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Study 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time.

We believe students learn to design by designing. So from day one, you’ll be treated like a designer—not a student.

Anthony Wood
Global Director

Our innovative approach

Shillington Education is one of the best schools for graphic design. That’s not just by our own standards.

At Shillington, you’ll graduate with a solid understanding of design theory and software and an incredible design portfolio—essential skills for any creative career.

We move fast and mentor students to work like professional designers, following clear processes and meeting tight deadlines. Before long, you’ll be tackling creative briefs—experimenting with idea generation on paper, jumping onto the computer and creating polished results to real-world specifications.

Learn in varied ways from experienced teachers. We keep our lectures short and sweet, saving plenty of time to put your new skills into practice and develop your design eye. Enjoy engaging demonstrations, dynamic discussions, industry lectures and group workshops on everything from typography to how to moodboard.

We offer two study options:

3 months full-time. Monday through Friday from 8:00—5:00pm.

9 months part-time. Two nights a week (Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday/Thursday) from 6:00—9:30pm.

What will I learn?

Design theory
Great design is about so much more than making things look pretty. We teach a solid grounding in design theory to ensure there’s always substance behind your style.

Design programs
Technically-speaking, you’ll learn the Adobe software (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) and Sketch. We also cover what designers need to know about production processes, document set-up and printing methods.

If you’re already familiar with design software, we’ll sharpen your skills and you’ll learn dozens of new shortcuts and tricks to enhance efficiency.

Design theory

Design principles

Our course kicks off with the five design principles, and they’re drilled home throughout the course.

 

  • Balance for stability and structure
  • Hierarchy to create organization and direction
  • Contrast to generate impact and highlight important areas
  • Repetition to unify and strengthen the design
  • Alignment to create a sharper, clearer outcome

Design thinking

  • Research, testing and problem solving is at the heart of all good design. Design Thinking (or Human Centered Problem Solving) empowers us to create relevant and innovative solutions that meet user needs. From creating digital products to developing business or marketing strategy—Design Thinking is a powerful process used across many industries.
  • We teach the Design Thinking process to enable students to work efficiently and produce solutions that not only look beautiful, but satisfy user needs in a smart and considered way.

Design fundamentals

Typography and typesetting
Selecting the right type is paramount—whether it’s a clean sans serif typeface like Helvetica or a hand-drawn script. Typography gives character and plays an emotive role in every design.

We teach the basics of typography and typesetting because it’s a driving force in all forms of visual communication.

Grids
Grids are the underlying structure of a design layout. They allow the designer to create consistency and organize elements.

We make sure students know the importance of grid-based design to create well-organized, structured design solutions.

Color theory
For graphic designers, creating and applying a relevant color scheme is a major part of answering the brief. Think about the power of brand colors (e.g. Facebook’s blue, Cadbury’s purple, Coke’s red) and how certain color combinations instantly communicate a particular mood or feeling.

We teach students how to analyze and apply color effectively to take all their portfolio projects to the next level.

Design programs

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign is the industry-standard for creating professional layouts. It’s a designer’s holy grail when it comes to multi-page documents. InDesign uses tools like master pages and paragraph styles to create everything from press ads to brochures to elaborate coffee table books.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the leading vector design program, but you don’t need to be an “illustrator” to master it. It enables designers to create a broad range of artwork including maps, corporate logos, icons and complex illustrations, which can be reproduced crisply and cleanly at any size.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a program you’ve probably heard of, and maybe even tried out yourself. It’s an extraordinary image-editing, photo-retouching and composition program that offers all the tools you need for professional image manipulation. From digital illustration to color separation, multimedia and web design, Photoshop is limited only by your imagination.

Sketch

Sketch is fast becoming the industry standard for digital designers. It combines the precision of Illustrator’s vectors with basic image effects from Photoshop in one simple interface. Perfect for beginners, Sketch is a dynamic and easy-to-use tool for designing websites and apps.

What happens in the classroom?

While no two days are the same at Shillington, here’s a run-down of what a typical class might look like.

Quick and engaging lecture

To kick off the class, your teacher introduces a new topic area such as color, branding, typesetting or packaging. The short lecture covers relevant theory and real-world examples of the topic. Along with this direct instruction, you’ll watch videos, discuss case studies and have open group discussions.

