Jessica Hurwit graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) with a bachelor of industrial design degree. She is currently a senior industrial designer at Uncommon Goods, where she works across the entire design process, from conceptualizing ideas for new projects to bringing the products to market. She also designs packaging for some of the products and maintains relationships with the designers, artists, and makers with whom the company collaborates on new, exclusive products.
“What I enjoy most about working at Uncommon Goods is the variety of work–there is a lot of creative freedom,” Hurwit says. “We get to design across all categories from jewelry to housewares, leisure and tech to food and drink. I also really enjoy being a part of a founding B Corp where we have a ‘people first’ approach to business, and environmental responsibility and giving back to our community and the world are a focus.”
As a student in the industrial and interaction design program at Syracuse, Hurwit learned to think critically and solve problems creatively, also known as “design thinking.” This ability extends to all aspects of her work today.
“It’s apparent now how many non-design companies value and invest in design thinking in order to advance their business and be innovative,” she says. “Syracuse gave me that experience early on before anyone realized how valuable that knowledge and experience would be.”
Hurwit also benefited from the opportunity to study design abroad at Syracuse University’s London Center, where students can spend a semester in a world capital renowned for its cutting-edge design.
“Learning from professors with a diverse range of cultural and design experiences gave me a more worldly and well-rounded view of design early on,” she recalls. “It also gave me the opportunity to meet people and experience their perspectives, as I was able to travel during my time there. Design has always been human-centric, and I truly believe the better understanding and empathy you can have for people of diverse cultural backgrounds, the better you can be as a designer.”
Hurwit, who is a member of VPA’s Young Alumni Council, advises students interested in studying design to have an open mind and take advantage of elective credits to explore other disciplines, which she was able to do at Syracuse.
“Design is about people, and your elective credits are an amazing opportunity to understand people on a deeper level, which will enhance your design education,” she says. “Think courses in business, religion, anthropology, and beyond–every one will make you better.”