A key lesson for me that clicked quite late on was about pushing bigger ideas. If you push the boundaries of each brief as far as you can, you’re much more likely to come up with something original and engaging. You can always pull back from a big idea, but it’s hard to make a small idea feel exciting and distinctive.
I’ve worked as a textile designer in London for 10 years, but I started to feel like I was slightly missing something creatively. I realised I was becoming increasingly excited about design that had scope for more concept and depth. Graphic design was always on my mind, but I didn’t have the confidence to just start doing it. Then I realised I could study part-time at Shillington while keeping up with my textiles freelance, and I haven’t looked back! I now freelance for textiles as well as graphics, and I’ve also started a creative studio with my Shillington teacher George Simkin.
One of the best things about studying design is being able to share skills and ideas with your peers. Everyone has a distinct perspective and skillset, and if you’re open to that you can end up learning from each other as well as your teachers. Also, find mentors you really trust, and soak up their advice! Oh and also remember the power of the side project! Something you’re working on for fun could turn out to be your next big idea.
London is such an exciting city for design. There are always events, exhibitions, meet-ups and talks to go to, often with industry superstars involved. It’s also home to some amazing studios, and is a proper melting pot of influences. The cultural and creative diversity here makes for a vibrant, energetic design scene that keeps you on your toes.
I’d love to still be pushing myself creatively in the directions I find most exciting, and collaborating with talented designers. And still learning new things! In a dream world I would have freelanced for some of my hero studios, and gained a lot of experience across print, branding, packaging, and environmental/interior design.
Work hard on exciting stuff with great people, and keep up those side projects!