Shillington London graduate Sarah Galley was working in fashion but always knew she had a creative calling. Shillington helped her answer that calling—after our 3 month full-time course, Sarah’s life was completely changed. She came out of the course and immediately embarked on her freelance career. She’s now designing, creating branding for independent, creative businesses—and is loving her new creative life!
We chatted with Sarah a few months into her new freelance graphic design role about life after Shillington, what she’s been working on and more.
What have you been up to since graduation? You are now freelance, can you tell us about that?
Since graduating from Shillington my day-to-day life has completely changed!
I now work on a freelance basis doing graphic design for various different companies (one of which is Shillington!) and I have also recently launched my own small brand design business, where I design for independent, creative business owners. What I love most about post-Shillington life is how varied my weeks are, working on different projects and with different people every day.
Immediately after graduating, I really focused on furthering my graphic design skills and identifying exactly what my design aesthetic is. I did this by completing a lot of passion projects, starting a design social media account and continuously adding to my portfolio. This really helped me when reaching out to prospective clients, gave me a platform to launch my business and has made me feel really confident in my design abilities.
I also joined a mentor group, and a local entrepreneur initiative which has really helped me to feel a sense of community and connect with order creatives, which I feel is really important when you are a solo freelancer.
Can you tell us about a recent professional project? What’s been the project that’s got you the most excited so far?
I recently had the absolute joy of completing a full brand design project for an independent brand who use pompoms to create statement party accessories such as headbands and hair clips. The brief was ‘more is more’, so I was able to go a bit crazy with the design and create something totally unique, iconic and disco-inspired. It was a dream project for any designer and it has been so rewarding seeing the brand print the designs onto stickers, business cards and packaging and applied to their social media page. That is really the part of the job I love the most.
What’s your day-to-day like as a freelancer?
My days are always quite varied. I work from a co-working space and all of my freelance work is remote, so typically I will go there each day as it really helps me to focus and get into work mode! I spend 2-3 days weekly on contracted freelance work, where I will likely be completing assigned design tasks such as designing a flyer, social media posts or a newsletter for example and sending work over for approval.
The balance of the week I spend working on my business, so this might be working on a logo for an independent brand, researching inspiration for creative concepts or carrying out discovery calls. I often have some sort of mentor session or workshop throughout the week which I really enjoy as it keeps me feeling part of a community.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who is about to graduate?
My advice would be to try and be proactive in furthering your design skills when you graduate and that your portfolio is not a finished document—it is ever evolving.
I feel I gained a lot from working on my own briefs, identifying what my design style is and really flexing all the skills I learnt at Shillington post-graduation. It has helped me to become a stronger designer.
I would also say finally not to compare yourself too much to other graduates, everyone moves at their own pace and wants something different from post-Shillo life and there is no right or wrong.
Feeling inspired by Sarah’s story? Learn graphic design with Shillington and change your life in 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time.