Before Shillington, Meredith Wallis worked as a front-end developer at a tech consulting firm, but longed to inject more creativity into her career. After dabbling in online Adobe tutorials in her spare time, she finally got serious about switching to design. Since graduating from Shillington in New York, she now works as a multi-disciplinary designer and developer with a passion for the intersection between physical and digital realms.
Why did you take the plunge and decide to enroll?
Before Shillington I was working at a tech consulting firm doing front-end web development and trying to teach myself Illustrator on nights and weekends! I had always had creative projects, but I majored in Economics and worked in consulting for 5 years after university. Once I became serious about switching to design, I considered applying for a masters or continuing education program, but they all seemed very theoretical and expensive as well. I saw a Shillington ad at a bus stop and was immediately drawn to it.
What was your favourite brief during the course? Why?
My favorite brief was our packaging brief. My product was very simple: soap. I decided to draw from trends in coffee and chocolate of single source ingredients and gave each of my soaps a different country of origin. I then researched traditional textiles from each country, which informed the patterns on the packaging. Research is probably my favorite part of design – you can learn so much about random topics you’d never come across otherwise.
What was your biggest challenge during the course? Why?
My biggest challenge was the small business branding. Because it was a hypothetical business, I spent a lot of time trying to fill in the gaps instead of just picking a concept and focusing on executing the design. Luckily this is only a problem you have in school—in the real world, you have a client to answer questions about their business.
What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?
If your main priority is to switch careers and work in design, there is no better option than Shillington.
If you apply yourself, you really can have all the skills necessary to obtain a job in graphic design. Most importantly, you have a portfolio!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?
My main advice is to simply show up and be present. Even if I missed a homework, I was dedicated to showing up to class and soaking up as much as possible. Of course doing as much outside the course is very important, too.
Interested in kickstarting your creative career like Meredith? Study graphic design 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time at Shillington –> www.shillingtoneducation.com