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I had the classic university experience 10 years ago and really struggled with the traditional approach to learning involving long lectures, textbooks, and exams. Shillington seemed to have the complete opposite approach.

Freelance Designer and Craft Beer Specialist

Lauren Koste

What were you up to before studying at Shillington, and what are you doing now?

A whole bunch of different things! I did everything from teaching figure skating, to pouring beers, to working in public relations. I spent my 20’s in odd jobs and traveled heaps until I realized the only consistent interest I had was design and applied for the Shillington Part-Time course in Melbourne. I graduated a few months ago and have been working as a Freelance Designer and Craft Beer Specialist since.

Why did you choose Shillington?

I always wanted to be a graphic designer but didn’t have the balls to go after it! I hoarded empty beer cans because of their super cool designs, bought products based on their packaging, and obsessed over local businesses with beautiful branding (side note: if you do any of these things, you need to be a graphic designer). The thought of working on creative projects and making a living seemed too good to be true. I thought that in order to be a designer you had to be an illustrator or artist. I was so wrong. Once I got over that assumption I looked into heaps of design programs in Australia, Shillington was high up on my list.

Shillington’s main appeal was the structure of the course: a studio-like environment, very hands-on and just generally preparing you for the real-world. It ticked all my boxes right away! I had the classic university experience 10 years ago and really struggled with the traditional approach to learning involving long lectures, textbooks, and exams. Shillington seemed to have the complete opposite approach. Plus, when I went on the website and saw all the work the #Shillumni put out in only a few months, my mind was blown. How the hell did they pull that off? Everything looked so professional. I had to experience it for myself.

Why do you love working as a designer?

There are so many reasons why I love being a designer. I’m so lucky to be able to work on fun projects, surround myself with passionate creative people and work with my hands as well as in design programs!

I currently work as an in-house designer for an events company in Melbourne and freelance on the side. I’ve worked on some unique projects from making custom matchbooks to designing packaging for a boutique edible cannabis business in L.A. (talk about a niche industry!). I absolutely love learning about my clients and hearing about the passion and vision they have for their business. The more excited they are about the project the more excited I am!

My style is quite unusual as I like to add a ton of handmade elements and playfulness into most briefs. So while I spend tons of time on the computer, I also love to create custom handmade visuals in my workshop using a variety of tools and supplies. I think incorporating custom artwork into a design makes the finished product feel extra special and unique. I’ve always been making things, building stuff, and working on creative projects. I thought all my weird creative interests were just hobbies, didn’t realize I could take those skills and turn it into a career. I seriously can’t believe I get to play around with my welder, paint supplies and blow torch for a living!

Anything else?

Shillington seriously prepared me for being a designer in the real-world. We’re so used to working with tight deadlines and are absolute guns when it comes to creative brainstorming and researching before hitting the computer! It didn’t feel like going to school, it felt like going to work at a studio each day. Studying design at Shillington was the perfect fit for me!

Visit Lauren’s website.

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