After studying Art Direction in Argentina, Andrea (Andy) Vargas felt that she wasn’t quite ready to enter the working world. She needed more knowledge of Graphic Design before securing a job. Enroling at Shillington and relocating to London helped her spark the career she always dreamed of, as well as making some great friends along the way.
Since graduating she’s worked at Anti/Anti in New York and is now back in Bogota, Colombia working with Lucho Correa at Lip. We spoke with Andy about her Shillington experience and life on the other side.
You’re originally from Colombia. What inspired you to move all the way to London to study?
After I graduated high school I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I did a four year undergraduate programme on Art Direction in Advertising. When I finished my degree, my father asked me what I wanted to do next. I told him that I did not feel prepared for the real world yet. I wanted to continue studying something that allowed me to have more artistic freedom. I decided that I wanted to develop my knowledge in Graphic Design. My father then asked me where in the world was the best place to continue my studies – I knew that London was the place to be. I hadn’t even been in the UK or Europe before, but I was sure that it was the best place to get inspiration.
Did you make any meaningful connections with teachers or fellow students during the course?
Something I loved about studying in London was how international it is. For some reason, once you are there, every nationality, race, culture, etc. cancels out. Everyone is there for the same reason.
All my #shillolon classmates became really close. We were a great class with lots of potential. We still have a Facebook group where we constantly catch up, ask for each other’s feedback and share interesting/funny things. I also keep in touch with my lovely teachers, I always like to share my merits with them, they deserve to be part of it as well.
How have you found life since graduating? Do you feel that Shillington helped you prepare for life ahead?
Shillington trained my eyes and my mind. It taught me from the most basic conceptual aspect to the most complex technical skill.
Shillington made me a problem solver—a person who can visualise and has creative perception. Basically, it prepared me for the real world.
I got a job the day I arrived back to Bogotá! Thanks to my portfolio, I am now working at one of the best design agencies in Colombia, Lip, with Lucho Correa.
Which project has given you the greatest sense of achievement so far in your career?
Last week was a big deal for me. I worked on the brand identity for a new programme for The Ministry of Education of Colombia. My chosen design is going to be in the hands of teachers and directors all over the country! The clients were very happy with the results of my design and roll out—it surpassed their expectations. Happy clients, happy designer.
From looking at your website you clearly have great photography skills. Do you think it’s useful for designers to look to other genres of creativity to help inform their work?
Photography and Graphic Design go hand-in-hand. As designers we are constantly provided with photos. We manipulate them to communicate ideas and enhance our designs. Composition, layout, colour—among other principles—apply in both fields. Knowing the difference between a good and a bad photograph will make your design more appealing. Designers should definitely look to other creative genres to inform and enrich their work.
Would you recommend the Shillington experience to others curious in pursuing a career in graphic design?
Without hesitating. I would go back if I could!
What advice would you give to the current students studying at Shillington?
Make the most of it. Absorb everything. Ask if you don’t understand. Take it seriously and you will end up with a kick-ass portfolio. Make friends from different cultures and always smile!