Shillington Post 06—The Shillumni Issue

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04 // Shillumni Side Hustle 08 // Opinion: What Makes Designers Want to Teach? 14 // 12 Graduates to Follow on Instagram

18 // Shillumni Launch Events 20 // My Favourite Classroom Memory 30 // Portfolio Spotlight: Megan Dweck



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THE SHILLUMNI ISSUE Cover Artwork // Martin James Power Part-Time Teacher




You might be thinking, what on earth is Shillumni? Shillington + alumni = #Shillumni. It's a new name for our amazing graduates. Throughout 2017, we made a global effort to launch the Shillumni network, uniting 5000+ graduates worldwide. We hosted free talks and workshops across all six campuses, introduced a new hashtag to track our graduates' incredible work and created a new private Facebook Group where graduates from all over the world share job alerts and resources nearly every single day. For this sixth issue of the Post, we're tipping our hats to our amazing Shillumni —whether they graduated in 1997 or 2017. Amy Prus shares her journey from Shillington graduate to teacher and questions what makes designers want to teach. We review our free Shillumni Talk event series for graduates, featuring design legends like Debbie Millman and Adrian Shaughnessy. Six teachers recall favourite classroom memories with some humorous and heartfelt anecdotes. We ask you to grab your phones to follow 12 notable graduates on Instagram. Read all about the process behind graduate Vanille Cuvelier's winning game design 'Shillorun'. And discover the ins and outs of running a design side hustle from creator of Top Corner magazine, graduate Adam Sharratt. Happy reading! Andy Shillington Founder and CEO of Shillington


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We love watching our graduates go down the entrepreneurial route. Whether it be to launch stationery lines like Shillington Sydney graduate Erin Donati's company, Harley Quinn & Co. Or to mastermind a clothing and accessories line like Shillington Melbourne graduate Rachel Urquhart's 'Pony Gold'. So, when we discovered that Shillington London graduate Adam Sharratt had developed an impressive publication alongside his day job as a designer in London we jumped at the chance to find out more!

Personal projects can often be the life and soul of a graphic designer's career. An opportunity to put the commercial work on pause and rekindle what attracted you to the industry in the first place. Sometimes these personal projects, which start out as creative distractions, develop into something a bit more tangible, and gradually take on a life of their own. This is what's known as the Side Hustle. There’s no doubt about it, football and design go hand in hand. From big-scale club re-brands which spark design debates to small-scale passion projects for the fans—the design chemistry is undeniable.

the type of person to be banging on doors and getting into agencies based on talking a good game (although my poor colleagues may beg to differ!). Instead, when I found a placement I wanted to go for, I found out who the Creative Director was and sent a little package to them—a print I’d made, a well typeset CV and cover letter. I printed it on some great stock and finished it with a branded stamp I made courtesy of Blade Rubber Stamps and a mid-century paper clip from Present and Correct (a great treasure trove for any designer). Working on something like Top Corner must take you a lot of time. How do you balance it alongside your full-time designer job, without jeopardising the quality?

Eager to combine his two areas of interest, Adam created his very own football publication, Top Corner. A sophisticated blend of premium editorial design and football trivia, Top Corner is every bit a must have item for designers and football fanatics alike. Now on its sixth issue with an annual in the works and a podcast available on iTunes, there's no sign of the hustle slowing down anytime soon. You studied on the part-time course and now work in London at Surgery & Redcow. How did you find the journey from graduate to designer? I think compared to most, my experience was slightly different. I had a big push to try and get an internship straight after I graduated, but it wasn’t until I got a second wind a few months later that I got somewhere. What I took from it was looking at what your strengths are and use them to stand out. I’m not

Being organised helps. Shillington is great at hammering home the point of getting the basics like setting up your grid and especially type styles so you can be creative and consistent on the fly. The other part of that is that we’ve got a Google Docs spreadsheet set out with every issue for the next 12 months. Theme, article titles and status are all in there so we can always stay a couple of steps ahead. The main benefit of doing this in my spare time though is that it’s always in the back of my mind. I’ll have ‘x’ amount of spreads to design a month, usually each with a different style and mostly with a visual metaphor, but they usually come organically through the month, rather than sketching out spread after spread. Having that luxury of time is quite a breath of fresh air after having a day in the studio. Saying that, my editor has a habit of changing articles at the last minute so there have been some nerves the day before going to print!

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“Doing a collaborative project with like-minded people makes it a lot easier to motivate yourself. If you're going to hustle you might as well have a little gang!” —Adam Sharratt, graduate

Having a side hustle as a full-time designer must take some careful planning. What advice would you give to someone hoping to take up their own part-time gig?

based. Publications like Bloomberg Businessweek and the New York Times Magazine are a big inspiration for the way I’m trying to go about that.

