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Hear straight from our graduates.

If you want to rekindle your creative side in any way, be nurtured, challenged, become a stronger designer (across any creative discipline)—then Shillington is brilliant. I would do it all over again if I could. It literally shaped my future and gave me the skills and connections to get there.

Graphic Designer, DSR Branding

Cait Dorombozo

Why Shillington? What made our design course stand out from the rest?

I actually met a Shillington full-time student in New Farm Park one morning walking our dogs, like a year before I started the course. She lit up talking about it, and my ears pricked up that there was a specialised graphic design college in Brisbane that wasn’t part of the regular Uni route.

Looking online, I got a feel that the course offered real fast-paced skill development, and they offered a part-time class in the evenings which meant I could still work full-time. Plus, there’s an option to pay as you go—massive gamechanger. It was a huge risk (to me) committing to something I’ve always wanted to pursue, and I wanted to have an achievable career pathway. Every graduate becomes a part of the Shillumni network (graduates & other industry professionals). How brilliant is that. Reassuring to know there was something extra beyond the course itself.

I attended an in-person info night and was completely sold. Specifically by Mitch and Adam (who later became my teachers)—super chill and super passionate. They took us through a design process of a fish & chippery from start to finish, and I just couldn’t believe this was a real job. Like hearing someone speak the language you thought you just made up to yourself.

What have you been up to since graduation? How has your life changed after Shillington?

So much. My career completely changed—gone are the days of hospo and real estate. I’m completely humbled and happy to say I am a graphic designer (and getting paid for it haha).

I was really jazzed after graduation and kept the momentum going. I started an Instagram account to archive & share my design projects, I did some free projects for some close friends, put together some unsuccessful proposals (huge learning curb), and I started targeting a select few Brisbane design studios to introduce myself to.

Through an Instagram tag I ended up connecting with Brand Strategist Mark Pollard and chatted with him on Sweathead, A Strategy Podcast on Spotify. It was a chance to further workshop my Greyhound Adoption Campaign (from Shillington) and was very cool to do.

Now I work as full-time designer with a great team, and now they have to suffer my humour each and every day (sorry guys).

You recently landed a job as a Graphic Designer for DSR Branding! Congratulations, how did that come about?

It was super organic. All graduates spoke to an industry professional via a 15-min Zoom to share our portfolio to gain feedback and insights—I was fortunate enough to be paired with Dan Rowell.

I had a script ready to talk through all my projects, which completely (and immediately) went out the door, but turns out when you know your process and design journey then it’s far easier to talk about naturally. I think that’s why I could relax a little, and not worry about sounding too stiff. I just spoke how I speak in real life.

Dan invited me to the studio to meet Reuben, their Lead Designer, to share my portfolio once more. In February I joined the DSR team as a freelancer, and a few months later I was offered a full-time position. I’m grateful to be a part of a team that continues to adapt and evolve with every project, works only with like-minded clients, and champions (and nurtures) professional growth. I’m in the right place. Thanks again Dan.

Did you have any previous design experience? How did the course build your skillset?

No previous experience. I had self-taught some InDesign bare basics the year prior in my old job. The course was phenomenal. It is designed to start you off from scratch, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never touched Adobe, let alone a Mac.

My teachers were phenomenal. Inspiring. Supporting. Motivating. Constantly filling our design love buckets up and keeping them overflowing. Challenging and empowering us. I remember the first night they called us creatives, and I finally felt in the exact right place.

The short briefs were challenging but got us comfortable with sharing our work at the end of every class. We had a clearly defined process we could follow like a recipe, this became my mantra. To iterate fast. Problem solve. Group critiques became more comfortable and then completely normal. The whole course is designed to give us a taste of different briefs & styles across multiple design programmes, and then we could hone it in at portfolio time.

They teach you to work smarter not harder, to use keyboard shortcuts to be super time-efficient, to be exact and not just guess. I’ve found that processes can take shape and always evolve over time, but the foundation is always the same.  P.S. Never forget your grid haha.

What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?

Just do it.

Trust in the course and trust in the process. Get comfortable with the idea of being vulnerable, because that’s when the real magic happens. Bad ideas lead to good ideas (you need both). It’s not about being perfect. Enjoy it and go along for the ride with a willing and open attitude and you’ll thank yourself later.

Check out Cait’s website and read her full interview on the blog

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