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From Admin to Design: Jess White, Junior Graphic Designer at Just Media Design

Jess White was working an administrative job at a Primary School, but as a creative person—she knew she wanted a more fulfilling career—dabbling in photography and other artistic pursuits during her free time. After friends “sang the praises” of Shillington, she signed up for our three month graphic design course in Brisbane and completely changed careers. Nowadays Jess is a Junior Graphic Designer at Just Media Design in Brisbane.

Read on to learn about her favourite student brief, her YouTube channel, how online tutorials upped her photography skills and how she landed the job at Just Media Design.

What were you up to before Shillington?

Before Shillington I had a brief stint in studying business when I’d graduated from High School because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I quickly found out that I wasn’t passionate about it and instead got a full time job in Administration at a Primary School until I could figure out what exactly I was passionate about.

Why did you decided to study design? 

After working in Administration for a few years, I was growing restless and finding myself creatively frustrated. I’d always been a creative person but only dabbled in a few creative outlets on the side of work. I started to play around with the Adobe Suite in my free time and before I knew it, I was super intrigued by design and wanted to know more about how I could get better and turn it into a career. I have friends that had previously gone to Shillington, and they always sung its praises. I was sold pretty quickly when I knew that I could smash out the course in only 3 months!

Now you’re working as a Junior Graphic Designer at Just Media Design. Tell us how you got the job!

I’m super excited to now be working at Just Media Design in Brisbane, it’s an incredible digital marketing agency. I was fortunate enough to be good friends with the videographer who works for the company, and he let me know they were looking to hire a Graphic Designer. I got in contact with the Business Manager, told him about myself, and sent through my portfolio. We then set up a meeting, and I got the job!

We’re big fans of your photography and pretty Instagram. How did you get into photography, and how does it factor into your design work?

Thank you! Having friends that are photographers definitely helps, I’ve learnt so much from just being around them when they talk shop. I started by borrowing their equipment from time to time, before I had invested in my own camera, taking it out and just experimenting with different light and angles etc.

I also watched A LOT of YouTube tutorials to improve in any way that I could.

I’m thankful I had that photography background behind me, because since being at JMD I’ve been placed on an account that runs the social media for three major shopping centres, meaning I shoot and edit a majority of their content. It definitely pays off to have experience in different creative industries!

You’re also a vlogger! How did you get started on that?

Yes! When I have the time. I started my YouTube channel after High School as a creative outlet, so I could play around with video editing software. It started out as just challenges with friends (pretty cringe) but then it evolved to fashion editorial type videos, that’s when I really started to have fun with video editing and videography.

Which video is a much-watch to capture the vibe of your channel? 

If you want to catch the vibe for my channel, I would recommend this one:

It was a merch promo vid I did for Hope Centre in my Pre-Shillington days (so go easy on my amateur design haha), but it’s one that I had a lot of fun making and similar to what I would like to continue to create.

Which video should we watch to best capture your experience at Shillington?

It’s a video where I discuss the whole process of putting my Portfolio together in the last two weeks of College – intense! I go pretty in detail about what I did in my final weeks, how I overhauled a couple of my original designs to better fit briefs from clients, how I set up my online portfolio, how my lecturers prepped me for real-life interviews, and how the graduation showcase works. Super helpful info if you’re considering studying!

Could you share the process behind your favourite project from your Shillington portfolio?

A favourite project from my portfolio would probably be the themed screening event in honour of John Hughes. For the particular brief, we had to pick a theme that captured the essence of a movie director of our choosing. Since I’m an 80s nerd, I went with the legendary John Hughes who’s known for his feel good and coming-of-age flicks. I chose ‘nostalgia’ for my theme—illustrated by exaggerated retro treatment and VHS/arcade elements.

Moodboards and movie research were my best friends for this project, and really helped me to solidify the look of my brochure that I was then able to rollout onto other collateral.

Overall, it was a really fun process.

What do you love most about working as a designer?

For me, the thing I love most about working as a designer is working in an environment with like-minded creatives.

We all work incredibly hard, but we’re passionate about what we’re doing and have fun with it!

What’s your favourite thing about being a creative on the Gold Coast?

I think the best thing about being a creative and freelancing on the Gold Coast is that there’s so much room to grow, and it has a booming cafe and boutique culture. It’s still a relatively small city in comparison to Brisbane, which means that there may not necessarily be as much immediate opportunity, but also that the market isn’t oversaturated yet.

Thanks, Jess! Be sure to visit her website to check out her full portfolio.

Do you want to become a graphic designer like Jess? Study design 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time at Shillington in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane –>

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