Hear straight from our graduates.
Be flexible, listen to the people around you and take responsibility for your work.
Freelance Visual Designer
What type of work were you involved in prior to Shillington and what motivated you to study design at Shillington?
Before Shillington, I worked at a company in Berlin as a Graphic Designer while freelancing on the side. I started with digital design and then switched to print. I was mainly working with templates, and although it was a good learning process (especially about printing techniques, that I love) at some point I felt I needed a change.
Before this, I studied Fashion Marketing Communication in Florence, so I dove into Graphic Design with some self-taught skills to complement the knowledge and know-how in design that I gained throughout my studies. While in Berlin I realized I wanted to take a step back and do a full immersion in the graphic design world to improve my skills even further and to refine my visual style.
How did the course build your skill set?
The course wasn’t only useful from the design perspective, but you also learn many other things that are essential for a designer, such as having a process and planning for work. Learning while doing was what I liked the most. I lost my “fear of the unknown” and enjoyed practicing with the software while working on specific projects.
How has the Shillumni community helped you with your design career after graduation?
In many different ways. Manchester is a small city and I feel it’s easier to connect with people. If you work in the creative field, it can happen that you see the same faces at design events and this makes it easier to make connections and collaborations. I keep discovering ex-students who studied at Shillington years ago, and I’m still in contact with some of my classmates. I’m also collaborating with some of them for a couple of side projects—it’s nice to create something that mixes different styles and perspectives with people you know that you work well with.
When I was about to finish the course, my Shillo teachers suggested to me designers/studios to contact for a portfolio review or even just to meet them and ask for advice. They’ve been very helpful to me and that’s amazing that I’m still in contact with most of them!
I also find the Facebook Shillumni group very useful. Thanks to a post by Dina Shirin, Marketing & Communications assistant at Shillington New York, I got to know the photography collective, Foto Femme United, a 100% female group dedicated to empowering women in photography. I’m now working on their brand development. I love how design can connect you to amazing projects and people!
Tell us about some of your favourite design projects since you started working as a freelancer.
One of my favourite projects is definitely Sublunar Records. It’s an independent label focused on techno and club-oriented music, founded by two DJs and producers based in Florence. I have been taking care of the labels brand identity and design since its birth in 2017. I love combining my two passions for music and design and to have the chance to experiment. For their limited edition EPs, I designed a series of stamps, which make each EP a unique piece. I’m currently working on a new trilogy on vinyl that will be released next year, so keep your eyes peeled!
Another project I really like is Strive, an educational consultancy based in Berlin for kids and teenagers who want to study abroad. The aim was to do something engaging and cool for the kids that at the same time would inspire confidence in their parents. I’m very happy about the result, it’s something completely different from any other educational organization and it definitely catches your eye! I developed their brand identity and now, together with Studio Printmysoul, we are working on the website which will be live soon. I love freelancing because I’m having the chance to work on so many different projects from different fields like music, fashion, advertising, wellness, food, education, and events.
What advice can you provide to someone interested in the course?
Design is not only a job, but it’s also a passion that involves many aspects in a designer’s life, so if you’re really passionate about it, this is the right course for you.
While doing the course (and after), always have a curiosity to experiment with new things without stopping at the first idea because the possibilities are infinite! At the same time, remember that design is mainly about making decisions. Your teachers and classmates will give you precious feedback but in the end, you’re the one who decides what needs to be done. Be flexible, listen to the people around you and take responsibility for your work.