We had a lovely chat with one of this years hottest grads, Sinead Murphy. Fresh new talent, ex fashion designer and do-whatever-it-takes attitude, this girl is set to hit the ground running this year. She couch-surfed her way through the course, and camped out in the library working each night to get it done and I think that initiative and passion for what you are doing is second to done. Hats off! Here’s what she has to say…
What made you study graphic design at 29?
I studied fashion design years back and worked in the fashion industry up until last year. I always loved doing the graphic work within fashion and worked in illustrator and loved doing print designs. When I came back from working in New York, I moved home to Port Fairy, and began to think about the next move.
What advice would you give others wanting a career change?
I found Shillington through just googling short courses in design as I didnt fancy another 3 years of studying. I’d just got back from O/S so I found a contract design job in Melbourne, to raise the funds for the course. It was hard work and long hours, but you’ve just got to make it happen. Shillington was awesome – I freaking loved it! Every time I got a brief I’d get butterflies from being so excited. Honestly the best thing I’ve ever done, and alot of it was down to our wonderful teachers, Corrie and Frances. I think my advice for others wanting to do it: although its not a big investment of time, the amount of work you produce in that time and how much you process and develop your skills is just insane. Whilst I was studying, obliviously the 3 hr commute was too much each day, so I couch surfed the whole three months, and freelanced for money. Do whatever you can to make it happen. Just do it!
What did you do overseas?
I quit my design job in Australia and lived London and New York. Before heading to NYC, I just contacted my favourite designers, showed them my fashion folio and got at internship at one of my favs, Proenza Schouler. I think part of this inspired me to go into graphic design as they are really forward in the fashion world with really cool campaigns. And lots of collaborations, which was great to witness. I loved their design process – they would go on inspiration trips to far flung destinations before each collection, and then lock themselves away with vintage costumes and uniforms, a library of books and amazing fabrics to design the range. It really opened my eyes to concept development process and getting inspiration from other sources rather than other designs.
Whats your favourite part of the design process and how do you approach it?
Definitely the research and concept development. I try not to look at others people design work but rather look around for inspiration – memories, places I’ve been… Thinking up something that is relative but still different – literature, history, etc. Its important to have a different approach. Draw and draw and draw, keep sketching and you’ll come up with something. It makes it more fun and interesting rather than whats trending right now or what already exists.
Tell us about your favourite project and the journey behind it.
The brief was to choose either an architecture festival, sound art or product design. I choose sound because I thought it would be a challenge to visually communicate something that you are unable to see. In my research I came across a early Futurist Noise Artist, Luigi Russo and inventor of the Intonorumori noise machine. The Industrial Revolution had given modern men greater capacity to appreciate more complex sound. The identity created for the 2014 Dissonance Festival came from experimenting on Russo’s noise machine – pulling apart each section and putting them back together in visually unharmonious ways.
For the rollout, I wanted to do something a bit different and there was a quote from Russo: “Explore the city with ears more sensitive than eyes”. When I decided to do blindfolds, I found a guy in Warrnambool to print them for me, and I think that print was a throw back from my fashion days when I used to do many repeat patterns.
As a recent grad, what is your game plan now?
I’ve actually just got a small grant to start a little studio here in rural Victoria. Its super scary but I’ve had lots of freelance work down here (Port Fairy) and hopefully a few internships in Melbourne and learn along the way. I love Fabio Ongarato, Confetti, MASH, Can I Play, and AFOM. (For more studios, including Fabio Ongarato and AFOM go to our Studio Directory)
A brief history of my design career
Age 6-12: Colour in EVERYTHING with a heavy 2mm border, followed by a softly shaded inside, achieved by lightly dusting the area with pencil lead shavings and then rubbing in carefully with my finger. The 6 year colour palette consisted of yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and green. Pencils must be stacked in this order at all times
Age 15: Pierce my own belly button in pottery class
Age 16: Draw an extremely lifelike grey lead sketch of my left school shoe, which would remain my proudest work until 2013, despite not being able to locate it since 2000
Age 21: Graduate from Fashion Design at RMIT. Stitch my right index finger on an industrial sewing machine and faint at my first job a few weeks after this
Age 21-28: Work as an intern, assistant designer and designer in Melbourne and New York, with a money saving stint at a cheese factory somewhere in the middle
Age 29: Study graphic design at Shillington College and realise that graphic design is AWESOME
Age 29+: (Projection) Work as a graphic designer, make arts and crafts, drink tea and laugh loudly forever and ever