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Emili Hsu, Shillington Student Website Tour

Before Shillington, Emili Hsu was a corporate tax accountant who always longed for a creative career. After three months at Shillington New York, she’s created a beautiful portfolio and website—ready to hit the ground running in the design industry. Read on to hear about Emili’s love of pixel-perfect designs, her favourite student brief and discovering a love of coffee during the Shillington course.

Did you always have a creative drive? Tell us a bit about your creative journey and why you were inspired to study design.
I was always interested in art and design but had never seriously considered making it a career. The university I went to had an excellent design and media arts program but you had to apply into it with an existing portfolio of works, which I did not have. Another reason was that I was not fully aware that “design” is a very broad field and that there are many different kinds of opportunities that are available within it. When I moved to NYC I was also at a turning point in my finance/accounting career where I had to decide whether I wanted to invest more time and energy into a career path that I wasn’t 100% excited about.

In your bio you say “I love pixel-perfect designs [and] intuitive interfaces, which is clear in your portfolio pieces. Why are you drawn to digital design?
Many of us spend the majority of our days looking at some sort of screen, it’s like a whole different world that we exists in outside of the physical world. I think it’s important for there to be good design to facilitate and improve our experiences in the digital world where we spend so much time. I also just love how nimble the medium is, it’s easy to make adjustments and variations instantly without having to start all over.

What was your favorite portfolio piece? Walk us through your concept and approach!
My favorite portfolio piece is the Uber campaign. The concept is a pop-up at university freshman orientations to promote Uber as a safe and reliable way to get home. I was inspired by three classic tales of the epic journey home that are widely recognizable: Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Homeward Bound.

I created a set of three playful illustrations based on the plot of these stories.



I love that it’s super simple and very visual, with all the obstacles along the the winding dashed grey line and the brightly colored solid line cutting straight through the middle. I enjoyed rolling out the design into both digital and print collaterals, and making the design modular enough so that it could be modified to work on odd dimension like a set of lamp-post banners.

What was the best part of the Shillington course?
The best part was the teachers and the other students! Most people may be able to pick up the programs themselves through online resources, but the most valuable part of the course was definitely the thoughtful and personalized critiques from the teachers who are all also working designers, and being inspired by seeing the full creative process of 30+ people from diverse background who are also interested in design.

Did you learn any unexpected lessons throughout the three months?
I’m a coffee person now 😐

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Any tips for incoming Shillington students?
Don’t be intimidated or get frustrated in the first several weeks. There will be students who are picking up the programs faster than you or already know how to use them, or students who have had some other previous design/art experiences that you don’t have.

But everyone finds their own way through the course of the class and comes out at the end better than when they went in.

What’s on the horizon for you in New York City?
I’ll be enjoying (enduring?) my first NYC summer. I’m doing a few freelance projects at the moment but also actively looking for a full-time gig where I can surround myself with other talented individuals and grow as a designer.

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Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d love to hear from anybody who wants to share their work, critique my work, collaborate on a project, ask me about my Shillington experience, anything! My contact information is on my website and I’m always down to meet more people in the creative community!

Want to make a career shift like Emili? Learn more about studying grahpic design 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time at Shillington –>

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