Adventures in Graphic Design

Graduation Poster

Oh my goodness – I’ve graduated!

Hello everybody – I’m back!

I feel like I have been away for a year – I cannot believe it has only been 3 months.

I completed my 3 month intensive training course in graphic design at Shillington College on Friday 8th April. We had a big grad show and showed off our shiny new portfolios and drank much wine and felt mightily relieved!


City Identity Logo for Villa Joyosa in Spain

I don’t think I have ever worked so hard and so intensively on anything before in my entire life! We worked on 32 briefs, learnt how to use Illustrator, Indesign and PhotoShop, along with learning a whole heap of theory – design principles, how to generate ideas and take a brief, how to prepare things for print and digital and lots of lovely design history and appreciation and where to get inspiration and keep on top of what other designers are up to. It was so lovely to be studying something where there are no boring bits, everything was interesting and useful and fascinating. (perhaps I got a bit bogged down with the UX stuff but mainly because I’ve done it all before in my previous job.) I met some lovely lovely people and went on a complete rollercoaster of emotions.

Hitchcock Poster

Poster design for BFI Hitchcock Season

I learnt a huge amount, not only about design but also about myself and what I can achieve and how far I can push myself and how I react under extreme pressure. It turns out I swing wildly from sobbing uncontrollably at the slightest thing (sleep deprivation driven!) and laughing hysterically at the slightest thing. Like seriously… I didn’t realise how you could really really laugh, tears rolling down your face, chest hurting, unable to stop, over… well not very much really!

Misunderstood Monsters Book

Mock up of my children’s A-Z book – Misunderstood Monsters

It got completely crazy towards the end of the course when we were putting together our portfolios. I kept on getting up at 5am (as I had to to do all through the course as it began at 8am in London and woe betide you if you were late.) throughout the weekends and worked solidly until midnight Saturday night and 2.30am Sunday night, sort of forgetting that I needed to be up and out again at 5am Monday morning… ooops.

Turns out my body does not react well to such sleep deprivation and constant brain strain and sitting staring at a computer for hours on end. I felt super rubbish by the last week, tired, aching, foggy headed, coldly, heavy limbed – dead on my feet, unable to string a sentence together… but we were done. We all made the print deadline and created beautiful portfolios and websites.

Book Cover

Handmade Project – book cover for Liane Moriarty’s Little Lies

I am so proud of myself for sticking at it. There were many moments during the course where I thought, I can’t do this, I am not creative enough, I am not lateral enough, I am not good enough, I am never going to make the print deadline, I’m never going to have a beautiful portfolio like everyone else.

But behold… it all came together in the end and now I have had a week to recover I feel really good about the whole experience. I’m so proud of all my lovely fellow students who made it through. We all found it much more challenging than we had ever dreamed, but also so rewarding. I love graphic design, I love the challenge, and now I feel confident that I have the knowledge and the tools to get out there and help other people solve their graphic design dilemmas and make beautiful things.

Monster type

How the Monster A-Z book began… as a quick exercise in how to use illustrator – we were asked to create a typeface after day 2 of learning illustrator. I thought of my little boy and decided to make some monster letters. I only managed to get to G in the time given!

Now the scary part really begins where I have to try and find a job or set myself up as a freelancer and try and find clients. So please do spread the word for me my blog buddies and if you know anyone who needs something designing, then point them my way. I am raring to go and excited to get my teeth stuck into some real briefs and create some real things.

You can find my new website at: where you will find more examples of my work and contact details.

How hard can it be to become a graphic designer? Well as it turns out – very very hard indeed – but hugely fun and rewarding!