The projects created by Shillington students are as varied as they are fascinating—they complete over 30 throughout the three month full-time or nine month part-time course. With this incredible output, narrowing it down to just six or seven final projects for their portfolio is a difficult task, let alone choosing their one favourite brief.
We asked eleven of our graduates from our six campuses, in London, Manchester, New York, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, to share their favourite project that they worked on whilst studying at Shillington—from a pet sitting app to a rebrand of the city of Detroit.
Project: Street Food to End Street Food Campaign
Briefed to design a campaign for something that might be perceived to have an image problem, Keir came up with the idea of ‘Street food to end street food’. He wanted to challenge the idea of not giving spare change to homeless people by creating a campaign that combats this with the giving of time, a conversation or food—in support of the homelessness charity Shelter.
Keir told us:
“It was really great to design for a social cause as I think designers have a responsibility to use their skills for positive social impact for the world we live in. I went down the route of creating very lo-fi posters with inspiration taken from traditional Mexican and Indian street food signs, with bold colours and typography to advertise an event for the community and the homeless population to get together to create street food to sell. I’d like to work more with not-for-profits and the cultural sector because of it.”
Project: City of Detroit Rebrand
Jane was given the challenge of rebranding the midwestern American city of Detroit, which declared bankruptcy in 2013. Rather than focusing on this, she set about researching the city’s people, music scene, architecture and history—and became struck by the attitude and spirit of Detroit’s citizens; they were not defined by their past. This became key to her rebrand.
She expressed the thoughts behind her striking design:
There’s a punk attitude at play: ‘grit’ and ‘moxie’ were my keywords! That became the focus—how to visualise an ‘in your face’ determination and a sense of moving forward despite hardship.
“The design uses an off kilter, modified Trade Gothic for the city name and is combined with chunky visual devices, bold electric colour ways over imagery and a deliberate tone of voice with sourced quotes from famous Detroiters.”
Project: Higglie Pet Sitting App Branding
Scandinavian aesthetics were the main inspiration for Shannon in creating her pet sitting app, Higglie. The name, Higglie, came from the Scandinavian word ‘hygglig’ meaning cozy, comfortable and familiar and the simple, clean look of her app was inspired by the minimalism, white space and selective colours of Scandi design. She also wanted to design a logo that wasn’t cliché, with no paw prints involved, so created a bold line stroke to represent a lowercase h (for Higglie!).
Here’s what she had to say about the final look of her app:
“I knew I wanted pastels that were homely. So I ended up choosing in muted pastel purple, and a calming mint green, and a desaturated navy blue that would go with white. I had also originally created rules for the logo. And decided that the secondary logo would be the name with Caviar Dreams and the typeface. I liked the Typeface for its rounded characters which conveys friendliness. I altered the ears of the g’s to imitate the ears of an animal.”
Project: Handmade Cover for The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
The legendary Shillington Handmade brief encourages students to step away from their computers and create artwork for their favourite record, book or film with their bare hands. Frankie chose The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, a book that she finds incredibly moving. As inspiration for her piece, she focused on a crucial moment from the novel in which the heroine accidentally pulls off a blackbird’s wing—symbolising a poignant loss of innocence.
She explained how she went about the brief:
“I had a really clear image in my head and no idea how to achieve it. I wanted to try watercolours, a medium I’d never used, for an inky and dramatic look. I went to Eckerlsey’s, a Brisbane arts and craft shop, and bought a whole range of supplies and spent an entire day just drawing wings over and over until I had something I could work with. I then assembled the final design in Photoshop.”
Project: Couturent Fashion Start-Up Branding
Couturent is a fashion retail start-up for working females aged between 22 and 30. For the company’s branding, Marni wanted to hit the perfect middle level between classic high-end fashion branding and youthfulness and accessibility. To achieve this, she took some of the common themes in high-end fashion, such as serif fonts, boxes and layers and neutral but high contrasting colours, and paired them with a punchy, confident tone of voice and relatable models.
She described how the project came to be:
“The branding project for Couturent started as a logo during week four. The idea for this logo came from brainstorming fashion words—I ended up with things like ‘layers’, ‘draped’ and ‘messy closet.’ So I decided to try sketching out a logo as though all the letters were jammed in a crowded closet, draped and layered over one another.”
It took some experimenting, but the end product was just the right blend of playful and classic to set up the rest of the branding.
