Describe your typical day as a designer.
Typically I start the day with a coffee and go through my latest emails and catch up on the latest articles in my RSS feed. After that it's on to the projects I have on that week. I am the only digital designer at LOVE so I'm responsible for most of the digital work that we produce. Managing all the relevant tasks takes good organisation and time management. This is why I was so impressed with Shillington. Each day was set up to get you used to working in a studio environment and managing your time wisely.
What do you love about being a designer?
At the moment what I love most is the variety of work in both scale and time. At university, I remember spending one year working on one project! To compare that with now, sometimes I've had only two days to complete a project and then it's on to the next thing. It keeps you on your toes!
When did you graduate from Shillington?
I graduated from Shillington in July 2011.
What area were you working in before the course?
I was well on my way to becoming an architect but, due to the economic downturn, I decided to take some time out to contemplate what I was doing and where I was going (a 'mid-twenties crisis', if you will). A year later I did the Shillington Course.
Why did you decide to do the course?
I didn't want to go back to University because most courses lasted from one to three years and I felt I'd spent enough time 'studying.' I wanted to learn new skills quickly and efficiently and get out into the real world again armed with a strong portfolio.
What was the most valuable thing you took away from the course?
Start with a pen and a pad!
How did you find the college environment, facilities and teaching?
The facilities and environment were excellent. The whole setup prepares you for what goes on in a real studio. I can't speak highly enough of the Manchester lecturers, Sarah and Jeffrey. They pushed me to develop my ideas and were always on hand to help and assist me.
How confident did you feel about entering the design industry after you graduated?
Entering a new profession tends to be scary no matter what level you are at. But I found that I was (and am) confident in my ability and felt I had the skills necessary to be able to complete any tasks asked of me.
How long did it take you to secure a job?
I got an offer of a placement at my graduation exhibition at the end of the course! That lasted two weeks and was followed by another internship. Then, after an initial trial period at Cahoona, I was offered a full-time position.
What was the response like to your portfolio during interviews?
Generally the response to my portfolio has been positive. What I have noticed is that most studios look for your attention to detail. Widows, alignment, margins etc. – attention to detail is paramount! I can't emphasise that enough.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
Being shortlisted for Best Use of Visual Design at the Big Chip Awards 2012 for James Anderson 613 and receiving Site of the Day from awwwards.com. I put a lot of effort into that project because I had full control and creative freedom. I'm glad it has been recognised by my peers.
Where do you see yourself 12 months from now?
I want to develop as a designer and specialize more in digital design. So hopefully designing more for the web, tablets and smart phones! You can't sit back in this industry so I plan to develop my next skill set. The Shillington Web course may be next!
Any advice for someone pondering whether to take the leap into graphic design and sign up for the course?
Make sure you do your research first, go to the info sessions and even contact previous students (not stalk!) on Twitter. Start looking at 'good' design. There is a plethora of design blogs, books and magazines out there to look at. Other than that, go for it!
Shillington graduates talk about life after completing our course.