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Meet Estefi Panizza, Shillington Graduate and Designer at Design Bridge

Estefi Panizza moved herself and her creative studio Cascabel, that she co-founded and directed, from Buenos Aires to London. She eventually got fed up with having to hire someone else to visualise the ideas she had and wanted to be able to do it herself—so she decided to study part-time with Shillington in London. She graduated in the summer of 2018, she has landed herself a job as Junior Design at Design Bridge, an award-winning brand design agency.

Keep reading to find out how growing up in Argentina and travelling the world have influenced by Estefi’s work, how an everyday cup of coffee might inspire something amazing and why it’s important to make lasting connections with people you work with.

First and foremost, before Shillington you had already co-founded and directed your own studio, Cascabel. Why did you chose to study at Shillington? What made our design course stand out from the rest?

I am an entrepreneurial creature. I was co-directing Cascabel which is mainly a creative studio acting as a bridge between artists, brands, and institutions. For pitches, presentations or events I always needed to hire someone to develop the ideas that I had in a visual way—that process took me a lot of time and I wasn’t always happy with the result, so I decided to do it by myself.

I had heard of Shillington from a friend who was switching careers and was really happy with the course. I saw her develop skills from the scratch and thought I am going to be able to do it too!

I felt I was following my instinct and I absolutely love the atmosphere, and approach of the entire course—it’s like working at a real studio.

You moved yourself and your studio from Buenos Aires, where you grew up, to London. Why did you decide to make the move?

I wanted to challenge myself by moving to a different country and culture and working abroad. I always loved London. London is a very musical city so I thought that the work that we do at Cascabel could fit in really nicely.

You’re now working as Junior Designer at Design Bridge. Can you tell us about some recent projects you’ve been working on there?

I work with a great team of brand creatives from small independent brands to the biggest brands in the world. There are always exciting projects happening in the studio, and I have already had the opportunity to work on quite a few. They range from packaging design to digital installations, and most recently we have been working on a really exciting brand for a pop-up.

At Cascabel you managed freelance designers, photographers and artists. Now you’re a designer yourself, does this help? Can you tell us about some of the projects you’re working on?

It really helped me to be open to work in a team with a positive and receptive attitude.

I learnt that is important to be bold and don’t shy away from pushing ideas and make them happen.

Buenos Aires looks like an amazing city! In what ways does your hometown and your Argentinian heritage influence your design?

Buenos Aires is one of the most interesting cities in the world, it’s vibrant and colourful. It’s a place full of energy and creativity. My hometown taught me that I can do everything I propose to myself.

It taught me that nothing is impossible, all you need is energy, to work hard and be persistent. If you want to achieve something, just persevere and it will happen for you.

What’s the creative scene like back in Buenos Aires? Is there any Argentinian creatives worth looking out for?

It’s very unique and powerful, there are lot of women generating creative work, breaking preconceptions and bounders—like Ariel and Ana at Twentyfive, illustrator Mariano Peccinetti and Maria Luque, a visual artist and musician. A great way to discover some musical artists is Radio Cascabel—we showcase emerging Latin American musicians and sound artists.

How do you find inspiration? Do you travel much or do you prefer exploring what London has to offer?

I find inspiration in every day life.

A cup of coffee, a nice walk in the park, people in the streets, signs, music and books. I also really like to travel and it was something I was able to do a lot in the past few years. Japan was one of the most interesting and meaningful trips I’ve done in my life as I was able to meet a lot of creative people living and working in Tokyo.

What was your biggest challenge during your time at Shillington? Why?

The biggest challenge for me was to become friends with the software. I had no previous experience with any of them and I felt really intimidated by the technical aspects of design. The first weeks were a bit difficult because I worried I was too slow but the teachers were always there to support me.

Did you make any meaningful connections with teachers or fellow students during the course?

Yes, I am still in touch with my teachers, Ben Longden and George Simkin. I also made a couple of friends during the course—which is amazing—because you meet creative, nice and open people who share some of the most challenging and important months of your life with you.

It’s really nice to share work with colleagues around you and be able to support and be supported by them along the way.

What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?

First, that there is no way to know something without trying. Scepticism is not a good friend of creativity. Secondly that this course has the most real approach to what is a design environment, a way of learning not only technical skills but also design thinking and design process. It also taught me how to work in a team, how to present my work and how to back up your ideas—something that is key for your future work and this course teaches you in a natural way.

Thanks so much to Estefi for sharing her story with us! Follow her on Instagram or check out her website to see more of her work, or drop her an email to say hello!

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