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Hear straight from our graduates.

Shillington’s course was a great way for me to come back to the roots of graphic design.

Graphic Design Artist, Polemical Zine

Ximena Jimenez

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

A friend of mine did the course in Brisbane and he highly recommended it to me. After browsing through some graduates’ portfolios from Shillington I knew that was the direction I wanted my work to go in. My previous education was a good foundation but I liked the idea of starting from scratch—Shillington’s course was a great way for me to come back to the roots of graphic design.

What were you up to before the course? Did you have any experience in design?

I studied Arts and Business Design in Lima. After graduating I decided to travel around Perú and learn more about hand-printing techniques. I worked as a graphic designer and collaborated with local musicians. I don’t play any instruments but I love music and I feel that I can make music with my graphics! Musicians are some of my favourite people to work with.

What was the course like? Did you make any lasting connections with your teachers or fellow students?

Coming into the course I was very excited—it was amazing to be around people from all around the world that are so passionate and creative. At the beginning, it was difficult to push past the prior knowledge I held on to from uni and work. I was genuinely surprised by the talent and drive coming from my classmates who were fresh to the world of design, nudging me towards being humble and letting the teachers guide me through the learning process.

The language barrier, for me, started out as one of the more frustrating aspects of the course, especially when tasked with bestowing a tone of voice in our designs. The subtleties of communicating in a language you did not grow up with, combined with the difficulties working online, away from the rest of the class in COVID lockdown, was one of the greatest challenges for me in the course. Although it brought me some stress, it was good exposure to what the future had in store for me when I found my first design job here in Australia.

Every month or so, I catch up with some of my Melbourne-based classmates over dinner, and discuss how the world outside school is treating us: sharing experiences and tips for dealing with the real working world of professional design in Australia. I find it inspiring to have a group of friends that I can speak with about creative endeavours; it is a priceless resource.

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

Make mistakes! Making as many mistakes as possible in a learning environment is a good opportunity to grow and prepare you for a professional working environment.

I took this course very seriously because it was a significant investment of my time and effort, but I quickly felt caught up with being a “good” student and being the best in the class. It was only months later that I understood: becoming “good” takes time and practice—it cannot be rushed. Communicating with your teachers is important, they are here for you, and will guide you through the process.

If you find yourself panicking, remember: reach out to your teachers and classmates—they are often your best resource.

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

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