Meet Scott Smoker
We enjoy discovering exceptional artists that are using Vectornator to create brilliant designs. One artist that we have had the pleasure to get to know is a lettering and logo designer from Poplar, Montana named Scott Smoker.
In this interview, we will open up the doors to the world of Scott Smoker and learn more about how he got his start as a designer.
How did you get your start in graphic design?
About 10 years ago while I was in college, I was studying computer programming. Towards the end of my studies, I realized that programming wasn’t for me — but I did enjoy my web design class! So I ventured off into studying web design on my own and that naturally led me down the path of studying graphic design in general. Graphic Design then led me to Logo Design and eventually Lettering. And for the past 5 years, I’ve spent my time focused solely on Lettering.
Why Lettering and Logo Design?
One of the things I like about lettering is I see it as a mix of art and design. With lettering, you can express yourself through the work you create and you can have your own “style”, but it’s all within the confines of what makes for good design. You can do lettering purely for self-expression or you can do it in more of a design sense, like with logo design.
As far as logos go, especially with logotypes, I think lettering gives you the best opportunity to stand out and be unique — because it’s completely custom. Lettering can give your brand that one-of-a-kind feels.
What obstacles have you faced as an artist and how did you overcome them?
I think for me it’s been not being able to do it full time. I still work a regular 9 to 5 job and lettering is something I still do on the side. And then combine that with family responsibilities, it can be hard at times to juggles all three of those things. So managing my time is extremely important, sometimes I have to say no to certain things in order to spend time working on my craft.
Obstacles don’t always have to be a negative thing. I like to think that obstacles just make your story that much more interesting.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Oh man, every time I get on social media and I see the work of the people I follow on Instagram and Dribbble and Twitter I’m constantly inspired.
Having said that though, I try to gather as much inspiration as I can from non-lettering sources. The colors I see in another piece of art or a picture of nature I’ve taken recently or the lyrics from a song can all serve as inspiration for the work I create.
On Instagram, you use several images that have a nature theme, how did this come about?
Being from Montana has a little something to do with that. I live on an Indian Reservation in a rural area that’s pretty far away from anything urban. For a lot of us, where we live is reflected in the work we create and I think my work kind of reflects where I’m from. Being from Montana is a small part of who I am.
What should people want to get into the Lettering or Logo Design study?
For Lettering, I would study what they call the “anatomy of type,” which is the terminology for all of the different parts that make up a letter. I would also study the difference between lettering and calligraphy and type design. They’re all related and fall under the umbrella of “letter making” but each has their distinct differences.
If you’re looking to get into logo design I would encourage the study of Brand Identity, which logo design falls under. Understanding all of the aspects that make for a great visual identity will help you in your logo design process.
We live in a time where we have access to a wealth of information that wasn’t available even 10 years ago. If there’s something you want to learn, someone, somewhere on the Internet is willing to teach it — lettering and logo design are no exception. There are plenty of websites and YouTube channels that offer up valuable information.
What pro advice can you give people wanting to get into design?
If you’re passionate, learning about design is easy. I think where most of us struggle is within the business side of things.
How much should I charge? How do I promote myself? Do I need to have my clients sign a contract? Those are questions we all ask ourselves along the way — and none of them really have to do with design.
I would say in any creative field today (and going forward) half of the battle will be navigating the business side of things. So my advice would just to be mindful of that fact. It’s something I’m still learning.
What types of projects do you have coming up? What is next for Scott Smoker?
For the past few months, I’ve been venturing off into doing more illustration work and Vectornator’s been a huge part of my workflow. I’ve also been documenting more of the stuff I’ve been creating and plan on sharing more of my process in video form, so you can expect to see some of that soon! I’m excited to share all of the stuff I’ve been working on the last couple of months!
Also, check out our article about how to use Vectornator as a t-shirt design software.