Smith Spotlight #5


It probably goes without saying, but Smith Design is full of creatives. In our new Smith Spotlight blog series, we’re highlighting the talent of our team and their endeavors outside of our studio. Follow along to get to know the people who make Smith Design awesome.

Our fifth Smith Spotlight features our fabulous Jessica Murray, showing off her incredible hand lettering skills!

When Jessica is not working, eating sushi, or being a dog-mom to her puppy, she loves to take the time to express her creativity through her lettering designs.

Unlike many people, Jessica knew exactly what she wanted to do since she was a Sophomore in High School. In class, she would find herself doodling patterns, Zentangling and creating mandalas. She enjoyed finally getting into her design classes and away from the core high school classes. From there, she decided to attend Kean University as a graphic design major and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2020 from Robert Busch School of Design at the Michael Graves College with a bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts and Graphic Design. She really got into hand lettering her sophomore year of college when she downloaded the app “procreate” which allowed her imagination to grow with the endless design opportunities that the app created. Something that motivated her was being able to see what she started with and then the final product.

As far as where she gets her inspiration, most people just look online for new ideas, but Jess has found that what is most inspiring is something as small as what is right in front of you. She benefits from the environment around her and taking influence from anything and turning it into something of her own. She gets a lot of her motivation from her mid-day Whole Food runs, which Smith Design is lucky to have right next store to us! With the vast range of branding and packaging design influence, the ideas are endless. She likes to take pictures of things in stores to be able to look back on them and get her creative juices flowing.

Sometimes all you need to do is open your eyes, be present and look around and the best inspiration is right there!

When it comes to finding inspiration online though, she loves Pinterest and Behance. She likes to research and see what else is out there and how she can make it her own. She finds hand lettering therapeutic and a lot of the time, her designs come from her doodling without even thinking about it and letting her mind do the work.

Along with creating hand lettering art pieces, she has also designed iPhone cases with her artwork that. She has marketed them in a portfolio project and was even looking to market them on Instagram and start an Etsy shop.

She has learned so much through her journey to get where she is today. Her biggest advice to people is that you learn as you go and to not be afraid to reach out to others for creative help or opportunities, because even if they say no, that’s still better than no answer at all.

She never thought that she would be able to be doing something that she loves for a living.

“If you told me a year ago that I would be doing the things I am doing now, I wouldn’t believe you”.

While she knows the saying is cliché, she feels the quote that applies to her life the most right now is –

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

The person that inspired Jess on her creative path was her mom. Her mom also works in a creative atmosphere, working in creative agencies as a senior art director for 20+ years. Jessica explained that she could never see herself doing anything but creative work.

Jessica has been working at Smith Design since September 9th, 2020. Although she graduated mid-pandemic and during a year filled with unknowns, she is extremely grateful to have the opportunity to do what she loves every day. When asked what her favorite part about working at Smith Design is, she says it’s the people. Everyone at Smith Design welcomes with open arms, is eager to help and teach, which she thinks is extremely important in the designing atmosphere. We’re lucky to have Jess and her many talents as a part of our team, and we’re excited to see where her creative passions take her!

You can find Jessica’s work on her Instagram @artbyjnm and her website

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