When Bobby Hendry discovered graphic design (aka “problem solving creatively”), she realised it would be the perfect fit for her math/art brain. But one semester into a university design degree, she craved a more hand-on, less theory-based approach. So what did she do? Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, she decided to make the big switch to Shillington’s 3 month full-time course. Two years on from her 2016 graduation, Bobby has kept super busy designing and recently landed an awesome role at Brilliant Logic, while running photography business Idlewild Creative on the side.
Read on to hear Bobby’s Shillington story! Find out the gutsy way she applied for her current role, which creatives are currently inspiring her and why Shillington was “the best 3 months of her life”.
What were you up to before Shillington?
Not a lot. Mostly watching Netflix with my cat. I was a 20 year old kid, unsure what I wanted to do with my life and unsure of where my place was in this world. I knew a bit about design, and had a bit of a side gig designing logos and resumes and etc for my mates in exchange for burritos and burgers.
Why did you decide to study design? Why Shillington?
In my last year of high school, I watched all my mates rush to pick careers and start working hard to get into their dream uni course. I didn’t have that. I was definitely a nerd (Extension Maths for the win), but I was definitely creative too. My mates were aiming to become doctors and lawyers and art teachers, and I just couldn’t pick something that matched my maths and arts sides. Enter: finding out what graphic design was.
Graphic design was explained to me once as ‘problem solving creatively’, and when I heard that, I fell in love. It just felt like it fit.
And as a kid, I always got 10/10 in the presentation component on assignments, so it was perfect. I started studying design at the University of Newcastle, but after a semester decided that I needed a more hands-on and less theory-based approach. I knew design was for me, but UoN wasn’t. Also, spending three hours each way a day commuting to spend three years studying was not appealing.
When a hella talented designer mate told me about Shillington, I pretty much dropped out of UoN and handed over my deposit to Shillo straight away. He got a wicked job straight out, and was definitely one of the best designers I knew. And he got there all in three months—and I could too! That was appealing.
You’re an all-rounder! Graphic designer, photographer, etc. What do you love about being a creative?
I love—but also sometimes hate—that I’ve always got new ideas, new things I want to create. Also, I can make my Instagram be poppin’. I’m in the process of getting a bit more legit with my photography work by launching a business called Idlewild Creative, specialising in family and weddings. I’m super excited about it, and working on the brand, website and collateral for it has been my most exciting project to date.
Tell us about landing the job at Brilliant Logic. What was your interview process like, and what’s your typical day like now?
My interview process was severely non typical. I’d just got home from doing a whole snow season in New Zealand and was seriously lacking money. Determined not to spend 4 hours each day on a train commuting to the city, I threw everything in to finding a job on the Central Coast. I managed to land two freelancing gigs with local studios, but was yearning for a full time gig. I was just about to give up and change my job search field to Sydney, and it was at that moment when Brilliant Logic posted a job ad for a graphic designer.
I stayed up late one night putting together a more targeted portfolio and creating a lil animated video to wow them, and sent it off to them that night.
The next morning I got a call with ‘hey, we know this is a bit weird because you just applied for a job here, but we’re swamped and is there any chance you could come and freelance for us this week?’
A few hours in to my first day there, and I got called into my boss’ office, with her boss on the phone offering me the job. Beyond stoked. Nowadays, I’m living the dream. BL just happens to be on the same block as my house, so my commute is down to a four minute walk, and I work on such a wide variety of clients—from RSLs, to dentists, to dance companies run by national sweethearts who performed in the 2000 Olympics (who shall remain nameless). We also have a wide range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses as clients, which is great to work on as someone with indigenous heritage.
What’s special about the creative scene on the Central Coast?
The Central Coast is a special place in general. Everyone is very relaxed here, and very accepting. I’ve found that there’s a lot of encouragement in every scene, and a lot of support. Oh, and literally everyone knows everyone here.
On the Central Coast, it’s hella easy to get connected with other creatives to make cool shit.
What’s your favourite project from your Shillington portfolio? Walk us through your process!
The last brief at Shillo, Event to Reinvent, was the first one that really rattled me. I couldn’t come up with any good ideas, and the overall process looked like this:
I had a lucky stroke of genius when I found the perfect business to fill the brief, and then everything just kind of fell together. It was also super fun (not in a super mean way) to watch all my mates stressing on their brief while I was playing kindergarten making paper crocodiles.
Who were your teachers and what were the biggest lessons they taught you?
I definitely lucked out on teachers. I had Fiona Yap and Jason Cooper, both insanely talented designers, and both had very different ways of motivating you. Fi knew how to push you past roadblocks and definitely knew how to comfort you in those moments of stress and panic. Jason knew how to push you to push your work to be the best it possibly could be, and he came up with some wicked ideas.
I’m the sort of person that likes someone to tell things to me straight, and if it wasn’t for Jason telling me that what I was working on was shit and that I needed to scrap it and take a different route, I would be a shit designer. Jason and Fi got this one line drilled into my head – ‘you can always push it.’
Design doesn’t have to stop just because it looks done and fits the brief. It can always be better. Don’t settle for what you finish first. Push it, try something new, see where it takes you.
Who or what is inspiring you most at the moment?
I’m forever inspired by Timothy Goodman. I love how he intertwines design with his own thoughts, emotions, and experiences. He comes up with awesome ideas that I wish were my own, and his poetry is insane. I love it when creatives don’t just create something that looks dope, but they make it mean something, and make you feel something.
Also, CJ Hendry (unfortunately no relation) has been blowing my mind lately. I’ve got seriously limited illustrative skills, and am envious of her wizardry. Every time I see any of her work, I wanna steal her talent in some Disney villain kinda way. Definitely check her out.
What would you say to someone sceptical about Shillington’s 3 month design course?
Mate. Channel your inner Shia Lebouf, and just do it. Prior to Shillington, I was a bit lost and stressed about what I was going to do with this little life of mine. I was always a bit lazy, and lacked passion for things.
Then, I remember getting up at 3am on my first day because I was just so excited I couldn’t stay asleep. And honestly, that feeling never changed. Every night I went to bed early so that the time would pass quicker and I could back with my mates in front of Mac #14. I’ve never experienced anything like that.
My three months at Shillington were the best 3 months of my life, and after that 3 months, it only took a few weeks of job hunting to land one.
It would suck to be chasing one of those careers where you have to spend 4+ years at uni, and it’s so good that at Shillington, you can be equipped with all the skills you need to get a full time job in design in just 12 weeks. I’ve spent almost 2 years out of Shillington in the workforce and I can honestly say I’ve not struggled once with technical skills. You will be an absolute boss at Adobe Creative Suite if you apply yourself in those 12 weeks.
Just do it, and do it to the best of your ability. It’ll be worth it.
Huge thanks to Bobby for sharing her story! Be sure to check out her design and photography websites, and follow her personal and photography Instagrams.
Would you love to kickstart your creative career like Bobby? Study design 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time at Shillington in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, London, Manchester or New York –> www.shillingtoneducation.com
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