I'd say have a list of what you want to do before you start working. That can be written down or in your head, but don't sit down without knowing what you're going to do. I find I can only concentrate on work for 2-3 hours after I get home so I try to maximise that time as much as possible. It's amazing how much stuff you can do in that amount of time if you've got a plan. The other thing I would say is that doing a collaborative project with like-minded people makes it a lot easier to motivate yourself. If you're going to hustle you might as well have a little gang! Can you take us through the work that’s gone into Top Corner? What made you initially want to begin such a project and what’s been the best part of working on a venture like this? The idea had been around for years, but one night I sketched out the logo and everything started moving very quickly after that. The broad strokes for type, colours, image treatment and illustration style etc. were all set out in around a week I’d say, then a lot of hard graft into properly crafting and editing everything. What’s great is that it’s always evolving, so you’re constantly adding layers to it. In terms of why we started it I think it’s a mix of pure fun, putting discussions that would normally be confined to the pub down on paper and making something visually that we’re really proud of. The best part is coming up with an idea that’s maybe slightly out there but gets right to the heart of the story and going with it. And that could be typographic, image or illustration

There’s been quite a lot of crossover between design and football, with designers often using their skills to promote their love of the game. Do you have a favourite instance or specific publication in which the two really clicked (apart from Top Corner of course)? There seems to have been a realisation of how much football and graphic design are linked, especially if you look at branding as football teams are probably some of the most recognisable brands in the world. For instance, Liverpool only switched to their now synonymous all red kit in the 60’s in order to appear more intimidating to the opposition. Maybe managers are the Creative Directors and the players the designers? A debate for another issue perhaps! In terms of specific examples, I love the book Football Type and is exactly the kind of thing I would have loved to have created. In terms of publications, Libero and Paneka were the first I saw that excited me about the potential for a football magazine. And of the current crop I’d say Mundial stands out. Interest in podcasts has absolutely soared in the past few years— becoming increasingly popular in the creative industry in particular. Top Corner has now joined the audio ranks with the podcast of its own. Can you tell us a bit about this? Well firstly I'd like to say that I can't take all the credit for the podcast, it's the brainchild of the Top Corner editor Elliott Sheaf. When we started

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Top Corner we very much wanted to have articles which were almost timeless so someone could pick up a copy at any point and it would still be relevant. With the podcast we can go into more topical discussions. This is usually that week's results, but actually my favourite episode was where the guys had a look at racism, homophobia and politics within football. Personally I love the podcast medium and it's great for what we want to do with it. I still can't really believe that anyone in the world can search Top Corner on their podcast app and we're the first thing that comes up and people can start listening to us. We knew the audience was there because of how the magazine was received so it was an easy decision. The next stage, just like the magazine, is getting some great guests involved, which is coming very soon. Top Corner now has a whopping six issues—each detailing an enlightening theme from the football world. What topics can we expect to see covered in future issues? It's pretty crazy how much content we put out in that small amount of time. We're actually just about to put out an end of year annual, which has the best bits from all six issues as well as four new articles from guest writers. Can't wait to get my hands on it. As for next year, the first topic is going to be focused around the crazy ups and downs of football in the good ol' US of A. We're hoping to do one on football video games after that, but that's actually a subject we've planned to do since day one and it keeps getting moved back as it's such a vast subject area that's almost verging on a bit of a cult for some. Oh, and if that's not enough we're changing format next year and having a bit of a soft editorial redesign to go with it so I've definitely got my hands full.

How important are personal projects in design? Would you encourage other graduates to keep themselves curious by starting a passion project? Oh definitely. It’s great to be your own Art Director for a change and you can use it as an opportunity to try out new styles as well as focusing in on a particular subject matter than you may not usually cover. There’s never been a better time to see the things that are in your head actually get out onto paper either. We print Top Corner through Newspaper Club, I’m designing a book that will be done through Blurb and there are so many great resources for screen printing and risograph etc. As part of our global Shillumni network, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to our graduates who have just stepped into the design industry? Be open to everything and throw yourself into everything. I haven’t been in the industry very long and I’ve already designed some odd things. I think a bespoke novelty oversize cheque might be at the top of the list. I also never envisioned that data visualisation would turn into a large part of my skill set, but when the opportunity arose I went with it and it’s led to lots of other ventures.

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OPINION // What Makes Designers Want To Teach?

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OPINION // What Makes Designers Want To Teach?


What makes designers want to teach? It's a growing trend for designers to return to the classroom—but what's the appeal? Amy Prus highlights the areas she sights as being rewarding as she tells her story from Shillumni to Shillington Teacher.

From sharing new skills, to helping steer designers in the right direction and actively educating students —teaching is a fundamental part of any designer's job description. Many well-known designers such as Michael Beirut, Lance Wyman, and Stefan Sagmeister have turned their hands to the profession, eager to share their experiences and bestow wisdom onto the next generation. This dynamic of the designer as a teacher both in and out of the studio has always been curious to me so I wanted to explore this transitory idea further —with a specific spotlight on Shillington teachers. We're a mixed bunch at Shillington, but our one uniting front is that we're all practicing designers. We offer an eclectic mix of backgrounds, and within the bunch a few of us began our design journeys at Shillington. That's right, amongst the team are in fact some Shillumni. Talk about inception. I graduated from Shillington Manchester in early 2009 and returned to the London campus on the other side of the fence last year. In between the two halves of my Shillington sandwich I led a varied design career. It began in a small studio where I wore multiple hats and in a short space of time was solely responsible for the trajectory of a project. This helped me understand the importance of building good relationships and ultimately the importance of collaboration. Feeling the need for a change of scenery I upped sticks to the sunnier skies of Melbourne, Australia. It was here that I then started freelancing in different studios, where I had to quickly adapt to different situations. My freelance career eventually led me back to the United Kingdom where I grew hungry for something different, a chance to change my outlook and switch things up a bit. Step up, teaching! Now that I've been teaching for a year I've identified three core areas that educating others can feed back into my design practice. The three areas which keep coming into play are collaboration,

