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2021 Orb Best Student Designer: Shillington Brisbane Graduate Sarah Miller

Big congratulations to Sarah Miller, #ShilloBNE graduate and winner of The Design Conference 2021 ORB Best Student Designer award! Prior to Shillington, Sarah was working in the hospitality industry—running a chain of cafes for 7 years. She was 18 when started them but had always wanted to be a graphic designer. Obsessed with branding, she closed down the cafes and knew it was time to go to Shillington.

In the last 12 months Sara has achieved so many things. She graduated from Shillington College, won multiple AGDA awards in the student category, begun freelancing full time and learnt how to surf! Read on to gain insight into her work/life balance, personal goals, definition of success and much more.

The Orb for Best Student Designer is awarded to a graphic designer who’s excelling in their studies. A designer that shares their knowledge with others and gains further understanding of design, professionalism and employment by actively participating in the industry beyond their course requirements.

*Questions and answers extracted from Sarah’s ORB award written submission.

What is your personal mission statement?

To surf the balance between thriving in my journey through life by following everything that brings me joy and trying to sit in the discomfort when life lessons come rolling in all at the same time. Because that’s life.

What Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) do you track to measure success as defined by your personal mission statement?

Success for me is about always growing into a better version of myself. So honestly, I measure by checking in with myself. On a daily basis. Am I getting closer to what feels like my authentic and creative self, or am I going back the other way.

What personal goals have you achieved in the last 12 months?

  • Learned to Surf.
  • Built a new friendship circle with relationships that are deep and wholesome that have nothing to do with business.
  • I have read at least 2 books a month.
  • I’ve cleared all of my debt.
  • Yoga has become a consistent part of my life.

What career goals have you achieved in the last 12 months?

  • Graduated from Shillington College.
  • Won multiple AGDA Awards in Student Category.
  • Freelancing Full Time.
  • Been able to focus the majority of my freelance work on hospitality brands.

What goals have you set for the next 12 months?

Moving to Melbourne to study interior design at The Design School and building my freelancing client base to support me financially while studying in Melbourne but still consciously enjoying the brands that I design for rather than be financially motivated.

Are you studying part-time or full-time?


What significant health benefits do you invest in personally?

After leaving a stressful career, my health is my biggest priority. I see a kinesiologist and psychologist every fortnight. I take regular surf and music lessons and when if I can feel burnout coming I take myself away on little getaways to rebalance

What measures have you taken to build a healthy life/career balance?

I have tried many things over the years but I have noticed the biggest change in my life after I implemented a routine every morning where I am starting the day for me, that could be a walk with my dogs or sitting at a cafe reading my book.

Do you have a side project which you work on in your spare time?

I’m in the ideation stage of re-designing my unit to list on Air-BnB. I love interior design and also the idea of hosting so have been looking at planning this for a while now and starting to work on designs.

In 250 words or less, please tell us why you have entered these awards and what you hope to achieve.

I’ve invested so much of myself into my student work and I’m really proud of what I have achieved. By entering the awards I want to make my mark and build my reputation in the design world. It’s always nice to get reassurance you’re on the right path

Congrats to Sarah, we can’t wait to see where her creative career takes her! #Shillumni make us so proud. Thinking of studying at Shillington? Read graduate testimonials and check out more Shillington Award winners to see where our graduates have gone after Shillington. 

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