We’re thrilled to announce that two of our wonderful graduates have been announced as semi-finalists for the prestigious Adobe Awards! Brisbane Graduate Brandon McIntosh wowed the judging panel with his stylish City Branding for Budapest while Melbourne Graduate Maria Rodrigues made a stellar impression with 3 of her branding briefs.
We wanted to find out more about how Brandon and Maria feel since being announced as semi-finalists, more about their work and why they’d strongly suggest that other graduates enter their work into as many competitions as possible!
How does it feel to be nominated as a semi-finalists by such a prestigious awarding body?
Maria: When I received the official email from Adobe I felt confused at the beginning, I didn’t understand what that actually meant hehe. But once I could digest the news I felt so proud of myself! I couldn’t believe that these amazingly talented judges looked over my portfolio and thought it was good enough to be in the next round. It is inspiring and reminds me that I am on a good track to get where I want to be.
Brandon: I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected as a semi-finalist. I use Adobe products every day and to have my work recognised by Adobe is validation that I am on the right path and to keep at it. Working as a designer can be quite isolating.
It’s really refreshing to be reassured that other designers like what you’re doing.
Tell us a bit about the work that’s been chosen?
Maria: 3 pieces were selected, an annual report and 2 branding designs. I put so much effort on these and thanks to Spencer and Sarah (my teachers) I was able to push all the ideas further.
The annual report was a vector illustration piece where I created logistic shapes based on lines. I tried to express movement throughout every page and I enjoyed typesetting it. While I was designing it I imagined how it will look animated and you can see the final result on the Behance page here.
‘Flores’ was the second piece chosen, it is a florist branding designed from scratch. This one is a special project for me because I ended up printing the business cards, tags and wrapping paper to prepare a photo shoot. By doing the entire process from generating ideas up to editing the photos, you learn how to keep consistency, a very important factor to make the whole project to look professional.
The third project was a branding design for an energy company. This brief was the most challenging for me in the course because we had to come up with the name, target audience and define basically what the entire company was about. At the same time, this brief gave us creative freedom to play with lots of styles and ideas. The final result includes an energy bill, a friendly website (desktop and mobile), business cards and even a branded van.
Brandon: The brief was to create a new modern and progressive identity for the city of Istanbul. Through my research, I discovered that Istanbul was a city of contrasts and opposites. Geographically the city is a meeting of east and west, culturally a culmination of old and new, and even its cuisine is either super sweet or deliciously sour. I wanted to convey the cities diversity through the visual identity as I felt the contrasts of Istanbul are what make it unique. The ability to experience polar-opposites all in one place.
I brought the idea of contrasts to the identity through my choice of graphical elements and design decisions. The identity ultimately is modern but my choices such as geometric shapes and colour is based on Istanbul’s past creating a contrast. Geometric shapes were used as they are culturally significant and reflective of the cites traditional art. The colour turquoise was selected as its originates from ancient Istanbul and the city is the original inspiration for the colour. The logo is a representation of the push and pull between the cities contrasts and the different directions in which they might take you.
How important do you think it is for designers, especially recent graduates, to enter competitions? What would you say to the cynics out there hesitant to submit their work?
Maria: I would say ‘What is the worst thing that can happen?’ if you don’t win, it will actually push you to get better, that is what inspired me to upload my work. Companies like Adobe, are interested in showing new talented people. They invest so much time and effort organising these competitions to help you get out there, so why not taking advantage of it. Besides all of this, you get more views on your social media channels, so really, there is more to win than to lose.
Brandon: As a recent graduate I recommend biting the bullet and having a go entering competitions. Often there is little work involved in entering if you have already mocked-up your designs and written a blurb about your work during portfolio week. If you’re fortunate enough to get a nod from the judges it’s a fantastic confidence boost and is a gold star you can stamp on your resume.
What have you been up to since graduating from Shillington?
Maria: I’ve been really busy. I have a full-time job as a Motion Designer and in my spare time I do freelance jobs and work on personal projects for my brand Andunie Motion. I must say that it has been an incredible year by far. I feel confident with any brief that is given to me and I know what is the best way to approach it, I try to be as organised and proactive as I can. All of this thanks to Shillington.
Brandon: Since graduating from Shillington I have been very fortunate and privileged to operate my own branding studio in the heart of Newcastle (Australia). I have had the fortune to work closely with a passionate client base who have privileged me with caring for and creating their brands. Starting out on my own and walking away from certain opportunities was incredibly daunting but I could have never imagined the success, positivity and recognition I have received locally and internationally choosing to go it alone. I am also extremely privileged to be part of Renew Newcastle and share my own creative studio in the canopy of Newcastle’s CBD with another designer who is both a friend and mentor.
To my surprise, I have accomplished most of my goals and am absolutely living the dream thanks to Shillington.
Belen and Shanti really challenged me as a designer and helped me to perfect my style prepping me with a brilliant portfolio which upon graduating opened a world of opportunities to me.
If you could give one piece of advice to Shillington students about the graduate what would it be?
Maria: Invest as much time as you can in improving your skills.
Don’t stop and keep practising every day.
When I was studying I put a lot of time into my briefs, now that I’m a graduate I put a lot of time into my personal projects.
Brandon: There is no shame in freelancing and taking time to work out your strengths and what you enjoy doing. Discovering your x factor and what you do the best is empowering. Developing your point of difference will open doors and create unrealised opportunities. Design studios are the result of freelancers uncovering their difference and recognising their path in the industry. Freelancing provides the opportunity to build invaluable skills such as business admin, self-promotion and account management. For me freelancing has allowed me to work with, learn and be mentored by amazing designers and gain access to opportunities that would have been unattainable working as a junior designer in a studio.