Project: Bike Sharing Platform Branding
Tjerk was given the task of branding a bike sharing platform for the French Canadian city of Montreal. He started off researching the demographic—a local resident—and the city itself. He took this to the next level and really put himself in their shoes, considering the language they spoke, movies they watched, where they might eat when hungover and ultimately why they would use the platform. His research led to three key words: ‘personal’, ‘quality’ and ‘easy’. The name ‘Monvelo’ came from the French for ‘my bike’, which conveniently matched the ‘Mon’ from the start of Montreal too.
He gave us the details behind his logo design:
“I used a thin typeface and merging the two O’s to give the impression that a bike is used in the logo. Simple but effective. In terms of colour, because the website is aimed at local residents I thought a sense of unity and similarity could be reflected through colour. Therefore I chose a warm monochromatic red colour palette, complemented with a beige tint to give it more depth and quality.”
Project: Synesthesia Festival Identity
In this brief, Jaira had to create an event and identity to turn Spellmasters, an Australian spelling competition, into something more exciting—fun, educational and a leader in literacy and numeracy. She started by researching the client and then the target demographic, which of course is children. Transporting herself back to school to find a suitable visual element she remembered that malleable treat, Play-Doh—which allowed her to create anything she wanted!
She explained where the name for her festival came from:
Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon where one sense is stimulated by another. So using Play-Doh, I handmade each letter and used different shapes to create a letter—imitating the same nature of Synesthesia.
“The colour palette was very much driven by existing Play-Doh colours and being a daytime festival, blue was an obvious colour choice.”
Project: Philadelphia Rebrand
Like Jane, Keiran was briefed with rebranding the American city Philadelphia, conceptualising the visual identity of the place to encourage tourism. She wanted to channel a feeling of playfulness into this identity so set about incorporating her love of illustration in to the project—it began with a primary colour palette and flat vector drawings and went from there.
She explained why she decided to rebrand the City of Brotherly Love:
“I spent 4 years of undergrad in Philadelphia and found that it is an incredibly underrated city with so much to offer in terms of history, arts, culture, food, and sports. During the brainstorming process, I found myself sketching out all of the symbols/items I associate with Philadelphia.”
Project: Black Rabbit Magic Shop Branding
Short of Harry Potter and a handful of card tricks, Bella knew nothing about magic before this brief—to brand a magic store opening in Sydney’s CBD—so she really had to do her research. With the clients’ requests for the branding to be mysterious, exclusive and contemporary, her options were kept very open and she felt she could go anywhere. She took up this opportunity to create her brand, even doing some of her own graffiti.
She told us how she went about creating the perfect brand for Black Rabbit:
“Through a lot of trial and error with different type packages and curating ideas about how I could make this story not just another magic store I established the launch for this brand. I wanted to make the lead up very mysterious. My inspiration for this was Anthony Lister, the street artist. I wanted to have contrast between my type package which stood very modern and clean, so I created business cards from used or found bits of paper or cardboard.”
Brief: Handmade Cover for Either/Or by Elliott Smith
The Handmade Project requires Shillington students to think and work outside the box with no limits to what they can create. For his handmade project, Brian chose the late musician Elliott Smith’s album Either/Or. The album was named after a published work by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard—in which he outlines a theory of human existence that revolves around two different modes of being: one aesthetic and one ethical.
He explained how he translated this in to his project:
I thought an interesting way to express this idea would be by using two abstracted faces looking in opposite directions. I painted both faces, using grey tones to allude to the idea of an ethical mode and skin coloured tones to allude to an aesthetic mode.
“For this project, my mood board was very focused, so it helped keep me on track when I started to have some trouble in the middle of the process. I was really happy with how it turned out.”
Project: Cocoa Cadence Packaging
Chocolate and MAMILs (aka middle aged men in lycra) are not necessarily something that you think would go together—but Alexandra had to. She was tasked with designing the packaging for a new chocolate bar aimed at cyclists. She created a simple but beautiful design that we feel that anyone, not just cyclists, would grab off the shelves.
She spoke to us about what she enjoyed about the brief:
“I liked the a concept behind the design (which was movement and momentum) and hoped it would appeal to the target market but not alienate others who were looking for a chocolatey treat.”
My favourite part of the process was when the design was complete and I was able to mock it up in Photoshop to look like a tangible product. I’d love to explore packaging design further.
Have any of the projects caught your eye? Want to learn graphic design, be able to tackle briefs and create amazing projects yourself? You can do with Shillington—in only 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time! Become a graphic designer by studying at Shillington in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane –> www.shillingtoneducation.com