adaptability and enlightenment. I spoke with my fellow Shillumni teachers to shed a bit more light on why we're glad we got the call to pay our design skills forward and how this has fed back into our design careers. Collaboration It's something all designers need to excel in. Whether it's when working with other designers in a studio, an external practitioner or the client themselves—collaboration is key. As designers we're fundamentally educators, whether based in a traditional learning environment or not. As senior designers we mentor interns and juniors, leading them in the right direction. While teaching we are always learning. Collaboration is a cyclical process, just as we nourish the talents of our successors we're also given the opportunity to learn from them. "Asking better questions will always result in creating better work. Ask questions of your client; it helps them clarify their uniqueness… ask questions of other designers; learning is fun, people like to share and your skills will be sharpened, everybody wins! And ask questions of yourself; how am I adding value to the studio I’m in, the client I’m working for, or to the world around me. You have the skills to communicate beautifully to the world around you, so think about what you want to say." —Ed Baptist, Full-Time Teacher, Manchester Adaptability Studios are notoriously busy environments. As designers our jobs include so much more than just the creative responsibilities. Time management, communication and efficiency are all just as important. Our time as teachers presents the opportunity to strengthen these aspects of our skill sets. The classroom is an ever changing playing field —teeming with various scenarios to tackle and puzzles to solve. We're constantly centre stage, figuratively and literally, which forces us to adapt to the situation in hand rather than hiding behind our computers. 9 // Shillington Post

"Efficiency is a key skill to being a successful designer. I thought I was pretty efficient before teaching here—but the nature of the course and having to manage a class of 24 means that I'm constantly finding ways of improving my own personal efficiency. From learning new quick keys on the programs, to faster and more varied idea generation to helping direct a vast and varied number of design responses to the same brief." —John Palowski, Course Content Coordinator Enlightenment One of the reasons a lot of designers are drawn to teaching is its undeniable source of vitality —without sounding dangerously hyperbolic it's in many ways the elixir of (design) life. As designers working solely in a studio or agency we're all slightly guilty of growing a bit complacent to our industry. It's easy to fall out of touch with the latest developments, stop attending exhibitions as frequently or watch as the sketchbook full of personal project ideas once poured over, gradually grows its sixth skin of dust. The advantage of teaching is that we're constantly on the front line. Being surrounded by hungry-tolearn students makes sure that creative hunger doesn't get a chance to diminish. The curiosity of the students fuels our own desire to self educate. "The students keep you on your toes with loads of questions, sometimes I know the answers and other times we work it out together. You're always learning. Working with a room full of individuals from varied career backgrounds has also pushed me to articulate myself in a way that is clear to everyone and not just a fellow creative." —Glen Swart, Part-Time Teacher, London I'd wholeheartedly encourage all designers to give teaching a go. Aside from the aforementioned benefits to your own career—watching someone develop and succeed in their chosen discipline is unequivocally rewarding.

INTERVIEW WITH AN AMBIGRAMMIST We're continuously inspired by the work our global teaching team create. A specialist in typography and a self proclaimed 'ambigrammist', New York teacher Nikita Prokohov tells us about his own design approach as well as advice for those hoping to follow in his brushstrokes.


You’re a self-titled ‘Ambigrammist’—what is an ambigram and what do you enjoy so much about working in this medium? I don’t know if ‘ambigrammist’ is unique or just a functional combination of ‘ambigram’ and the ‘-ist’ suffix. But for what it’s worth, I love how it sounds! An ambigram is a word that, when viewed from a different perspective, revealed the original word a second time, or a completely different word. The ‘different perspective’ could be rotational, mirrored, reflected, etc. It could be the same language or a different language, although the latter can be pretty difficult. What I love about ambigrams is their unpredictability. The process for an ambigram can take many directions, and quite frequently the end result may not be what you expected. The typographic aesthetics of the final solution are driven by the process, and it is quite challenging to create an ambigram in a specific typographic style. You have to remain flexible and let the process guide you, taking you in multiple directions. What I love most about ambigrams is they make you keep coming back for a second or third look, especially if the ambigram is so well drawn that you don’t even realise it’s an ambigram. That’s the level I strive for with every ambigram, and even if I don’t achieve that every single time—I still enjoy the process just as much. Can you share with us your process when embarking on a type-based brief, such as the work you did for Art Directors Club NYC? When the Art Directors Club asked me to create the event branding for the Paper Expo, I had recently visited a friend’s letterpress studio and the printing process was very fresh in my mind. Watching the paper being fed through a letterpress machine and observing the movement of the machine

itself was utterly mesmerising. While those visuals were in my mind, I started developing the idea. The overall focus on the movement, the process of paper and the rest of the design fell into place once the overall concept was developed! The design elements on the invitation were a combination of the printing process and actual parts of letterpress machines that I found in my research, which I redrew to slightly simplify them. As far as approaching the overall type-based brief —my process is fairly traditional. I ask the client several questions to determine what typographic style they’d like to pursue. If they aren’t sure what they are looking for stylistically, I show them several samples to help them determine their direction. Once a stylistic direction (or two) are determined, I start thumbnailing to figure out what composition may or may not work for the word/phrase that the client provided. My focus is the overall typographic lockup and flow of the text. In the next stage, I start refining the chosen thumbnail at a larger scale, using the typographic style previously discussed with the client. Finally, I either use the refined sketch to create the final hand-lettered piece that I give to the client, or I scan it into the computer and vectorize it if the client requires a digital version in lieu of a hand-lettered version. You recently designed and hand-painted a mural for our New York campus. Can you tell us a little bit about this project and any tips for those hoping to embark on a mural design? The best piece of advice—do plenty of research and ask others who have worked on similar projects! I had never done a mural before, so I reached out to several designers I know who have done small and large scale murals. Between my research and personal contacts, I was able to figure out the nuances such as paint brush types and the kind

