Meet Jane Durlacher, Shillington Graduate and Graphic Designer at Paper Stone Scissors

Jane Durlacher had a creative background, but found herself working in education and marketing. With the Shillington website bookmarked for more than a year, she finally popped in for an Info Session and was convinced to sign up for the 3 month full-time course. After Shillington, Jane landed an internship at top Melbourne studio Paper Stone Scissors, eventually being brought on as a full-time employee.

Read on to hear more about Jane’s story, how she turned her internship into a job, the process behind both a Shillington and professional project and the biggest lessons she took away from the course.

What were you up to before Shillington? Why did you decide to study design?

I lived in London for 10 years. Worked producing commercials there. Back in Melbourne I did a Graphic Design Diploma at RMIT then studied for my Bachelor of Education. I wrangled primary school kids for five years then escaped into marketing. I was finally focusing on graphic design in that role but then our whole team got retrenched.

Being retrenched was fantastic. Well, initially it sucked but it gave me the space to look up and question what I really wanted to be spending my time doing. 

Since I can remember I’ve got a buzz from looking at good graphic design: book and record covers, magazine layouts, packaging, labels, film credits, advertising.

I’ve got boxes of cut outs, flyers and shopping bags. I’ve been known to buy products for their packaging rather than the contents. Graphic Design was still my dream job. 

Why Shillington? 

I’d had the Shillington site bookmarked for about a year and up popped a notification for an Information Session so I took that as a sign and went along. Hearing the teachers explain the process (professional and structured), seeing the work produced (engaging and inspiring) and talking to two current students (passionate and enthusiastic) convinced me to sign up for the full time course.

Congratulations! After graduating you interned at Paper Stone Scissors, which turned into a full-time position. Tell us more about that hiring process and experience.

What appealed was that it was a set program (Your Turn) tailored by Paper Stone Scissors—an apprenticeship really. I’d seen their website I knew I wanted to wanted to be working there in any capacity. Their creative work is engaging, considered, based on solid research and rationales, varied, fresh and broad. 

After Shillington, I’d been looking for jobs on The Loop, Seek etc. but most of those advertised were in a more corporate environment. Jobs in agencies don’t seem to come along very often, and a lot of Junior positions are still asking for 1-2 years experience. 

I was interviewed by two of the Creative Directors; Atia Cader and Emily Woollett. There were set questions, a couple of curly ones and an opportunity to go through my portfolio with them. They were looking for designs based on strong ideas and also for someone that they felt would be a good fit in the studio.

I had our Shillington motto ‘Be Brave!’ in my head the whole time.

Being offered a Junior Designer position was amazing. I was so lucky to be there at a time when they needed extra help and I’m thrilled to get to stay and work with such a genuinely nice group of people who are passionate about what they do.

What’s something cool you’ve done in this role so far?

For the Your Turn program, I worked on a job end-to-end, supported by my Design Buddy Mike Battista. The brief was to design the album artwork for a new jazz CD by musician Robert Burke. I had client meetings, did research, presented three initial concepts then developed the selected design for print and applied it to posters, social media posts, press releases, flyers, badges, t-shirts and a tote bag. The last stage was to present the process and outcomes back to the whole Paper Stone Scissors team. 

Can you share the process behind a project from your Shillington portfolio?

My favourite brief was the city branding project. I had Detroit. I loved researching the history, the people, the music scene and the architecture of the city. What became the key for me was the attitude and the spirit of the citizens. How they are affected by their past but not defined by it. How they move forward to create their own destinies. 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.

What was invaluable in helping me to push my design solution were the critiques and feedback from my teachers and my peers on the course.

Who were your Shillington teachers and what were the biggest lessons they taught you?

I was taught by Chris Norman, Wayne Smith and Lucy Wells.

The biggest lessons? Keep thumbnailing. Mood board it. Push it further. Simplify it. Sell your choices. Be brave! 

These three bring their passion for design into the classroom every day. They expertly present and explain concepts and they work with you to constantly improve your processes and your design solutions. They gave me the confidence to keep taking the next step.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

DO IT! It was the best learning experience I’ve had by far. It’s intense. It demands a lot from you but you get so much from it. It’s engaging, supportive, practical and inspiring. The curriculum is extensive, the teaching excellent and you’re with a fantastic group of students that become true friends.

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

Would you like to kickstart your creative career in only 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time? Study design at Shillington in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, New York, London or Manchester –> www.shillingtoneducation.com

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