Before Shillington, Hamish Snow studied industrial design and worked in retail, but after discovering the world of graphic design, he became obsessed. After “much research and side-by-side comparison”, he studied part-time at #shillobri and graduated at the end of 2014. Where is he now? After a three month internship, Hamish just completed his first month as a full-time designer at Josephmark, one of Australia’s best creative agencies known for the innovative app Hash, co-founding motion design studio Breeder and the Myspace redesign.
Tell us about your new role at Josephmark in Brisbane. How exciting!
I’m still on such a high after receiving the news! JM provides an incredible opportunity to designers in Brisbane by offering three month-long internships over the course of the year, which I was fortunate enough to be selected for. After spending a month immersed in the creative culture of the studio, I was absolutely elated to be offered a full-time position as a designer; I’m now currently into my fourth week and could not be happier!
What’s your day-to-day like? What kind of projects are you getting stuck into?
What I’m working on each day can vary greatly, depending on what projects are currently in progress.
One day I might be mind-mapping and sketching out ideas for a new brand, while the next I could be creating wireframes and UI elements for a digital application currently in development.
What’s the team like at JM? Anyone you’d like to give a special shout-out?
I’d say that the people who make up Josephmark are less like a team and more like a big family—a super friendly, welcoming and supportive one at that. There’s no way I could single out just one person; I’m constantly inspired by the work everyone is doing and getting to see how each project is progressing at our regular end of the week Check-Outs.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your first month at JM?
Learn your program shortcuts! Seriously though, and it kind of goes without saying, but establishing a good working relationship built on communication and feedback between designer and client is crucial, especially when your client is on the other side of the world.
What were you up to before studying at Shillington?
Before I started the graphic design course at Shillington (and while I was completing it), I was a full-time student at the Queensland University of Technology studying industrial design while working part-time in retail.
I decided to do more study after completing a minor in graphic design as part of my industrial design degree. As well as discovering an almost OCD-like tendency for beautifully designed packaging, I was drawn to the immediacy with which your creativity can be channeled and implemented. After much research and side-by-side comparison, I settled on Shillington after receiving many good recommendations about the course and seeing the level of work that was being presented in the portfolios of past students.
Any favourite student briefs from Shillington? Walk us through your concept!
Our beverage branding and packaging brief was definitely a highlight, but it was the campaign brief I found most engaging to work on. I chose to frame my response as an initiative to raise awareness about the cruelty and mistreatment racing greyhounds are often subjected to while highlighting the work of Rescue & Rehome. This was a fictional organisation I created for the purposes of the brief, whose mission it was to remove dogs from abusive environments and place them with caring families as domestic companions. The use of vector illustrations was a deliberate decision to move away from the graphic and confronting imagery typically associated with campaigns of this nature, while still providing a powerful visual message. Having two rescued greyhounds at the time meant that the project had a high level of personal resonance and as a result, I was motivated more than ever to produce the best outcome I possibly could.
Looks like you recently did a project for John Mills Himself. Tell us about that!
Indeed! The project for JMH was completed while working at Pearler, the studio I was employed at at the time. Run by Birdy Bird and Billerwell Daye out of one of Brisbane’s oldest heritage-listed buildings, Pearler actually co-owns the bar and so it was my task to update the design of the menus as required. Getting to sample most of the offerings in the menu was definitely a perk of that particular project!
Any other recent professional projects you could share?
I’ve also recently completed work on a freelance basis with Catherine Roberts and Claire Deane, who are the founders of Brisbane’s concept storefront and co-working space Showroom. Additionally, I’ve been assisting with the branding for Unbilled, a new creative event organised by Shillington Brisbane teacher, founder of the Rabbit Hole and local design legend Dahlia Ishak that aims to equip freelances, creative studios and small businesses with practical information so that they can better run their business. It will be taking place on the 18th of October up here in Brisbane and tickets are still available. Shameless plug!
Do you keep up with any side projects?
I try to as much as possible, time permitting of course! An ongoing project is a series of automotive renderings that actually started out as a pass-time during university holidays. When it comes to anything automotive related I can be slightly obsessed, and the drawings were a means to both practice my drawing skills and recreate some of my favourite models. After posting the finished works on social media, I was contacted by several people asking if I’d be willing to draw their beloved cars as commissioned works, which was pretty cool!
You’re a fervent traveller—recently visiting New Zealand, Europe, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan. How does your wanderlust affect your design and creativity?
It has an immense impact. Experiencing and immersing yourself in a completely new culture is the most rewarding aspect of travelling, and this of course extends to design.
I find it fascinating to discover the distinct creative styles that exist in the places I visit, whether that be through visiting studios, wandering through galleries or even just collecting a pamphlet for a restaurant, and always return home profoundly inspired.
Your Instagram is chock full of gorgeous Brisbane snapshots. Why do you love living and working in the Sunshine State?
While the climate is definitely a big pro, it’s Brisbane’s tight-knit creative community that makes it such a great place to be.
While certainly smaller than it’s southern neighbours Sydney and Melbourne, this can actually be to its advantage. It’s incredibly easy to make connections within the industry, and everyone is always willing to help each other out.
You’re a coffee lover. Tell us—where’s the best place for coffee in Brisbane?
For excellent espresso, food and baked treats, you really can’t go past Gramercy in the CBD (even if my opinion is slightly biased by the fact that I worked there as a barista!) The other standout is John Mills Himself, also in the CBD. They take perfectionism in coffee preparation to a whole new level and their espresso and filter options are consistently delicious.
What are your favourite creative resources or blogs?
Printed material is still my go-to source of inspiration—the large stack of magazines next to my design that I’m still waiting to read can definitely attest to that! I’ve also got a shoebox chock-full of design bits and bobs that I’ve collected over the years that I continually refer back to. For blogs, my go-tos are Minimally Minimal for product design, Design of the World for things that make a difference, Designspiration/The Inspiration Grid for general visual mood boarding and Monster Children for all-‘round awesomeness.
What fellow creatives are you digging at the moment?
I’m really enjoying following the work of Dion Horstmans, an Australian artist who’s folded steel sculptures are just spectacular. Also, the work of street artists Mr. Penfold, Sofles and Storm is always a welcome addition on my News Feed, as well as the furniture of Melbourne studio Dowel Jones.
What advice would you have for current Shillington students to make the most out of their experience?
While you’re still studying, try to take full advantage of the almost unlimited creative freedom you have while working on each project.
Of course you still need to respond to the requirements of the brief, but without the restrictions of factors like a budget or brand style guides etc., you should really try to let your imagination run wild! And in relation to this, it’s super important to push yourself to try things you usually wouldn’t or may feel apprehensive about. Shillington is the ideal environment to experiment and figure out what kind of work you really enjoy doing.
What would you say to someone in the design industry who is sceptical of the Shillington course?
What the course may lack in actual duration, it more than makes up for in the concentrated of industry relevant knowledge and simulation of real-world working environments. Almost every professional opportunity I’ve been afforded as a designer—internships, freelance work and employment—has come about as a direct result of studying at Shillington.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I want to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to my tutors at Shillington, Brenton Craig and Dahlia Ishak. I would not be the designer I am today without their generous allocation of knowledge, advice and guidance. You guys are the best!