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The jam-packed days and daily briefs allowed us to build on our skills from the day before, and we were encouraged to soak up as much design as we could outside of the course.

Midweight Designer, Siegel+Gale

Helen Tong

Why did you choose to study at Shillington? What made our design course stand out?

I first came across Shillington back in 2015 when I was looking into graphic design courses, but at the time I wasn’t quite ready to change careers. 5 years later though when I finally decided to bite the bullet, I was standing on a tube platform and saw an advert for Shillington, and that was the push I needed to make the change into design.

The course stood out to me as I was looking for something completely immersive that I could get my teeth into without having to take too much time off, and it seemed like a great all-round course where I could learn the skills to transition into the industry.

When I was researching and came across all the work and portfolios of previous Shillington students, I was amazed at the level of work that could be achieved within such a short space of time, and it gave me some hope that I could learn graphic design within a few months!

How did you find the course? Tell us about your Shillington experience.

Despite the pandemic starting during our course, I still had a great experience at Shillington! To be completely honest, it was an intense 3 months, and I definitely needed a couple of weeks rest afterwards but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The jam-packed days and daily briefs allowed us to build on our skills from the day before, and we were encouraged to soak up as much design as we could outside of the course so that we could start our own inspiration bank for future projects.

The talks from design studios and previous Shillington students were a great way to better understand the industry a bit more and the type of work that’s available out there, and generally where people have ended up after the course.

When the pandemic hit at the beginning of March, there was definitely uncertainty in our minds with what would happen with the rest of the course, but Shillington managed to turn things around pretty quickly and we moved to online teaching within a few days. Throughout the whole course, our teachers Andy and Rich were great, you could tell they were passionate about design but also about sharing their knowledge and pushing us to do our best work. When the course moved online, they were encouraging and understanding of the whole situation but helped us maintain the momentum that we’d created over the past couple of months and were always positive—even if we weren’t sometimes! Overall, the course was great and as much as it developed my skills in design, it also helped with my personal development too in terms of learning to let go of perfection, being okay with making mistakes and just generally being more confident in my ideas and work.

Back to the course, what were you up to beforehand and why did you make the switch to graphic design?

My previous career started within publishing and then I shifted into the digital space, working in web production and website management roles. I was at a STEM publisher for quite a few years and then a couple of other companies before making the switch into design. 2019 was a tough year, and by the end of it I was feeling pretty unhappy and unfulfilled in my career.

I quit my job and decided that I had to try pursuing a career in design—it was something I’d always been interested in since I was young and throughout my roles I’d be looking to work on creative projects or use my creativity somehow, and in the evenings I found myself trying to find creative outlets whether it was workshops or drawing etc. I signed up to Shillington and started the course at the beginning of 2020, and looking back now, I’m very glad I made the jump!

Did you make any meaningful connections with teachers or fellow students during the course? Especially after the course transitioned to online teaching.

My class was a great bunch, and despite the varied ages we all got on and I think even when it transitioned to online everyone was super supportive of each other. It wasn’t easy especially with the uncertainty of the pandemic at the back of our minds but everyone banded together to get each other through it. Our teachers, Andy and Rich, were great too, they were always really positive and encouraging. I’m still in touch with Andy from time to time, he’s helped me out so much since the course so I kind of see him as my unofficial mentor!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?

I’ll echo what one of the teachers said to us on our first day—‘Don’t be afraid to fail, the quicker you do that, the quicker you’ll learn’. For me, I’d always seen failure as a bad thing, but Shillington taught me that it’s 100% part of the process.

Without making mistakes and without trying, you might miss out on discovering and learning new things and that’s so crucial to design. It’s a great way to learn to let go of perfection too, sometimes with design, it can be hard to show something that’s not perfect in fear of criticism or judgement from others, but try and focus more on the process and the progress you’re making rather than the outcome. Also, just enjoy it!

Check out Helen’s website and read her full interview on the blog.

