Nicol Reid graduated only seven weeks ago, but she’s already taking names interning at a packaging company in Sydney. Her newfound design skills helped her break free from working in retail, and her portfolio really speaks for itself! Today we hear more of her story.
What were you up to before Shillington?
I moved to Australia after completing my Degree in Fine Art in South Africa. Once in Australia, I landed a job as a retail manager in a art and framing store in West Ryde, Sydney. I worked there for just over two years when I decided I needed a change. I needed to experience something different, something new!
Why did you take the plunge and decide to enrol?
In short, I was not made for the retail world! I had studied art for four years and decided I did not move all the way to Australia to work in retail.
I wanted something more—a reason to get up in the morning.
I literally decided three weeks before the course started that I wanted to study graphic design. I wanted to do anything creative and was intrigued in the possibility of combing my printmaking background with graphic design. The course made me realise that graphic design is not only computer-based, that you can combine other mediums with that of digital design and create something truly amazing at the end of it.
My favourite brief is a tough choice between two, packaging and handmade. If I had to choose one I would say it was the handmade brief. I was in my element—best day in the course. I guess it’s because for the first time I realised that you could combine different mediums such as watercolour or relief printing to digital works. This was where my expertise lay. I was able to work with my prints and create something that had a strong message and communicated something to the world, through art and design.
The whole day was fun, seeing all the students’ different ideas and the creativity that flowed through the classroom.
What was your biggest challenge during the course? Why?
My biggest challenge through out the course was managing time and accepting that not everything is going to be perfect. I am naturally a perfectionist and have always wanted to achieve the highest quality in my work. With design it was a challenge to produce work that was perfect within the given timeline. Design is a very fast paced environment and I had to find a way to look at my work differently and accept that what I had done was good enough and not get so emotionally attached to the work.
How did you feel at the graduate exhibition?
One word to describe how I felt at the graduation exhibition was proud.
I was proud of the work that I had done in a matter of three months. I had learnt so much and produced some pretty good work, and I could now call myself a designer! It was awesome to see people looking at your work and commenting on the designs. I felt a real sense of achievement.
What are you keeping busy with now?
I am currently busy with a internship at Marque Branding, a packaging company in North Sydney. I am also doing a bit of freelance work on the side and trying to find a way of building a brand for myself through combing my printmaking background and design knowledge.
What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?
Take the plunge. Just do it!
In essence, you have nothing to lose. You gain valuable technical skills, meet great people and get a second chance at a creative career.
There is a reason you are thinking about studying design, and if you don’t do it now you will always wonder what it would have been like and what could have happened. You won’t look back—I know I haven’t.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?
Get lots and lots of sleep while you can. The three months are intense and a lot of hard work, but if you put everything into it and dedicate yourself, you will finish the course with a brand new outlook and career. Enjoy every second of the course, hassle your teachers with lots of questions and learn as much as you can.
Thanks so much to Nicol for sharing her story and portfolio! Do you want to follow in her footsteps? Join Shillington for Info Sessions this Friday, 3rd July in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.