Introducing the brief

At Shillington, we have some fun when introducing new student projects, known as creative briefs. The teacher plays the role of client and presents a brief to put the topic into practice immediately. The brief details all the necessary information: who you’re designing for, the business goals, why it’s required, the final specifications and deadline.

Research, research, research

Now you’ll need to research the client, product or service and competitors. This ensures we have a solid understanding of the task at hand and can make conceptual connections to inspire our aesthetic solutions.

Idea generation and play

This is the exciting bit! We implement a toolkit of idea generation techniques like mind-mapping, word association and group brainstorming. You get to be crazy creative and stay open to all possibilities. Then—after some fun—we focus in, make connections between ideas and distill everything into a practical solution.

Moodboarding

At this stage, you’re ready to think about aesthetics. You’ll jump online to gather inspiration and create focused mood boards, helping to visualize the vibe and creative direction.

Thumbnails and planning

Most importantly, before we jump on the computer, we map out our ideas the old-fashioned way—pen to paper. Thumbnails are quick sketches that help to build concepts and visualize how the design should come together. This planning stage is vital to ensure we have a resolved plan in our brains and don’t waste time pixel-pushing on-screen.

Check-in with teachers for a critique

Your teachers are accessible each step of the way. After you’ve made some headway in research and planning, a one-on-one check-in will make sure you’re on the right track and provide constructive feedback for the next stage.

Design experimentation

Now that your brain has done most of the work, you’ll hop onto the computer and start executing and experimenting with your ideas. After developing several potential routes, you’ll compare to decide what works best and refine, refine, refine.

Teachers share a technical demo

While you’re busy working on the brief, teachers will present new technical information and tips through live demos. These quick exercises take you step-by-step through different tools and functions of each of the different programs.

Check-in with teachers for a critique

Sound like we’re repeating ourselves? We are. At Shillington, teacher critiques happen at multiple stages throughout your creative process. This mirrors the day-to-day of a working designer who constantly distills feedback to create a client and manager-approved solution.

Critiques are not meant to be negative—they’re an essential part of the design process. Discussing your work with others helps to develop a better understanding and appreciation for design. Designers need to step back to think critically and objectively about their work.

Meeting the deadline

Time is ticking while you work through the brief—your deadline is approaching! At Shillington, each brief has a realistic industry standard deadline. It might be two hours, two days or two weeks. Since the creative industry is built around working smart to meet deadlines, our course prepares students for a fast-paced studio environment.

What type of projects will we work on?

At Shillington, we speed through the step-by-step software demonstrations to get you working on real-world briefs as soon as possible. Throughout the course you’ll tackle 30+ student briefs ranging from print advertisements to thinking in 3D with packaging to designing a digital app.

Here are eight examples of past Shillington student briefs:

 

  • Digital advertisement for a bank
  • Packaging design for an unexpected demographic
  • UX design for a mountain biking app
  • Corporate profile for an amusement park
  • Publishing design for a travel magazine
  • Icon library for a zoo
  • Campaign to raise awareness for a social issue
  • Rebranding a city

Should I study full-time or part-time?

Enrolling

Should I study full-time or part-time?

Totally up to you! It depends on your availability and learning style. Full-time is an intensive three month program where you’ll be completely immersed. Part-time is a good fit for students who currently work full-time or enjoy incorporating time to reflect into studying. But apart from the duration, the curriculum is identical.

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How much does the course cost?

Fees & Payments

How much does the course cost?

Course fees vary between our six international campuses. Visit course dates and fees to learn more. We have two payment options: pay-in-full or installment plans.

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I’ve already worked or trained as a designer. Is Shillington right for me?

Enrolling

I’ve already worked or trained as a designer. Is Shillington right for me?

Our course is ideal for current creatives to revive software skills and enhance their understanding of the design fundamentals. If your software skills are self-taught, we’ll teach you how to work smoothly and efficiently across the Adobe Creative Suite. Or if your current portfolio isn’t up-to-scratch, we’ll help you craft a collection of your best work, showcasing an ability to work across a wide range of briefs.

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Is 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time really long enough to learn design?

Graphic Design Course

Is 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time really long enough to learn design?

Absolutely. Our course is expertly planned to teach technical skills, cover design theory and ingrain creative principles to help you create a well-rounded portfolio. Read more on the blog in Learn Graphic Design Fast or Fast, Good or Cheap. And if you want to hear it straight from our graduates, check out 12 Unbiased Shillington Reviews.

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