October 01, 2015
Few people could quickly switch from being The Crusader’s editorial page editor and studying creative writing to designing graphics for Pixar Animation Studios and some of the world’s best-known brands. But that’s not the case for Cassandra Smolcic ’06, who views her graphic designs as a visual extension of the reporting, research and storytelling skills she honed at Susquehanna.
“Studying at a liberal arts school like Susquehanna allowed me to try on different hats,” Smolcic says. “I had never heard of the term ‘graphic design’ before I took a computer arts elective my sophomore year.”
Immediately drawn to the field, she took a minor in art at Susquehanna and went on to earn a master of fine arts from the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design. A Pixar internship turned into a five-year gig designing graphics for such blockbusters as Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, and Finding Dory.
Last year she moved to another San Francisco-area giant: the design firm Turner Duckworth. There she has worked on designs for such
clients as Google, Visa, Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Oreo.
Despite her talent and experience, Smolcic readily admits that working for an industry trailblazer like Turner Duckworth can be both
intimidating and educational. “My job allows me to become a temporary expert in an endless variety of subjects and remain a perpetual student.
Collaborating with such a smart and savvy team of designers-both here in San Francisco and in our London office-was a bit daunting at first,
but that collective group dynamic is what makes the work we do here exceptional.”
Moreover, she is moved by the impact of her medium. “Visual communications are incredibly powerful because of the emotional connections
they elicit. My designs invariably have some larger social, cultural or political impact and have the power to change the way people interpret the
world around them-which is a notion that keeps me both humbled and inspired every day.”