Yeah we get to shoot the shit with Mira Mayne of Perth based freelancer and recent grad from Shillington’s Melbourne campus. Mira tells us why stepping away from the computer is important and she reminds us that mistakes are inevitable and that they are the key to the learning process.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?
Design is such a beautiful and powerful thing! I guess I have always had a soft spot for it and have always been aware of it. I was always that kid in school that was constantly scribbling in their notepad. I struggle to verbally communicate things sometimes, so the ability to communicate visually is a gift I will always cherish. I think thats why I value design so much, it’s this output for emotion and feeling that sometimes words alone cannot express.
I started studying Creative Advertising and Graphic Design at uni, but I found it very slow and not very practical and I eventually lost interest in it. I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer, but I knew uni wasn’t the right path for me. I tried to take on as many freelance jobs as I could in that period to keep adding to my skill set. This is when I launched Mira Design. I eventually picked up a job at my friends startup company Mighty Design Co. On top of Mira and Mighty I was also working for Nations Church as their media designer; I made videos, learnt how to animate, make flyers, teach volunteers, what ever they needed really. It was a great learning experience, however I was still not satisfied with the work I was putting out, it just wasn’t as good as I knew it could be and I was hungry for more. I was passionate about learning and growing so I enrolled to study at Shillington College in Melbourne. I had never done anything like this before, although I was nervous I felt a huge sense of excitement for what was ahead.
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
I studied at Shillington college in Melbourne, graduating earlier this year. Shillington is such an incredible College, I was really impressed with how Shillington structured their course and how they based their teaching style on real-life briefs. The class was set up like a real-life studio and we were treated more like junior designers than students. The course really stretched me as a person and as a designer. My first jobs were client work, picking up small local fashion labels and album covers. There is a huge sense of pressure when working with your first client because you’re diving into the unknown, but all you can do is jump in with both feet and be comfortable in making mistakes – because they’re inevitable!
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
1. Network – Be constantly engaging and meeting new people. Get involved as much as you can with the design industry.
2. Always be learning – it is so important to keep pushing yourself to learn, grow and improve – and to focus on the learning and not so much the outcome in other words “don’t seek praise, seek criticism”.
3. Get off the computer – value the concept and don’t undermine the importance of concept development – the computer should only be a tool to execute your ideas, you will always find a solution faster with paper.
4. Don’t be afraid to fail! – the best way to learn and grow is to make mistakes and to experience new and different things outside your comfort zone. Do not underestimate how important “failure” is to design.
5. Experience is influence – don’t just look at other design work for your own inspiration. Go out into the world and experience as much as you can.
Whats the big goal in the next five years?
A big goal for the future is to work somewhere overseas. I think it is so inspiring to be in a new culture and out of your comfort zone. But no matter where I end up my focus and goal is to constantly be pushing myself to learn and grow. If Shillington has taught me anything it is how far I have come and how far I have to go.
What has been your highlights since you started out? Big highlight was graduating from Shillington college. The course really stretched me as a person and as a designer. The long hours and pressure of putting out good work everyday may have pushed me to my limits – but seeing the growth and the fruit from all that hard work makes every second worth it. Another big highlight was re-branding a burger place in Perth called Johnny’s Burgers. I learnt a lot about design and about clients during that experience.
What advice would you give students starting out?
1. This is some advice my tutors gave to me on graduation “don’t seek praise, seek criticism” and its so true! As creatives it is so easy to fall into the trap of being driven by people’s affirmation. You will never be able to please everyone. However painful, constructive criticism of your design work is the most effective way to grow as a visual communicator.
2. There’s this great quote by Mother Teresa “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
3. LISTEN to your teachers, honour their wealth of knowledge and understand you are still learning and developing.
4. push yourself to learn + improve + achieve – step out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to make mistakes… in fact make as many mistakes as you can!