Lily Moore was looking for a change and wanted to find more steady and creative work. After taking a design class and researching a few schools, she decided Shillington would be the best option. Shortly after, she enrolled in the 3 month full-time course in New York and started on her path to becoming a designer! Fast forward a few months, she now found a dream job as a designer at Sotheby’s, working on a wide range of print projects for exhibitions.
Read on to learn about the creatives Lily is inspired by, how the course prepared her for the design industry, the art projects she’s working on, and what she loves about being a designer.
Where are you from and what do you love about living in New York?
I grew up in suburban Illinois near Chicago and went to Bard College in the Hudson Valley for undergrad. I moved to Brooklyn after graduating and have been here ever since.
I love New York’s vibrant artistic community and the endless possibilities it offers. Everyone has a hustle—you can feel that passion walking down the street.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the things you love to do.
I studied art in college and love to paint and draw in my spare time. Lately, I’ve been painting based on photoshop collages that layer memes, cartoons, song lyrics and other pop culture detritus. I have a very handsome hedgehog named Theo who keeps me company while I paint.
What made you decide to go back to school and study design?
I had been working as a studio assistant for a handful of artists helping them make their work and manage their studios. I loved being able to do something creative for work, but those jobs were typically part-time so I had to supplement my income by working in the service industry and in retail. Anyone who has worked retail understands that it can be incredibly taxing. I knew I needed to find a career that could be stable and pay the bills, but allow me to use my creativity. I took an intro class in graphic design one night a week to see if it would be a good path for me—and it was! I started researching once I had my goal in mind and that’s how I found out about Shillington.
How did you find the Shillington classroom environment?
The classroom environment was full of collaboration and all about hands-on experience, learning by doing.
I appreciated how the teachers made an effort to spend time with each student and push them to do their best work. Between the students, there was this great energy of support and motivation. It felt as if everyone was rooting for each other’s success. Even though some of us wanted different outcomes from Shillington (for some a total career change and for others a boost to their resume) everyone worked so hard and was rewarded with a beautiful and professional portfolio.
What were your favourite aspects of the course and which do you think was the most successful project in your portfolio?
My favorite aspect of the course was when we had our large branding projects. We were each given unique briefs and had to research and ideate to come up with a branding strategy. Part of the assignment was to pitch three concepts to the group and work with the teachers as our Art Directors. It prepared me for the process of pitching to a higher up and it was so fun to hear what the other students came up with. I have found public speaking to be difficult, so it was a bit of a challenge for me, but because I was proud and passionate about my ideas it came naturally to me. Overcoming that challenge to produce a project that I believed in felt so rewarding and invigorated my drive to be a designer. The brief lead to the creation of my most successful portfolio project “Janteloven,” a convention center and co-working space in Oslo. The branding I worked on during that project rolled out into a website, print campaign, wayfinding and merchandise during portfolio week.
Do you think the skills you learned during the course have prepared you for the design industry?
Shillington did an amazing job of preparing me for the industry. The teachers are all working designers, so they are teaching from experience.
We got honest advice about how to take critique, how to work in collaboration with art directors and clients. We were also challenged with tight deadlines in class, which prepared me for the reality of the design industry. Portfolio week sets up an approval process that mirrors what you will face in the industry. There will always be rounds of revisions and you need to be accustomed to reworking a project to your art director or client’s needs. It was a great way to remind us baby designers that the work is not solely about us and our vision, it is ultimately about delivering something that your client will be happy with. Seeing how every round of revisions improved my work before my eyes demonstrated its effectiveness and importance to the process.
Can you offer some tips to students on how they can excel in the course and was there anything you wish you knew just starting out?
Shillington teaches that going through ideation, moodboarding and thumbnailing before hitting the computer will ultimately save time and they’re right. The few times I tried to cut corners I ended up feeling lost and uninspired. Follow the advice of your teachers who know the ropes and do it with enthusiasm. The point of your design is to solve a problem and you want to do that the best way, which may not always be your way. I would also tell them to rely on their fellow students for help and offer help back. Sharing ideas only leads to good things.
Put your time in after class to go over what you’ve learned or to do research because the program gives back what you put into it— your hard work and sacrifice for a few months will be well worth the result.
Do you stay in touch with your Shillington classmates?
I keep up with my classmates and Shillington on Instagram and I always check the blog for opportunities and inspiration. I’ve become great friends with a lot of my classmates—going through this process is very bonding. I have a great support system and I know that the alumni network will always be there to connect me with opportunities in the future.
How was your experience finding a job after Shillington?
I ended up using the recruitment agency that Shillington brought in to interview us at the end of the course. I did some freelance work while taking interviews and got contracted to work in-house at Sotheby’s within a couple of months. I never thought I could reroute my career this quickly and it’s all because of the preparation I got at Shillington.
With a background in fine arts, Sotheby’s must be a dream job for an artist! Tell us about your current role there and the projects you’ve been working on. Your portfolio has great UX, UI, and editorial design work. Are you getting involved in these aspects of design at your job?
It is a dream to be able to mix my love of art and design at my job. Walking into work and seeing a new exhibition each week is surreal—I get to be around the paintings I studied in Art History! I mostly design for print, so my love of editorial design and typesetting is being put to good use. I get to design brochures, invitations, catalogues, ads and promotional material for a range of exhibitions and departments within our brand’s umbrella. It’s a wonderfully diverse set of responsibilities so I’m gaining a ton of experience from the opportunity.
Which creatives are you inspired by?
What do you love about being a designer?
I love the satisfaction of solving a problem simply and effectively. I get so much value from creating artwork, but painting doesn’t have a resolution or definite end like design does.It’s also cool to have an awareness of how much thought goes into making something appear simple.
It feels so good to do something direct that serves a purpose.
Big thanks to Lily for sharing her Shillington story! Check out her website to stay updated on her new projects.
Would you like to change careers and do more creative, inspiring work like Lily? Study design 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time at Shillington in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. –> shillingtoneducation.com