Hear straight from our graduates.
Shillington is so much more than just a design school, just let them prove it to you.
Freelance Graphic Designer/ Junior Designer at NRMA
What were you up to before Shillington?
Before Shillo, I’d spent most of my professional life doing what was easy, possible or safe. I’d been working as a project coordinator and brand guardian with some copywriting on the side for about 5 years before a restructure offered me a position with a little more risk – one involving graphic design. As soon as I started, I knew I wanted become a designer and do this for the rest of my life. The only problem was, I didn’t know where to start.
Why did you decide to study design at Shillington and what made our design course stand out from the rest?
I committed myself to learning more about design, taking as many courses as I could through sites like Skillshare and Udemy—but it felt like I was missing key pieces of the puzzle. So, I began investigating study options, something that would fit in with full time work but also not take 4 years to complete. I asked my colleagues and almost every one of them had one word to say—Shillington. It’s reputation, among professionals already in the field, is second to none. I did my own research, but it was the information session that really sealed it for me. The warmth and enthusiasm of the teacher broke right through the last of my reservations. Within days, I’d signed up. For me, what really sets Shillington apart from other design schools is it’s approach. It’s intense, but never too much. Each night, we had a lecture and then worked on a brief that related to the lecture. Being able to put everything into practice, almost immediately, really helped me understand that design is a methodical process that can be worked through. It’s not magic, even if it ends up looking that way.
How does the remote course compare to the in-person experience?
After being in the classroom, I was worried at first. I’d taken online courses before and had come away feeling as though I had missed something. But again, Shillo’s dedication to us as their students shone through. I never felt like I was in the dark or left adrift, my teachers were with me every step of the way. If anything, I came to prefer it. I felt I had more time to work on everything, more space to think. I loved being in the classroom, being in the flow with your classmates around, but sometimes I did need a bit of headspace and a bit of quiet to really think something out. I felt that I had more control over my time, my energy and my outputs – there was less to worry about and I had no issue with staying late after class to chat to the teachers instead of needing to run for a train home.
What were the most positive aspects of the online course?
There were a heap of positive aspects, but the teachers were an absolute beacon. Down-to-earth, experienced, engaged—they created an atmosphere that was both comfortable and encouraging. For me, there was a point of tension when I started out, a gap between what I could do and what I wanted to do. It was disheartening to have such a clear vision after your ideation and yet what ended up on the screen looked nothing like that vision. But the teachers never let that gap feel too wide. They were always constructive, always engaged. It was really encouraging at times to watch them try to puzzle something out on my screen. It really helped me understand that design is always a process, to matter your experience and the answers aren’t meant to be easy.
How were you able to structure your time learning from home?
Thankfully, I finish work at 4:15 so I was able to hop onto the night’s outline almost as soon as it came out at 4. I’d read through the outline and make a point of watching the first video or so listed, just so I had time to take notes and look up The Guide article as well. I was able to stretch what once was 3.5 hours of learning out to 5, using my excess time to think things over, deep dive into ideation and really refine my mood boards. It generally meant that I was prepared for anything the night threw at me, I was in the design headspace as soon as class kicked off and generally was able to have some pretty nice pieces to show by the end of the night. If anything, some of my projects came out better for having that space. My handmade project turned into something that was bigger than Ben-Hur and I struggle to see how I could have done it in the same way if I had been in the classroom!
If someone was considering an online learning course option, what would be your main piece of advice?
Be open and bring your passion! Squeeze as many seconds as you can out of your hours and know that—online or in person—you’re still getting the same stellar Shillington education from the same stellar Shillington teachers. Even digitally, you can still “turn up” and “get amongst it”!
What would you say to someone who is skeptical about studying at Shillington?
If you’re not sold by the professional recommendations or previous students’ work—go and talk to them. It’s what sold me; having a teacher and a team who are just as invested in your dream as you are. Attend an information session, take a tour of the school, talk to student service staff, bring your questions and your scepticism and get it all ironed out. Shillington is so much more than just a design school, just let them prove it to you.
Check out Lauren’s website and stay up to date with her work.