Peter Howell
Freelance Creative

Paul Hallam
Book Designer, Scholastic

Rhys Brennan
Graphic Designer, Romano Beck

Helen Tong
Midweight Designer, Siegel+Gale

Amee Wilson
Art Director, Google

Dana Gendler
Creative Intern, Landor & Fitch

Suparom Ronyut
Creative Fellow at Rare with Google

Becky Dore
Designer at OnThree

Mason El Hage
Art Director at monopo

Ana Perez
Founder of Anecdota Studio

Claudia Costa
Freelance Graphic Designer

Shireen Roy
Freelance Graphic Designer

Marc Igbinadolor
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Daniele Regan
Founder of Danibydsgn

Michelle Crocker
Freelance Designer for Film and TV

Anuja Shukla
Creative Specialist at Twitter

Jeremy Somers
Founder and Creative Director of We Are Handsome

Jess Mosoph
Junior Creative at Dinosaur

Carolyn Kao
Product Designer, Robinhood

Rob Key
Founder of Studio Change and Change Space

Carl McBride
Junior Designer at Toyfight

Melody Yee
Lead Designer at
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Darsh Seneviratne
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Matt McKay
Designer at Kensa Creative

Ximena Jimenez
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Kinda Savarino
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Chantel Charchalis
Marketing and Content Creator at The Dog Mum

Tom Noon
Freelance Graphic Designer

Lauren Danger Koste
Studio Manager at The Design Kids

Karina Aslikyan
Freelance Graphic Designer

Robyn M-C
Freelance Graphic Designer

Lauren Stevens
Freelance Graphic Designer/ Junior Designer at NRMA

Karen Liang
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Ayesha Mansour
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Anna Dai
Freelance Graphic Designer

Georgia Latham
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Natasha Michels
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Mary Lin
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Carla Zimbler
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Wyatt Welles
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Laura Welch
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Sophie Bo Schmidt
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Sivim Ly
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Ben Thaler
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Rosylvia Wang
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Liam Speranza
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Em Storey
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Natalie Taylor
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Ella Caseley
Winner of the Shillington x Champion Agency Scholarship

Oyinkan Karunwi
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Sylvan Hillebrand
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Maria Vazquez
Freelance Designer and Art Director

Alessandra Conti
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Elizabeth Diffey
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Vanessa Bertagnole
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Em Stokes
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Veronica Humphris
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Leila Bartholet
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Jared Worthington
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Alexandra Francis
Designer, Flow Creative

Benjamin Ngooi
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Sophie Lord
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Khadijah Adbul Nabi
Freelance Graphic Designer

Frankie Young
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Ella Donald & Charlotte Carnegie Brown
Co-Founders, Studio Duzi

Amy Forsyth
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Jaira Adlawan
Senior Visual Designer, Sephora

Jamie Krups
Creative at Stab Magazine

Keiran McCann
Graphic Designer, Victoria’s Secret

Greg Bemis
Creative, Nike

Anastasiia Vinnichenko
Designer, Phantom

Lori Beth Kaye
Senior Product Designer, The Iconic

Megan Dweck
Visual Designer, McKinsey & Company

James Freebairn
Junior Graphic Designer, Dark Mofo

Irina Manning
UX Designer, Manning Labs

Shannon Gordon
Designer, R/GA

Sinead Murphy
Freelance Graphic Designer

Lauren Koste
Freelance Designer and Craft Beer Specialist

Ani Monteleone
Designer, The Wall Street Journal

Caitlin Clancy
Designer, The New York Times

Miwako Suzuki
Integrated Creative Director

Linda Gao
Designer, HBO

Rachel Urquhart
Founder, Pony Gold Studio

Will Batrouney
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Ellie Pinney
Freelance Designer

Katie Lodge
Business Development Manager, Frost* collective

Joseph Lebus
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Jordan Demetriou
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Hamish Snow
Product Designer, Rexlabs

Emily Somers
Founder, Bravery Co.

