Meet Uzma Padia, Shillington Scholarship Winner and Manchester Graduate

At Shillington we’re passionate about championing creativity, so every year we open up submissions for Scholarships. It’s an amazing opportunity to see the enthusiasm of people hoping to build upon their creativity and point their career in a new direction.

Amongst all the impressive submissions we received in 2017 we were blown away by the talents of Uzma Padia. A recent University Graduate with a degree in Graphic Design she felt shocked by how fast paced the industry was and wanted to up-skill to become more confident. So upon hearing about Shillington from her brother Bilal, a Shillington graduate himself—she leaped at the chance to enrol.

Read on to hear more about Uzma’s Shillington experience, advice to others hoping to take the same path and the scholarship entry that helped pave her way.

You were one of the winners for our 2017 Half-Scholarships which you won by wowing us with your illustration skills. Were you able to finesse these skills once on the course and combine them with any portfolio projects?

Throughout the course I was encouraged to finesse my drawing skills for both process and final outcomes. We had classes dedicated to thumb-nailing and wire-framing which not only helped me to communicate my ideas efficiently but I was able to work faster and smarter. Mood-boards and idea generation helped inform the decisions I made when it came to choosing an Illustration style which inevitably created strong pieces of work for my portfolio.

You previously studied graphic design at University and touched upon this in one of your amazing illustrations! How did you find the Shillington experience compared to that of University and would you recommend it to others in a similar position?

The main difference was that the duration of a design brief at university lasted anything between 4 weeks to 5 months, because the emphasis was placed on independent learning, the time scale was justified. 

When I left University I was completely shocked on how fast-paced the industry worked. I felt so unprepared.

All that I had known technically, I thought myself which isn’t always the best way. Shillington from day one challenged me to think smart and creatively in the very little time you would get to solve a brief in industry, which was typically a minimum of half a day to a maximum of 3 days. The major difference for me was the fact that the class size was considerably smaller which meant that my tutors could track my progress and help me improve my skill set and knowledge. Shillington has a studio atmosphere close to how a design agency would operate and the valuable knowledge I gained has helped prepare me for life as a designer. recommend this course to anyone who have studied at degree level and would like to re-energize their passion for graphic design and for those who want to get into the industry faster without the pressure of studying 3-4 years.

Interestingly enough your brother Bilal also studied at Shillington, following a graphic design degree—have you embarked on any design projects together or are there any plans for this in the future?

I really appreciate the fact that I have a sibling who has also studied and pursued a career in Graphic Design. Over the years we have been helping each other to stay inspired and motivated throughout studying Graphic Design. Many times we have worked by ourselves initially but will seek advice and take the time to bounce ideas off each other. Bilal and I have recently taken on work to help rebrand our local community centre.  

We have spoken about maybe one day running a design agency of our own but we have both agreed that we both first want to gain as much experience as we can as individual creatives whilst continuing to collaborate on personal projects. 

Your drawing skills were certainly put to use within your amazing process drawings, amongst your sketchbooks and on your process based Instagram account. What is it you enjoy most about this aspect and would you encourage others to embrace drawing as a way of idea generation?

As a visual learner I have found that rough drawings and sketches have helped me to memorise information a lot quicker than just simply writing things down. What I enjoy the most about the process is the freedom to explore ideas no matter how absurd or random they seemed, my sketchbook is a place where I feel I can make mistakes and develop strong ideas which answers the brief creatively. 

Drawing is an effective form of communication and can really help with idea generation. I found this especially during Shillington projects as you will be able to get those cliched, stereotypical ideas out of your way and dive into more unique and exciting solutions—particularly with the scamper technique and the define, describe and visualise process that is taught at Shillington.  I would definitely encourage other creatives to embrace drawing as part of their idea generation process.    

Tell us a bit about how you found the community at Shillington, have you kept in touch with any of your classmates or teachers and have you found the Shillumni network useful?

I’ve kept in contact with my class mates who are like a family to me. We have a Facebook and Whatsapp group and follow each other on LinkedIn and Instagram. Whenever I’ve needed advise or just needed someone to talk to about design, they are always there and I enjoy being there for them. We constantly comment words of encouragement and share ideas on Instagram posts and stories. I’ve met my teachers again at the Shillington grad shows. They have supported me greatly during my time at Shillington and are there when I need them. 

The Shillumni network has been a very useful tool for me. I have found on many occasions that questions I’ve wanted to ask or was about to ask had been answered on the network in great detail.

It’s great being part of an expanding community of creatives who are passionate about what they do and show compassion for others because of the fact that we’ve all been through it and understand what life is like for someone who is trying to make it as a graphic designer.   

What’s life been like for you since graduating, can you tell us any projects you’ve been working on?

Since graduating it’s been busy and exciting! I’ve been receiving freelance work since the day after I graduated and have been helping start up companies with branding, artworking and social media. The work continues to keep coming! I’ve also had an opportunity to work as a freelancer at a design and advertising agency. Shillington has given me the much needed motivation to work on some of my projects that needed finessing at university which I have updated and presented on my portfolio website. 

We’re opening up our half-scholarships again this year, what would you say to someone thinking of entering—any encouraging words of wisdom?

My advise is to tell your story in a clear, engaging way that is true to you! Have fun with it, be imaginative and creative and most importantly don’t over think it and give up! 

You have as much chance as anyone else has of winning and you’ll regret not trying!

Big thanks to Uzma for sharing her experience with us. Be sure to look through her full portfolio and keep up to date with her design journey via Instagram.

Do you want to study at Shillington? Scholarship announcements happening late June 2018. Stay tuned! For more inspiration, check out interviews with Shillington Melbourne scholarship winner Arnold Omanyo and Shillington New York scholarship winner Christina Capetola.

In the meantime find out more about studying at Shillington by attending an Info Session. We have campuses in London, Manchester, New York, Sydney, Brisbane & Melbourne, speak to our Student Experience Team directly via phone, email or to arrange a personal appointment. 

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