Hear straight from our graduates.
Shillington does such a great job of instilling the design process into each brief that it’s become second nature for me in a real-world setting.
Junior Designer at Common
Ben Thaler studied at Shillington New York
You’ve worked as a digital producer for over 5 years. What inspired you to change careers?
Art and design were always passions of mine, but for one reason or another not something I ended up pursuing in college. So when I graduated, I got as close to it as I could, as a producer at creative agencies in NYC. Eventually, I started to fear that I was becoming too ingrained in a job I wasn’t truly excited about. After some proper internal back-and-forth, I decided to sign up for Shillington. Truthfully, the time I spent as a producer was a blessing in disguise. I got to work with some amazing creatives, and gain an understanding of how the creative process flows under some TIGHT agency deadlines.
Do you think the skills you learned during the course prepared you for the design industry?
Absolutely. You don’t realize how much you are absorbing, in such a relatively short amount of time. Shillington does such a great job of instilling the design process into each brief that it’s become second nature for me in a real-world setting. Things that I used to dread—like thumbnailing—are now things that I cannot live without.
What was your favorite brief during the course?
The museum rebrand for sure (although handmade was a blast too). I’m a big sports fan so, when I got assigned the Museu do Futebol, I thought I had a pretty good idea of the direction I wanted to go in but I ended up spending a lot of time iterating on the concept. Soccer is such a passionate sport, and that passion is reflected in the fans with such saturation, so I wanted to make sure I did it justice.
As far as the process is concerned so much of it was upfront research and ideation. There were moodboards, personas, thumbnails, logo sketches and more moodboards. This project really drove home the importance of solid creative process. By the time I got around to portfolio, it was just about honing in on the concept that I had spent so much time developing.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering studying part-time, what would it be?
If you are going to do it give it 100% of your effort, not only for yourself but for your classmates and instructors. The course is long and it will be challenging at times, but having classmates that are supportive and equally motivated makes it exponentially easier.
You’ve recently started working at the real estate company Common. What’s a typical day like working remotely and what types of projects are you working on?
I do feel extremely fortunate to have a job during this time, but it has certainly been a unique introduction into the design industry.
Working remotely has been surprisingly easy by all the technology and tools that are readily available. There are so many ways to share files quickly, so getting feedback and working through iterations hasn’t been too difficult. Since we’re unable to actually work on things collaboratively in-person, it’s important to err on the side of over-communication. Slack has become my second-best friend…behind Illustrator of course.
My days are pretty straightforward as of now. Connect with the team about design deliverables, reviews with my CD, tons of coffee breaks, rinse repeat. It’s only been a couple of weeks but I’ve gotten to work on a wide variety of projects so far. Social, print, web, you name it. Kind of a trial by fire, which I’m loving.
Check out Ben’s website and keep up to date with his work.