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After spending four years studying business, I was looking for a short but efficient design course that would help me attain the skills I needed—hence, Shillington. I didn’t know at that time it would completely transform my career path!

Creative Specialist, Twitter

Anuja Shukla

Why did you choose to study at Shillington? Did you have any previous design experience?

I chose Shillington because design seemed like the most efficient skill I needed for my career, while not wasting too much time or money on another degree. I also really wanted to explore New York after graduating, so that was a big draw for me as I had never been there before Shillington. I still remember meeting up with one of my close friends from the program a few days before the classes started and just feeling the rush and creativity of the city.

What have you been up to since graduation? 

When I graduated from Shillington, I really wanted to hone my skills in a small design studio. In a lot of ways, I knew design was a competitive industry, and I also knew that I wasn’t the “best” designer out there. I spent a few months after Shillington refining the skills that I learned while freelancing for small businesses around my hometown. Diving more into the history of design, doing a bunch of youtube tutorials, mimicking posters or layouts that I would see in magazines, even reviewing all of the PDFs we got in class, were all pivotal in learning about the design industry.

How has your life changed after Shillington?

I never imagined IDEO would be my first step into my design career (talk about major imposter syndrome!), but I am so glad it was because it opened my eyes to different types of design fields and thinking. Since then I’ve worked at Fitbit designing visual systems for their new products/services, and am currently in a design/strategy role as a Creative Specialist on the Twitter Next team.

Can you share a bit about your work as a designer—specifically a Creative Specialist at Twitter? We’d love to hear more on “Twitter Next” and how you are combining design and strategy to visualize human centric ideas.

Twitter Next—is a team of strategists, technologists, program managers, and designers at Twitter focused on helping brands create human-centric ideas worth talking about. When given a brief, my design process as a Creative Specialist revolves around research, looking to find a mind-blowing insight (often hiding in Twitter data) that can be the foundation for a creative concept, brainstorming with my peers on the best ways to bring that concept to life, and designing meaningful experiences on and off the platform. One thing I love about working on Twitter Next is being able to be a chameleon within my role: I am a strategist, a designer, a data researcher, an art director, a photographer—something I found to be a breath of fresh air in a sometimes siloed design career.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting in the full-time course at Shillington, what would it be?

Go at your own pace, ask alot of questions, and work with tactile matter. The full-time course will have people from various backgrounds, some who know design well, and some who are new to it. As a perfectionist, I ended the course wanting to have a perfect portfolio. What I didn’t know is your portfolio will always grow and change throughout your career, so going at your own pace and trusting the process is key to getting better at design. Getting handsy with tactile matter will also help you to have fun along the way and create something unique.

If you are inspired by a company or a studio, ask yourself these questions: what font do they use, what are their brand colors, do they illustrate, are they a product design company? Then, gear your portfolio towards that style, but of course, with your own personal, unique point of view.

Visit Anuja’s website and read her full interview on the blog

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