of paint I wanted to use, as well as the process of transferring a small sketch to a large mural. After that, it was a matter of setting up the area. Placing plastic sheets to protect the floor, a ladder to reach places above my vertical abilities and about seven hours of painting. I had to paint with both left and right hands, which in itself was unusual for me as I am right-handed and never had to draw left handed. So, maybe some practice ahead of time would also be useful! Do you have any advice for graduates hoping to specialise in lettering? A student in New York asked me the same question a few days ago. Firstly, inspiration! Find artists that specialise in hand-lettering and digital lettering. Browse their websites; look at case studies and the step-by-step process that those artists follow to get from rough doodles to beautiful hand-lettered or digitally lettered designs. Analyse how consistency is established within each design. Look at typography from different eras; industrial signage, old records, war propaganda posters… the sources of inspiration are endless! Study traditional typography, including both typographic theory and typographic examples. Secondly, start practicing! Nothing can replace hours and hours of practice. Redraw classic typefaces. Mimic some of your favourite hand-lettered examples to get your hand used to drawing custom letters. Thirdly, draw custom letters! Start with shorter words, and strive to establish consistency in the lettering style, typographic flow, legibility, and readability. As you get better and better, try longer words and phrases, whilst keeping the same objectives in mind.

“You have to remain flexible and let the process guide you, taking you in multiple directions.”


SHILLUMNI WINNER: SHILLORUN GAME In celebration of our 20th anniversary, we hosted a special Shillumni competition. One lucky Shillington graduate could win a trip to any of our six international campuses. We received lots of creative entries, and reconnected with many graduates from the last two decades. Hearing their success stories and how Shillington helped their careers reminded our whole team why we love what we do. The big winner of the competition was Vanille Cuvelier, a graduate with no previous game design experience—who taught herself a brand new skill set to design and develop an amazing mobile game called 'Shillorun' which you can download directly from the Apple Store.

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“I honestly couldn’t ask for a better graduate community to be a part of.” —Vanille Cuvelier, graduate

As our winner of the first-ever Shillumni competition, how do you feel? Ecstatic! And overwhelmed! I can’t quite believe I’ve been chosen as the winner, especially when you look at the calibre of all the Shillumni out there. Why did you decide to make a mobile game as your Shillumni competition submission? As soon as I heard about the Shillumni competition, I knew I wanted to break out of my design comfort zone and learn a new skill. At Shillington we were all taught to continuously push ourselves and develop our skills, so it felt right for me to work on something completely new. I knew I wanted to recreate a shorter version of the Shillington journey in a way that other Shillumni could interact and resonate with, so a mobile game felt like the perfect way to do that. Can you talk us through the technical components of the game? Was there any new software you had to learn to make Shillorun? Any tips for fellow Shillumni wanting to dip their toes into the world of game design? Admittedly, I didn’t give myself plenty of time to create Shillorun­—definitely not enough to learn how to code a game from scratch anyway! After doing a bit of research, I figured I could create Shillorun using GameSalad—a mobile game development platform that allows you to create iOS, Android and HTML5 games without any coding knowledge. You just need to create a few scenes, actors, behaviours, rules and attributes and away you go! You can also create your own graphics and import them into GameSalad, which lets you customise your game from start to finish. To get started, I would recommend following a few of the ‘basics’ tutorials available on GameSalad’s website. Then head over to YouTube where you’ll find tutorials for all types of­games. Creating a game is really straightforward once you get the hang of how rules, behaviours and attributes work. Game Salad’s forum is also a godsend and I would definitely recommend checking it out if you’re stuck—it got me through the process of publishing the game on to the Apple Store.

Had you attempted something like this before, and do you think you’d do it again? Is Shillorun 2 on the cards? I’d never attempted to create a mobile game before, and if it wasn’t for the competition I don’t think I would’ve ever attempted it either! It opened my eyes to this whole other field that I always knew existed, but always felt slightly inaccessible. I thought games and apps were generally best left to the pros—developers and coders—and not graphic designers. But that’s not the case anymore! In fact, I’ve enjoyed this experience so much that it’s made me want to learn how to code and design a game from scratch so who knows, Shillorun 2 could definitely be on the cards. Do you think your time at Shillington heightened your curiosity for learning new skills? Is this something you’d encourage other Shillumni to do as they work within an ever-changing industry? Without a doubt! I’d always been a bit curious before studying at Shillington, but I do feel like the course takes it to the next level and really brings it out of you. The design world is ever-changing, new technologies are constantly being created and replaced, so as graphic designers it makes sense for us to evolve with it. I don’t think you could sustainably stay a graphic designer without continuously improving your skills and learning new ones too. Sure, I don’t make use of my shiny new skill every day—but this experience has allowed me to see things differently and realise that my career can take different paths. What does being a Shillumni mean to you? For me, being a Shillumni doesn’t just mean graduating with an amazing graphic design portfolio, an invaluable set of skills and incomparable experiences. It’s so much more than that. As a Shillumni I feel fortunate to be part of such an incredibly helpful and supportive community. One that has time and time again helped me find a new job, find new colleagues, get inspired, learn new skills, meet new friends and even find new housemates! I honestly couldn’t ask for a better community to be a part of and it is safe to say that it would’ve been near impossible to get to where I am today without Shillington.

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INSPIRATION // 12 Graduates to Follow on Instagram

12 GRADUATES TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM From shots of brunch styled to oblivion to hysterical memes and enough selfies to launch a thousand ships what would we do without Instagram? It's quickly risen the ranks to become the world's favourite social media platform and we can totally see why. While it does act as a place for several aforementioned guilty pleasures, it's also fast become the location for designers to promote their work and digitally network. Grab your phones as we share 12 Shillumni killing it with their well curated grids.




