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I always refer to that time as one of the most significant and exciting times in my life; both the learning atmosphere and the people I shared this adventure with were incredible.

UX Designer, AKQA

Lorenzo Mengolini

You moved from Italy to Manchester to study design at Shillington. Why did you choose to make the move and why did you choose to study at Shillington?

I guess that if I have to sum up the ‘why’ in one word, it would be passion.

Before my relocation abroad, I was working full-time in a small factory close to where I grew up to sustain my off-road competitions while simultaneously doing some design work on the side, mainly to practice my skills.

One day, entirely out of the blue, a former teacher of mine that knew about my design interest sent me a really concise email with a collection of impressive design schools. She was encouraging me to pursue my passion and turn it into a proper career.

At first, the idea sounded absurd: I wasn’t financially ready for it, all of my relationships were in Italy, and the language barrier was a real thing—probably, the last thing you want to do is invest all your savings into something that you’ll not even be able to understand.

Fast forward few months, despite all the possible adversities, my love for design paired with an intense curiosity for the “outside world” had made me change my mind. I quit my job, sold all my possessions and dropped everything to start an unpredictable new journey.

After all, Why not? It’s somewhat crazy to think about how powerful can your curiosity be when paired with personal interests.

How was the move? What did you make of Manchester?

I’d rather say otherwise but moving was, without a doubt, intense. At that point, I never had lived abroad before, nor lived on my own.

So… well you can imagine, right? The contemporary story of the young guy that moves abroad with just a bunch of dreams but still need to figure out how the whole thing works. I quickly found myself immersed in a completely new context, society and culture clueless of what was yet to come.

I made the city my new home and started taking free English classes downtown Manchester. Several months passed by and a few lessons were learned by before I felt somewhat comfortable again.

Everything fell into place during a lunch break when, after months of preparation, I visited the Manchester campus. At that moment, when I first met (Manchester teachers) Ed and John on the fifth floor of 1 Portland Street, everything became clear—that was it.

Before Shillington, you were a freelance web designer. How did the course help to build your skills?

Freelance Web Designer makes it sounds very fancy. What I was really, was more just a guy trying to connect his design enthusiasm to some basic web knowledge and try to sell the results somehow. When I first decided to join the program, I was mainly looking for clarity and an authoritative point of view (that is eventually exactly what I got).

The course at Shillington, more than anything else, gave me the confidence that I had lacked. Through practising design intensively in real-world circumstances, I learned the power of relying upon a process that resulted in the courage of doing.

From there, it was just a matter of working hard to consolidate the design skills I had accumulated over the years.

Tell us about your experience of the course? Can you talk to us about your favourite brief and the processes behind it?

Before Shillington, I never thought education could be enjoyable. I always refer to that time as one of the most significant and exciting times in my life; both the learning atmosphere and the people I shared this adventure with were incredible.

There is no brief that I favour over the others cause I somewhat I enjoyed the learnings of all of them. But, the projects that taught me the most where the broader ones—the ones in which the idea mattered as much as the execution itself. It was at that point that I understood that good design always has a meaning behind it and shouldn’t just be artistically beautiful.

I guess from there I just kept asking too many ‘WHYs’.

What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?

If you have been dreaming about it, start your journey now. This is the kind of education you didn’t know existed. This is the answer if you can’t wait to start your design career, and you are looking to learn relevant skills while practising and building your confidence. 100% guaranteed.

Follow Lorenzo’s Instagram to keep up to date with his latest work and travels.

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