Dani Lima is a designer, researcher and maker. Originally from Brazil, she took a leap of faith and moved to Australia to pursue a creative career with Shillington. Today she shares her journey—in both English and Portuguese!
You’re originally from Rio de Janeiro. Tell us a bit about your life before Shillington.
I studied journalism back in Brazil and for eight years I worked in different areas such as radio, TV, Office Press, Museums and Art Gallery. My main experience was as a researcher and TV producer. I used to work in research and production at the biggest broadcaster in South America. In 2011, I left Brazil to live in Ireland for a year, and then I moved to Australia.
What made you want to move and study overseas?
I needed a change! I needed to learn English, broaden my horizons, see new things, live new cultures and add more creativity in my daily life.
How did it feel moving to a brand new country to pursue your love of design?
It’s a unknown life. It’s a new day every day, with ups and downs. Life isn’t easy when you don’t speak English very well, you have little money and nobody knows you or your experiences. It takes time, but everything can change in a day, and I think that is what fascinates me.
Leva tempo, mas tudo pode mudar em um dia, e eu acho que é isso que me fascina
When I left Brazil I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study—Shillington was a delightful discovery.
My life has changed completely—finally things are on track! I have a profession again and love working in the creative industry.
Two weeks after I completed my Graphic Design course at Shillington, I got a job in a publishing company in Surry Hills. I also freelance on the side. Besides that, I’m working on some personal projects. I’m really happy with my life right now and how things are coming together.
What is the best thing about the creative community in Australia? Why?
The best thing about the creative community in Australia is the fact that it’s a multicultural community.
A melhor coisa da comunidade criativa australiana é o fato de ser uma comunidade multicultural.
It reminds me of Brazil because it is so stimulating and accessible. I can see a strong working in progress to build a identity in the industry and I feel really exiting to be part of it.
Back to Brazil. Who are your favourite Brazilian creatives?
It’s always really hard for me to answer this kind of question because I love so many things! I’m very open to discovering new things and giving other ones up.
Besides, we Brazilians are very, very creative—it’s in our blood. We need creativity to survive.
Nós brasileiros somos muito, mas muito criativos – tá no nosso sangue. Precisamos de criatividade para sobreviver.
But if can name one studio I would say OESTUDIO, which means The Studio. They are bunch of very creative guys with interdisciplinary team, even including behavioural scientists. Their goal is “to innovate from the design of intelligence”. For me, they stand out from the crowd because they think about design in a very broad way and are not afraid of new challenges.
In illustration I’d like to highlight OSGEMEOS (The Twins), and in typography and collage illustration, Eduardo Recife. Both OSEGEMOS and Recife create works that are beautiful, strong, impeccable, consistent and intriguing.
The truth is, I’ve been away for five years now, and I’m sure there are much more new things happening in South America that unfortunately I’m not aware of. But luckily, I can follow Brazilian creatives online! Two really good ones are Zupi magazine and Abduzeedo.
How did you first learn about the Shillington course?
When I first arrived in Australia I was really into Set Design or any other creative area that I could really put my hands on, but I didn’t have any basic skills or knowledge to pursue this path. In my first year here I met another Brazilian girl called Camila who told me about her experience at Shillington and I could finally really understand what Graphic Design meant. It was then I realised that Shillington should be my big first step. First I went to two info sessions at Shillington making sure that I was taking the right direction to get what I wanted. When I met more and more people who had studied at Shillington, I was really impressed. They only said good things about the course!
Why Shillington? What made our design course stand out from the rest?
Eu escolhi a Shillington por muitas razões. Eu amo o fato de que você pode realmente transformar a sua vida em apenas três meses.
I chose Shillington for many reasons. I love the fact that you can really turn up your life in just three months. Shillington makes this happen through clever and effective teaching methodology. The small classroom environments allow students to have full attention from the teachers—they can really get to know you and your needs.
At the time, I was international student and being an international student isn’t easy. Immigration rules can be challenging, but the teachers and staff at Shillington were aware of my situation and they gave all the necessary support to be able to complete my Graphic Design in a brilliant way.
The course itself wasn’t a big challenge because for me because, to be honest, I was really ready. Basically, it was something that I as waiting for long time in my life and once I had the chance I seized it. As we say in Brazil—”agarrar com unhas e dentes”—we grab it with our nails and teeth!
What was your biggest accomplishment during the course?
I had so many accomplishments! Every day you have a new accomplishment at Shillington—through every creative brief. It’s so rewarding to see things come together every single day in the course.
Did you make any meaningful connections with fellow classmates or teachers?
Yes, yes, yes. I really found my gang there. I’m still in touch with some of my classmates and my teachers and the staff. Enza and Tris were amazing teachers, showing so much generosity to share their knowledge. I’m still in contact with them. When I’m struggling in my work, they are always there to help me out.
What do you love about being a designer?
What I love to being a designer is being able to work with creativity in different ways, with different tools in different projects. Being able to work from anywhere in the world and be more independent with my careers choices.
If you could give one piece of advice to an international student starting at Shillington, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid, just do it. Work hard, after all you are doing it for yourself. Invest in yourself and everything around you will do the same.
Thanks so much to Dani for sharing her experience as an international student!
Want to travel the world and become a graphic designer? Learn about your visa options to study design abroad at Shillington in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.