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Rather than going back to school for a few years or settling for a night class, I was able to immerse myself in the programs and the world of design for 3 straight months at a fraction of the cost of grad school.

Writer, Pinterest

Stephanie Halovanic

Before Shillington, you worked in advertising in New York City, with aspirations of becoming an Art Director. Why did you want to study design?

During my time as an account manager and copywriter at R/GA NYC, I was exposed to traditional graphic design for the first time. It wasn’t until working at R/GA that I realized graphic design was the element of good visual creative work that I loved. Both inside and outside of branding. As a writer on the creative team at R/GA, I felt an increasing desire to be involved on the visual side of the work we were creating, not just writing. I decided I wanted to learn how to design myself.

Why did you choose Shillington?

One of my creative partners at R/GA was an incredibly fast designer, and he told me he’d studied at Shillington in NYC. I wanted to take time away from the industry and go back to school, but was not sure what type of secondary education made sense for the next chapter of my career.

Following many conversations with some incredible mentors, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to learn how to design and art direct, this was a hard skill I needed to take the time to learn. I talked to friends and coworkers who had studied at all sorts of creative schools and programs — ranging from 3 months to 3 years.

After doing my research, I realized the 3 month full time program at Shillington was a perfect fit for me. I had neither the time nor the financial resources to take on any more than that. I honestly felt so lucky that the program existed for these reasons. Rather than going back to school for a few years or settling for a night class, I was able to immerse myself in the programs and the world of design for 3 straight months at a fraction of the cost of grad school.

Did you have previous design software experience?

I used InDesign to create my resume after college. That is it.

Now you’re a Creative Producer at Sagmeister & Walsh. For those not familiar with the design world, can you please explain what a HUGE deal that is?

It’s a huge deal. Such a big deal that the night before my first day, my little sister, who is also a designer, dramatically said to me, “Stephanie, this is bigger than your wedding day.”

While that is hopefully a hyperbole, I think it explains the sort of 1 in a million feeling being offered a job at Sagmeister & Walsh felt like. Stefan Sagmeister & Jessica Walsh have had a huge impact on design for so many people, myself especially. Independently and together, they have shown the world how powerful and artistic graphic design can be, in both a commercial and personal way. They bend the rules and apply design across so many different mediums.

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

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