the graphic design blog that speaks the truth

Being a design student can be tough but at the same time one of the most important periods in a designers career. Entering formal design education can allow you to decide upon which area you would like to specialise in whilst also learning the skills which will serve you well for years to come. My design education was a bit frustrating as I always felt that I wasn’t properly prepared for the huge jump from being a student to working as a professional in the industry. I wanted to find out if this was the case for the design students of today and tracked down a number of talented individuals from around the world. This 4 part article will showcase the talent of students working in different areas of design and will give an insight into their thoughts on the current state of their education.


Inés Carral, 22, Mexico

Tools: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, After Effects
Studying at: centro – cine, diseño, televisión
Specialising in: Branding, Illustration and Photography

What do you like and dislike about your design education?
I’ve always been a dreamer and my design career has helped me to bring those ideas into life, into images. Creativity is all about not having limits, making everything possible. So if you mix those two together you get an idea why my passion for design is huge! I love challenges, but most of all bringing in creative solutions – experimenting with the unthinkable. I guess what I dislike is people who just don’t get my philosophy – everything is possible.


Can you give us a little background about your featured project?
This project was for a Caligraphy class in which we had to choose a word and make a logo out of it and the branding. So I decided to go for this ‘arabesque’-warm look, where you get the idea straight away what I’m selling. I wanted a bold, simple but yet elegant look targeted for people who love variety, and like to pamper themselves with a cup of high-quality coffee.
Do you feel that your course has fully prepared you for gaining a job in the design industry?
I don’t believe you get fully prepared because I believe you never stop learning. I consider myself a person who never gets tired of learning new things, and explaining to others what I do know. I believe in learning from my mistakes so I don’t repeat them in the future and above all, I consider myself a very responsible trustable person.


In terms of a design career, where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Working as a freelancer. I love working on projects not because I have to but because I want to, and that’s why my work has so much passion and dedication even in the smallest detail.
Inés can be contacted by email via inescarral[at]


Rachel Shillcock, 19, United Kingdom

Tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, After Effects, Flash, HTML & CSS
Studying at: The Manchester College, Manchester, England, UK
Specialising in: Interactive Media – a mix of graphic design, web design and motion graphics

What do you like and dislike about your design education?
I like that it is possible to experiment in ways you may not be able to in a normal job. Being in education is a time where you can develop and find your own personal style and put your own stamp on your assignments that you complete. What I don’t like about education is that it is extremely easy to feel safe – you have months on end to complete only a few projects when, in reality, you have to work on many at the same time in a much shorter space of time.


Can you give us a little background about your featured project?
My featured project includes two print designs that I completed for my End of Year Show last month, where I chose to complete an exploration of fashion. My idea was to conduct research and create a website to display this information, which also included a showcase of famous fashion photographers and models. I also wanted to try and create some pieces of design that combined fashion photography and illustration. The first piece was simply created to experiment my ideas for this. The second is my favourite piece. This image was created because I wanted to try and step out of my comfort zone and create something different and I am so pleased with the result. I wanted to display the woman’s sense of uniqueness and her beauty. I was particularly inspired by my visit to Athens, Greece in April 2008, because the image reminded me of the statues of Greek goddesses that I saw when I was there.
Do you feel that your course has fully prepared you for gaining a job in the design industry?
I think in some ways my course has prepared me for gaining a job, but in many ways I think that I have helped myself. Although I have learnt many essential techniques and skills in my time studying on my course, I think I have also helped myself develop in a lot of ways – for example I have taught myself everything I know in After Effects and Flash.


In terms of a design career, where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I have a good idea of what I want to accomplish in the next few years – I’ve already completed some freelance work and I’m hoping for some more soon and have a couple of potential jobs coming up. In five years time I’ll have just turned 24 – to me, that’s plenty of time to get where I want to! I want to get a job as a web designer that has some print or corporate identity responsibilities if that is at all possible. I really want to continue with my freelance work – although I have now only completed a couple of freelance projects, I have found that I have a real hunger and thirst for what I do
and can only hope to get better and do more work as time passes. I also have big visions such as setting up my own online shop and my own business, but whether this will happen in the next five years I don’t know!
Rachel can be contacted by email via rachillipepper[at] or you can follow her on twitter at


Andrew Creelman, 20, Australia

Tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Notepad++
Studying at: UWS – Werrington South Campus
Specialising in: Print/Web Design

What do you like and dislike about your design education?
I really like all the open ended assignments where its “make a poster using this as subject matter” or “make a web site for this” with minimal instructions so we can really work on broadening our talents. The facilites, especially the library, are really good as well and that always helps. The odd specific brief with very strict specifications have been thrown in but the learning in those is nowhere near as satisfying as the open-ended ones. One of my dislikes is, not trying to sound too snobby here, how slow the course feels. By slow I mean that the difficulty and breadth of learning really feels like its holding us back. Some of the courses and what we were meant to learn in them were far too basic and didn’t really scratch the surface of what we thought we’d learn about. I would’ve really liked in depth courses on typography and web design but what we were given really felt lacking in any depth. Starting next semester though, they’ve implemented an extra typography course for the younger years so I’m pleased they’ve listened and acted on our feedback.


Can you give us a little background about your featured project?
This was a 3rd year course where the year was split into 7 groups with each one making their own magazines, half in print and half online. In each group, we all got given specific jobs with mini-competitions deciding things like logos, grid systems and the typefaces we used. This project was my entry for the cover of the magazine and my class voted it in. The magazine was called ‘Customise’ and we decided to make it a double cover issue, half themed towards mutate and the other as evolve. The magazine flipped orientation at the center and came with a poster. The Mutate side was more negative and was symbolised with an M and a – sign. Evolve was positive and had an E and a + sign. The original cover design and concept was selected about 4 weeks prior to launch and was worked on consistently till the final day. The Evolve side is the lion/astronaut. It was based off a quote from someone I’ve never been able to find again that “the proof we have evolved further than any animal is the fact we made it into space”. I decided to spin it so that it was as if the lion had evolved not dissimilar to a Planet of the Apes scenario. The Mutate side was really the opposite of that, especially with the negative connotations of mutate in genetics. I put subtle references to death into the image to relate to that.
Do you feel that your course has fully prepared you for gaining a job in the design industry?
I’m currently in the holiday period between the 2 semesters of the year and at this point in time, I honestly don’t know if I’d cope. To this point the course has been all about the technical and theoretical abilities and very little about practical, real world kinda stuff. The last semester this year and the following final two sessions in 2010 are all geared towards that transition into real world applications and job hunting so I think any definitive answer about “how ready the course has made me” would be to premature.


In terms of a design career, where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I ask myself this question a lot and I really have no idea where I’d be. If all goes well, I hope I am in a small design studio anywhere in the world or a crack freelancer with a bevvy of clients. My ideal scenario would be owning my own studio but I don’t know whether I could get there in 5 years time, still too much to learn, see and do. As long as I am in the design world, I’ll be happy.
You can contact Andrew by visiting his website or you can follow him on twitter via




  1. 14/07/09
    11:24 pm
    Love this first part! So excited to be featured, thanks a lot Gareth. Can't wait to see the last three parts :)
  2. 14/07/09
    11:59 pm
    Jeff Watkins
    Wicked posts, inspiring stuff as I also finished schooling a year ago. Great Work! Cheers from Canada!
  3. 15/07/09
    12:54 am
    congrats guys, some good stuff here
  4. 15/07/09
    4:12 am
    Hi gareth, nice list. those are really inspiring. anyway fyi, I'm also a design student. maybe you want to check out my works at my deviantart or my website lemme know if you're interested :) keep up the great posts!
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