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In the studio: Nicola 25th October 2016

Originally from Canada, Nicola Morland moved to London where she studied to become a Graphic Designer at Shillington College. She now works in our branding team and recently returned to Shillington to answer questions about her experiences in the industry.

We’ll soon be launching a competition to win a year’s graduate placement at our studio, so read on if you’re interested in a career in graphic design. Think you might want to enter our competition? Share your details with us to be the first to find out when it launches!

How have you found entering the design industry as a Shillington graduate? Do you feel the course prepared you for finding work?

It’s been a smooth process going into the industry as a Shillington graduate. The transition from student to designer felt comfortable and natural because the course functions like a design studio—I was already familiar with working in a collaborative environment, completing briefs within tight deadlines and pitching my ideas to a client (i.e. the teachers). I felt prepared to find work because I left with a portfolio I was proud of—it reflected the technical skills I had acquired, as well as a conceptual approach to design.

Did you have an idea of where you wanted to work after finishing the course?

I had a general idea of the type of studio I wanted to work at, but stayed open minded about where I applied. I didn’t want to restrict myself given I was so new to the industry, and still had so much to learn. I think it’s important to experiment a bit out of Shillington, and more than anything just get experience in the industry. I am now working in environmental branding alongside architects and interior designers—a part of the industry I had never previously considered.

What’s been your favourite moment working as a designer so far and why?

Pretty much any concept phase of a new project. I love the process of sourcing inspiration, brainstorming with other designers, exploring different directions and seeing the design and idea take shape.

I-AM looks like a really interesting studio, with their range of clients and involvement in different disciplines. Can you tell us about any projects you’re working on at the minute?

We are working on the design for a new restaurant opening in Central London—everything from the logo and menu design to the furniture and lighting.

Have you got any tips on securing placements, work experiences or jobs?

  • Immerse yourself in the design world, through talks, workshops and social media. The creative industry is very interconnected and becoming part of the community is a great way for learning about job opportunities.
  • Use your previous career to your advantage and get inventive about how it may apply to the current role. Employers will see value in a skill-set outside of design.
  • Do your research before an interview. Referencing a project or client they’ve worked with shows your genuine interest in the company and the role.
  • When talking about your work, talk about the process and idea generation not just the end result. This demonstrates your ability to produce work that focuses on substance rather than aesthetics.

Any advice for students currently enrolled at Shillington? Knowing what you know now is there anything you would have done differently?

Shillington is where you can really get playful and experimental with your work, exploring different styles and mediums without fear of failing. So take risks and challenge yourself.

In terms of what I would have done differently during my time at Shillington—I would have collaborated more with other students during portfolio time. There were so many students whose opinions I trusted and work I admired that it would have been really beneficial to get that feedback and dialogue going about a project. Even if we had completely different styles, it would have helped to look at things from another perspective and push my ideas.

Feeling inspired? Share your details with us to be the first to find out when our internship competition launches!

This post originally appeared on the Shillington blog, which is also full of lots of other insightful and interesting articles and interviews.