1. Andy Vargas

2. Halah El Kholy

3. Alexander Wu Kim




Based in Bogotá, Colombia, Andy's Instagram feed exudes millennial sophistication. Her eye for composition, colour and narrative within a single shot is enviable. Stephen Shore with a twist, she's definitely one to follow if you're fan of Vice Magazine, 'cause her recent photo series is on the front cover.

Who doesn't love bookish cat ladys, sloths frolicking in fields and skateboarding rabbits? Halah's painterly feed has it all with her whimsical illustrations. The only struggle is picking a favourite within the ever growing series.

A feed of pure tonal excellence from Alexander's photo archive. From shots of sneakers to sun soaked beaches and dreamy skyscrapers, it's nothing but 1080x1080px of city life.

4. Stephanie Antill

5. Keir M-Barnett

6. Christopher Perry




Welcome to Art Directors' Valhalla. Each post is styled to perfection by Stephanie herself. From well positioned bottles of lemonade to perfectly splayed rose petals—it has us lusting after spring picnics and idyllic studio spaces.

Keir's a man who believes in photographing a good bit of design and then sharing it with the world—and that's something we're fully on board with. Expect to see beautiful bits of print, packaging and typography as well as some of Keir's own wonderful work.

If you're a fan of a series then this is the feed for you. The very talented Christopher shares miniature drawings and animations from his base in Sweden. When he's not busy with fine-liners he also posts under @explorerscabin which is equally as brilliant.

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INSPIRATION // 12 Graduates to Follow on Instagram










7. Erin Donati

8. Jonathan Martin

9. Jack Seymour




If you're a fan of handwritten typography and an aspirational Australian lifestyle then look no further. Harley Quinn & Co is the design company of Erin Donati. When she's not posting pics of her beautiful range of products, keep an eye out for a delicious breakfast shot or one of her adorable dachshund (the company's namesake).

Sometimes we need a bit of escapism and Jonathan's feed provides everything and more in that department. A consistent source of dazzling shots from open highways to dreamy coffee shops, he has us wanting to pack our bags and go on a road trip, immediately.

If you want your mind blown then don't hesitate in giving Jack a follow. His 3D creations are unfathomably impressive. We could spend hours staring at them, and then a couple more trying to work out how he made them!

10. Greg Bemis

11. Ocki Magill

12. Yannis Tsiounis




Greg's Instagram handle is certainly accurate. His feed is a flurry of impressive doodles. Everything from skulls to hotdogs, they're sure to brighten up your day when scrolling through.

Flamingos, peonies, the solar system... you name it and Ocki will turn it into a stunning letter with her intricate painting skills. Follow Ocki to keep up to date with her letters, just try to resist buying the lot!

Yannis has completed the arguably difficult task of replacing London's grimy urban surface with a world of pastels and bright skies. Amongst his photographs he also posts some seriously great illustrations which fit seamlessly into his feed.

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Poster competition winner, graduate Gavin Feiritear See more work at

REFLECTION // Shillumni Launch Events


LAUNCH EVENTS AND NETWORKING SERIES “Even after you graduate, it's almost like you're still part of a club. You have an automatic bond with anybody else who has attended.”—Shillington graduate

Shillumni get perks! In the past year, big names in the design industry visited all six Shillington campuses for free events —exclusive for graduates. We were wowed with industry insights, helpful tips and many laughs (and beers) along the way. And even better—Shillumni around the world tuned in on Facebook Live!

Debbie Millman SHILLINGTON NEW YORK Millman is a name all designers know—she's a writer, educator, artist, brand consultant and host of the wildly popular radio show Design Matters. Named "one of the most influential designers working today" by Graphic Design USA, she's a major industry leader. *Watch videos with Millman on our Vimeo channel

Read on to learn more about who popped in for this special series.

Kevin Finn SHILLINGTON BRISBANE Founder of The Sum Of, editor of Open Manifesto (an independent, self-funded and self-published journal) and creator of DESIGNerd —a “design trivia game like no other”. During his 20+ years working in design, Finn has won numerous awards including a prestigious Yellow Pencil at the D&AD Awards and a Judges Choice at Type Directors Club.

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REFLECTION // Shillumni Launch Events

David Bailey

Adrian Shaughnessy



After 16 years with world renowned agency The Designers Republic, Bailey started his own studio Kiosk. Now he sits as Creative Director of User Experience & Design at the BBC, and D&AD included him as one of “50 Creative Greats” in 2012.

Shaughnessy is a self-taught graphic designer whose book How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul has sold 80,000+ copies internationally. He co-founded the design group Intro in 1989, leaving in 2004 to pursue writing, lecturing and consulting. He's also the Co-Founder of Unit Editions, publishing house.

*Read a full wrap-up of Bailey's talk on the blog

*Watch Shaughnessy's full talk on our Vimeo channel

Michaela Webb

Jason Little



Webb is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Studio Round. An internationally-recognised designer with more than 20 years of experience, her work has won numerous local and international awards and appeared in feature articles for Idea Magazine, IDN and Visuelle.

Little is Co-Founder and Creative Director of For the People, one of Australia's most innovative studios. His work has received numerous awards including accolades from Cannes Lion, D&AD, Art Director's Club, Caples, NY Type Director's Club, AGDA, The One Show, AIGA, Brand New and more. *Read Little's full interview on the blog 19 // Shillington Post

MY FAVOURITE CLASSROOM MEMORY There's nothing quite like life in a Shillington classroom. With real graphic designers as teachers and our campuses emulating design studios, students get an authentic glimpse into industry life. We asked our teachers for some of their favourite anecdotes from the classroom and they definitely delivered. Read on to find out their fondest memories of teaching Shillumni.

