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Hear straight from our graduates.

Regardless of the situation we were faced with in regards to the pandemic, the teachers made every day a truly unforgettable one!

Creative Digital Designer, Artlogic

Michelle Crocker

Why Shillington? You were already working in design before the course, why did you chose to jump back into studying?

I never really knew what I wanted to do. My course at university was very broad and I really struggled. I needed structure and found my course didn’t give me that stability. I spent my time printmaking which I loved, however I left with no real life design skills. After graduating, I struggled with getting a design job as my portfolio didn’t show the relevant knowledge. I used to collect a magazine called Frankie and saw an advert for Shillington College, so I went to the open day in Manchester back in 2014 and knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. I couldn’t afford it at the time, but it was a lifelong ambition for me.

I got a job in a jewellers and was fortunate to be invited to be interviewed for the design role in the head office. This is where I began to learn using Photoshop and Illustrator. I then applied for a traineeship to work on (British soap opera) Emmerdale for ITV and worked my way up learning as much as I could along the way. This was an incredible experience for me and opened me up to a whole other world of design. I left ITV to work at an agency, however it was very clear I lacked a level of design knowledge and I quit. I had never used InDesign before. Instead I decided to go freelance and took on some more film and tv jobs. In 2019, I made it my goal to study at Shillington and saved up as hard as I could.

How did the Shillington course build on your existing design skills?

I had design experience, but I wanted to fill in the gaps in my education. Everything I knew was through being partly self taught and what I picked up along the way. Shillington gave me the opportunity to really study and learn about the core fundamentals and the theoretical side of graphic design. There was a lot I needed to learn and Shillington gave me the tools I needed to feel more confident as a designer.

You were in one of the classes that had to be moved online due to the pandemic. How did you find the course? Tell us about your experiences!

My class did move online, which at first I was worried about, however the transition was pretty seamless. I feel lucky to have had experience in the classroom and getting to meet so many wonderful people, however the online experience was also amazing. I feel we had a good balance of learning collectively as well as getting enough one to one time with the tutors. Regardless of the situation we were faced with in regards to the pandemic, the teachers made every day a truly unforgettable one. During a time of uncertainty, I felt very fortunate that I got to get up every morning and have a goal to achieve (plus lots of homework ha!)

I felt so close to many on my course. It was a shared experience and we all supported one another so much throughout the whole course. We felt like a team, constantly bringing each other up. I made friends on the course that I will be friends with for a long time. The teachers are incredible and consistently give 100%. Shout out to Nick and Lovish from the Manchester campus! They share so much knowledge with the class that I’ve spent years figuring out.

What was your favourite brief on the course? Tell us your process!

My favourite brief has to be the start up project. It was my first experience of creating a brand from scratch. The course is structured so that the process becomes organic. We began by researching the brief and going away to push our ideas as far as we could to then present to a small group. I didn’t think I would have the confidence to present my ideas at first, but I felt so excited by the research that I couldn’t wait to share them. Presenting to a  group wasn’t as daunting as I first imagined as everyone was encouraged to share ideas and get involved. I really loved seeing the process develop from a concept to a piece of design.

How has your life changed after Shillington? You’ve been freelancing since you graduated. Was this always what you planned to do?

After graduating from Shillington, I feel like a much more confident and articulate designer than I did before. The whole experience itself was life changing and I feel more equipped now to apply for work I wouldn’t have done previously.

I have been freelancing again recently as it has suited my lifestyle and brought me to London. I’m open to work right now and just really want to get involved in exciting projects.

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

I would say be eager to learn and just absorb as much information as you can. It’s a very intensive course and there is no doubt a lot work and tight deadlines, but be assured that the teachers are there every step of the way. I would also say to make sure to look after yourself. Take breaks, eat well and get plenty of sleep. If you get stuck with any ideas, your course mates are the absolutely golden and will help you to bounce off ideas. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had and have come away with some wonderful friends and a portfolio I am proud of and you will do too!

Visit Michelle’s website and read her full interview on the blog

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