Our part-time team are a talented bunch, they work all day as graphic designers before making their way to college for 6pm to teach our lovely part-time students, two evenings every week for nine months. In the first instalment of our part-time introduction we hear all about how to make the best impression in a studio, how failure is the best way to learn and what to avoid when using social media.
Whether you’re someone thinking of enrolling on one of our courses but curious about who’d be teaching you, or just a current student interested in learning a bit more about your teachers—this piece is perfect for getting to know the Shillington Part-Time Teaching Team!
Steve is known professionally by his studio alias, ‘From Parts Unknown’ With a strong interest in typography, he’s created numerous Typefaces from scratch, available for free on his website.
We live in a world saturated by social media, which has its pros and cons. More designers are frequently seen sharing their work on networks such as Instagram and Twitter—what are your thoughts on this?
It can get saturated, even echo-chamber-esque, but there are some great platforms to showcase your work and show people on a more causal basis what you are doing. I tend to use Instagram for stuff in progress or before I have properly documented a project. There should be a bit more humility (and humour) when it comes to Twitter—nobody wants to know that you “have had three really great client meetings!!” before 8am.
You run your own agency, From Parts Unknown. What advice would you give to a graduate keen to set up their own agency?
It is a steep learning curve to go from graduate to designer, account handler and accountant in one swoop. I would always encourage a graduate to work for at least one agency prior to going solo—working with others with different perspectives and requirements. Getting to understand the process of brief to delivery and beyond is really crucial. That said, it has been done (including some graduates I have taught), with really positive results.
Tom is design director at Otherway, a leading London agency with clients such as Pizza Express and Fortnum and Mason. No stranger to hard work Otherway also pioneers their own brands in the form of Shore Projects, a boutique watch label.
How can young designers make an impression during a first internship or job?
The graphic design industry is a hard nut to crack in London, there is so much competition, more than ever. It never ceases to amaze me the hundreds of responses we get when we put a post out for a design opportunity at Otherway, so making an impression is hugely important. Remember when sending off your portfolio Art Directors and Senior Designers know all the tricks, they’ve played before and they are very time poor.
Put the effort into making sure every page sells your work in the best light, make it interesting, own it and make it personal to you.
If you’re meeting someone in person, perhaps produce something to leave behind. Bring physical examples of your work—for example if you’ve designed a book jacket print it out professionally or if you’re showing a website present it on an iPad. Essentially present the work in the environment it was intended for, don’t rely on Photoshop comps they stand out like a sore thumb, photograph your work properly and professionally.
Make your own luck. By working hard, reading around the subject, asking questions, becoming multi-skilled, being pro-active, using your enthusiasm and going above and beyond puts you in positions where better opportunities arise more naturally. Essentially you want to make yourself indispensable and make it impossible for them not to hire you—for example getting in early, working late, keeping your ear to the ground, helping on projects you aren’t specifically assigned to you are all factors which will quickly help you become part of the fabric in any studio. Making yourself stand out like this is weirdly still quite rare in the industry and at Otherway it’s these qualities we look for in a person.
Laura is our part-time coordinator. When she’s not at Shillington she’s working in a variety of creative agencies across the country as a freelancer for brands like Virgin Atlantic and British Council.
What three pieces of advice would you give a junior designer entering a studio for the first time?
Corrie is our very own Shillington hybrid, teaching on the full-time and part-time courses in London, she still finds time to fit in freelance jobs. With a louder than life personality and a penchant for pattern she makes the classroom a colourful place to be.
You’ve been at Shillington for a number of years and you’ve taught many students, what’s your number one tip for how to make the most out of being a design student?
Work hard. Try everything. Ask why, to everything and then ask some more.
Don’t fear failure, failure is the best way to learn something.
Everyone has the fear that you’re not good enough, everyone, even the best creatives out there… the trick is to use this fear to push you to do better and not your poison that stops you from trying. This feeling never goes away, its more how you utilise the push over the poison, that’s seeking criticism over praise and not letting the fear of failure get in the way.
We will soon be sharing the second instalment of Meet the Part-Time Team with tips on how to curate that perfect portfolio and why collaboration is golden. You can meet some of our part-time team in person at our upcoming info sessions in the UK—more details available on our website.
We’re now enrolling for our part-time courses in London and Manchester beginning in September 2016. To learn more download an Info Pack from our website, attend an Info Session or get in touch directly.