Katie Smith



Young Designer of the Year



Katie Smith is an illustrator based in Glasgow. Her work focuses on celebrating all the good things in life- love, friendship, travel and exploration. She is passionate about creating a world that supports and encourages each other, whilst bringing a little positivity and charm into someone’s day. Her work is vibrant, playful and colourful, to promote an uplifting and dream like attitude.

Katie has been a self employed illustrator from 2020, whilst working still at university she grew her portfolio working with clients such as V&A Museum Dundee, Coca Cola, Starbucks, New York Times, Penguin, The Telegraph, Urban Outfitters and many more.

Since graduating from Communication Design at Glasgow School of Art in the summer of 2023, she has continued to work as a full time illustrator. Her most recent work includes a series of Portraits of Royal Scottish National Orchestra professionals, set to be released later this year. As well as a limited edition whisky bottle collaboration with Edinburgh based company Cask88 and Glasgow School of Art.

Her approach is a mix of both digital and analogue techniques, working within diverse mediums of product design, murals, book covers, comic books, editorial design, clothing and print.

She works with both clients and on her own personal passion projects. This year, she made a one-off book celebrating Glasgow’s oldest restaurant Rogano. The book features a story based on Katie and her sister’s yearly tradition to have lobster and chips at Rogano on Christmas Eve. Since the restaurant closed in 2020, Katie payed homage to the restaurants history and explored the idea of how the sister’s would have lived in each decade the Rogano was open. From 1930-2030, the twelve-chapter book interweaves themes of class, society, and friendship. The book explores Glasgow’s rich history and a love for tradition, whilst travelling through time.

Her work is also socially conscious, advocating for climate change, supporting local and women owned business, self love and shining awareness on those advocating for a difference.

She is currently selling her most popular print ‘Girlies’ in which 10% of all profits go to SAMH (Scottish Action For Mental Health) which is a charity that works to provide mental health social care support, addiction and employment services within Scotland.

Katie is proud to be a Scottish illustrator, with most of her personal work showcasing landscapes across Scotland. You can see her work on Instagram @katiesmithillustration, as well as selling prints on Etsy @ksmithillustration.

Reason for nomination

Katie Smith joined Friend + Johnson in Spring 2023 while still studying at the Glasgow School of Art. Her use of color and design immediately captured our attention, showcasing her remarkable ability to infuse imagination and creativity into every project. We are proud to represent artists with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, and Katie embodies this philosophy perfectly. Her unique illustrative style and conceptual thinking bring a fresh perspective to each project. Katie's versatility across various mediums, from editorial to product design, showcases her prowess as a visual storyteller crafting unique experiences. Central to Katie's work is a celebration of life's joys, evident in the vibrant colors and lively energy she infuses into her creations. Her dedication and passion have earned admiration from clients who eagerly seek collaborations with her. In an industry known for its fast pace, Katie's commitment, communication skills, and ability to evoke genuine emotion through her art stand out, enhancing her contributions to the creative landscape.





Photographer Head Shot- Jean Yuzheng Zhang