May 2022 Edition

Cara HotzCara Hotz, Head of Creative Design, Communications and Public Affairs

It is no small feat to translate cutting-edge scientific and technology concepts into visual communications that make an immediate, lasting impact. Add tight project deadlines, audiences who range from Jane Q. Public to preeminent experts to government leaders and you might wonder who’d be brave enough to take on such a role.

Cara Hotz, Argonne’s Head of Creative Design in Communications and Public Affairs, is not only brave enough; she’s having a blast while doing it.

“My grandfather once smiled at me and said, ‘life isn’t worth living if you’re not having fun,’ and his optimism resonated with me,” said Hotz, who moved to Chicago from North Carolina. “Fusing fun into my professional life helps me make connections with others in ways that aren’t tied to the day-to-day pressures of deadlines and deliverables.”

Hotz has been a lead steward of Argonne’s brand since 2017. She steers a team of creative designers and works with various teams to produce environmental, print, digital, and video graphics to accelerate the science and technology that drive U.S. prosperity and security.

Not bad for someone who wasn’t sure how to initially describe her desired career.

“Even though my father is a landscape architect, and my mother is an accomplished educator, I didn’t have a vocabulary for talking about design,” said Hotz with a laugh. “I felt supremely awkward in high school talking about pursuing ‘color and shape’ as a career. Luckily, my father recognized my interest from his ‘design thinking’ point of view, and he helped me find my path.”

Hotz went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design with a concentration in Graphic Design.

“My design theory education influenced my working philosophy of design—that it’s a strategic, pragmatic, and comprehensive endeavor that can have real impact,” she said.

Before joining Argonne, Hotz spent 20 years working in creative roles for agencies, in-house environments, and managing her own firm, Studio Pragmatik’. She now shares her creative energy and enthusiasm with colleagues at Argonne.

“Helping people share their ideas and discoveries in ways that resonate with who they want to connect with is extremely fulfilling,” said Hotz. “Supporting the Lab’s efforts with strong, effective visual communications is a thrill—and every day is a new challenge to figure out. It’s great!”