Jessica Sutton: From Pharmacist to Art Director

Our paths are often filled with twists and turns, leading us to unexpected destinations. For Jessica Sutton (Class of 2004), the journey from Santa Maria to a thriving career as an art director at The Brand Agency embodies this sentiment.

Upon completing high school, Jessica found herself torn between science and art, particularly drawn to health science. Uncertain of her future career path, she pursued Biomedical Science at Notre Dame University, with thoughts of eventually venturing into medicine. However, fate had other plans.

A pivotal moment came when university representatives introduced her to a Master of Pharmacy course. Embracing the blend of health and chemistry, she embarked on a challenging yet enjoyable study path at the University of Western Australia.

While her pharmacy career commenced, she found the repetitive nature of community pharmacy unfulfilling. Seeking to unleash her creativity, she explored various artistic pursuits outside of work. A turning point came in 2015 when she enrolled in a Graphic Design course in Melbourne. This venture introduced her to the captivating world of advertising, igniting a new passion.

Three years later, she returned to Perth as a freelance graphic designer but yearned for a more collaborative environment. Despite life’s unexpected challenges, including battling inflammatory arthritis, she remained determined to pursue her creative aspirations.

Completing the intense 12-week AWARD School course for aspiring copywriters and art directors in 2022, she solidified her place as an art director, a role that allows her to lead and work with designers and other creatives while leveraging her conceptual thinking and creativity.

Throughout her career journey, Jessica has learned the value of trying different paths and embracing change. Her transition from pharmacy to graphic design seemed daunting, but it led her to a fulfilling career that aligns with her passions.

Jessica with Executive Creative Director, Dean Hunt and Creative Director, Steve Straw from The Brand Agency

“I frequently think of Einstein’s quote, ‘When you stop learning, you start dying’”, said Jessica. “Every time I have ever felt stuck or frustrated in my career, it’s because I’m no longer learning or being challenged. Changing from pharmacy to graphic design seemed wild and scary at the time, but now I’m really happy I trusted my gut and took the plunge.” 

Jessica draws inspiration from fellow creatives, particularly Jessica Walsh, a visionary designer and art director, whose achievements serve as a beacon of empowerment for aspiring women in the industry.

In her downtime, Jess is a bit of a homebody and cherishes moments away from the screen, exploring hobbies like reading, cryptic crosswords, and her newfound passion for pottery. Jessica has also just completed her first mural of a Djiti Djiti (Willie Wagtail)

Jessica’s journey from Santa Maria to The Brand Agency showcases the beauty of embracing change, following one’s passion, and finding fulfilment through creative expression.

Jessica finishing off her first mural
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