Eleanor Robertson
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Estefi Panizza
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Erin Gale
Designer, Target

Kylie Meller
Founder, duosista Web and Graphic Design

Yarron Frauenfelder
Design Director

Bianca Chu
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Bianca Oggiano
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Alexander Rog
Junior Designer, oOh!

Christopher J Porter
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Babeth Olde Hanter
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Chrystal Christie
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Tally Thompson
Graphic Designer, Awesome Creative

Dominika Stanczyk
Designer, Open Water

Lindsay Koffler
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Amee Wilson
Art Director, Clemenger BBDO

Lily Moore
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Braden Floris
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Ashley Ronning
Illustrator and Founder of Helio Press

Tahmena Lutfi
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Anara Davletaliyeva
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Tiffany Yee
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Amy Sheehan
Art Director, Insider Inc.

Emma Ladlow
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Alexis Waller
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Halah El Kholy
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Jess White
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Bobby Hendry
Designer, Brilliant Logic

Jessica Bakker
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Lauren Dannenberg
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Arnold Omanyo
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Dawn Moloney
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Miranda Mayne
Freelance Graphic Designer

Caroline Keefe
Freelance, Nickelodeon

Paul and Amoni Liddell
Graphic Designers, Westpac CX and Feel

Meredith Wallis
Designer, King & Partners

Ocki Magill
Founder, Letter Bug Studios

Victoire Scherer
Graphic Designer, Marketing Agency

Anika George
Designer, AKQA

Liana Modolo
UX Designer, Rex Software

Kelly Hansen
Graphic Designer, Amazon Books

Mikel McCavana
Designer, Moment

Alexander Wu-Kim
Concept Creative, ANDPEOPLE Australia

Jing Ong
Designer, Autumn

Kirsten McColl
Designer, WH-O

Nicole Rogers
Designer, Birchbox

Pooja Dharia
Branding Designer, FCB Health

Erin Donati
Founder, Harley Quinn & Co.

Jackson Todd
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Andy Vargas
Designer, Bitâcora

Moshe Bien
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Crystal Lin
Designer, DNA Design

Stephen Grace
Designer, Christopher Doyle & Co.

Eleanor Rogers
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Andy Tharagonnet
Designer, ThumbsUp

Ben Peters
Freelance Graphic Designer

Brad Holten
Designer, Big Idea

Natalia Baker
Freelance Graphic Designer

Molly Sitter
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Guy Pittard
Freelance Graphic Designer

Bea Sambalido
Freelance Graphic Designer

Peta Harris
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Oceane Combeau
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Anna Mullin
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Theo Witrylak
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Stephanie Antill
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Paul McKie and Myles Sharpe
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Pete Conforto
Designer, For The People

Roo Cassels
Designer, Big Fish

Nicol Reid
Founder, Little Creative

James Birks
Freelance Illustrator and Designer

David Scott
Designer, The Mix

Jane Durlacher
Graphic Designer, Paper Stone Scissors

Rachel Lee
Freelance Graphic Designer

Janno Saft
Founder, frank wo

Sean Raynor
Designer, Watermark Studio

Vanessa Burgess
Graphic Designer, Tritium

Olivier Adam
Freelance Graphic Designer

Cari Sekendur
Art Director, LMNOP Creative

Alexandra Menzies
Freelance Graphic Designer

Margherita Baldi
Freelance Visual Designer

Tim Jones
Brand Experience Director, venturethree

Carla Scotto
Freelance Graphic Designer

Meg Walker
Designer, Milkshake

Christina Capetola
Designer at Wayfair

Louise Hamer
Design Lead, We Are Empire

Ina Estrada
Founder, Par Vous Designs

Sam Jacobs
Senior Designer, Time Inc.

Ulrika Johnson
Designer, Fantasia Accessories

Henriette van Baren
Graphic Designer, ABC Carpet & Home

Charly Tudor
Graphic Designer, Holdens

Lola Irwanto
Graphic Designer, Princess Polly

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