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If you want to walk out of the course as a genuine graphic designer, in a very short amount of time, then Shillington is one hundred percent the right place for you.

Junior Designer, MOO

Em Stokes

Why Shillington? What made our design course stand out from the rest?

I was attracted to Shillington because of the promise of learning graphic design in such a short space of time, without the necessity of having any previous design skills. This was the biggest selling point and as I read through the statements from Shillumni I became completely convinced that it was the right place to learn.

You previously studied photography at university, why did you choose to add graphic design to your repertoire?

I have always been obsessed with anything creative and half way through my photography degree I had a realisation that although I loved photography, my work was naturally becoming more about using imagery within design and less about the technical side of the craft itself. When I finished my degree I didn’t feel enthusiastic about looking for photography work so I took a short evening course in graphic design which confirmed that I wanted to follow that path instead.

Can you tell us what you have been up to since you graduated?

When I graduated from Shillington I freelanced for a while and then almost 4 months to the day, I started working at MOO; a commercial print company who design and print marketing material/promotional products. I’ve been there for almost a year now and still can’t believe how great it is.

Did you have any previous design experience? How did the course build your skill set?

Any previous design experience I had before the course was minimal and gained from watching my sister (who is also a graphic designer) or uni friends working on InDesign and Illustrator and being in awe. The course pretty much built my skill set from scratch, I remember using Illustrator for the first time and feeling like I was never going to understand it but the course and tutors had complete faith that we’d all pick it up with every day practice and we did. Apart from the technical side of design, I think the most valuable part of the course was learning how to generate ideas and research efficiently when you started a project. I still follow the approach we were taught at Shillington for every project I work on and it is such a great structure to work from.

Did you face any particular challenges during the course?

The intensity and speed of producing work was a challenge at times, especially the last few weeks when we knew we needed to have a full portfolio at the end. A couple of times I struggled with the pressure of juggling projects, having to work fast and feeling the need to work as hard as I possibly could to be happy with the end result. When I look back, I was a bit stressed but I was also really pleased with my portfolio and it landed me a job that I feel very lucky to be in so it was definitely worth it!

Were your class close? Are you still in touch with anyone from the course?

Luckily our class were pretty close, I felt like we tried to support and encourage each other which was an amazing thing to be part of. I’m still in touch with quite a few of my classmates and the others from time to time over Instagram/WhatsApp. When we were applying for jobs straight after the course, a few of us would meet regularly and sit in cafes or libraries to job hunt together over coffees and lunches—it was really nice to have a support network of like-minded people. I think when you spend every day in such a short amount of time with people you can’t help but connect, and experiencing something as specific as the Shillington course makes you want to hold onto those connections.
What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?

I would say if you want to walk out of the course as a genuine graphic designer with industry standard knowledge, understanding, technical skills, creative/design thinking, and a refined portfolio in a very short amount of time then Shillington is one hundred percent the right place for you. All you need to do is make sure you are committed, enthusiastic and passionate about the course and you’ll love every second of it!

Make sure to follow Em on Instagram.

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