Highlights from Shillington’s graduate show, plus the Summer Screen Prints movie poster exhibition
Bringing our 2015 design graduate show coverage to a close, Nick Carson pays a visit to Shillington’s bustling Shoreditch finale to meet another talented batch of freshly-minted creatives
Those of you who picked up our New Talent special last month will know CA has been trawling the country since May to find the best design graduates. The final event in our talent-scouting calendar came courtesy of Shillington, with a packed showcase event in the heart of Shoreditch.
Fast-gaining traction in the industry as a viable alternative to full-blown university courses, Shillington offers two options: an intensive three-month full-time course, or a nine-month part-time alternative. Either makes an attractive choice for mature students looking for a change of career direction: an intense, vocational burst without the time and cash investment of three years at university, where it’s also possible to hold down a job. One such example is Lia Sher-Gill, who has worked at London’s Natural History Museum since graduating from Warwick with a History of Art degree, and continued to do so during the course.
“It was definitely intense – when people ask, I say it’s ‘graphic design fat camp’ – but I relished living and breathing design for three months,” she grins. Her academic background informs her approach, with influences from art and design history weaved through her work.
One of Sher-Gill’s Shillington briefs was to brand a boutique florist in a nontraditional, contemporary way. “I made a set of rules to ensure the brand was distinctive from its competitors,” she says.
While her naming research initially led her towards goddesses associated with flowers, Sher-Gill dismissed this as being too traditionally feminine and opted for a more scientific, botanical route instead – eventually settling on ‘Anther’ as a name.
“It’s part of a plant, but I also liked the fact it’s androgynous,” she explains. The logo is formed from manipulated hexagons, referencing plant cells – with four different seasonal iterations.
While Sher-Gill set out to apply the more abstract, academic background of her first degree to a commercial industry, fellow graduate Alma Mosquera chose a total career change. Originally hailing from Panama, she shifted from psychology to graphic design, and describes the course as “pleasantly intense”.
Like Sher-Gill, she acknowledges that her background helps inform her process: “At the moment I hit that dead-end wall of ideas, being trained in psychology can be very handy,” she smiles.
Mosquera’s handcrafted approach to design is particularly evident in The Little Prince, an illustrated book produced while at Shillington. After brainstorming the emotions she experienced while reading it, she selected three keywords: ‘Alone’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Adventure’.
“I used a fish bowl to represent a mind, with all the main characters inside it,” she reveals. “The interpretation of
the illustration is that to solve problems sometimes we should let ourselves, dream; imagine; be a child without fear,” she adds. “We can accomplish more like that than by acting as adults 24/7.”
A third graduate, Jim Oliver, worked as a senior brand manager for a greetings card business in a previous life. “I’d had a great career in marketing, and was lucky enough to work in a creative business, but always yearned for a creative career for myself,” he recalls. “I didn’t want to look back on my life and regret never trying.”
Oliver relished the chance to tackle a diverse range of briefs, and particularly enjoyed creating a brochure for a BFI Fashion-Film Festival. “I felt there was a very obvious style I could have gone with, but tried to push myself to take it somewhere original,” he explains. “My concept was the idea of film shining a spotlight on the fashion industry, revealing aspects we might not normally see.”
He has nothing but praise for the final show: “I have been bowled over by the level of credibility that Shillington seems to have garnered in the industry, so it was reassuring to see lots of opportunity presenting itself,” he concludes.
“It’s also a celebration of a lot of effort and achievement, all in a crazyshort amount of time.”
Issue two of the Shillington Post newspaper
The Little Prince, by Alma Mosquera
Jim Oliver’s brochure for the BFI Fashion-Film Festival