Though Shillington Education has launched countless graphic design careers over nearly three decades, it still sounds too good to be true. How can a program that lasts for just a few months land students jobs with companies like Tesla, Wix, Apple, and more?
The answer lies in a combination of Shillington’s disruptive education philosophy, expert instruction, and round-the-clock support. Shillington’s students are reaping the benefits of the school’s strong curriculum and unique structure to launch their dream careers.
Becoming a Graphic Designer
Shillington’s curriculum gives students a simple step-by-step guide to becoming a graphic designer. Though the steps are clear, you will be challenged throughout the school’s curriculum. But you’ll emerge on the other side ready to tackle any challenge that your new career can offer.
Shillington Education Curriculum: Zeros to Heroes
There are plenty of Shillington Education alumni, or Shillumni, who have many positive things to say about the school. Take Matt McKay for example. Matt was laid off from his sales job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he needed to find a new income fast. He decided to trust his gut and follow his creative passion.
“I came to a bit of a crossroads,” Matt said. “Do I continue down the same path or give myself permission to use my creative passions as a full-time vocation? I had a little bit of experience with Photoshop, designing gig flyers for local events but that was it. Let’s just say, since enrolling at Shillington and becoming a graphic designer full time, my mental health has never been better.”
Matt, like many Shillumni, had dabbled a bit in graphic design without any real direction. But by the time he finished his three months in the program, he knew that he had made the right decision.
“It really is as good as you hope it is. Shillington turns graphic design ‘zeros’ into industry heroes,” Matt said. “By no means is it an easy ride – the course is intense and so much content is packed in. You go through all the emotions of a three-year university course, but the final product speaks for itself.”
Matt’s story is the norm at Shillington, where students commit to the program and learn in an environment that encourages cooperation and friendship. As mentioned above, this is a quantifiable process that produces tangible results in lives around the world every year.
Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Laying the Foundation
Your Shillington experience starts with the basics. You’ll learn what makes good design beyond just aesthetics, and you’ll learn the design principles that will drive your career. In the Shillington program, you’ll learn how to think like a designer and apply those thought patterns to industry-standard software across a number of disciplines.
During this portion of the course, you’ll learn how project briefs work, the basics of communicating ideas visually, and how to navigate the technology you’ll use every day including the Adobe Creative Suite and Mac OSX. This may not sound like the most fun part of the course, but you can build skills that will last you a lifetime on top of this foundation.
Shillumni Tom Noon, a former advertiser who once managed nightclubs in London for Red Bull, appreciated this rudimentary knowledge.
“It got me comfortable with my workflow and processes as well as providing a good technical understanding on the software side of things,” Tom said. “Another benefit I found was the focus on teaching keyboard shortcuts, which might sound a bit trivial, but it has definitely helped me work faster and more efficiently.”
Tom has used those keyboard shortcuts plenty of times after graduating while working with stars like Khruangbin. Of course, that’s not the end of the story. After building the foundation, it’s time to develop the skills you need to execute your visions.
Step 2: Beginning to Apply Your Knowledge in a Supportive Environment
At this stage, you’ll learn how to generate advanced design ideas and develop a brand strategy. Then you’ll learn to create the assets that define a brand’s identity like a logo, color set, typography, illustrations, photography, graphic elements, and tone of voice.
You’ll continue to hone your knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite to create the assets that you’ll need. But most importantly, you and your fellow students will learn to identify and understand a target audience for a brand. You’ll learn to develop presentations, design packaging, and create realistic mock-ups to properly represent your vision.
As you develop a sense of Shillington’s creative studio environment, you’ll grow to appreciate everything that its communal atmosphere offers.
Shillumni Crystal Lin had just graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Performance Viola and Voice when she found Shillington. She’s now been working in the industry for five years, first at design firms and now at a national bank. Crystal says that the support and networking opportunities of the program became a high point as she started to progress.
“It was like being at home! Like being part of a new family. You’re with the other students for hours every day so you become a tight-knit group,” Crystal said. “Our facilities were pristine, and having the college in a modern building where other corporate businesses have only heightened the sense of professionalism and design-in-the-working-world feel.”
As Crystal’s story illustrates, the program offers numerous avenues of encouragement as you build your skills. Your professors will give you fair and honest critiques, and your classmates will offer valuable insight that could blossom into a network of friends and professional contacts.
Once you’ve learned how to work with colleagues to bring ideas into the physical realm, it’s time to study the digital side of the equation.
Step 3: Understanding Your Customer and Designing for Digital
Apps and social media are inescapable in our modern reality, and plenty of Shillington graduates have started great careers as UX/UI designers. In this step, you’ll learn how to guide your audience through an online experience. To that end, you’ll learn how to research the way that your target audience thinks and how to build a product that fits their needs.
You’ll learn to create user experiences by conducting research and mapping out a user’s journey through sites and apps with card sorting. Then you’ll learn to create effective user interfaces with tools like Figma and more.
Shillumni Sophie Bo Schmidt was already working as a UX consultant when she decided to go to Shillington. She was tired of doing the legwork to understand customers without being able to capitalize on her research.
“I was doing lots of user research, testing websites, and providing insights about users to inform product designs or re-designs,” Sophie said. “I often felt I had all these juicy insights and I dreamt about also having the visual design skills to execute the designs, which was my initial motivation to study at Shillington. A few months and a pandemic later, I’ve discovered not only my love for UI but also for branding, typography, and digital collages.”
Because Shillington’s curriculum covers so much ground, many graduates have a similar experience as Sophie. They come with one goal in mind but appreciate the fact that they’ve become well-rounded job hunters because they’ve committed to the program.
Step 4: Getting Your First Job
After you’ve learned the Shillington curriculum, it’s time to put everything together. You’ll assemble your portfolio as you learn about the industry and branding yourself. You’ll learn to exude professionalism at every step, from your job search materials to the briefs you hand in to clients.
You’ll also learn how to network and freelance so you can bring in gigs if you’re not interested in working as a designer for just one company. Tom works as a freelance graphic designer since graduating from Shillington, and he’s learned the importance of building a strong reputation.
“After a while, you begin to find your niche and work starts coming through word of mouth which is reaffirming as it indicates that clients are happy with what you’ve done for them,” Tom said. “I’ve ended up doing a lot of work in the music industry as well as some fashion and culture bits, which is all a dream as it promotes creative exploration and means that I get to collaborate with loads of talented artists. More than anything else I find the people I work with really inspiring.”
The Shillington Graduate Experience
The stories you’ve read above are just a few of the satisfied Shillumni that Shillington has produced over its decades of operation. The graduates listed above have taken this logical step-by-step path to become graphic designers and turned their knowledge into fulfilling careers.
The creative studio vibe and teachers with years of experience in the design industry give students a supportive and professional environment to grow in their craft. If you’d like to be one of the next Shillington success stories, apply to its Graphic Design Course today.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.