PechaKucha Manchester Brochure Design by Emily Swift, Shillington Graduate

Here at Shillington, we encourage our students and graduates to get involved in their local design and creative community. So when PechaKucha Manchester approached Shillington to get graduates involved to design their events programme, it was an easy yes.

Haven’t heard of PechaKucha? It’s an international community that brings together artists, designers, campaigners and community champions to talk about their work and projects. At PechaKucha events, creatives from all walks of life and disciplines come together to present on topics that they’re passionate about using the 20×20 format: each speaker has to use 20 images with only 20 seconds per image before it changes to the next one. In total, a speaker will present for 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

For PechaKucha Manchester Vol. 26 – themed ‘Rejection’, the team put out a challenge to our #Shillumni Network to create the events programme. The brief was open in respect of the design, size and shape, and the best news of all? The sponsor, G . F Smith, supplied the paper. Limitless opportunities for designers with a love of print!

Many students sending in their folios and ideas to express interest, and recent Shillington Manchester graduate Emily Swift was the first to be selected. We’re digging her result! Read on to learn more about her Shillington story, her approach for the programme design and what it was like to see PechaKucha attendees engage with her work!

How did you get connected to design for PechaKucha?

PechaKucha were keen to create a collaboration with Shillington and I jumped at the opportunity. I submitted my concept and visual idea around the next event’s theme of ‘Rejection’ and was lucky enough to be chosen to design the brochure.


What was the brief and how did you approach it?

The brief was really exciting because it was very open and could be interpreted in many different ways.

I started by ideating the various different perceptions and reactions towards ‘Rejection’ and how I could represent these visually.

I wanted to portray the unsettling nature of rejection, but that it is an opportunity to learn and grow and that it is a very natural and essential part of life.

What was the biggest challenge of the project?

I really wanted to challenge myself and create a completely cohesive design, using every aspect including the printing technique, the way the brochure folded and the type of paper I used to evoke the idea behind the concept. It was challenging to create something which needed to be practical and easy to read but reflect a fairly complex and multi-faceted concept. Rejection is also often something we want to suppress and not acknowledge, all of which was important to me to represent in my design.

How was the night? Was it cool to see PechaKucha Manchester attendees engaging with your work?

It was a fantastic and really inspiring evening hearing all of the speakers share their experiences of rejection. It was great to hear what they learnt and how they turned their experiences into opportunities.

It was amazing to see my design in the hands of so many fantastic and influential designers, and I received some brilliant feedback.

Event Photography by Fiona Finchett

Event Photography by Fiona Finchett

Event Photography by Fiona Finchett

What were you up to before Shillington and why did you decide to study design?

I had been working in fashion merchandising in London before deciding to leave the rat race and go backpacking around the world. I had always wanted to pursue a creative career and whilst travelling realised that now was the perfect time to be brave and give it a go.

What have you been up to since graduating?

I am freelancing and hoping to find a permanent position at the perfect agency in Manchester to continue to develop and grow as a designer.

Where do you look for creative inspiration?

I find lots of inspiration in everyday things – the buildings I walk past, the music I listen to, the posters in bus stops etc. – the things that many people pay little attention to. I think it’s a really important lesson I learnt whilst at Shillington; to learn to find inspiration from anything and everything, understand why you like it, and then implement what you have learnt to create something original.

Any tips for fresh design graduates looking for freelance work?

My biggest tip is to continue to fuel your passion by designing things that matter to you. As long as you are creating things that you genuinely love, you’ll remain passionate, continue to grow as a designer and will inevitably find work that suits you and your talent.

Huge thanks to Emily Swift for sharing some background behind this brochure for PechaKucha. Be sure to check out her website, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Curious about attending a PechaKucha event in your local city? Find out more!

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