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I took the plunge and gave up my day job. It was really daunting at first but honestly the best career decision of my life.

Graphic Designer, Tritium

Vanessa Burgess

What were you up to before Shillington?

Prior to Shillington, I was working in marketing communications in the retail and energy sectors. I was fortunate to work on some large-scale branding and advertising projects and became interested particularly in the visual side of brand stories. As time went by, I started to gravitate towards the areas of campaign management and working alongside creatives in advertising agencies.

Why did you decided to study design? Why Shillington?

It was after a tour of an advertising design studio one day that I decided I wanted to become a designer. I was intrigued by what they did and how they arrived at their designs. It all seemed so creative and structured at the same time. The thought of going back to study for a few years didn’t appeal, so I started searching for courses that would teach me the concepts of design at an accelerated rate. When I found Shillington’s full-time course it seemed too good to be true. Shillington’s website answered my questions and concerns and frankly the beautiful high quality portfolios of prior students really won me over. I wanted to produce that level of work. I took the plunge and gave up my day job. It was really daunting at first but honestly the best career decision of my life. Saying I was equally excited and terrified on my first day at Shillington Melbourne back in 2012, is an understatement.

What’s your typical day like now?

Currently, I work at Tritium in Brisbane as an in-house graphic designer. Tritium is leading the way internationally in EV (Electronic Vehicle) charger technology. A typical day starts with a coffee of course! then running through emails, scheduling in design work, attending briefings and meetings, researching and whiteboarding ideas, briefings suppliers and then settling into designing with my fav tunes. While a cliché, no one day is ever the same. I work across a variety of design projects including print layouts, large format designs, renders, animations, infographics, social media and digital designs, mockups and technical designs for the engineers.

I enjoy the fast to market nature of my role. Ideas quickly become a design reality here in this innovative and evolving technology space. I’m extremely grateful for my experiences at Shillington which gave me the tools and structured learning to handle live design projects. I experienced inspirational teachers (a special thanks to Corrie and Dave) who encouraged me to embrace my own style around the design theories and how to evolve a seemingly simple design concept on paper through to full rollout. Portfolio week does happen in the real world – in fact all the time! The great thing about Shillington is you learn how to listen, how to research, how to generate and present your design ideas. So once you’re ready to fire up your Adobe program, you’ve got this.

Why do you love working as a designer?

I love the challenge of taking an idea and making it work visually. It’s very exciting to start a new brief and wonder where it’s going to end up. I really enjoy collaborating with others, it’s amazing what team work achieves and the enjoyment of seeing your designs going live out there in the world and how they contribute to the larger marketing picture. They say overnight success takes years and its true. I’ve been that pro bono freelance designer for small businesses, the logo designer for wine glasses, the junior finished artist surrounded by seasoned designers wondering how I got the gig and the visual designer for a client who wanted designs out the door yesterday. It’s really worth putting yourself out there. Now, when I sit quietly at my computer and put on my headphones it comes back to the same thing for me, a drive to create beautiful and functional design in this world. I say stay humble, stay curious, keep learning.

Visit Vanessa’s website.

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