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It took me a year and 1000 packs of instant noodles to save up for Shillington, but I did.

Founder & Graphic Designer, Frank Wo

Janno Saft

Why did you decide to study at Shillington?

In the beginning of the third year at University I decided to take a year off (never returned) to figure out what else is there in the world. In 2006 I took a flight to Melbourne and it was an eye opener. The art scene there was and is insane. I went out almost every day to search artworks around the city. The stencils were my favourites. That was the moment I acknowledged that this is my thing also.

Google told me that I have to go to Shillington College. Best short-term design school in Australia (visa restrictions). My bank account told me that I should start building a cardboard house. So I took a train ticket outside from the city and got myself a job that includes a lot of blisters and hate. I was so into making it, that I totally zoned out from the life I had. In every few months I did sent a text to my mom “I am alive” and she replied “I know”. Some of my friends thought that I am dead. So thanks to Google I made my decision. It took me a year and 1000 packs of instant noodles (Shin Ramyun) to save up for Shillington, but I did.

You graduated from Shillington 10 years ago. Walk us through your creative journey since then! 

I took a flight back to Estonia only few days after graduation and at the end of the week I already had a job: Junior designer at Y&R. I was so happy and full on confident. I am officially a graphic designer…but in an advertising agency. At that time I never thought that there is such a big difference between design studio vs. advertising agency. I went there to do identity design, but thanks to my pen-tool skills I ended up cutting out diapers for a catalogue. Now I am a father and I know everything about baby diapers. So of course I did quit. I didn’t learn much from that time as a graphic designer, but one thing I got was patience.

In 2011 I started my own business, but I also needed to do a bit of traveling and I combined those two. Traveling and Design. So I spent 4 years abroad. Working in the mornings on design projects and getting intoxicated and educated from afternoon on in Portugal / France / New Zealand / Thailand / Bangladesh / Nepal / Myanmar / Thailand / Malaysia / Vietnam / Laos / Cambodia / Oman / Spain. So I think the design quality was on a standstill. At that time my credo was “Done is better then perfect”. I learned to work really fast, because there was a lot of things to do and see beside design. Waking up in Bangkok knowing that you can not hit the city before a design project is done makes you work fast. I also finished one project while trekking on Himalayas.

I think it was not only a creative journey but also a journey about finding myself. Maybe even more about myself. I turned 33 on July. Now I feel ready to start as a full time designer. My studio frank wo is only six months old and I am so amped up to create.

How did Shillington play a role?

The biggest advantage that Shillington gave me is how to handle a pressure of time. If something has to be done in an hour, then it’s done in 50 minutes. Thanks to that I had everything done before afternoon, so I was able to do some sightseeing.

What do you love about being a designer?

I actually get an adrenalin rush every now and then while working on a design project. And I start jumping around like a kid. But I never show or tell this to anyone. I am a design junkie. Always looking for a new high. Maybe I should see someone about it.

Visit Janno’s webiste and read his full interview on the blog.

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