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My Shillington Story by Seyi Ogunlade

Seyi Ogunlade portrait

Hey. Seyi, pronounced SHAE, here. Nice to meet you! I am a multi-faceted Swiss graphic designer who is also a photographer, writer, published poet, dancer and a licensed nurse. My experience as a nurse has helped me increase my passion and appreciation for a human-centered lifestyle and profession. As a graduate of Shillington New York, I am enamored with solving visual problems through graphic design, curious to discovering and learning fresh tactics, skills and principles for this. I am especially passionate about editorial work focused on art and love applying Josef Mueller-Brockmann’s theory on the grid. Yes, I guess you could say grids and typesetting make me very happy.

When I’m not behind the lens of a camera, or in front of a desktop screen, I am in the gym, writing, practicing some illustrations, traveling or eating out with friends.  

I am impassioned with working with people, learning and using my different media of art to convey, share and give expression to their stories. To this end, I am currently working on multiple photographic projects focused on key themes that are currently raising questions or causing upheaval amongst the majority and suffering within the minority—beauty and mental health for example.

Typographic empowering statements

I have always been in love with the arts but never esteemed myself as artistic compared to those around me so I quickly removed art school from my list of possibilities from an early age. However, my passion only grew and taking up photography did not help in any way to attenuate this. In fact, it only drew me to graphic design. I started to stalk graphic designers and research what this multi-faceted profession was all about. But it was only after my first gruelling year as a fresh nurse out of school that I started considering a drastic career change. I did a lot of research and each time, I seemed to come to the financially-crippling dead-end of going back to school for another 3 years.

My challenging shifts motivated me to keep researching and one night, I finally stumbled upon Shillington. It seemed too good to be true so much so that I had to research if it was a scam! That same night, I decided I would save up and take one of the full-time courses the next year.

I chose New York City because of my love for the city and well, it’s New York so…And quite frankly, New York seemed to be a hub for graphic design so I thought why not go all the way?

To be frank, I had a few fears before going to Shillington which were mainly: getting a visa and not being up to par with the classes but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get an M-1 Student Visa with the help of Shillington and my lack of experience in the arts was not an obstacle.

Handmade design for album record

Being in New York was surreal and being in Shillington was even more surreal. It was like having two experiences for the price of one. I met amazing people, including the teachers and learnt so much. Was it a walk in the park? No. It demanded hard work and discipline; laughs and tears; experimenting with many graphic design styles; pushing my limits; being humble enough to accept critique; sleepless nights; processing disappointment: managing my time and dealing with crippling frustration.

Seyi at a museum

Seyi with a friend in New York

To be honest, I wished many times I had some artistic skills like some of my classmates or prior experience in the design or art world but this didn’t stop me from learning. I just had to put in more work.

Would I do it again? Definitely.

At the end of it all, those three months seemed like a breeze and what a feeling it was to graduate with all my amazing peers and have our teachers tell us how proud of us they were.

Lunch with classmates in New York  Classmates having drinks at a New York rooftop

I didn’t jump right into a studio graphic design job as I had dreamt of before leaving for New York but instead came back in Geneva as a nurse. I am working on freelancing as a graphic designer and I have been working on side projects since I left Shillington, as well as working in photography. My plan is to gradually make more time for both graphic design and photography while continuing with my writing.

I have made it a daily commitment to design something a day and this has not only helped me to perfect the skills learned at Shillington but to learn exactly what type of graphic design I’d like to specialize in.

I am very happy to wear my different hats and I am excited to see where they take me. Who knows, maybe I will end up saying yes to a studio graphic design position after all. As one of my friends from Shillington said, “the future is extremely flexible.”

To those considering Shillington, it is by far the most daring thing I have ever done. And seriously, I have no regrets. If you desire a comprehensive and fast-paced route into the graphic design world, then Shillington is definitely for you. Don’t let your fears and doubts stop you. Just do it!

Big thanks to Seyi for sharing her Shillington experience! Be sure to check out the yearbook she created for her New York graduating class and follow her projects on Instagram and website.

Want more graduate stories? Hear from #ShilloMAN Sam Walter and #ShilloNY Sam Feldman. To learn more about what it’s like to study design at Shillington, head on over to the graduate testimonials to read reviews, stories and tips straight from our design graduates.

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