’s staying inspired during these challenging times.
What are some of your favorite memories of your FIDM experience? Publication design with Randy Dunbar was a huge turning point in my life as a designer. I had so many “a-ha!” moments in his classes, and SO much fun. It really made me realize how exciting graphic design could be. I started playing around with collage aspects in my work, which is now very much my defined style.
What are you doing to stay inspired during these challenging times? I’ve been finding craft projects to be such a good distraction, and so good for my mental health! I try to put away my phone while I’m crafting and giving myself that tech-free creative time.
How are you showing up for your community, your career, and yourself right now? I am trying to remind everyone frequently that it’s OKAY to not feel normal right now. It’s OKAY to not have sixteen side hustles by the end of this. We are going through a global pandemic and it’s okay to feel not okay. But it’s so important to prioritize self-care and find sources of fun and joy right now. Social isolation doesn’t have to be isolating—we’re so lucky to be living in a time with technology that makes it so easy to communicate with our friends from afar.
What brands are inspiring you right now, in terms of their response to the needs of the world during this pandemic? It’s not so much brands that are inspiring me right now as it is the workers on the front-lines themselves: doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, etc. I am so fortunate to have a job that allows me to work from home, and their selflessness in risking their own safety every day so that we CAN get back to normal one day inspires me to keep going.
What are you most looking forward to once the pandemic is over? Seeing my friends and family, above all else! But also, going out to eat!
Tell us your industry story--your path to FIDM, and some of the highlights of your career so far? I’ve always been both creative and techy with an entrepreneurial streak. I was homeschooled and when I was 10, and taught myself HTML and started an online magazine for girls, but never had considered making it a career. After high school, I had plans to become a special effects makeup artist, but after a few months in school, I knew it wasn’t for me. (Real life beauty school dropout!) I ended up working full-time in retail management and eventually discovered a love of graphic design and decided to go back to school.
I applied to a handful of art schools but I knew FIDM was right for me during my interview. When I arrived, my Admissions Advisor remarked I’d had a file at FIDM since 2002. I was confused at first because I was 11 in 2002, but then I remembered going online way back then and requesting info because 11-year-old me had decided I was going to go to FIDM.
After graduating from FIDM, I worked for Clique Media Group and HelloSociety (a New York Times Company), and in early 2018 I made the decision to start a freelancing graphic design business. In October 2018, I co-founded Cana Creative Agency, a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in all things social media. Owning my own businesses has given me the freedom I have always dreamed of, and I wake up feeling lucky every single day to have a career that rarely feels like work.
Keep up with Hana Brenner-Katz at hanabrennerkatz.com, canacreativeagency.com, and on Instagram @hanabk.