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Meet Carla Scotto, Shillington Graduate

University didn’t help Carla Scotto find a career direction or land a job. A long-time painter, she considered becoming a graphic designer, but didn’t want to go back for another three year degree. Enter Shillington Melbourne! Carla loved the idea of an intensive course to kickstart her career in only three months, and it ended up re-igniting her passion and helping her hone in on a unique style.

Carla now freelances as a designer and illustrator. Read on to learn more about her Shillington story and recent ventures Decks for Change, Girls Will Be Girls and Fem&nist Film Festival (launching this November!).

What were you up to before Shillington?

Prior to life at Shillington I completed a Bachelor of Arts at Monash, and I was pretty dissatisfied by the whole thing. I did it because I had no idea what I wanted to do. After my degree I avoided my uncertain reality by going overseas for four months.

Why did you choose Shillington? 

I was about to go out of reception for a few days in Amsterdam when I got an email from my mum saying a patient of hers had recommended this design course. I was also sent a very thorough and convincing email from Kevin at Shillington detailing the course. With minutes to say yes or no for the following semester I said yes and that was it.

The reason Shillington stood out was the intensive option, I could not fathom returning to uni only to be drip-fed information over the course of another three years. How could I not go for a course the length of just three MONTHS.

Did you have any previous experience? How did the course build your skill set?

I’d been painting ever since I was a child, I was well versed in traditional oil painting. Shillington broke a lot of my ideals when it comes to art-making, it was incredibly difficult for me to understand the value of simple design—especially when everything I’d done was detailed and took months to complete. I’m still adjusting to this, I see improvements as time wears on for sure. However something I couldn’t do prior to Shillington was devise my own compositions, I always copied the Masters.

My creativity is thriving and seems to be intensifying if anything. Amidst the stress, the critiques, and the fast nature of Shillington’s course I found my style—something I’d been trying to attain for years.

What was your favourite student brief?

So many briefs were the starting line for many things I create now, it’s really tough to pin-point one. The campaign concerning an issue you wanted to draw attention to fuelled the artivist content that can be seen throughout my social media handles.

The Indiewood Film Festival & Handmade brief awoke my love for illustration, the music festival brief (our last one) really pushed me to do something different with branding—and now that’s my job at Future Squared. The course covered so much and influenced me on so many areas, I can’t pinpoint one brief. 


Tell us about some of your recent ventures like Feminist Film Festival, Girls Will Be Girls and Decks for Change. You keep busy!

Fem&ist Films is a film festival hitting Melbourne this November. My friend Mandy asked me to help her with branding, promo materials, and a website. The site will be launched soon, and should be a hit. Fem&ist Films focuses critically engages in feminist discourse through exploration of female and genderqueer empowerment and how it operates in different communities.

Girls Will Be Girls is a feminist blog run by some other friends of mine called Claire and Tenna, I basically did their branding and a site. We’re putting on a fundraiser in April and for that I’ve designed tshirts, a zine cover, badges, and promo materials.

Finally, I submitted a very last minute design to a competition called Decks For Change, the winners had to pick up a second-hand skateboard deck and paint their designs onto them. Mine was selected and exhibited in March at Workshop Melbourne. The skateboards were auctioned off and all the funds went towards a skatepark in Nepal. My design focused on the estimated 51 trillion particles of plastic choking our oceans. I like to keep busy, otherwise I’m overrun with existential dread, but just enough of it fuels my creativity.

Where do you look for design inspiration?

I still love the Old Masters, I love Japanese and Russian design, my instagram feed is an endless source of inspiration.  

What’s your #1 piece of advice for a new Shillington student?

Give in and give entirely, especially if you’re doing the intensive course, don’t let anything else pull your focus. 

Huge thanks to Carla for sharing her Shillington story! Be sure to check out her website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Carla’s headshot by Jenni Mazaraki.

Want to become a designer like Carla? Study graphic 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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