Hear straight from our graduates.
The learning experience was positive and nurturing, and it provided me with the perfect launch pad into my new career.
Designer, Thumbs Up!
What were you doing before Shillington and how did you find the transition from old career to new?
Before I joined Shillington, I was an experienced Mathematics Teacher and Head of Department; however, becoming a Graphic Designer had been a long-held ambition of mine. Shillington had the best course to suit my needs in terms of a quick career transition, learning environment and final outcomes. The transition from my old career to my new one, has been life changing; it’s involved learning a lot new skills in a very short space of time, moving to London, forming new friendships and networks and learning to adapt to a new working environment. Although this has involved a lot of sacrifice and compromise, it has been a fantastic roller coaster ride of emotion and experience that has been totally worth it.
You studied on the full-time course in London—can you still us a bit about your experience?
The full-time course was a superb way to be immersed in the principles of design and industry skills from day one. There was a lot of structure in terms of expectations and learning but this prepares you for the rigours of portfolio time and the subsequent career ahead of you. I really enjoyed the collaborative approach where we worked in groups to get the best out of one another. This ability to critique and defend your designs has proved invaluable when it comes to creating new ideas and pitching to clients in the real world. The sheer number of briefs and pace of work was exhilarating and the infectious energy and skill of the teachers meant we achieved so much in such a short space of time. The learning experience was positive and nurturing, and it provided me with the perfect launch pad into my new career.
Now a designer at packaging agency Thumbs up, can you tell us a bit about your day-to-day job?
As a Designer at Thumbs Up, I work in the marketing team providing bespoke packaging for our products that are sold in large department stores. On a day to day basis, I design artwork, cutters, manuals and affiliate marketing for various product lines, which means I get to use a combination of software at any one time. I also design style guides to pitch to existing and potential clients to promote seasonal ranges. This involves directing lifestyle and product images, as well as designing brand logos and graphics. One of the most satisfying parts of the role is to have your designs approved, sent for production and finally place in store for purchase.
What advice would you give to those thinking of enrolling at Shillington?
In terms of advice, it’s really important to weigh up your options in terms of the full-time or part-time course; the commitments are very different to suit your needs. Try and get along to a Graduation Ceremony so that you can speak to the students who’ve just finished the course and to look at the kind of work they produce. Do some research into the kind of agencies and designers that you like and suit your style; having this inspiration helps you tackle the briefs during the course. Try to keep a visual diary before you start, as this will prepare you for the one you keep during the course. Be prepared to totally commit yourself to the course, homework and the job search that succeeds it; these will need your full focus but will be totally rewarding at the same time. Don’t hesitate, go for it; it’s well worth the investment and will totally change your life!
Visit Mark’s website.