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Meet Url Grant: New York City 2021 Diversity in Design Full Scholarship Recipient

Last year Shillington launched, for the first time, our Diversity in Design Full Scholarship opportunities—in New York City, London and Sydney. A collaborative commitment between Shillington and industry partners to cultivate diverse and inclusive representation in the design industry—open to aspiring designers from underrepresented groups.

Our 2022 Scholarship applications are now open—not sure if you’re ready to dive in, or how to begin? Read on for some insights from Url Grant, the New York City recipient of our 2021 full scholarship!

What were you up to before Shillington/what do you currently do?

Prior to Shillington, I was unemployed. While in the program, I temporarily had a position as a contract customer service agent which ended in March. Now, I’m putting my focus on my portfolio and running the social media accounts of my neighborhood community garden.

Can you tell us what Diversity in Design means to you?

As a Black, queer, non-binary designer, Diversity in Design means representation. I should not be selected for a project with the intent to create diversity.

I should be one of multiple different identities that make up a team.

What impact has this scholarship had on your life and career?

This scholarship has given me the confidence to consider work beyond NYC.

I have always wanted to travel abroad and take my talents on the road and learn the styles of different cities and landscapes. With a portfolio under my belt, I feel like I can explore this opportunity to its greatest potential.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

I had been trying to study design for a few years. When I first decided to make that transition, Shillington was the first school I looked at but it was unfortunately out of my price range. When I got the email notification for the Diversity in Design scholarship, I figured I would apply because there wasn’t much to lose, and I ended up gaining so much.

Tell us about your creative scholarship submission.

When I started working on my creative submission, I was having trouble trying to decide what to do. I was unsure how vulnerable I was going to be. I am currently in recovery for an eating disorder and breakfast is more of a task for me. While stressing about my creative submission, I realized I had not made breakfast yet. So I decided to record myself making breakfast—I believe it was a bacon egg and cheese.

I had never made a video before but I grew up watching YouTubers, so I had an idea of the format I could use. I wanted to be raw, and decided to do a voice over just explaining the significance of making breakfast for me and what being a designer would mean for me overall. Breakfast is still hard, but being at Shillington has given me a routine that has made it a little easier. I’m regularly snacking in class and look forward to it.

How did it feel when you won?

It felt completely unreal. I was on my way home celebrating my 9 year anniversary with one of my partners when I got the news. It didn’t truly settle in until I was physically sitting in class.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

If you have the time and are looking for an artistic outlook, this is definitely the place to be. Take a chance, you never know unless you take a chance and try. Then keep trying because this program is no joke.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?

Once you know the rules, don’t be afraid to break them.

Do you think the skills you learned during the course are preparing you for the design industry?

Most definitely. Since our teachers are working designers outside of class, they are regularly letting us know what to expect from the industry in real-time while we’re learning.

They provide consistent feedback so we can implement our practice in the field.

What is your dream job—post Shillington?

A creative director, designing while traveling abroad.

What inspires your design aesthetic?

My design aesthetic is greatly influenced by animation, my work always has some kind of movement on the screen. The design itself may not necessarily be animated but I try hard to make my designs not look stagnant or lifeless. I try to put meaning in every piece of my design from the font selection to the color palette. Like an animator, I make sure I design with intention.

We’re opening up our scholarships again this year what advice would you say to someone working on their scholarship application?

Do not be afraid to be vulnerable.

Graphic designers are artists who show sides of themselves that cannot otherwise be described verbally or in written form.

Want to apply for this year’s Diversity in Design scholarship and mentorship scheme? Apply here!


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