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From Aviation to Design: Benny Hinman, Shillington Sydney Graduate and Designer at Frost*collective

After eight years working logistics in the aviation industry, Benny Hinman longed bring more creativity into his career. After a friend recommended Shillington, he attended an Info Session and was “sold”. With a seriously impressive job hunting hustle, Benny quickly landed a job at Frost*collective, one of Sydney’s top agencies. Talk about a major career change!

Watch a video of Benny’s impressive student portfolio (created in only 3 months!), be wowed all the types of projects he’s worked on at Frost*collective and get his insights for breaking into the design industry.

What were you up to before Shillington? 

Before Shillington, I had spent the last 8 years working in the aviation industry in different logistical roles. I had stumbled into this occupation after leaving school at 16 and ended up staying in the industry for longer than anticipated! I have played music since a young age and considered myself to be a creative person, but had never quite found a way to work as a creative for my job.

Why did you decide to study design? Why did you choose Shillington?

A friend had recently graduated from Shillington and spoke extremely highly of the program and everything she had experienced—from the fellow students to the teachers to the tools she learned. This led to me going to an Info Session, and I was sold.

I went on to do the full-time course and my love of design began—Shillington changed the game for me.

Now you’re a designer at Frost*collective. What’s your typical day like there?

One day to the next could look so different—and that’s what I love most about working at Frost*collective. One day may be spent working on concepts for upcoming campaigns for some of our long term clients like OzHarvest or Ending HIV. Other days are working hard on the tools to make sure a job makes its print deadline.

Since starting at Frost*collective I’ve worked on a kids book, rebranding a franchised cafe, artwork for a museum, a rebrand for an airport, multiple property precincts, large outdoor campaigns, annual reports, videos, and health food packaging.

Even though each day to the next could look totally different I always like to spend the first few minutes at my desk looking at some of my favourite design blogs and checking in out what’s going on in the design world. It’s a good way to set my mind up for the day ahead and to keep up to date on what’s moving and grooving in design land.

You also freelance. What’s a cool project you’ve worked on recently?

Yes, freelancing alongside full-time work can sometimes be a lot to balance but I personally have found it very rewarding. I love the challenge of having to do it all myself, from client interactions to costing, to being your own creative director. I recently worked on a brand identity for a friend’s coffee company. My favourite part of that job was helping to find a visual style and personality for the company that set them apart from their competitors.

Of course—without studio experience I wouldn’t be half as confident as a freelancer, so both have been phenomenal experiences.

What’s your favourite project from your Shillington portfolio? Could you tell us about the process behind it?

That would have to be my ‘Humanity Matters’ campaign for H&M. We were tasked to find a company or organisation with a PR problem and I decided to tackle H&Ms burning clothes practices. A key element was to take a deep look into what people who were really upset at this thought about it and what they wanted to see change from H&M. The reoccurring theme was that the public felt they needed to make real change to their practices and own up to the poor decisions they had been making. This sparked the tone of the campaign of igniting change which turned into something the public could rally behind and was refreshingly honest and upfront, and in a way self-deprecating. Although entirely made up—it was based upon some true news which meant I could emotionally engage as well as conceptually.

Any advice for a fresh design graduate on the job hunt?

1. Know what you want. 2. Stay creative.

After graduating from Shillington I picked 5 studios/agencies that I really wanted to work for and spent time curating my portfolio towards what they would want to see, as far as I could tell from the work they had been putting out.

Once I secured an interview (trickier than it sounds, but it can happen!) I then did as much research into who would be in the room as I could.

I felt my strongest skills leaving Shillington were my ideation and creative process so I made sure to hero that in my portfolio and when given the opportunity to talk through my work I always made a point to highlight the ideas that were behind the work.

Where are your go-to spots for creative inspiration?

I love to travel so getting out of my daily routine always tends to fuel my creativity. My wife and I recently spent a weekend at The Calile Hotel in Brisbane which is an absolutely impeccably designed space and I spent the entire weekend on a creative high. When I’m not lucky enough to be traveling, I love to get to the MCA or any local art exhibitions that are on. Live music also gives my mind inspiration and gets me in a creative flow.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Find a way to express yourself. A few months ago I started to share my little doodles on my Instagram account just for fun. I think its really important as creatives to be doing things just for the fun of it, whatever that may be. I’m still working out my identity, what I love and what I find challenging a but that’s all been a part of this process. I am so excited for all the avenues design could take me, and anyone down. I am excited to do more art direction and keep my mood boards flowing.

It’s a big world out there! Thank you to Shillington for igniting an ever growing passion for art, design and working as a creative in me.

Huge thanks to Benny for sharing his Shillington story! Be sure to follow him on Instagram.

Would you like to switch careers and launch a new creative career in only 3 months? Read more testimonials, check out unbiased reviews and learn more about our graphic design course in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, New York, London and Manchester.

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