JESS WAAL FULL-TIME TEACHER, NEW YORK When students first start the course it's pretty normal to feel daunted and introverted—you’re learning a brand new set of skills in a fast paced environment. Over the first month it's really amazing to watch students come out of their shells as they develop a new confidence in themselves and their abilities. I remember one of these turning points for one of our shyest students who was struggling technically over the first couple of weeks of the course. Then came a turning point. It was Halloween—a pretty big event here in the New York campus as everyone turns up in costume! The student in question rocked up to class in a striking leather cat-woman suit which seemed to encourage her design skills as she ended up finishing with one of the strongest responses to brief in class that day.

JAMES BOURBON FULL-TIME TEACHER, BRISBANE It's tricky to pinpoint just one specific moment because you go through this intense roller coaster of emotions throughout the course. Saying that, the instances when the class transforms into a supportive network are definitely the most rewarding to see. On one occasion we were on the brink of starting portfolio time—so feelings of anxiety and trepidation were rife throughout the room. It was the day in particular when we help students pick the briefs which will form their portfolio so understandably the whole class was super nervous. After each one-on-one chat we completed with the students, the whole class would cheer and clap for the student who just finished. I’m not sure whether they were excited or terrified of the one-on-one chats but regardless, it was great to see the class so supportive of each other and so pumped for the next step!

SHANTI SPARROW HEAD OF TEACHING, NEW YORK My most memorable times at Shillington have always been in the portfolio weeks. Students and teachers are working long hours, too much caffeine has been consumed and the class bands together to get to the finish line. We start laughing at the strangest things, fashion goes out the door in favour of our comfy clothes and we are fuelled by homemade brownies and pizza. A real sense of camaraderie emerges between students and I see peers supporting and caring for one another. When things get too tense we do yoga or watch a silly video. One class in particular loved 80's songs and we spectacularly broke into a Whitney Houston sing-a-long.

“One class in particular loved 80's songs and we spectacularly broke into a Whitney Houston sing-a-long."


For me, the most memorable times at Shillington always seem to be my most embarrassing ones. Particularly at the start of the term, when students are still quite shy, unfamiliar with one another and we’re trying to coax them out of their shells with over-excitement and general enthusiasm.

Being at the front of the class can often lead to some humorous incidents— especially when the teacher computer screen is projected in front of a room of perceptive students. I (painfully) remember once referencing the work of Mr Bingo (a London based Illustrator known for his hysterical yet controversial drawings) to a fairly new class. Nobody knew who he was. So I started explaining some of his projects such as 'Hate Mail' in which he posts insults in beautiful typography to willing participants from the general public and one of his well known drawings titled 'Chicks with D*cks'. Which has a far more literal interpretation than one may immediately assume. This conversation naturally led me to googling the work I'd referenced to put visuals to the titles. I started with 'Hate Mail'— the students loved it. Then moved on to the latter and I sensed a class-wide air of fear and disbelief that I was actually typing "Chicks with D*cks" into the search field. As I hit enter, it just about dawned on me what I was embarking on so quickly managed to shut down the search before any NSFW imagery popped up. The class burst out laughing. I got myself in a right muddle as all professionalism went out of the window. Some urged me to continue the search, but I wasn’t up for getting fired!

SPENCER HARRISON PART-TIME TEACHER, MELBOURNE One of the most memorable moments for me would be in the first class I ever taught at Shillington. At the time everything was new to me also so I felt like I was almost going along the Shillington journey with the students. There was one student in particular that struggled throughout the year with their work, trying really hard and putting a lot of effort in, but never quite feeling like they were getting there. The moment came for me in portfolio time when the student put their huge last push in and in a matter of weeks the student had this breakthrough and their work suddenly leapt to that next level. It really inspired me as a teacher to see that if you keep putting the effort into something you love, eventually you will get to the level you want to. That student graduated with one of the strongest portfolios in the end and has gone on to find work doing what they love.

We were in week two, early doors, and getting into the world of type. I was showing the class a website ( that focuses on learning how to pair typefaces. It uses a dating app tone of voice, giving ‘personality descriptors’ to the typefaces and then allows you to 'send them on a date’. There is a screen that lets you click on certain hidden facts about their typographic details to evaluate the characteristics of the two typefaces. So there I am, going on and on, very animatedly, about the ‘personality’ of ITC Century rhyming off things like “he’s got a decorative curl to his hair”, “he’s got a high contrast temperament” and finally coming to the rounded terminals shout out “he’s got large balls”. Of course which resulted in the entire class erupting with laughter. I still haven’t lived it down—but at least it broke the ice…?

ADVICE // What I Wish Someone Told Me Before Becoming a Graphic Designer


You’ve decided graphic design is the career for you. You want to apply your creative streak to something that will allow you to get paid for doing what you love. That’s fantastic. But before you embark on a course or get that job, allow us to share some wisdom from people who know what they’re talking about. We spoke to some of Shillington’s own teachers and Shillumni to find out what they wish someone had told them before becoming a graphic designer. From finding confidence and knowing when to speak up to accepting criticism and confronting fears, this is an essential read if you’re about to take the plunge.

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ADVICE // What I Wish Someone Told Me Before Becoming a Graphic Designer

1. Take more risks

2. Find confidence to sell your ideas

“When I first started out I think I held myself back and was risk-averse,” says Dave Bird, teacher at Shillington Manchester. “I wish someone at the time had said ‘take more risks, say yes to things, then figure out how to do it’. Failure is a great way to learn.”

