A lot of our students come to us from creative backgrounds, whether it be photography, illustration, fine art or fashion—they’re all looking to broaden their skill set and learn more about Graphic Design. Recent Manchester part-time graduate Emma Ladlow, was one of these students. Moving from an international career in Fashion, Emma enrolled to explore the design spectrum further and create a portfolio which would enable her to apply her skills to multiple design fields.
Following her graduation, we spoke with Emma about her experience of being a part-time student at Shillington. We find out what it was like to juggle commitments while studying and gain a bit more insight into the projects she designed during the nine months.
You worked in Fashion before enrolling at Shillington, what attracted you to Graphic Design, and Shillington in particular?
I did. I’ve been lucky enough to work internationally in the past. I first heard of Shillington when based in NYC and was impressed at their excellent reputation and I knew a fast-track, reputable qualification was what I wanted. A fast-track yet in-depth qualification was unique. I was already enjoying using creativity at my Fashion design jobs but felt ready to explore broader applications of design.
I love Graphic Design because it is everywhere; it’s all around us, it’s onscreen, in print, in the street etc.
I liked the feeling of possibility that would come from a course which allowed me to apply design to many fields; to not only create products but maybe then create campaigns, packaging and also websites.
What made you choose the part-time course and how did you find juggling the course alongside other life commitments? Are there any tips you’d share with students currently on the part-time course?
I needed to study part-time to manage existing work commitments, plus I commuted to Manchester and couldn’t entirely relocate so full time wasn’t possible for myself.
The part-time course was great for me because you have a week between classes to sit on the concepts that you learnt. I used time to think over an idea and let it grow or also to practice those shortcuts and techniques learnt in Adobe.
I would strongly recommend you set aside extra time, outside of homework, and be diligent about setting yourself goals for software tutorial videos, playing around with tools or simply researching and exploring fonts. It all comes together in the final months and gives you a lot of confidence that you have some background knowledge.
Did you enjoy your time at Shillington, are there any particular moments which stand out for you?
I truly loved my whole time at Shillington! The class group were great and the tutors were incredibly supportive and professional; there’s a really nice studio-esqe vibe and everyone was ambitious and imaginative. Graduation stands out as a real achievement where late nights and hard work all came together.
We also had some really great guest speakers and industry visitors during the course; meeting Bruno Maag was super informative!
Can you tell us a bit about some of your projects, do you have any favourites within your portfolio?
I loved branding and packaging and surprised myself with how much I also enjoyed digital, which was entirely new to me. My Bert & Wilma project, a Scandinavian brand of organic cleaning solutions plus the colour and pattern of my Hive event do stand out as favourites. I do love a good print pattern! I really enjoyed experimenting with textured, abstract illustrations during the corporate report too, I’d like to work in this further in my spare time.
There’s so many pieces in your portfolio which feature an incredible use of colour alongside playful illustration techniques. Is this an area you felt comfortable with before Shillington or one you refined while on the course?
Thanks! I have worked with colour palettes in fashion design before however the illustration was new to me. I have always been tempted to dabble in repeat print design but didn’t feel that I had the drawing skills so it was nice to attempt some hand-drawn pattern and textured or playful work and hope I could work more with illustration and pattern sometime in the future.
How have you found life since graduating, do you think Shillington provided you with the skills to find work as a graphic designer?
Life is good, positive reactions to your work feel very rewarding.
I feel very lucky to have fulfilled this ambition and I’m excited to move forward.
Shillington is very good at advice for job hunting, freelancing, networking and promoting yourself. They give hand-out materials to keep on everything you could wish for.
What’s next for you? Where would you ideally like to be a year from now?
I do hope to be working within graphic design, having developed on the foundation of my portfolio. It would be brilliant if product/s, print media or campaigns existed a year from now on which I’d been lucky enough to contribute colour or type decisions to!
Massive thanks to Emma for sharing her experience with us, we look forward to seeing where her new found skills take her. Head over to Emma’s website to see more work from her time at Shillington, or follow her amazing Instagram account for inspiring visuals.
Our part-time intake is only once a year in September for our Manchester, London and New York campuses but you can secure a place at any time. We are currently enrolling for our upcoming part-time classes in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. –>www.shillingtoneducation.com