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Julie Smetana

Julie is many kinds of artist. At DH, she’s a graphic designer whose visual concepts tell DH clients’ stories in ways that feel contemporary and clean, but also human and true. Her dedication and drive are apparent in the grand gestures and in the small details: She’s an Ironman finisher — who designed her own jersey.
Art Director
Graphic designer
Website architect
Living artist

Julie’s take on:

What makes a great logo

Your logo should evoke a feeling, even if it’s subtle. And it should serve as your organization’s visual identity. And it should be unique. And it should be appropriate for your organization’s space in the world. And, Julie says, “a good logo will make you stop and look at it, even if it’s super simple.”

So that’s a lot of jobs for a logo. To get them done requires a designer with a focus on the details — the curve in letter, a line’s precise angle, spacing that’s just right. Julie can easily spot a hastily thrown-together logo; for DH clients, she lives to perfect the details, because when they all come together, that’s where the feeling comes in.

Web design from blueprints to wall paint

Creating your website is like building a house, Julie says, from the planning to the final touches. First come the blueprints, the plans for how your website will flow and function. Then Julie puts up some studded walls, basically — designing a set of “wireframes,” which means laying out each page with elements like buttons, scrollbars and menus. At last comes the fun part, Julie says: interior design. “Prototyping” is where she applies color, images and other elements to make a site that’s beautiful and functional.

Julie says:

That balance is key. A lot of sites are beautiful, but all the cool stuff is crammed into a tiny room, so you can’t see any of it. It needs to be spread out and thoughtfully injected.

Experience as art

As she worked toward her degrees in studio art, Julie painted, made prints, sculpted, created performance pieces … rather than focusing on one medium, she pretty much did all the art. “I chose everything, which is a theme of my life,” she says.

In graduate school, Julie’s performance pieces were endurance-based, including a staged stair climb that lasted until she’d ascended and descended height of Mount Everest. This might not surprise anyone who knows Julie now as an Ironman finisher, cyclist, skier — as someone who needs movement to feel like herself. In grad school, her thesis was on the futility of fine art as a final product. For Julie, the point is the creation: Experience is everything.


Master of fine arts, studio art, Memphis College of Art

Bachelor of arts, art, Gonzaga University

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