“Probably the biggest thing for me was the sudden realisation that my actual design work meant nothing unless I had the communication skills (and confidence) to sell in my ideas,” says Hilary Archer, teacher at Shillington London.

3. Fight the good fight

4. Appreciate criticism

“I wish someone had told me to ‘fight the good fight’,” says Anthony Wood, Managing Director of Shillington. “You will always have clients who want to make changes you don’t agree with and I used to expend all my energy on trying to making every job perfect. But that energy is better put into the jobs and clients that are worth the fight. Sometimes, you just need to let go!”

“To understand that criticism of my work is not reflective of me as a person,” explains Shanti Sparrow, teacher at Shillington New York. “I put so much of myself into my designs that negative criticism could feel very personal. I needed to separate myself from my work. I eventually grew to appreciate this feedback because it inevitably made me a better designer.”

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ADVICE // What I Wish Someone Told Me Before Becoming a Graphic Designer

5. It always feels scary at the beginning “Every brief and piece of work will always feel scary at the beginning, no matter how experienced you are,” says Amee Wilson, a graphic designer and Shillington graduate. “Self-doubt is completely normal—although it feels horribly uncomfortable you have to trust it will motivate you to create something amazing. Being humble and willing to learn will open way more doors than trying to barge your way in.”

6. Ask heaps of questions “Ask lots of questions, without them, progress is not made. Always go back to the client with questions that will help you understand who they are and what they want" says Emma Stokes, teacher at Shillington London. “And don’t forget to question your own work. Ask yourself—does this answer my brief? Will a user know what that means? Because without questions you get stuck in that little circle of doubt. You risk making swift misinformed decisions. By staying curious, you won’t spend your design career worrying about looking stupid or wasting too much time on work the client won’t even notice.”

7. Trust your teachers “Trust your teacher and never take their feedback personally,” says Janice Leung, Shillington graduate. “I always found that they were right by the time I got to finished art, even if it didn’t make sense at the time. “Also, when it comes to finding a job, the best advice given to me was from my teacher who told me that it’s not a case of whether you find a job, but rather—how much you want it. If you want it enough (and work for it), you will land one.”

“Every brief and piece of work will always feel scary at the beginning, no matter how experienced you are.” —Amee Wilson, graduate 24 // Shillington Post

ADVICE // What I Wish Someone Told Me Before Becoming a Graphic Designer

“Experiment with the skills you’re taught, and try and expand beyond that in your spare time.” —Zoie May, graduate

8. Experiment, experiment, experiment “Experiment with the skills you’re taught, and try and expand beyond that in your spare time,” advises Zoie May, Shillington graduate. “Be it asking your teachers how to apply a specific effect in Photoshop or trying your hand at different illustration techniques. It could come in handy for your portfolio and future job prospects, and when you go back to full-time work you might not have the time or energy (or resources) to practice new artistic endeavours.”

9. Push yourself “Don’t be afraid to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, whether that’s trying a new technique or using a font that you normally wouldn’t use,” says Shillington graduate Julia Zhou. “You’ll thank yourself later when you develop into a well-rounded designer who’s unafraid of any design project.”

10. Great design takes time “There has never been an extra hour on the beanbag, thinking or re-sketching, that hasn’t resulted in a better design. Great design takes time to refine,” says Andrew Hesselden, Shillington graduate.

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STUDY ABROAD // Graduate Features

STUDY ABROAD GRADUATE FEATURES Always dreamt of packing a case and jetting off to a different city? Well, studying design abroad with Shillington could be your ideal chance to do so. Graphic Design is a universal language which makes it the perfect subject to study while soaking up a different culture. To find out more about what it's like to study abroad we spoke with Shillington graduates who moved from their home countries to try something a little different, all while studying graphic design.

London > New York Aisha Kareem London-based Aisha Kareem had never been to New York before deciding to study at Shillington, but she calls applying for the M-1 student visa and taking the plunge the “best decision ever!” We hear more about Aisha’s experience moving across the pond on a student visa, including tips on the interview process, using Airbnb to find the perfect place to live and how to juggle “student-tourist” life. How did you find the process of applying for the M-1 Student Visa? I have travelled to a number of countries around the world in the past and many of them required visas which was always a jarring and long-winded process so I expected nothing less. However I found the process of applying for the M-1 Student Visa surprisingly seamless. The instructions on the Shillington website were concise and really helpful, and so was the checklist on the US Visa website. I was also in contact with the team at Shillington New York, who sent the pre-interview documents I needed within a day. Thankfully I never felt unclear about what I needed to do or what was required. On my interview day at the embassy I had a massive folder filled with

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“I found the process of applying for the M-1 Student Visa surprisingly seamless.” —Aisha, graduate my documents and was ready to be there for the whole day. To my surprise, I was done within three hours and my visa was approved right there and then! I still get emotional thinking about that day. Where did you live in NYC during the course? How did you find your accommodation? This was something I was worried about because I literally knew nothing about NYC. I didn’t know what places were safe or how much was too much or too little to pay per month. So of course I spent most of my time after work researching accommodation. I decided to use Airbnb because it was perfect for the long-term stay and I didn’t have to go through the effort and cost of a letting agent. I settled on a nice one-bedroom apartment in Inwood (around 207th Street) and commuted from there to school which was a straight train to Times Square. I later realised that I didn’t particularly like the commute or the area so I was only there for the first month. Using Airbnb again, I found another apartment in Brooklyn which I absolutely loved so I stayed there for the rest of my time in NYC. So, I would 100% recommend Airbnb to anyone that finds themselves in my situation.

