Before Shillington, Sydney graduate and boss-lady mom Melody Yee was already working in the creative industry, as a Graphics Manager for four big brands under major retail company Williams-Sonoma. But she began to feel stagnant in her role and wanted to expand her creative career. So she created a website of 99 reasons why she should study at Shillington to help herself decide—and the rest is history!
Upon graduating Melody landed her dream job as Lead Graphic Designer for The Daily Edited! We caught up with Melody a few months after she started to talk about her new role, her time at Shillington, why she loves being a designer and much more.
Why Shillington? What made our design course stand out from the rest?
For anyone reading this, I’ll save you the time and tell you I poured my way through every page on Shillington’s site, looking for any sign that this wasn’t the place I needed to be. With every Shillo IG post, I saw exactly the kind of briefs that I wanted to work on! This was the standout thing for me—the brief-based structure of the course, with your work ultimately geared towards a portfolio.
It made every day of 13 weeks industry-relevant, practical and focused which was a totally different experience to my 4 years at university.
Recently you landed a job as Lead Graphic Designer for The Daily Edited, congrats! How did that come about?
Thank you! When I saw the role advertised, my heart leapt a little (maybe a lot) but I honestly thought my application would be lost in a sea of applicants! I applied and didn’t give it a second thought until I got a call a few days later, one which I answered pretty blasé just expecting another solar spam call.
To my surprise it was the owner herself asking if I wanted to meet for a chat. We vibed pretty well on the phone, she set a project for me to work on, I brought it to the meeting and suddenly I was starting work the following week. It sounds like it happened easily but don’t worry, I agonised over every detail of that one project right up to the night before my interview. Every designer can sympathise that when there’s time, there’s torment.
Can you tell us about what you get up to at The Daily Edited? We’d love to see some of your work!
It’s all image, type and colour! My role covers everything across digital and print—from the conception of designs for a new landing page or decal for our store windows, right through to product drawings or sketching out the stickers to dress our packaging. It’s all-encompassing and I love it. Most recently for our Mother’s Day campaign, my own kids had their drawings printed onto TDE products to advertise our custom personalisation options. I can’t claim any creative input into their artwork, and I’m so in love with the resulting sentiment.
What do you love about being a designer?
That’s a really hard one. I think I just love creating beautiful things that serve a purpose.
What were you up to before Shillington? Why did you take the plunge and enrol?
I was working as a Graphics Manager for four brands that I love—West Elm, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and Williams Sonoma. It was a mix of graphic design and managing production of everything print-based across 20 stores. I was pretty happy and comfortable, but slowly ‘comfortable’ started to feel unsettling as I felt I wasn’t learning anything new anymore. As for the ‘why’, here is a full view of my personal brain dump before committing to my decision! ivegot99reasons.com
And yes, reason #8 haunts me as the alignment is so clearly off. I pray the inimitable Alice Lo (1 of 3 amazing teachers I had) never discovers this mobile un-responsive site. Full content only loads on desktop, sorry Alice!!
Before Shillington you were already working in the creative industry, what did the course add to your existing skill set?
So much. I don’t think any designer uses the full extent of the programs in their day-to-day, so to venture beyond 10% of the toolbar was always going to be a bonus.
Even with prior knowledge of the programs, there wasn’t a single day in the course that I didn’t learn something new and relevant.
Everything that was taught had a practical application in the workplace.
What was your biggest challenge during the course? Why?
Portfolio week was definitely a challenge. Not going to lie, it was a solid ‘are they for real’ moment for me, where the task seemed daunting and I felt short on time. It taught me that you can’t work on your portfolio forever!
Did you make any meaningful connections with teachers or fellow students during the course?
Absolutely. I feel so lucky to have gone through that intense time with my particular group. Any one of us could reach out to the other for advice or a second set of eyes. We still catch up and our group chat can get hectic when we all pile on about something! On the teaching front, Tim, Alice and Missy made everything worth it. We had THREE incredible teachers always giving, and so generous with their teaching. I think theirs is such an honourable vocation.
What was your favourite brief on the course? Tell us your process!
My handmade project was the best and worst of them. Best because I loved the process of making something tangible, the worst because I forgot to save the images shot by our photographer and they’d been wiped off the class computer by the time I realised. I was pretty miserable for the better part of a week, thinking I’d lost not just the images, but the physical project itself because I’d cut it all up for the last shot. I’m still cry/laughing about it now. In terms of the process, I wanted to translate the feeling of Beach House’s album Depression Cherry, almost liquid with its arrangement of euphoric highs and sombre lows.
Visually, I started looking at working with paint, pouring sections into funnels and capturing stills of that, to build on the idea of the music creating a vortex. That proved too unpredictable in the execution, so I started watching videos of swinging paint buckets to create the most incredible geometric patterns. While I was down that YouTube rabbit hole, another technique popped up of creating these same geometric patterns through string. It clicked right away as the technique was so simple, yet created beautiful movement and expression through a solitary line of string.
Where do you see yourself in 12 months time?
Hopefully on a beach off the coast of Malaysia. Work-wise, I’m excited about working on a total site redesign, our new store opening in the QVB, and getting more into After Effects!
What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?
From someone who was sceptical themselves, I can tell you it was worth everything. I wouldn’t be writing any of this if it wasn’t!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?
Don’t try and work on those weekly ILTG assignments the night before they’re due. I never learnt, but I really advise to try!
Big thanks to Melody for sharing her Shillington experiences with us! We can’t wait to see more of the amazing things she’s going to design. Make sure to keep up to speed with her on her website and Instagram.
Always dreamt of studying graphic design and want to follow in Melody’s footsteps? We’ve just announced our new and exciting scholarship opportunities! Learn more about Shillington’s 3 month full-time and 9 month part-time courses Online or on campus in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.