Hear straight from our graduates.
If you want to learn up-to-date technical skills, ideation techniques, theory and key principles of design in a deadline-driven environment that feels like a design studio, Shillington is the place.
Freelance Art Director
You previously studied art and design but decided to upskill at Shillington 7 years later. What made you return and why did you choose Shillington?
After spending nearly two years living in Belgium, I wanted to upskill in digital design, brush up on the Adobe creative software and work on a new portfolio that would give me the confidence to get back into the graphic design industry. Shillington had been on my radar for some time so there was no question about where I would choose to study.
I had first heard about Shillington in my final year of art school and considered enrolling after graduation. Manchester School of Art was a great experience for teaching conceptual thinking, visual experimentation, traditional print techniques and historical, social and cultural contextualisation but at the time I experienced a lot of self doubt and felt like my limited technical skills and conceptual portfolio weren’t enough to get into industry.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during your time at Shillington?
The early starts. I like to get up early but being on top form creatively from 8.ooam—5.oopm, day in and day out for three months was a challenge and required a lot of energy and focus. Living in East London, I found my daily walks to and from Shillington helped to give me headspace and keep me inspired. Taking pictures of colours, shapes, patterns, architecture, graffiti, posters or shopfronts on the way in could all inspire a creative response to the daily briefs. In hindsight, I am so grateful for this challenge as, in my current role, I am often required to come up with an idea, design inspiration or suggest an illustration, photography or animation approach in an instant.
Did you make any meaningful connections with teachers or fellow students during the course? Have you encountered any fellow Shillumni since graduation?
Yes, there was such a good vibe between the students and the teachers during the course (shout out Andy, Amy, Fiona and Hilary). We have a WhatsApp group where we keep in touch and meet for catch ups occasionally. It’s cool to exchange experiences and hear how everyone is getting on in industry as we have shared this intense experience and witnessed how hard we all worked and progressed during the course.
What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?
If you want a course that teaches you up-to-date technical skills alongside ideation techniques, theory and key principles of graphic design in a deadline driven environment that feels like a design studio, Shillington is the place. You will leave with a polished portfolio and be ready for any industry briefs.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?
Be industrious. Put all your energy and focus into it. Embrace not knowing everything. Share your ideas with the teachers and fellow students no matter how silly, support each other and have fun. It’s also important to keep a mood board of art and design that inspires you and take full advantage of the Shillington library which is filled with plenty of informative and inspiring design reference books and independent magazine publications.