Any suggestions or reminders for anyone who’s going through the application process? Make sure you’re organised, I would suggest writing down a list of what needs to be done so you’re not overwhelmed by what documents you need. Also ask as many questions as possible so you’re clear about the process. Lastly, at the interview, stay calm and be confident when answering your questions. Any advice for other international students wanting study at Shillington New York? It’s tough balancing studying and being a tourist because the course is incredibly intense but don’t forget to take some time out to realise that you’re living in a whole new country. How amazing is that?! The M-1 Visa allows you to arrive a month before the course begins and stay for a month after the course ends so that a great opportunity to absorb what NYC has to offer. I arrived a week before the course started to get familiar with the area and my commute to school, which I would recommend. Then I stayed for three weeks after the course was complete which gave me time to do more touristy things, travel around the US and eat more food. I would definitely recommend every international student to do the same.

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How did you find studying on the course with English being your second language? It wasn’t hard, because I already used English on a daily basis at my job, and I had studied in the UK before, under the Erasmus program while I was in college. (I find it more of a challenge not to use English design lingo these days, actually!) But I do think, even if you are a little less comfortable with the language—you would still be able to follow as long as you work hard. Teachers are extremely careful to make sure everyone follows along. There are always at least two teachers in class. When one is in charge of the lecture or giving examples, the other will always be very attentive to make sure no one in the class is left behind as it progresses, but also ensuring that we all move along swiftly. Was the process of relocating to London for three months fairly easy? Any tips for people hoping to do the same?

Lisbon > London Carolina Reis Carolina Reis, traded Lisbon for London to study for three months in England’s capital city. We spoke with Carolina about tackling the language, organising her accommodation and advice to others hoping to study in another city. You’re originally from Lisbon, Portugal. What attracted you to Shillington and specifically our London campus? Yes, that’s right. Before studying at Shillington I had been living in Lisbon and working in the Banking Industry for the last eight years. So, not only did I live in a different country, but my day-to-day reality had absolutely nothing to do with Graphic Design. However, I’ve always been fascinated with creative thinking, and at some point I became very interested in Graphic Design specifically. I came across a few graphic designers that just blew my mind with their work. Although I had a perfectly happy and stable life, I felt that I needed to pursue work that was more creative and fulfilling.

Yes, I had absolutely no problems, and had zero bureaucracy to take care of. I do think the most challenging part is finding accommodation, specifically if you’re on a tight budget. London is a huge city and quite expensive. I had a little trouble with that, but ended up finding a perfect room in a really nice and comfortable family house on Airbnb, with a direct line to Shillington. From your experience, would you encourage others to study abroad? Absolutely. I think having experiences out of your comfort zone, and meeting new people makes you a more complete person, in Graphic Design and life in general. It’s not an easy decision, and unfortunately not everyone has the opportunity to do it. But if you’re lucky and you can, and if you really love and appreciate design, then go for it, life’s too short!

I researched a lot of schools and thought long and hard about it before finally quitting my job. There are actually excellent options if you want to pursue a design education in Lisbon, but ultimately what attracted me to Shillington was: (1) It’s perfect for people looking to make a career change, (2) That it gives you the basic tools you need to get started in the industry in just three months, (3) The quality of the student work.

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“I caught the travel bug and knew I needed to craft a creative career that would allow me the freedom to work on what I’m passionate about from anywhere in the world.” —Ana Petre, graduate

Vancouver > Brisbane Ana Petre Ana Petre, traded Vancouver, Canada for Brisbane, Australia to study design for three months full-time at Shillington. Since graduating she’s returned home, where she's now running Terrene—a lifestyle blog, as well as being a host for The Design Kids. You’re originally from Canada. What were you up to before Shillington? I grew up in beautiful Vancouver British Columbia where I finished my BA in Communication, New Media and Technology. I was fortunate enough to have done a fair bit of traveling whilst in university, including two previous trips to Australia. I caught the travel bug and knew I needed to craft a creative career that would allow me the freedom to work on what I’m passionate about from anywhere in the world. What were your favourite things about living and studying in Brisbane? Any recommendations for students hoping to study abroad in Australia? I found the climate and environment had a huge impact on my creative process—being surrounded by such foreign landscapes and wildlife was incredibly inspiring. I also felt comfortable and at home with a lot of the people that came into my life while overseas—some of the connections I had made the year prior I then saw again while studying at Shillington the following year, that was a really cool way to do it.

If I could recommend one thing it would be to do whatever you need in order to be comfortable and committed during your studies. It is an intense program overseas—probably outside of your comfort zone—so have fun with it, you’re not there forever. Make the most out of the time you have access to your teachers, take the time to digest everything you learn. If it’s within your means, I would say 100% extend your trip and experience the place once you’ve graduated, this will help ease you back and allow time for everything to sink in. From your experience, would you encourage others to study abroad? If anyone has an interest in design I would highly encourage them to consider studying at Shillington—it was one of the best decisions I have made and I would do it again and again. I would say definitely study abroad if you can, it’s an incredible experience that you won’t forget. There will be challenges, it may not be as affordable as staying at home but if it’s something you want to do just go for it.

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Originally from Northern California, Megan Dweck currently resides in New York City. Prior to studying on the full-time course at Shillington New York she worked at Goldman Sachs for 10 years, most recently as a Vice President leading the firm's digital learning strategy. She is currently a visual designer at McKinsey & Company.