The 254

Hanna Braud

By Kevin Tankersley

Finding the heart behind the work

When Hanna Braud was about 10 years old, she was with her mother, getting a meal at Burger King in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While looking through a magazine, Braud asked her mother, “Who makes this?” Who decides where the pictures go on the page and why the headlines and title go where they make the most sense and how is everything designed to make the reader’s eye go where it needs to go, she wanted to know.

Her mother answered the questions, and “literally that moment” is when Braud decided that’s what she wanted to do.

“It’s been an ongoing trend that I keep coming back to in my life,” she said. “In school, they’ll give personality tests or a job that might be suited for you, and it was always art and specifically graphic design. So that’s just always been my journey.”

Braud — which is pronounced Bro, as in “What’s up, bro,” since she is from Louisiana, after all — is the owner of Studio Braud, which offers branding, strategy and numerous other creative services. She has worked with Waco businesses such as Milk Bottle Cookies, Cortney + Co., Union Hall, Turner Brothers Real Estate and several more. For Freight Icehouse and Yardbar, at 1613 James Ave., Braud created its brand and visuals and then collaborated with another artist on signage and a mural. She also designed the Welcome to Uptown mural that adorns the Sironia Waco building at 1509 Austin Ave.

Braud graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in fine arts and a concentration in graphic design. Two weeks after she graduated, she moved to Waco with her husband Jeremy, whose job as an oil and gas facility manager dictated relocation.

“In my nine years of being here, I’ve gone on a journey to figure out how to hone in — and fell in love with —working with local businesses to develop strategic brand identities for them,” she said. “Something that is representative of them and the heart behind the business, because that’s what a small business is. Their heart is so involved in that. So getting down to the root and finding, truly, the heart behind the work and how to represent that visually is super important.”

Braud loves her adopted hometown and its quirkiness — the annual cricket season that everyone just sort of accepts; the blue piano that once had a home on an Austin Avenue sidewalk; the statue of Themis, the goddess of justice, atop the McLennan County Courthouse, which for a time had only a right arm after the left one was blown off during a 2015 storm. But Braud said much of her vibe comes from San Diego, where she visits at least once a year. She’s not a surfer, she said, but she and Jeremy enjoy the tidepools.

According to the Cabrillo National Monument website, “As the tide goes from high to low, pools of water are left behind among the rocks, forming tidepools. As the water moves away from the shoreline during a low tide, water and critters are trapped in these tidepools.”

“My brand is totally inspired by my travels there,” Braud said.

Mobile Art

Besides the murals at Sironia Waco and Freight, the most visible work of Hanna Braud and Studio Braud can be seen on the Waco Mobile Welcome Center, a Waco-themed bus operated by the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau. Braud won a competition coordinated by Creative Waco for her design to adorn the bus. Featured on the bus are the Waco skyline as seen from the Elm Avenue side of the Suspension Bridge, as well as other Waco favorites including the Dr Pepper Museum, ALICO Building, Cameron Park and the seated elephant statue along the banks of the Brazos River.