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Hear straight from our graduates.

The biggest thing Shillington did for me was teach me about creative process and the discipline of design. I learnt that inspiration doesn’t happen accidentally.

Founder at Aseda Design Agency

Oyinkan Karunwi

You have a background in law and worked as a business advisory associate at a firm before changing careers. At what moment did you decide to take the leap and study design?

It took me a while to see design as a viable career. I designed my first poster back at university in Nottingham for a friend’s party. After that, students started paying me to design posters for their parties and student union events. I couldn’t believe I was being paid to design. When I moved back to Nigeria, design became a hobby I could make some extra income from. I used YouTube videos to teach myself how to use some of the Adobe software and I made do with that at the time. But after 3 years working as a business advisory associate, I realized that the weekends and late nights I spent designing for clients brought me more joy and fulfillment and sometimes, even more income than my job as an associate. As a Christian, I started praying about the decision to leave law and take design seriously as a full-time career. I don’t believe in coincidences and around that time, a family friend told me about this amazing design course she had studied part-time in London called Shillington. Visits to Shillington’s blog became a daily escape for me in between writing legal opinions and preparing due diligence reports and so in November 2018, I wrote my parents a very formal email about my decision to leave law practice and take design seriously. That was the moment it all became real.

How did you learn about Shillington? What influenced your decision to study In New York compared to other Shillington campus cities?

A family friend who lives in London first told me about Shillington. After that, I read countless reviews, researched other design courses and stalked Linkedin pages to get more information. A major factor in my decision making was time. I initially considered plunging into a full-time 4-year BA program in Graphic Design, then I later looked into some 2 years and 1-year design programs. Shillington’s 3-month course actually seemed too good to be true at the time. The more I read the more convinced I was. With a completely new career path in sight, I also wanted to experience a new city. Everyone I spoke to said that New York was a design capital and it would be an amazing experience. The visa process also seemed relatively straight-forward, so I decided to go for it.

Any tips for other students considering studying abroad?

Be intentional about experiencing your city. Shillington’s full-time course is intense (8am to 5pm; Monday to Friday) and you’ll definitely feel like staying in and resting after class and weekends—but you’re in a new city for 3 months only! You have to push yourself out of bed and be extremely deliberate about experiencing all the culture the city has to offer.

How did the design course build your skillset and give you the confidence to start your own agency, Aseda Design?

I had been freelancing as Aseda Design from December 2017; and while it had been going ok, I was always so nervous about getting calls for new design work. I would feel a huge lump in my throat whenever I got paid upfront to design anything. I was never sure that ‘inspiration’ would strike before the deadline!

There is actually a method to the madness, there is a place for research, there are methods of idea generation and if I just trust the design process, I’ll end up with a great concept in the end. When I got back to Nigeria, I felt ready to take on any brief.

Check out Oyinkan’s interview on the blog and keep up to date with studio projects on her website.

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