Paul and Amoni Liddell are a design power couple … both trained at Shillington! Paul studied back in 2004 to kickstart his creative career and now works as on the Westpac CX team. Flash forward 10 years later, and he convinced his wife Amoni to do the same. Since graduating, she’s built an impressive digital design career, currently working at Feel.
Read on to hear more about why they chose to study design, why they love working as designers and how Shillington prepared them for the job hunt. Paul even generously offers to meet up with any Shillington sceptics for a coffee!
What were you doing before Shillington?
Paul: I did a sign writing apprenticeship which was good to learn the brush lettering skills. Doing layout got me interested in doing graphic design.
Amoni: I did a Bachelor of Fine Art majoring in Photography, at the National Art School.
Why did you decide to study design at Shillington? Did you have any previous design experience?
Paul: I had done a few short courses learning the design software. I played around with it at home as well doing cool logos (extra drop shadow!!) for local businesses.
Amoni: Paul suggested the course when I was deciding on my next steps—I didn’t want to be a commercial photographer and wanted to combine my love of images and layout, originally all I wanted was to work in magazines! I had learnt basic design software in my Bachelor degree.
Paul—you studied at Shillington 10 years before Amoni in 2004. What advice did you give her before starting the course?
Paul: I advised Amoni that is was a top course. Only 3 months, great briefs to work on, the teachers are industry standard.
It’s “shit hot” as my Shillington lecturer used to say.
Amoni—how did you enjoy the 3 month course? Was it nice having Paul to bounce ideas off of at home? Was he jealous of the curriculum updates?
Amoni: It was the best! I loved it all, it was a whirlwind but everything was so valuable and enjoyable. It’s always good to get a second opinion at home—Paul has a well trained eye and could spot things I had missed completely.
Paul—you currently work as a visual designer on the Westpac CX team. Tell us more about what your typical day looks like!
Paul: I never thought I’d work for a bank, but I frigging love it! I worked for many advertising and design agencies before this and was hesitant about working for a bank. I also studied UX design which gave me the relevant skills to get a role in the Westpac CX team. I’ve worked on projects such as simplifying the credit card application process and verifying your income online. I know that sounds super nerdy, but it’s satisfying working with a large team building a product millions of people will use regularly. Working at a bank, everyone is nice, you get treated well, the hours are good and the pay ain’t bad either.
Amoni—you work at a digital design agency. What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on so far?
Amoni: I love the variety of where I work. My favourite projects have included tourism, charities, small businesses and eCommerce—any jobs where the brief is open and they trust our judgement! I’m in a small team so I work closely with the producers and developers, and it’s always satisfying to see something come together after months of work with everyone’s input.
What do you love about working as a graphic designer?
Paul: When I first started using the design software and found out you could became a “graphic designer” I screamed at high pitch, for an extended period due to my extreme excitement. It’s so much fun.
Designing a logo, flyer or an app is so satisfying and I can’t believe you get paid for it. There’s still some days here and there where it might not be ideal, but who cares?
Amoni: The best parts are being able to trawl websites daily for “research”, making mood boards and constantly learning new things.
I sometimes still can’t believe this is my job!
It’s a very inspiring job to see the endless possibilities in the digital realm, and pushing myself to think outside the box.
How did Shillington help you on the job hunt, launching a career in graphic design?
Paul: With the portfolio I produced at Shillington my first job was actually in the Middle East in Bahrain! I scored a role as a junior designer at an advertising agency. It was insane, exactly what you would think it would be like. 55C in summer, AC was worshipped. That agency moved countries so I got another job at the national airline, Gulf Air. I worked in the marketing department doing design. Creating airline menus, directional signage and web banners was staple work there.
Amoni: I was very lucky to land a job soon after graduating, and worked as the in-house graphic designer for a retail company before freelancing at a few design studios, and I’ve been at my current job as a digital designer for close to two years, at a company called Feel. I still love pieces I did in my original Shillington portfolio, and I’m proud that I was able to showcase that as a graduate. My lecturers Enza and Tristan were really encouraging of finding my own style and showcasing my personality through my portfolio.
How often do you rely on the design foundation/skills you learnt at Shillington?
Paul: I still have the Shillington app they put out a few years ago! Those design principles featured will be around for many many years to come.
Amoni: Every day I step back and run through the design principles if something isn’t working, or before I send off a design—they are fundamental and really help with troubleshooting if something is off.
Any other family members planning on studying with us?
Paul: I’m seeing if our French Bulldog is interested! 😉
What would you say to someone who’s sceptical of the Shillington course?
Paul: Do it. Like I said, it’s only 3 months, the teachers are awesome and the portfolio you create will get you job ready.
I will meet up for coffee and convince you if required.
Amoni: You won’t know unless you give it a go. I loved it from the start and haven’t looked back! It throws you in the deep end and you’ll know straight away if this is for you (or Paul will convince you if required).
Curious about studying design 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time at Shillington in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane? –> shillingtoneducation.com