Half-scholarships will be announced next month! It’s an excellent opportunity to show your passion for design and tell us why you want to study at Shillington.
Jordan Kenneth Kamp had no prior design experience when he enrolled in the part-time Shillington course in 2018. His background was in theater—working as an actor, producer and filmmaker. His scholarship submission was a funny video describing how his work as a visual storyteller complements his interest to become a designer. Read on to learn about his scholarship entry, advice for future applicants and balancing working as an actor/filmmaker while studying part-time.
You’ve always been creative. What influenced your decision to study graphic design?
My first creative love was visual art and as a child I spent most of my free time drawing or painting. I actually attended my undergraduate pre-college visit with the intent to study graphic design, but after the first day, felt a pull to visit the School of Theatre. That weekend I made a decision to study performance and have been doing it ever since. My decision to attend Shillington was largely based on my desire to return to my first love and explore it at this time, later in my life.
Tell us about your scholarship submission entry and how you showed your passion for design.
As I was putting together my scholarship application, it was crucial for me to convey not only my passion for design, but also my passion for learning new skills.
Prior to Shillington, I had never designed, I had never worked even with any of the Adobe programs and I didn’t have any work to show. What I did have was an innate love for the visual and an ability to tell a story and express my passion through humor. So I made a video describing how I thought my work as a visual storyteller could translate well to design.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?
Anyone considering the program should attend the info-sessions or Shillington graduations. Engaging with the students and teachers was extraordinarily helpful for me in my decision making process. It helped me get a good feel for the environment, the pace of learning and the skills that students acquired from the course.
My favorite quote is from playwright Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” All of this to say, if there’s even an inkling of desire to attend Shillington, it’s important to recognize that taking the leap is maybe the hardest part. It’s not easy saying yes to something new and unfamiliar, something that you have no idea if you’ll even be successful at, but choosing to live a life of pursuit is a rewarding endeavor.
Can you walk us through the process of how you approached your favorite briefs so far?
My process always begins with research. While researching I work to find a key idea that sticks out or a theme that runs throughout. Sometimes it’s visual or written, sometimes it’s something more ethereal. From there, I engage with some of the brainstorming/ideation techniques we’ve learned in class, essentially working to expand on the original idea. I’ve found that considering fairly abstract connections will often lead to something interesting. From there, I do lots of thumb-nailing. Notes, notes and more notes. I’ll re-write or keep drawing the same thing over and over again until something new emerges.
One of my favorites briefs so far was branding for a women’s fashion startup. I wasn’t able to be in class the night we picked our clients, so one was picked for me. Needless to say, I would have never chosen the startup that I received. But (of course) it was a blessing in disguise. I learned about an industry I knew nothing about and more importantly, I was forced to abandon my comfort zone.
To take it one step further, I decided that the startup would have the aim of being the world’s largest clothing swap. As I worked through the concept, it became evident that fostering a deep connection with the members would be paramount. At the same time, it should be clear that the company had high standards and the quality of clothes you’d be swapping into were desirable. It was something you’d need to be a part of. Hence, Cult Commune—taking your clothing swap from the neighborhood, to the neighboring states.
“Cult Commune” in-progress project
A Brooklyn resident for 15 years, I was excited to work on a brief that was geared toward the celebration of the borough. The brief was to design a postcard that detailed the closing night block party of the Bushwick Community Festival. I chose the name Every Block, because that’s what you can expect when partying with Brooklynites. It’s not just ‘a’ block party, it’s a party that happens on every block.
One of the most dominating visual elements of Bushwick is the street art which I find almost creates it’s own skyline: one where the art ends and the rest of the building continues. This reminded me of the old “Greetings From” postcards, which formed the basis of my design.
“Every Block” in-progress project
What inspires your design aesthetic?
I like funky stuff, bright colors, display typefaces, using illustrations in tandem with photography.
My biggest inspirations are found art/signs/nature out in wild. I want my design to emote. That said, I often I wish I could design like some of my fellow classmates. I would love to design something graceful and elegant, or simple and clean. However, my stuff often feels like someone making a weird face and holding that face for an uncomfortable and awkward length of time. Which is actually something I often do in real life. So maybe that’s just part of all of this. I’m not sure one can remove bits of self from the things they choose to create.
Now that you are approaching close to the end of the course, how has your experience been as a part-time student?
Part-time was the only option for me, as I need my days open for auditions. It’s a very beneficial option for people who work during the day for that same reason.
What I really appreciate as a part-time student is the time I’m afforded during the week between class to go back over what I learned and apply it on the computer or in the sketchbook.
It puts the onus on the individual and creates a good working practice to foster growth outside the classroom.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’ve been living and acting (proudly working as a member of SAG-AFTRA since 2011) in New York for 15 years now and I don’t intend to stop now. My hope is that I can integrate freelance design into my routine as an actor/filmmaker. It will certainly take good time management and organization, but I think the two professions compliment each other quite well.
We’re opening up our half-scholarships again this year, what advice would you say to someone working on their scholarship application?
Be open. Be passionate. Try not to care what people may or may not think about it (there will be plenty of time for that as you start tackling all the briefs).
Put yourself into the application. Making something really cool is one thing, but being able to convey who you are as an individual, that’s super powerful.
Want to meet more past scholarship winners? Read about five of our 2018 students currently studying part-time in Australia.
We have campuses in London, Manchester, New York, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Find out more about our course by attending an Info Session. You can also speak to our Student Experience Team directly via phone, email or arrange a personal appointment.