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I found a way to immerse myself, for a three month period, in a creative environment and learn everything I need to know to incorporate graphic design into my life. This was the best decision I’ve ever made!

Freelance Designer and Art Director

Maria Vazquez

Why did you choose to study at Shillington?

I had always wanted to become a designer, but I was never able to pursue a creative career. I did a Business Administration degree and a took a master in Culture and Arts Management, so even my education was towards managing the arts but not actually creating them. Then, when I discovered photography, everything changed for me as I was able to explore my creative side. After several years of working as a photographer and as a stylist, I still felt the need to study design but felt I was already “late” in career development to go back to school and invest another 4 years studying a degree. That is until I discovered Shillington and its accelerated program—it was exactly what I was looking for. I found a way to immerse myself, for a three month period, in a creative environment and learn everything I need to know to incorporate graphic design into my life. This was the best decision I’ve ever made!

What was your favourite project you worked on at Shillington?

My favourite project was the Campaign brief. It was my favourite because after learning so much during the entire course, we were free to apply all these new skills to our own interests. This project challenged me in many ways because I had to learn how to have consistency through my entire work flow: from branding, creating a logo, designing the posters, creating illustrations and photography, coming up with a packaging, to finally creating a website and its content for social media.

What was your biggest challenge during the course? Why?

The biggest challenge was trying to find balance between work and social life. I felt very tempted to go out with friend and party, but I knew I had already invested time and money on this, so I tried to make the best out of my time in Shillington. Luckily my family and friends where very supportive, because they knew I was doing something I’ve always wanted to do.

Did you make any meaningful connections with your teachers or fellow students during the course? Are you still in touch?

Yes! I met too many talented and inspiring people at my course. We are all still in touch—we have a WhatsApp group where we all help each other out and ask questions about work, careers etc.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?

I definitely have more than one:

Make the most out of your time. It’s going to be very hard and exhausting, but totally worth it. Be prepared to set aside your social life for 3 months, and dive into the world of design.

Listen to your teachers and ask for advice. They know the industry and can offer very helpful insights.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, this is your time to experiment to find what feels right for your “design style”.

Ask for feedback to your classmates, they might also be learning but they can offer new eyes to see your work. Sometimes we get so caught up in your design and having new fresh eyes can improve your design.

After finishing you will be amazed and proud by all you have accomplished.

Check out Maria’s website and Instagram to keep up to date with all her latest projects.

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